Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

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    abefroman
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    Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by abefroman on Tue May 30, 2017 11:42 am

    I understand that many Euro militaries used their jacket pockets to carry magazines, but why are their so few pictures of Belgian paras (either in Congo or Kolwezi) using these pouches. The reason I ask is because they made so many of them, I find it hard to believe they were not being issued.
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue May 30, 2017 2:31 pm

    I have often wondered the same thing - the pouches hardly ever turn up in images of Belgian troops, and yet the pouches themselves are very common to find. Did the Belgian version of the FAL have provision for direct loading with 5-round clips? If so, maybe they just carried clips in their jacket pockets, rather than several extra magazines. Just a guess though.
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Antarmike on Tue May 30, 2017 6:11 pm

    Wolverine wrote:I have often wondered the same thing - the pouches hardly ever turn up in images of Belgian troops, and yet the pouches themselves are very common to find. Did the Belgian version of the FAL have provision for direct loading with 5-round clips? If so, maybe they just carried clips in their jacket pockets, rather than several extra magazines. Just a guess though.
    Belgian FAL's varied, some had stripper clip top cover, others did not.  But even those without stripper clip top cover had a Stripper clip loader to sit on the top of the magazine.





    It is possible they carried clips but it is my experience that unless the clip is in a bandolier, or a clip pouch, then cartridges will get dislodged from the clips if they are all loose in a pockat for exampe.....

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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by abefroman on Tue May 30, 2017 6:23 pm

    That helps with the mystery. In photo from Kolwezi, you can see a Belgian paratrooper with his mag pouch on the back of his belt. Keep in mind he isn't carrying a FAL. Admittedly, I have not been able to find many clear pictures of Belgians in Kolwezi (Operation Red Bean) or other deployments. Maybe some of our members can help in that department

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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Antarmike on Tue May 30, 2017 6:47 pm

    Not really researched this operation, but quick google gave me thesephotos that claim to be of that time period/theatre.
    Seems to me they are suing pouches and bandoliers,  so I guess mags in Pouches and Clips in the bandoliers?






    Appologies if any of the photos do not relate,  I am trusting google here!

    They also seem to have plenty of items in their smock pockets also......but what?
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue May 30, 2017 9:30 pm

    abefroman wrote:That helps with the mystery. In photo from Kolwezi, you can see a Belgian paratrooper with his mag pouch on the back of his belt. Keep in mind he isn't carrying a FAL. Admittedly, I have not been able to find many clear pictures of Belgians in Kolwezi (Operation Red Bean) or other deployments. Maybe some of our members can help in that department


    The Belgian soldier's equipment is interesting in two other respects. He is wearing the canteen carrier directly on the belt, so it must have been modified with some kind of loop. Normally, the carrier could only be buckled to the brace tips.

    Also, the way that the pouch is sitting on his back suggests that it is an MT pouch rather than a standard type basic pouch.
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Antarmike on Wed May 31, 2017 3:09 am

    Is the water bottle on 1911 wire clip?
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Wolverine on Wed May 31, 2017 10:10 am

    I doubt it, because it would not be able to attach to the WE 37 belt, which has no eyelets. I would bet that a simple webbing loop was sewn to the rear, as on an MT pouch. This modification was probably not unusual, although I have yet to find an example in the flesh.
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Antarmike on Wed May 31, 2017 11:24 am

    Also interesting is the fact soldier is carrying two Vignerons....? Is he carrying two men's kit? And the linked ammo is under the belt, so is he actually wearing the belt. or is he carrying some loose webbing over his shoulder? The line of tha belt does not seem natural, and it seems to me to be too far up his body?
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Wolverine on Wed May 31, 2017 12:40 pm

    I think he is wearing the belt buckled up. There are no braces, so there is no other way it would stay put.
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Antarmike on Wed May 31, 2017 1:10 pm

    Wolverine wrote:I think he is wearing the belt buckled up. There are no braces, so there is no other way it would stay put.

    Each to his own, but I would not find it very comfortable to have a linked belt of ammo under my belt the way he has?

    I find it hard to see what is happening.  What is on the cord through his epaulette? If it is a pistol lanyard, where is his holster?   It is obviously a very relaxed group.  Theye are not about to go into combat , or on patrol, since why would he have two Vignerons.  looks as if they were moving across a yard, just moving kit, and they may not be carrying kit as they would if they were on patrol?

    To me it just looks like a guy carrying kit, not all of which is his....
    Are they a two man team?  Would the MAG-58 gunner have also been expected to also have a Vig. as a personal weapon, and the second man is carrying it for him?  Seems unlikely you would have to take both a Vig and an MAG into battle?

    But who knows?

