As discussed last month, amongst many short comings on the 64 pattern webbing set was the wholly inadequate suspenders to support the weight of the equipment over the shoulders. The 82 pattern set sought to remedy this problem and a well-padded yoke was provided, offering comfort far beyond that available on the earlier system:The yoke used in the 82 pattern set is based off the American ALICE system of the 1970s, but adapted for Canadian service. The yoke assembly illustrated above is actually a combination of two parts, as shown in the user’s handbook. The Yoke:And four ‘hook strap assemblies’:As these were normally left connected we will treat them as one unit for this post. The yoke is heavily padded with protection for the wearer across both shoulders and the top of the back:The side of the yoke away from the wearer has a centrally mounted panel fitted with metal eyelets used to attach equipment (most often an entrenching tool) to the upper back:The front half of the yoke over each shoulder has a series of webbing loops to allow items to be hook on if required:Often a shell dressing would be taped onto the webbing at this point. Plastic friction buckles are sewn to the ends of each shoulder piece and at each corner of the back part of the yoke:These are attached to the ‘hook strap assemblies’ that in turn attach to the belt or other parts of the webbing with a plastic hook fastener and Velcro strips:One Canadian serviceman with eleven years’ experience wearing the 83 pattern set explains how it is attached:
To be more detailed in regards to how it fits, the yoke for the Canadian 82 Pattern Web-Gear, has four straps. The two in the back, have little plastic hooks which point in opposite directions (up and down) and clip onto the butt pack. The two in the front, have the same plastic hooks and clip onto magazine pouches, or the utility pouch. Obviously, the magazine pouches, utility pouch and butt pack all clip onto the web belt. The straps from the yoke will not properly clip into the web-belt directly – and stay connected – they have to be connected to the pouches and butt pack.
The British Army never had an official pouch for Sterling SMG magazines, soldiers just placed them in the standard 58 pattern. The Canadians did things rather differently and issued a dedicated pouch that could take three magazines for their version of the gun, the C1. Tonight we are looking at one of these pouches, designed to work with the 82 pattern webbing set. The pouch is designed to hold three magazines and is made from a dark green nylon fabric:The top flap is secured with a plastic quick release buckle and webbing tab:The back of the flap has two plastic fasteners to attach it to the 82 belt, with Velcro to help secure them:Each individual pocket has a loop of nylon webbing inside that helps draw out the magazine:You pull these upwards and they draw the base of the magazines vertically up so they can be gripped and pulled out:As is usual with these sort of pouches, drainage holes are fitted at the base of the pouch:The C1 SMG used different magazines to the British Sterling, so British magazines do not fit into these pouches. There were a number of differences between British guns and Canadian examples:
- C1 had a one piece bolt, the UK one had a two piece
- different recoil springs
- Canadian magazines had a basic follower (10 and 30 round capacity), UK ones a roller which was far more reliable.
- trigger groups and shape of the trigger gurards are different
- rear butts are slightly different (the UK one is lighter with more holes in the strut)
- mag releases are different
- front and rear sights are different (C1 SMG used the same front sight as the FN C1 and C2 family of small arms, and the front sight adjusting screw was the same as the arctic trigger guard retaining screw on the C1 and C2.
- different bayonets are used (FNC1 on Canadain guns and the No5 jungle carbine bayonet on the UK ones)
- end caps are different
- on some UK versions the protective surfaces were painted, while the C1 SMG was phosphated
Tonight we are starting our detailed look at the first of our Canadian 82 pattern webbing components, the belt. Ironically the belt owed a lot to a design dating back more than seventy years before the set was introduced. The three inch wide belt of the 08 pattern webbing was particularly good at distributing weight and being comfortable for the wearer. Canada adopted the same particularly wide belt for its new 82 pattern webbing:If the width of the belt was based on a very old design, the rest of the design was far more up to date; with a large black Fastex buckle being used to secure the belt:This buckle was both strong and secure, but also easy to undo if needed. The belt itself was made of a cotton webbing, left plain on the inside for comfort:And with a waterproof nylon layer on the outside to make it more waterproof:Note the reinforced eyelets along the entire length of the belt, these allow the components of the set to attach to the belt with small plastic hooks, as detailed in the post here. This was the weakest part of the belt’s design, as recalled by one user: The biggest problem you will find is that if you remove the equipment from the belt a lot either to wash or re-position it, the grommets will pull off of the belt and stay stuck on the tabs. This ends up so that only the Velcro holds on the equipment. Not a big deal if you can turn it into QM for a new one. There were three sizes produced, as referenced in the accompanying manual, each with its own unique stores code:
The manual itself has a helpful picture for soldiers to identify what the belt looks like if they were unsure!
Following last week’s look at the Canadian 64 pattern set here, tonight we are taking an introductory overview of its immediate successor, the 82 pattern set:As with last week’s post, my thanks go out to Andrew Iarocci for his help in supplying me with these sets of webbing- they are not common on this side of the Atlantic! The 82 pattern set was the first modern nylon set of webbing adopted by Canada, and it draws heavily on contemporary US designs with the accompanying user manual almost a word for word copy of its US equivalent. The design is a vast improvement on the 64 pattern design and is built around a broad 3” wide belt and a padded yoke assemble. Pouches and packs are then fastened onto the belt with plastic tabs and Velcro:A large variety of pouches were available, with various modifications undertaken to them over their service life, we will look at these in more detail as we study each component in turn. There were four different standardized set ups for the kit; Fighting Order, Battle Order and Marching Order:The basic layout of my 82 pattern webbing is set out below:The 82 pattern was generally welcomed by the infantry, although it was not without its shortcomings- the plastic fasteners to attach the various pouches were liable to become brittle and break at low temperatures, something Canada is famous for! One user Dean O, reports:
82 Pattern!!! I really hated that crap, on the belt the grommets sometimes would pull out, the plastic “bars” on the equipment bits, would break off at the top and or bottom in extreme cold weather ( and remember we have that here), and what a pain to adjust it to make it fit over parkas or make it smaller for summer, again, the buckle would break in very cold weather .and that back pack!!!?? What were they thinking?? I could never get it to fit correctly, and, again to adjust it took a lot of time and everything had to be moved to keep it even, and as everything “locked” into the belt, it took time and never seemed to ride correctly on shorter people like myself.
Despite that, the set remained in use well into the 2000s, and saw service out in Afghanistan before being replaced with more modern systems. As ever we will be looking in greater detail at the components in the coming months.