M1971 ABL field gear

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    flashesandovals
    Junior Sergeant
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by flashesandovals on Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:07 pm

    3 Para was paying a lot of attention to grenade handling - we had lost a soldier during a previous deployment when his own grenade exploded somehow. Back then there were no grenade pouches available. One would attach it to the metal D-rings of the suspenders and the tape them or us rubber bands to secure them.
    When we landed during the 130 TALO at Kigali airport, apparently an Air Force loadmaster found a grenade pin on the plane's ramp. Needless to say that we had been very close to a disaster...eventually it was said that it belonged to a 22 Company (IIRC) Platoon Leader.

    I didn't find the time to do the pictures today - will try tomorrow.

    Pascal

    flashesandovals
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by flashesandovals on Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:01 am

    flashesandovals wrote:3 Para was paying a lot of attention to grenade handling - we had lost a soldier during a previous deployment when his own grenade exploded somehow. Back then there were no grenade pouches available. One would attach it to the metal D-rings of the suspenders and the tape them or us rubber bands to secure them.
    When we landed during the 130 TALO at Kigali airport, apparently an Air Force loadmaster found a grenade pin on the plane's ramp. Needless to say that we had been very close to a disaster...eventually it was said that it belonged to a 22 Company (IIRC) Platoon Leader.

    I didn't find the time to do the pictures today - will try tomorrow.

    Pascal

    Here's a picture of me during UNOSOM in 1993 in the small village of Doobley, Somalia right on the Kenyan border.
    If it weren't for the Belgian trousers, one wouldn't know what outfit I was with.
    The Canadian pouch with my Steiner binoculars, my M9 bayonet, ALICE mag pouches and US desert boots can be seen. I had brought these boots, but most of us had either British desert boots or US black jungle boots issued.
    You may also wonder what weapon I am carrying. Well, it is an M16A1 I got from a local policeman we we training (and I used it on patrols).

    " />

    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:52 pm

    That is an excellent photograph! I have been meaning to post more pictures of equipment under this thread, but have been busy...

    flashesandovals
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by flashesandovals on Tue Oct 14, 2014 4:07 am

    Wolverine wrote: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.

    Reading this again, I remember that the Battalion had issued 2 EA US ALICE ammo pouches to us that were modified. Additional straps were sewn at the bottom of thegrenade loops in order to prevent our smaller grenades to fall through. For all extra (private purchase) ammo pouches we were ordered to cut off the grenade loops.

    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Fri Dec 26, 2014 1:47 am

    I wonder if any of those modified pouches are still floating around in surplus bins?

    abefroman
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by abefroman on Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:11 am

    Wolverine wrote:I wonder if any of those modified pouches are still floating around in surplus bins?

    Maybe, but considering how hard it is to find Belgian web gear on this side of the pond, I doubt we would ever come across it. Maybe some of our Belgian members can steer us in the right direction. I can't even find ammo pouches.

    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:32 am

    No, the modified ALICE pouches would not likely make it to N. America through surplus channels, but I remember seeing bins of used ALICE pouches mixed in with other Belgian surplus last summer in the Netherlands. I didn't know that they had any Belgian relevance at the time, otherwise I would have inspected them more carefully. As for the Belgian-made magazine pouches, the SMG ones are relatively common now on both sides of the ocean, but the various types of rifle pouches are not so easy. I lucked into some 5.56 mm pouches not long ago in Canada, and finally found some of the early FAL pouches last summer in Belgium. These seem to be the scarcest pieces of the M71 webbing. Most of the other main components can be found at ant Belgian surplus stores that I have visited, and these days rucksacks, belts, suspenders, and small rear ammunition packs are widely seen on N. American ebay.

    abefroman
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by abefroman on Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:56 pm

    Wolverine wrote:No, the modified ALICE pouches would not likely make it to N. America through surplus channels, but I remember seeing bins of used ALICE pouches mixed in with other Belgian surplus last summer in the Netherlands. I didn't know that they had any Belgian relevance at the time, otherwise I would have inspected them more carefully. As for the Belgian-made magazine pouches, the SMG ones are relatively common now on both sides of the ocean, but the various types of rifle pouches are not so easy. I lucked into some 5.56 mm pouches not long ago in Canada, and finally found some of the early FAL pouches last summer in Belgium. These seem to be the scarcest pieces of the M71 webbing. Most of the other main components can be found at ant Belgian surplus stores that I have visited, and these days rucksacks, belts, suspenders, and small rear ammunition packs are widely seen on N. American ebay.

    Thanks! know of any Dutch or Belgian surplus websites?

    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:22 pm

    No, I don't know of any that will deal online with customers outside of the Benelux countries, mostly due to language barriers I think. (Also, the shipping from Belgium is a killer).

    I do have some spare Belgian and Dutch field gear, including some Belgian ammunition pouches - send me a PM and we can discuss.

    abefroman
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by abefroman on Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:37 pm

    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



    Wolverine, can you post any details on the large pack on the right? Is it for carrying a shelter half or a gas mask? Thanks.

    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:15 pm

    Sure, it is the carrying case for the shelter half, and it doubles as a hood for the shelter half when the shelter half is used as a poncho. I don't know how often they were carried like this in real life, but this is now the manual for the M1971 field gear illustrates its arrangement.

    abefroman
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by abefroman on Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:37 pm

    Wolverine wrote:Sure, it is the carrying case for the shelter half, and it doubles as a hood for the shelter half when the shelter half is used as a poncho. I don't know how often they were carried like this in real life, but this is now the manual for the M1971 field gear illustrates its arrangement.

    Interesting. Could you post a link to the manual? Thanks.

    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:19 am

    Let me see if I can find it - it was posted on a Belgian militaria forum.

    fallout
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by fallout on Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:28 am

    http://www.ablhistoryforum.be/viewtopic.php?t=791

    Here you go

    abefroman
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by abefroman on Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:10 pm

    fallout wrote:http://www.ablhistoryforum.be/viewtopic.php?t=791

    Here you go

    Awesome thanks!

    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Sat Sep 26, 2015 6:02 pm

    Yup, that's the one.

    abefroman
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by abefroman on Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:14 am

    Wolverine wrote:Yup, that's the one.

    Interesting. Did the Belgians continue to use their P37 Gas Mask bag with the M1971 gear?


    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:41 pm

    Yes, those carriers were used right up into the 1990s. I think they were replaced directly by the jigsaw pattern bags that came with the new respirators. Although made of khaki webbing, the older carriers don't have a whole lot in common with earlier British types.

    I would be interested to discover if there was actually a specific Belgian model designation for the WE 37-type kit.

    fallout
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by fallout on Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:01 pm

    Yeah they used that mask and bag from early 50s till the 90s, it is for the M51 gas mask.


    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:23 pm

    Here are some pictures of my M1971 kit, in this case, with SMG pouches and later style shovel carrier (and flare pistol case):

    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:24 pm

    Rear view without rucksack:


    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:26 pm

    Close up for snap hook from rucksack straps that connects with D-ring on magazine pouches:


    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:27 pm

    Canteen with cup and cover:


    fallout
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by fallout on Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:32 pm

    Looks nice!

    Wolverine
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    Re: M1971 ABL field gear

    Post by Wolverine on Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:43 pm

    Thanks - a lot of searching went into putting this together.

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