Category Archives: War on Terror

DPM Patrol Pack

Tonight’s object goes by a number of different names, ‘day sack’, ‘Northern Ireland patrol pack’ or just ‘patrol pack’. The official designation is ‘Patrol Pack, 30 Litre, DPM IRR’. Whatever designation you use, this is a handy 30 litre backpack used for carrying a lot of the items needed in the field for a soldier:The pack consists of a main compartment for carrying equipment, covered at the top by a drawstring waterproof cover:And a top pocket that passes over the whole main section of the rucksack. This has a small flat pocket ideal for paperwork and a second larger pocket to carry anything you need to get to in a hurry:Plastic Fastex buckles attach it to the main body of the pack and the space unbder this ‘flap’ gives somewhere suitable to slot larger items and pin them down to expand the carrying capacity:Two large pockets are attached to either side of the main pack, again each is secured with a Fastex buckle:Finally fabric loops are attached around the outside of the pack to allow MOLLE pouches to be fastened and further equipment to be tied on:The pack does not have an internal metal frame, being instead entirely soft. Two large padded shoulder straps are fitted:And a supporting waist belt, again using a large black plastic Fastex buckle to secure it:A green panel is fitted to the back, hidden when worn, that gives space for the soldier to write his name and number on. This was originally grren, but has been blacked out with marker to allow it to be remarked by a new owner, sadly this is badly worn and difficult to make out anymore:A label inside the bag indicates that this particular pack was manufactured in 2009:The pack is designed to give troops the ability to carry mission specific equipment for short periods of time in a more compact pack than a full size rucksack.  A number of different loads have been suggested for users, this packing list comes from the combined Commando Course:

24hr Rations, 1 Water Bottle Flask, (optional) Warm Jacket, Poncho & Pegs (1 between 2), Bivvi Bag (1 between 2), Socks, Helmet, CBA

Whilst an alternative load out used on exercise was recalled by one user:

Bivvi Bag, 1 per fire team basha (stretcher), warm kit, gore tex, emergency rations, pair of socks, bit of hexy and metal mug/mess tin, torch, HMNVS or CWS, spare batteries, a good deal of room (they were saying 50% but…) for any spare ammo radios or section kit you may get dumped with.

40mm UGL Ammunition Bandolier

Over the past year we have looked at a number of different pouches used by the British Army to carry ammunition for the 40mm underslung grenade launcher. As well as individual pouches to attach to a MOLLE system, there was also an eleven round bandolier that was sometimes issued to personnel with the launcher:imageThis bandolier is made from the same infra red resistant Cordua nylon as PLCE equipment, and each pocket is secured with a flap fastened with Velcro and a press stud:imageThe flap is actually a piece of tape that passes right down through the individual pouch, when pulled it forces a round to rise up out of the bandolier to be easily removed. The bandolier has a shoulder strap and a waist strap to help hold the weight of the ammunition:imageThese are adjustable and use Fastex buckles to secure each strap:imageOddly the bandolier does not have a label with an NSN on it, just a manufacturer’s label:imageDespite this, these are certainly British Army issue, the stores catalogue gives them a nominal auditing price of £47.23 each and the official NSN number of 1310-99-246-1848. The bandolier can be seen being worn in the photographs that accompany the SA80 weapons pamphlet:sa80-grenade-launcher4sa80-grenade-launcher3As with much modern equipment, these bandoliers are available cheaply and easily, with this one coming from eBay for less than £10. I just need one of these now!sa80-grenade-launcher

The weapons pamphlet gives some basic information:

The grenade launcher is accurate and lightweight. It can be mounted underneath a variety of weapons. In UK service it is issued to certain units and is mounted underneath the L85A2:

a. The grenade launcher is a 40 mm single shot weapon with a side opening breech loading action, which is capable of producing:

(1) Accurate fire against point targets such as bunkers and windows up to 150 metres.

(2) Effective fire against area targets and troops in the open up to 350 metres.

