Australian Load Bearing Equipment of the Vietnam War

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    filupe
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    Australian Load Bearing Equipment of the Vietnam War

    Post by filupe on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:29 am

    As I posted this in answer to a query on another forum I thought it might be good reference material for this board as well ..

    Link to the original query can be found here:
    www.onesixthwarriors.com/forum/showthread.php?p=367823#post367823

    "OK a bit belated but as promised, some pics of VN era Aust webbing. Do not take this as comprehensive, just stuff I could pull out at the time.”



    Typical example of basic Australian webbing set circa late-60s featuring:
    US-made Aust contract D-broad arrow-D M-1956 universal pouches and compass pouch; Aust-made canteen covers, bumpack and H-harness, Aust WWII issue machete and field dressing; and finally US vertical weave pistol belt. If Aust-made webbing items werent available in the Q-system at the time, equivalent (and readily available) US pieces would be issued instead. Compared to US-made M-1956 webbing, Aust-made items were a lighter and greener shade of webbing and canvas.



    Example of later war webbing (1969-72) similar to first pic except now featuring Aust-made ammo pouches, compass pouch and 1960s machete.



    Later war Marching Order including (L-to-R) WWII dated Field dressing; 1960s issue angle head torch; field pack and cut down mattress tubing serving as 7.62 link carrier; camouflaged 2 litre water bladder carrier (top) and bladder (bottom).


    Later war webbing with a basic pouch replaced by 4 cell F-1 SMG magazine carrier. The 9mm F-1 SMG saw only very limited service in VN.


    Top to bottom: 1960s Aust-made machete, WWII issue (1944) Aust-made machete, Aust-made pruning saw? Some soldiers preferred a pair of secateurs and a pruning saw as a quieter way of moving through thick scrub rather than hacking through with a machete.


    Left to right: Pattern 37 Aust-made Bren pouch, Aust-made 1960s ammo pouch, US-made Aust-contracted M-1956 universal pouch. Note the much larger carrying capacity of the Bren pouch, these were popular as both ammo and universal pouches right up until the end of the war. Because of this it would not be unusual for an SASR operator to have at least a couple of these on his webbing. The Bren pouches were issued right up to the early 1980s and were occasionally user-modified for modern use by adding Fastex buckles.

    Mr-X
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    Re: Australian Load Bearing Equipment of the Vietnam War

    Post by Mr-X on Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:55 pm

    The picture below shows an Australin army Captain in the early 1960's wearing US made Australian M-1956 Web Gear. This was made in limited numbers for the Australian army. It is most often seen in Vietnam used by 1 RAR in 1965.


    Close up of the D arrow D marking on a compass pouch.


    Last edited by Mr-X on Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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    Re: Australian Load Bearing Equipment of the Vietnam War

    Post by Mr-X on Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:07 pm

    The Australian army also made large use of Pattern 1937 Basic pouches. These were often modified to hang low on the belt. This can be seen by the RTO on the right. He in this case, has undyed pouches, but OD dyed versions were also used. Note the officer on the left has Pattern 1944 basic pouches and that the soldier in the middle has a US made M-1956 basic pouch and a Pattern 1944 Waterbottle cover. This picture gives a very good example of the mix and match approach to web gear of the Australian soldier in Vietnam.


    This set of web gear is from my own collection. It shows two OD dyed Pattern 1937 basic pouches modified to hang low, a SLR bayonet frog, a toggle rope and 3 Canteen covers.


    Last edited by Mr-X on Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:34 pm; edited 1 time in total

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    Re: Australian Load Bearing Equipment of the Vietnam War

    Post by Mr-X on Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:14 pm

    Some more pics of the above set.


    Note the Australian soldiers preferance for keeping the basic pouches away from the front of the body and well to the side. This was done to lower the profile of the body when in the prone position. It was also to make changing magazines in the prone position easier. This was done at the expense of being able to carry more on the belt.



    A picture illustrating perfectly the set above. Note the 1937 Basic pouch, its color and location. Also not that this negative is reversed.


    Last edited by Mr-X on Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

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    Re: Australian Load Bearing Equipment of the Vietnam War

    Post by Mr-X on Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:21 pm

    My set again. This time laid out flat. Note that with the basic pouches in their position it dosen't leave much room on the rest of the belt. Infantry soldiers being what they are, ie skinny, didnt have too much room for much else. It they were a little bigger the middle water bottle could be replaced by a bum bag (butt pack). In this case an Australian made example made in 1968. The harness is also Australian made.


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    Re: Australian Load Bearing Equipment of the Vietnam War

    Post by Grim Reaper on Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:04 pm

    I found this particularly interesting thank you, reminds me of Brit SAS kit somewhat, even the pics look a little like SAS from the same period. Cheers
    GR

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    Re: Australian Load Bearing Equipment of the Vietnam War

    Post by 2/1RNZIR on Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:44 am

    Very nice set ups, NZ infantry usually had the same rigs as we were tied in to the same supply system (bludging) most of the first troops their still had British 44 patt webbing,JG's and boots brught over from malaya.

    cheers

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