M1971 ABL field gear

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    Wolverine
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    M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:53 am

    Does anyone else out there collect the Belgian M1971 field gear (the olive drab vinyl stuff)? I have gathered up most of the various components and will post some photos.

    filupe
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by filupe on Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:15 am

    Please do ... I am interested for one.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Gulf91 on Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:26 am

    Dont collect it but probably have a few bits floating around somewhere.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:52 am

    Here are a few pictures - I will take some better ones and add them later - I am putting together a half-mannequin display with this kit.

    In addition to the kit shown here, I also have the magazine pouches for the Vigneron SMG, rucksacks, various types of e-tools and carriers, the 9 mm Browning holster, and 9 mm Browning magazine pockets.

    I am looking for the various magazine pouches for the Belgian rifles to go with this set.

    The photos of the Para Commandos are from the army museum in Brussels, last summer. The figure wearing the UN beret has the rifle pouches - I am guessing that there were different pouches for the FAL mags and the 5.56 mm mags, but I don't know for certain.

    Here are some general observations I have made:

    -some pouches are closed with twists and some have dome snaps
    -none of the pieces ever seem to be marked
    -the vinyl does poorly in cold temperatures
    -photographs of Belgian soldiers often show US ALICE gear mixed in with the M71 gear
    -the ALICE-type clips tend to slide back and forth rather too easily on the belt
    -there are e-tools and carriers of the US 1943 type and the tri-fold type (will post photos)
    -some pieces can be found that were very heavily repaired, and must have seen a lot of use






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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:20 pm

    Here are a few more items from this set. First, entrenching tool carriers:

    Earlier type for M1943-style shovel:


    Later type for tri-fold shovel - notice that one of these has been rather heavily repaired:



    Later type for tri-fold shovel with ALICE-type keepers instead of M1910-type wire hanger:


    Markings on ABL trifold:

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:24 pm

    Here are some ammunition pouches - first, a well-worn pair for the Vigneron SMG:


    And here a pair for the FN FNC 5.56mm:


    There was an earlier type of magazine pouch issued for the FAL, which I haven't found yet; I don't know if the early FAL and later FNC pouches are interchangeable.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:28 pm

    Here are two examples of the 'munitietas' - a small field pack intended for spare magazines, grenades, and other small kit.
    One of these examples has seen lots of use:


    And here is a nice canteen carrier in excellent condition:


    flashesandovals
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by flashesandovals on Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:47 am

    Wolverine wrote:Here are a few pictures - I will take some better ones and add them later - I am putting together a half-mannequin display with this kit.

    In addition to the kit shown here, I also have the magazine pouches for the Vigneron SMG, rucksacks, various types of e-tools and carriers, the 9 mm Browning holster, and 9 mm Browning magazine pockets.

    I am looking for the various magazine pouches for the Belgian rifles to go with this set.

    The photos of the Para Commandos are from the army museum in Brussels, last summer. The figure wearing the UN beret has the rifle pouches - I am guessing that there were different pouches for the FAL mags and the 5.56 mm mags, but I don't know for certain.

    Here are some general observations I have made:

    -some pouches are closed with twists and some have dome snaps
    -none of the pieces ever seem to be marked
    -the vinyl does poorly in cold temperatures
    -photographs of Belgian soldiers often show US ALICE gear mixed in with the M71 gear
    -the ALICE-type clips tend to slide back and forth rather too easily on the belt
    -there are e-tools and carriers of the US 1943 type and the tri-fold type (will post photos)
    -some pieces can be found that were very heavily repaired, and must have seen a lot of use






    The photo next to the rifle butt of the UN mannequin was taken in Kigali, Ruanda in 1994 when my Platoon, A, 17th Para-Commando Company, 3 (BE) PARA BN evacuated orphans to Nairobi Kenya.

    This is me with one of the orphans on that very same C-130 just a few minutes later...



    I still have all my stuff and have access to most of the gear we used back then.
    It is true that we used quite some ALICE LBE. Also, in our battalion we used Canadian ammo pouches to carry our Steiner M20 binoculars since they were issued without cases. I myself supplied these to the battalion right before we deployed to Somalia. We bought them used in a surplus store in Frankfurt, Germany because the bino's fitted perfectly in them.
    If anyone needs anything Belgian, just let me know.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing your photograph and experience. Do you still have the Canadian pouch that you used for the binocular case? I would be interested to see exactly which type it was.

    I just returned from Belgium a few days ago, and during my trip I was able to find several pieces of ABL field gear, as well as ABL camouflage items that I had been looking for. Perhaps I can contact you directly with a list of some of the pieces I am still seeking.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by flashesandovals on Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:57 am

    Unfortunately I had to turn in my pouch when I left since they were Battalion property and could not be replaced through regular supply.
    I will dig through my pictures and try to find one where I have it attached to my LBE.
    It looks very much like the ALICE M249 200 round box type ammo pouch.
    It also had two loops at the back and one loop fastener as closure (a bit like the old British '59 Pattern kidney pouches did). I think it also had a smaller tab with a hole towards the top, maybe to attach Canadian suspenders?
    Feel free to PM me.