(3) Its maximum effective range is 400 metres.

b. It is fitted with a quadrant sight, for use by day or night.

c. It can be fired from any of the conventional fire positions.

d. It fires a variety of 40 mm munitions including practice rounds.

e. It is fitted with an ambidextrous safety catch.

f. A removable muzzle cover is fitted to prevent the ingress of dirt, snow etc down the muzzle.sa80-grenade-launcher2

RN Ratings’ DDPM Slide

It would be fair to say that there must be hundreds of different designs of rank slide to collect for the British military forces. Each regiment has a full set of ranks, each with the regiment’s name embroidered below, unique designs exist for cadet and university units and the RAF and Royal Navy have their own designs. On top of this, these rank slides can be found in a variety of camouflage colours and in gold on black for the RN. Tonight we are looking at a small selection of rank slides for ratings in the Royal Navy:imageThese are all on the now obsolete desert DPM fabric and follow the traditional badges for Royal Navy rates, embroidered in khaki for a subdued design. The lowest RN rate is that of Able Seaman, for many decades there was no badge at all, however today ABs wear a rate slide with the words ‘ROYAL NAVY’ embroidered on it:imageThe next rate a sailor can aspire to is that of ‘Leading Hand’, equivalent to a corporal in the army. This rate is indicated by a traditional fouled anchor:imageThe leading hand is the last of the junior rates, the next rate is the first rung on the ladder of ‘senior rates’ and is the Petty Officer. This rate is represented by a pair of crossed fouled anchors, with a crown above:imageThe Petty Officer is equivalent to a sergeant in the army. Here we can see an RN Petty Officer in a hospital in Afghanistan wearing the rate slide shown above:tfh4mechbde2010041015A Chief Petty Officer has a badge consisting of a fouled anchor, surrounded by a rope ring and a laurel wreath with a crown above:imageThe most senior RN rate is the Warrant Officer and he wears a badge with the coat of arms of the monarch on it. It is worth mentioning here the quality of the embroidery on this rate badge for a very intricate design:imageThese rate badges, like most others, are very cheap and available in large quantities, most can be found for no more than a couple of pounds and they make a good starting point for the young collector of militaria.

CAT Tourniquet

A tourniquet is a piece of medical equipment that puts sufficient pressure on blood vessels to stop major arterial bleeding following severe trauma. These days a tourniquet is standard issue for British soldiers on active service and the standard issue example is called the ‘Combat Application Tourniquet’ or CAT:imageThis tourniquet, which saw extensive use in Iraq and Afghanistan, was revolutionary when it was introduced in 2006 as it allowed the injured soldier to apply the tourniquet to himself simply and easily for the first time. A medical study reported:

Four years continuous UK military experience in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003-7 was analysed for the impact of tourniquets in first aid. 107 tourniquets were applied to 70 patients. Most applications (64/70 patients) occurred after 2006, when tourniquets were issued to individual soldiers. 87% (61/70) survived their injuries.

The CAT tourniquet is an American product that uses a windlass to apply pressure to the effected region of the body:imageThe tourniquet is passed around the limb and tightened by pulling the end through a plastic buckle as far as it will go:imageThe plastic windlass is then twisted to increase the pressure, plastic hooks hold it in place one it is tightened, with a Velcro strap over the top securing it:imageThis Velcro strap is white and has a space to write the time the tourniquet was applied- it is vital to know how long it has been applied to prevent tissue damage from blood deprivation:imageThe following diagram shows in detail how to use the tourniquet:tourniquet-cat-3This particular example dates from 2012:imageAnd was manufactured in the US, hence the NSN number:imageThese tourniquets have become ubiquitous in both British and US military service and soldiers’ faith in them is so high that some have taken to wearing them, loosely tightened, around their limbs before going into combat. All troops are trained in their use and it is typical for them to be carried in the pocket or on the front of MOLLE vests so they are readily available in combat.