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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Wolverine on Wed May 31, 2017 3:07 pm

    Who knows, but he might just be holding the second Vigneron for someone else for a moment.
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Antarmike on Wed May 31, 2017 3:08 pm



    Pondering... This chap is carrying a man pack radio.  normally a soldier only carries one heavy load. But he also is wearing linking 7.62 poss 30-06 ammunition around his waist. He is as a radio operator unlikely to be supporting a GPMG gunner?  This being a relatively short belt for that purpose?   Linked rounds are not tucked into/ behind  his belt, but are held up by the crossed straps/ man pack straps (depending on what I am actuall looking at) , with the bullet heads all lying outside of his own Webbing belt.

    Soldier in previous photo has two linked belts, one over his shoulder, and a second around his waist?  

    This again makes me think the earlier photo shows one man carrying two men's kit?

    But could, and this is just a remote possiblity , there have been the practice of carrying rifle ammo forward as an GPMG linked belt,  so that on reaching a forward base the linked ammo could be broken down for rifle use rather than GPMG use? Or kept linked for MAG-58?
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Camonut314 on Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:31 am



    Explain. Go.
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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by Wolverine on Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:05 pm

    Looks like more MT pouches in that photo - either that, or basic pouches which have been modified to ride lower on the belt.

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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by tkurt on Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:46 pm

    The basic pouches were often replaced in the webbing equipment by the brace attachments. The basic pouches being kept in stock. I suppose this was done because it was rarely necessary to carry ammunition and grenades on training. I do however have lots of photos where the basic pouches or the
    cartridge carriers are being worn. When in 1960 thousands of Belgian troops were sent to the Congo, they did so in full webbing gear, with basic pouches, with steel helmets and even with gasmasks. As for the para-commando regiment, they used the regular webbing gear with the small pack until about 1962. Between 1962 and 1964, they adopted some new weapons and equipment. They got the folding stock M3 FAL replacing the regular M1 FAL and they got the heavy barreled FALO replacing the BAR model D as squad automatic weapon. They adopted the French TAP backpack and they adopted the MT basic pouches (ww2 British production) that could be carried lower on the belt and on the sides instead of in front. The braces being attached to the belt with the brace attachments. The canteen cover was modified by stitching a strap to the back so it could be attached directly to the belt. Later on canteen covers for the para-commando regiment were factory made with the strap (I have a 1970 dated example in my collection) and some belgian made basic pouches were modified to be worn as the British ww2 made MT basic pouches. There must have been quite an important stock of these british made ww2 MT pouches in the Belgian inventory as they were still in use in 1978. For the 1964 dragon operations, most ammo was worn in the pockets of the denison smock or M56 smock of the paratroopers, the webbing gear being limited to the belt and the canteen, although some MT basic pouches were used and also cotton bandoleers. For the 1978 Kolwezi operation full webbing gear was worn. Note that at this time the british type webbing gear was still worn. Although the M71 equipment was probably thought up in 1971, it was only first produced in 1978 (the instruction booklet dates from April 1978), probably for budget reasons and only gradually replaced the british type webbing gear in the following years.

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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by abefroman on Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:23 pm

    tkurt wrote:The basic pouches were often replaced in the webbing equipment by the brace attachments. The basic pouches being kept in stock. I suppose this was done because it was rarely necessary to carry ammunition and grenades on training. I do however have lots of photos where the basic pouches or the
    cartridge carriers are being worn. When in 1960 thousands of Belgian troops were sent to the Congo, they did so in full webbing gear, with basic pouches, with steel helmets and even with gasmasks. As for the para-commando regiment, they used the regular webbing gear with the small pack until about 1962. Between 1962 and 1964, they adopted some new weapons and equipment. They got the folding stock M3 FAL replacing the regular M1 FAL and they got the heavy barreled FALO replacing the BAR model D as squad automatic weapon. They adopted the French TAP backpack and they adopted the MT basic pouches (ww2 British production) that could be carried lower on the belt and on the sides instead of in front. The braces being attached to the belt with the brace attachments. The canteen cover was modified by stitching a strap to the back so it could be attached directly to the belt. Later on canteen covers for the para-commando regiment were factory made with the strap (I have a 1970 dated example in my collection) and some belgian made basic pouches were modified to be worn as the British ww2 made MT basic pouches. There must have been quite an important stock of these british made ww2 MT pouches in the Belgian inventory as they were still in use in 1978. For the 1964 dragon operations, most ammo was worn in the pockets of the denison smock or M56 smock of the paratroopers, the webbing gear being limited to the belt and the canteen, although some MT basic pouches were used and also cotton bandoleers. For the 1978 Kolwezi operation full webbing gear was worn. Note that at this time the british type webbing gear was still worn. Although the M71 equipment was probably thought up in 1971, it was only first produced in 1978 (the instruction booklet dates from April 1978), probably for budget reasons and only gradually replaced the british type webbing gear in the following years.    

    Great information! Could you PLEASE show us some pictures of the Belgians in full webbing? So the Belgians were using MT (motorized transport) pouches rather than modifying their own?

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    Re: Question on P37 Belgian Web Gear

    Post by tkurt on Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:04 pm






    Here are some photos taken in 1960 during the Congo crisis.
    Note that in the last photo the paratrooper is wearing the webbing belt for the BAR magazines.

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