We seem to have had quite a number of medical items on the blog recently, and tonight is no exception, with an MTP Medical Trauma Pouch: You might recall we looked at an earlier iteration of this pouch a few weeks back here. This pouch is clearly serving the same purpose, but is a more up to date design that has taken into account some of the shortcomings of the earlier design. One of the problems of the earlier design was that if it was opened whilst still attached to the belt, one of the smaller front pockets was upside down and potentially items could fall out when it was opened. To counter this problem, on the MTP version when opened out only the top half folds down, which then reveals the second smaller pocket with a top flap opening across the pocket so everything remains vertical for access: Two small side pockets have been added to the pouch to separate out items that are needed for easy access. Judging by the shape I would think these were used to hold the morphine syringes: As well as a change in colour from olive green to MTP (there is a DPM version in between that I don’t have yet), the fixings on the rear have changed to allow this pouch to be fully compatible with PLCE web gear: Beneath the top flap are two plastic ‘T’ bars for attaching to the belt: And on the top are the same fasteners you see on PLCE pouches allowing the yoke of the PLCE set to be attached: Note also the medical cross symbol on a printed label on the top flap. The top flap itself has a clear plastic liner that creates another small pocket to allow small items such as alcohol wipes to be easily stowed here: The lid is secured with a black plastic ‘Fastex’ buckle on the front: Interestingly nearly all of these pouches I have seen have an incorrect label sewn to the rear. Although this is an MTP pouch, the labels frequently describe them as DPM: This suggests that the manufacturer’s forgot to update the label printing when they updated the camouflage! The contents of this pouch would be similar to the example we looked at earlier. This is a suggested packing list from the contents card:
1 x Pouch, Medical, 3-compartment
1 x Suction Easy
1 x Resuscitation aid face shield
1 x Adult Triage Label Pack Individual 5 Triage labels 5 Dead
1 x Chest Seal Asherman single use
2 x Morphine auto injector 1 x Pencil, Skin marking
2 x Emergency Bandage Trauma
1 x Tourniquet System Self applied CATS
1 x Scissors bandage universal Tufcut
2 x Bandage triangular calico
4 x Gloves medical examination/procedure size medium
1 x Hemcon Bandage
We continue our look at the olive green PLCE equipment this week by considering the yoke. The yoke is one of the two critical components of a set of load bearing equipment (the other being the belt). In order to function properly it needs to be comfortable, support the weight of the items a soldier needs to carry evenly and be robust enough to withstand a lot of punishment (for a yoke that fails on every count readers are directed to the Canadian 64 pattern example!). The yoke used in the PLCE set draws heavily on earlier designs of British webbing for many of its features. The yoke has six points of contact with the belt/pouches. While two straps at the front attach either side of the waist belt’s buckle, four straps are fitted to the rear:Two of these attach to loops in the belt, whilst the two outermost straps pass forward under the arm pits to attach at the front to the main ammunition pouches, distributing the weight more evenly.
Extensive use of an open weave mesh is used to help reduce the effect of overheating on the wearer:This had first been trialled on combat vests in the 1970s, the PLCE yoke is entirely lined with this mesh on the underside:Mesh is strong, light and allows air to flow through it. Note also the dark green nylon patch for a place the user’s name and number could be written:Other features brought forward from the old sets was the ability to easily change the length of the straps by pulling on them. Here they are adjusted with friction ladder lock style buckles on the ends of the yoke:Finally the back of the yoke has a series of loops allowing auxiliary equipment to be attached if required:The PLCE yoke was a sophisticated piece of equipment and clearly thought had been given to feedback from previous sets. As ever though in the hands of the user things did not always go to plan. They needed careful adjustment to get a comfortable fit and soldiers sometimes substituted commercial pattern yokes or 58 pattern examples. It was also not unheard of for the secondary supporting straps to be removed from the yoke so more ammunition pouches could be added to the belt, defeating the whole point of effective weight distribution. Arrse gives the new recruit some advice on setting up a yoke:
Fit the load spreader (‘yoke’) to the rear of the belt and adjust it to the right length. Some people prefer to wear their belt higher than others, but it shouldn’t be supporting your tits, loosen the yoke until the belt is somewhere around your waist. Then lock off the straps by feeding them back and forth through the buckle. Adjust the front straps, but don’t lock them off as some adjustment will always be necessary. Finally adjust the lateral load spreader straps and lock them off as with the rear ones. Taping the straps should not then be necessary, but is always popular
Over the last month or so we have looked at a couple of pieces of olive green PLCE webbing. Now thanks to my friend and fellow collector, Michael Fletcher, I now have a complete wearable set of early PLCE:
As with the Canadian webbing earlier this year, to save overloading you and boring everyone to tears I am going to look at the components piece by piece each week for the next month and a half. I have already covered some of these pieces in their DPM form, but there are considerable design differences between early and later PLCE so we will revisit these components as they are different enough to warrant their own posts- it’s not just the colour that changes!
We kick off tonight with the PLCE utility pouch:The utility pouch is designed as a general purpose pouch that can be used for carrying extra ammunition, or a soldiers personal kit. Maximum flexibility was emphasised in the design, as seen on the rear:Here two sets of fabric loops and two brass c hooks give the user a choice of a high or low slung pouch:The top of the pouch has two metal D-rings that allow it to be fitted in place of the ammunition pouches on either side of the belt buckle- the rings being used to attach the yoke to:This was a major upgrade from the old 58 pattern set and gave far more flexibility. The black plastic female Fastex fastener allows the pouch to be attached to the rucksack should you so desire.
These early pouches do not have sewn in stores labels, but rather have the information printed straight onto the fabric:As can be seen this is no longer always very clear, but you can make out the NSN number and the /|\ marking fairly easily.
This early olive green PLCE is still available, but slowly becoming scarcer as it was only produced for a short period of time. As such it is an excellent set for the serious student of British load bearing equipments to start putting together whilst it is still easy to find.