Osprey MTP Single SA80 Magazine Pouch

Last year we looked at a number of different MOLLE pouches in Desert DPM fabric, used by the British Army in Afghanistan. In 2010 the British Army adopted the Mk4 Osprey body armour which was made in the new MTP camouflage, accompanying the body armour was a series of pouches, again produced in MTP. These were very similar in function to the earlier DDPM MOLLE pouches but featured the new camouflage and slight design changes. Tonight we are looking at the first element of this set I have picked up, a single SA80 magazine ammunition pouch:imageNote the use of a long Velcro flap to the pouch, rather than the quick release buckle used on the earlier designs:imageThis pouch would hold just a single magazine, hence the slim profile. The base of the pouch has a single metal grommet for drainage of any water that might enter:imageThe rear of the pouch has the familiar straps to engage with the cloth loops on the body armour, the same lift the spot fasteners and stiffened straps are used as the earlier designs:imageThe rear also has a label indicating the pouch’s function:imageNote the lack of an NSN number- instead of a stores code it just says ‘N.I.V.’ which means ‘Not in Vocabulary’. This was because these pouches were rushed into production and shipped straight on to front-line troops as part of an ‘Urgent Operational Requirement’ so the early production runs were not allocated an NSN number; later examples are coded.


The shemagh, also called a keffiyeh, hattah, chafiye or cemedani, is a traditional middle eastern headdress made form a large square piece of cloth (normally cotton). The headdress, known to the British Army as a shemagh, has been issued for many years with examples being used as early as the Great War. The shemagh is worn to help keep sand and dust off the face in desert areas and tonight we are looking at an officially issued British Army example. The shemagh consists of a square of cotton cloth, approximately three feet square:imageAs can be seen there is a subtle pattern to the shemagh, with other examples having this in a darker shade. The edges of the shemagh have the traditional series of little knots to prevent the fabric unravelling:imageThese shemagh are issued in plastic poly bags, folded into a small square:imageA sticker gives the NSN number for the garment- interestingly there is no label on the shemagh itself identifying it as being military issue:imageThese shemagh were to prove especially popular in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan where there was naturally huge quantities of dust and sand- which then got churned up into massive clouds by vehicles and helicopters- they acted as effective dust filters as seen in this photo of a British soldier wearing one whilst sat in an armoured personnel carrier:shemaghThere are a number of different ways to wear the shemagh, the British method is to fold it into a triangle, wrap it round the face and either pull it up over one’s head of push it down like a scarf. In addition to being useful as a head covering the shemagh is also a useful improvised sling, bandage, towel and has many other functions on the battlefield. Interestingly the US military must have recognised this as they gave permission for their troops to use them in the War on Terror, after banning them in the First Gulf War.

MOLLE Medical Pouch

We return to the MOLLE system again tonight, with a detailed look at the personal medical pouch. This pouch is made of lighter weight nylon than the ammunition pouches we have looked at before, but has the same IRR desert DPM finish to the outside:imageThe lighter weight material is unsurprising as the pouch is designed to hold much lighter contents than a regular ammunition pouch. In service it was expected to carry two field dressings and a pair of morphine injectors, loops being provided inside the pouch for the latter:imageA special panel is attached to the lid of the pouch for the soldier to write his name, number and blood type on:imageThe lid is secured with a black plastic Fastex fastener:imageAs is the case on all these pouches, an eyelet is fitted in the base to allow water to drain out:imageAnd on the rear are a pair of MOLLE straps:imageThese differ from other pouches in having plastic ‘T’ clips inside them that can be accessed by unvelcroing the straps:imageThis allows the pouch to be worn on a PLCE belt, often worn in theatre as a trouser belt. This allows all troops to carry their medical kit with them, even if they are out of armour and not wearing a MOLLE vest. This particular pouch was manufactured in 2006:imageIt appears that the standard practice was to wear the medical pouch on the right hand side of any belt of vest. By having everyone wear them in the same place it was easy for a casualty’s oppo to find his first field dressing and apply it quickly. Clearly this rule was not heeded by the owner of this set of Osprey body armour, where the pouch is mounted centrally:505px-osprey_body_armour