It has been a while since we last looked at a Desert DPM MOLLE pouch, so tonight we are going to look at the water bottle pouch from this set. This pouch is one of the largest components of the MOLLE system:It is designed to carry the standard black plastic 1L water bottle that has been in service since the early 1960s (see here for more on the bottle):The pouch is made from the usual infra-red resistant Cordua nylon fabric, printed in desert DPM camouflage and secured with a pull tab fastener:The lid is also secured with a large Velcro tab under the top flap:A metal grommet on the base allows water to drain out of the pouch if needed:The back of the pouch has the usual heavy duty straps and lift the dot fasteners of all the MOLLE pouches:The label indicates that this pouch was manufactured in 2007:The water bottle pouch is up there with ammunition for having to carry a lot of weight, and the straps are suitably heavy duty. They only lasted a small period of time in front line service before being replaced with better sets and like all this kit, these pouches are readily available and sell for peanuts- this one cost me just £1.
It’s been a month or two since we looked at any components form the Canadian 51 pattern set on a Tuesday, so this week we go back to this webbing and take a look at the entrenching tool cover:The most obvious thing to note is how radically different this cover, and indeed the tool that went inside, are from traditional British practice of the period. Up until this point the Canadians had been using the British style two piece ‘Sirhand’ entrenching tool and the traditional cover for it. From the 51 pattern set onwards we can see a move away from British influence and much closer ties with US practice of the period. The tool adopted for the 51 pattern set was a folding entrenching tool was a close copy of the US 1943 pattern tool. The following illustration comes from Andrew Iarocci’s article on Canadian load carrying equipment and shows, l to r. Canadian 51 pattern entrenching tool, US M43 entrenching tool and British 37 Pattern Sirhand entrenching tool:Returning to the cover, on the rear can be seen three sets of eyelets allowing a wire hanger to be used to attach the entrenching tool to either the belt of the 51 pattern set, or the tab provided on the flaps of the small and large packs:Note also the manufacturer’s initials ‘TIL’ for ‘Textile Industries Limited’ and the date 1952:The top flap of the entrenching tool cover is secured with a lift the dot fastener in the distinctive shield shape of the 51 pattern set:This would originally have been chemically blackened, but this has worn to a bronze colour now. In use the tool would have had its handle sticking out through a hole in the bottom of the cover, with the head at the top. The top edge of the opening for the cover has leather and webbing reinforcements to prevent the metal of the entrenching tool fraying vulnerable parts of the cover:
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.
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
Canada was unusual in issuing a dedicated mess tins pouch with their 51 pattern webbing set. They carried this practice on with the 64 pattern set, with the new design made of the same plasiticised cotton as the other elements of this web sets. The mess tins pouch is very similar in basic design to the grenade pouch we looked at a couple of weeks ago. The pouch is made of green waterproofed cotton and is a square shape:The lid is secured with a plastic quick release buckle and cotton tab:The back of the pouch has the same belt loop as the grenade pouch:Again this is secured with Velco, allowing it to be easily attached to a belt or removed:Whilst this Velcro was fine when the pouch was new, as it wore it became less ‘sticky’ and there was an increased danger of the pouch dropping off when he wearer least wanted it to! The pouch is perfectly sized to take a pair of Canadian style mess tins:Apparently the mess tin carrier was frequently used for carrying a Canadian soldier’s waterproof gear rather than mess tins. I rather like the concept of a dedicated mess tin pouch, but it is a concept that was not adopted by any other military and the Canadians themselves dropped the dedicated pouch when they introduced the 82 pattern set- apparently there was concern that aluminium mess tins could lead to Alzheimer’s in Canada. Notably the British are still using aluminium mess tins…
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:
Having spent the last couple of weeks taking an overview of the post war Canadian 64 pattern and 82 pattern sets, tonight we start looking at the individual components in more detail with the 1964 pattern grenade pouch. The pouch is a simple box shape, made of green cotton webbing with a plastic coating to waterproof it:This plastic coating was notorious for flaking off in use, so this example is in particularly nice condition. The pouch has a box lid, secured with a plastic post and loop and a webbing quick release tab:The back of the pouch has a large belt loop:This is secured with Velcro so it is particularly easy to add and remove the pouch from the rest of the set:Note also the extra loop of Velcro on the base of the pouch, this was designed to carry the grenade launcher for the FN C1 rifle. The pouch is marked inside the flap with a date of September1982 and a manufacturer’s name of Manta:The pouch was designed to carry two M26 or M67 (C13) fragmentation grenades:
However it was too small fopr this and they were an incredibly tight fit. It was far better holding V40 ‘mini frag’ grenades, five fitting into the pouch:The pouch was also frequently used to carry a cleaning kit for the wearer’s weapon rather than for its intended purpose.