Category Archives: PLCE Webbing

DPM Right Hand Other Arms Holster

The change over from DPM to MTP saw many items of perfectly serviceable army equipment surplussed out long before they needed to, often when they were still brand new. The other arms holster tonight is one such example, being completely unissued but still available for a few pounds as it has been superseded by the same item in the new camouflaged:imageThis holster is a hard shell type that offers better protection than some of the earlier PLCE designs that were made of a soft material. The holster has room for a standard service automatic, with a tab going over the backstrap of the pistol and securing with a press stud to prevent the gun from coming out:imageA spare magazine is carried in a small pouch along one edge of the holster:imageAnd another web tab and fastener help hold this secure:imageThe inside of the holster is stiffened to protect the pistol, being clearly visible here, even without a weapon being carried:imageThe rear of the holster has a belt loop that can be size adjusted with a pair of press studs:imageBeneath this is the label for the item, here dating it to 2007:imageTwo fabric tapes are sewn to the muzzle end of the holster on the rear:imageThese are to allow the holster to be slung on a shoulder rig and straps passed through them to secure around the wearers chest and to a waist belt. A standard PLCE triangular buckle is attached to the top of the holster allowing the PLCE web set to be used as a method of carriage as well:imageThe holster was available in both right and left handed versions and other accessories included top flaps:

8465-99-242-8998 Left Hand
8465-99-306-0049 Right Hand
Flap, DPM, R/H 8465-99-665-9704.
Flap, DPM, L/H. 8465-99-862-0109.
Harness, Holster, DPM 8465-99-978-5366.
Strap, Waist, (Other Arms) 8465-99-730-2314.
Strap, Chest (Other Arms) 8465-99-132-1396

An identical version of the holster is also available in the more modern MTP fabric.

PLCE Machete Sheath

In the mid-1990s the British Army replaced its old Golok jungle machete with a new design. This new blade was three inches shorter than its predecessor and a new design of sheath was developed for it in both olive green and DPM camouflage fabric. This sheath was designed to work with the PLCE webbing set that was in service at the time and tonight we are looking at the DPM version:imageThe mouth has a metal reinforcement to prevent the machete cutting the fabric as it is fitted into or removed from the sheath:imageA simple strap is provided to retain the machete. This is wrapped around the handle and secured back to the sheath with a press-stud:imageA small pocket is fitted to the front of the sheath to fit a sharpening stone into:imageThe stone is retained by a small flap lid secured with a press stud. The sheath has a shoulder strap fitted to the top, and a waist strap that can be passed around the body, securing with a plastic fastex clip:imageAlternatively the sheath can be fitted to the PLCE belt, a belt loop fastening being sewn on the rear:imageOpening this belt loop up there are two T-Bar type fastening which engage with the loops in the back of the PLCE belt to prevent it from slipping around the belt:imageThe label on the rear indicates that this sheath was made in 1993:imageThis design of sheath is still in production and versions made in MTP camouflage are available to match the latest webgear in use with the British Army.

PLCE Hip Pad

Although webbing sets are designed to be as comfortable as possible, frequently users complain that they cut into their flesh, rub against bones and are generally unpleasant to wear after a day or two of continual use. This becomes especially the case for soldiers of unusual builds, with the very skinny and the more rotund suffering more than the man with an average shaped body. To help alleviate this a little, the army issued a protective hip pad with its PLCE set that offered extra cushioning around the belt where the webbing was most likely to rub. This pad is made of DPM camouflaged fabric and has both a straight and a contoured side to fit the wearer’s body:imageIn this case the fabric is quite badly faded, but it would originally have been the same vibrant greens and browns as the other pieces of PLCE we have covered on the blog over the years. The pad attached to the belt through a series of nylon tapes, secured with plastic Fastex clips:imageThe side of the pad that rests against the body is padded and has a perforated fabric to help keep the wearer cool:imageSadly the stores label in this example has been cut out but it is clear where it once sat. The stores catalogue itself indicates the NSN number for this piece and its unit price:CaptureHip pads were very popular with soldiers, one notes:

Pretty much every infanteer I know uses one. I remember one CSM of my acquaintance that thought they were effectively an admission of homosexual communism, then we did a few days in the field with him actually doing stuff (!) and lo, a CSM who has suddenly changed his mind…!!

They were not always easily available through the stores system and many men resorted to commercial versions. Another soldier who did manage to get one of these issue examples commented:

The issue one is actually quite good, the only gripe I have is the padding under the ammo pouches could be wider and a bit longer

To use the pads soldiers were recommended to fit the pad to the belt first, then add their pouches form the centre working outwards and finally to attach the yoke to the set.

