My collection of WW2 militaria mainly consist of a small amount of British P37 webbing, which is supposed to represent the equipment of the "Independant Norwegian Brigade in Germany" that was active from 1947 to 1953.
My interest for this was first tickled when my grandfather told me about having served there in 1952 (HQ Company, Brigade 521)
For those interested in this i would recomend "Europa Militaria No 32 - British Web Equipment of The Two World Wars" By Martin J. Brayley ISBN1-86126-743-6 as an invaluable and required book for the collector and historically interested person's refrence library.
So, this is more or less my favourite piece of WW2 kit i have. It's a P37 webbing medic bag, made in Ottawa in 1941. It also has FSAN printed on it, wich means it was used by the Norwegian armed forces medics some time after WW2.
It's in very good shape, and probably hasn't been lugged around much in its life.
Above is pretty much the Basic loadout for a British WW2 Tommy. Canteen, Belt, Cross straps (or Braces) and
2 ammo\utility pouches. If you note the black metal on the canteen holder, this denotes it as being post-war manufacture. WW2 and pre-WW2 P37 webbing always has brass coloured metal. All the way to the right is what is called the Soldiers small pack, this was the standard pack carried by the soldier whenever he was moving into combat, on patrol or attacking.
As you can see, it's not very big. It has some sort of canvas separation, making 3 compartments. 2 smaller ones, one for the canteen (when it was not carried strapped
onto the ends of the cross straps) and one for the mess kit (which I don't have.)
At the moment i don't know what else would have gone in here. Strapped onto the small pack there would be the soldiers shelter half. Usually strapped at the back, to the end of the cross straps, would be the entrenching tool. I've come across a few, but the price usually don't agree with me, or there's something wrong with them.
I recently got a hold of a British Mess Tin, as you can see above. Left picture shows how the mess tin and canteen go into the small pack, on the right the two parts of the mess tin are laid side by side.
This is the large pack, it is a fair bit larger than the small pack but was, as i've been told, rarely used for other than large\long marches and during transit from one base to another for example. The picture on the right shows the so-called
L-Straps, these go onto the top as you can see here and are used to carry either the large or small pack, if the large pack is carried on the back the small pack can be placed on the ends of the cross straps to be carried at your side.
The L-strap is fixed, as you see, to the top of the pack, the smaller section is then either placed in buckles for it under the small pack, or fixed to another set of webbing straps, that you see on the left pic forming an X. These are just run through
a loop on the bottom of the large pack, and they are then fixed to the top. These are used to tighten it in, and fix loose kit on the outside of the large pack. (Took me bloody ages to figure that out). In the corner of the L are a metal hook, this hooks onto the top of the brass buckle of the ammo pouches to fasten it in the front.
The reason why one is green is because its Blancoed. This was a process where a green powder substance, called Blanco, was applied to the brown webbing to make it green, and therefore making better camouflage. That one L-strap is the only Blancoed piece of kit i have in my collection.
This is a close up shot of the markings of the mess tin. It bears the maker markings (MMS - If anyone know which manufacturer this is, drop me a line, i'd love to know),
year of manufacture (1945), British Property Marking (Broad Arrow) and stores code (AA5880) This way of marking kit is common for most pieces of kit from the period.
Above you see a picture of me wearing my newly arrived P40 Greatcoat (Manufactured by A. & J. Mandel LTD. of Glasgow in 1950, as can be seen by the label in the right picture.) And please ignore the rather cluttered room.