    Cheers,

    Pascal

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by airborne1968 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:56 pm

    If anyone is interested, I just saw a bunch of the small ammo pouches with twist closures and canteen cuts in central NC. Either item was priced under $10 and they had about 50 of each item. Tom

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:22 am

    flashesandovals wrote:Unfortunately I had to turn in my pouch when I left since they were Battalion property and could not be replaced through regular supply.
    I will dig through my pictures and try to find one where I have it attached to my LBE.
    It looks very much like the ALICE M249 200 round box type ammo pouch.
    It also had two loops at the back and one loop fastener as closure (a bit like the old British '59 Pattern kidney pouches did). I think it also had a smaller tab with a hole towards the top, maybe to attach Canadian suspenders?
    Feel free to PM me.

    Cheers,

    Pascal

    Pascal,

    The pouch that you are describing sounds like the C9 ammunition pouch issued with the 1982 pattern webbing. If I recall, it fits a 200-round box basically the same as the M249. The tab at the top of the pouch could be attached to one of the suspender straps, or simply tucked behind the pouch. This pouch evolved from an earlier type that was designed to carry the old rectangular mess kits. Later versions of the C9 pouch had little pockets on either side for grenades (similar to ALICE LC-2 magazine pouches). I also have an example where these have been modified to fit smoke grenades. I will post some pictures. When I was a reservist in the early 2000s, I recall that everyone was issued with a C9 pouch, and we used them to carry a rain jacket, since the mess kits were long obsolete.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:27 am

    airborne1968 wrote:If anyone is interested, I just saw a bunch of the small ammo pouches with twist closures and canteen cuts in central NC.  Either item was priced under $10 and they had about 50 of each item. Tom

    Tom,

    Were the pouches like the type for the SMG (flat and tall) or the rifle (shorter but larger from front to back)?

    I can find lots of canteen cups in my area, but the pouches are harder to find. I just picked up a few pouches in Belgium for the FAL, but I think there is more than one version, with different types of closures.

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    Canadian pouch used by Belgian troops

    Post by Wolverine on Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:37 pm

    I think this is the type of pouch that Pascal referred to. This is the final version of the pouch, with the grenade pockets on either side, and in this case, a modification, apparently to carry smoke grenades.

    The earlier version of the pouch, from the 1990s, lacked the grenade pockets.



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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by airborne1968 on Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:31 pm

    Andrew, the pouches look like the rifle type shown on the UN trooper above.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:12 pm

    airborne1968 wrote:Andrew, the pouches look like the rifle type shown on the UN trooper above.

    I'll send you a PM to discuss further Tom.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by flashesandovals on Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:33 pm

    Wolverine wrote:I think this is the type of pouch that Pascal referred to. This is the final version of the pouch, with the grenade pockets on either side, and in this case, a modification, apparently to carry smoke grenades.

    The earlier version of the pouch, from the 1990s, lacked the grenade pockets.



    This is it! But without the grenade pouches indeed.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:18 pm

    I have been looking at some of my reference books that show pictures of Para Commandos, and the Canadian pouches are partially visible in some of them. I have some of the earlier style pouches without the grenade pockets as well. They are sometimes marked generically as small arms ammunition pouches.

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    Canadian 1982 Pattern C9 Pouches

    Post by edstorey on Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:15 am

    A couple of images.




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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:48 am

    Thanks Ed - those are the ones.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by flashesandovals on Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:51 pm

    edstorey wrote:A couple of images.




    It is the one on top - if you have pictures of Belgian paras carrying them, they must have been 3 Para - like I mentioned before, I only supplied them to our Battalion.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:42 pm

    Here is a picture that I found online - definitely a para, and almost certainly he appears to be wearing the Canadian pouch. Note also that he is holding a pair of binoculars. (And perhaps he likes to drink Orangina too...)


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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by flashesandovals on Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:34 pm

    Wolverine wrote:Here is a picture that I found online - definitely a para, and almost certainly he appears to be wearing the Canadian pouch. Note also that he is holding a pair of binoculars. (And perhaps he likes to drink Orangina too...)


    It is my colleague (then) 1SGT (= E7) Pascal Poortmans, if I remember correctly, he had just become our CQMS (before that he was the B Platoon Platoon SGT), 17th Para-Commando Company, 3(BE) Para.
    Picture was taken while we were defending the French High School "Antoine de saint-exupéry" in Kigali, Ruanda, April 1994. I was about 3 meters away from him when that pic was taken.
    I just dug through my pictures of Somalia and Ruanda and found some more of the discussed Canadian pouches - will scan and post in the morning.

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by flashesandovals on Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:42 pm

    Just thought about something else...most of us used ALICE 30 round magazine pouches.
    They were tolerated, but there was a Battalion directive that made us cut off the grenade pouches.
    The reason being, that our grenades were smaller and could have slipped through and dropped to the ground. We also carried US butt packs. In fact, in the field a lot of foreign LBE could be worn.
    Same with rain gear, most of us had US woodland ECWS suits. Back then we went shopping at MCSS on US bases in Germany...

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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:20 pm

    This is great information Pascal - I look forward to seeing some more pictures!

    I have also seen some photographs of Para Commandos with the ALICE magazine pouches, M1956 buttpacks, and the Gortex rain gear, but I had no idea that the grenade pockets were removed. This is all fascinating.

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