PLCE Side Pouches

Earlier in the year the blog covered the yoke for turning two PLCE rucksack side pouches into a back pack here. At the time I did not have any of the side pouches in my collection but thanks to a good rummage in a box of £1 PLCE components at the Yorkshire Wartime Experience I now have a pair of these pouches and it is one of those we are looking at tonight:imageThe pouch is made from DPM cordua nylon and is a large rectangular shape designed to be attached to either side of a bergan. The pouches have a heavy duty zip:imageThat runs up both sides of the pouch on the rear:imageThese provide a secure fitting to the bergan and are used when assembling two of the pouches into a day sack as seen in the previous post. Also on the rear of the pouch are two labels, one is a standard stores label indicating that this pouch was manufactured in 1999:imageWhilst the second is just plain green to allow the owner to mark his name and number, in this case for a Sergeant Sims:imageThe pouch has a capacity of ten litres, but lacks any form of internal division and is secured at the top by a heavy duty metal zip:imageFour loops are sewn to both the front and rear face of the pouch:imageThese allow extra equipment to be attached with bungees or string to the outside of the pouch. To allow the pouch to fit to the yoke, male and female fastex clips are attached to the top of the pouch:imageAnd the bottom:imageIf I can find where I put my yoke I will have a go at assembling the set as a day sack, I also need to try and find the full bergan these attach to at some stage- although it is such a large thing I will have to think carefully about how I would store it if I did get one!

PLCE Side Pouch Yoke

In the past we have looked at the standard PLCE yoke in the original olive green here. This however was not the only yoke issued with the set, and a second one was provided to allow the side pouches of the rucksack to be attached and carried as a small day sack. Visually the two yokes appear very similar at first glance, but have a different arrangement of clips to allow the side pouches to be attached. Like the rest of the PLCE set this was originally constructed in olive green, before being superseded by a DPM version that we have tonight:imageA large mesh panel is provided on the rear to help provide strength whilst not overheating the wearer:imageThe shoulder strap part of the yoke is made from DPM infra-red resistant Cordua nylon in a DPM pattern and is padded for comfort:imageThe two rucksack pouches attach using Fastex clips, which are position around the yoke in the appropriate positions:imageA waist strap is also provided:imageIn use this tended to be used to pass around the pouches to help hold them steady and prevent them from flopping around whilst the wearer was running.

This yoke is remarkably late, having been manufactured in 2014:imageI suspect that this yoke has never been issued as it appears as good as the day it was manufactured!

Assembling a rucksack from the side pouches was an involved process, and here is illustrated in the fitting instructions:Capture1Capture2Capture3This piece of PLCE is unbelievably cheap- I paid just £2.99 for an example posted to me from eBay. I now need to find a pair of the rucksack pouches and see how hard it is to actually assemble…

DPM Second Pattern PLCE Rifle Grenade Pouch

Today we are used to the idea of an underslung grenade launcher for the SA80, this has been used very successfully in conflicts for the past fifteen years. Before this was introduced though, the SA80 was issued with a rifle grenade that fitted over the muzzle of the rifle and was fired by a cartridge from the breach of the gun itself:imageTo accompany this grenade, a special pouch was created as part of the PLCE webbing systems. Originally in olive green, this carrier was later produced in DPM:imageThe original design was a full pouch, this DPM version though is just a skeleton pouch. Two white plastic cups in the base of the carrier hold the noses of the grenades:imageTwo little lids are provided, one for each grenade:imageStraps underneath the lid help hold the tails of the rifle grenades secure:imageThe pouches are designed to be used in a number of ways and so the back of them is very ‘busy’:imageA flap is provided on the back for a belt to pass through so the pouch can be worn on the belt:imageUnder the flap are a pair of ‘T’ bar fasteners that lock into the belt of the PLCE system:imagePrimarily however it was expected that a pair of pouches would be zipped to a bergan in place of one of the standard side pouches. In order to do this a heavy duty zip is fitted round the outside rear of the pouch:imageFastex clips are also fitted to allow a shoulder strap to be fitted or to attach the pouches to the day sack yoke:imageThis particular pouch dates back to 1997:imageThe muzzle launched rifle grenade was only a short lived concept, the much smaller and more effective underslung launcher replacing it and rendering these pouches obsolete. As such they are readily available on the surplus market and a cheap addition to the collection.

PLCE Wire Cutter Pouch

As well as the standard infantry load bearing equipment, a number of specialist pouches were also developed for the PLCE set. Wire cutters have been issued to soldiers almost since the introduction of barbed wire as a defensive weapon in the mid-nineteenth century. Some of these designs of cutters were to prove exceptionally long lasting and the folding British army wire cutters had a very lengthy service life and I believe they are still in general use today, despite the design dating back at least as far as 1915- over a hundred years for a piece of kit is not a bad service life!

The PLCE frog for these cutters is a wedge shaped pouch in DPM Cordua nylon:imageThe cutters fit in like this:imageDue to the heavy duty nature of the contents, the top flap of this pouch is secured with both a press stud and a strip of Velcro:imageThis particular example was manufactured in 2004 as indicated on the label sewn onto the underside of the top flap:imageThe back of the pouch will be familiar to anyone with a passing knowledge of PLCE webbing:imageThe small loop is to pass a steadying string through. Above this is the main belt loop, secured with press studs. Lifting this flap reveals the plastic T-bars that engage with the small pockets on a PLCE belt:imageI don’t believe this pouch is too hard to find, but as with this example you might have to source the cutters themselves separately and then put the pair back together again!