Click to escape. Subject to Crown copyright.
Category: Equipment

Click to go up one level

Equipment from the Malayan Emergency

Click to enlarge

field pack

Click to enlarge

basic pouch

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

web belt

<<< water bottle in case

The British Pattern 1944 Web Equipment was designed to replace the clumsy, noisy and heavy Pattern 1937 Equipment which was entirely unsuitable for jungle or tropical conditions. The Pattern 1944 was lighter (using mostly light alloy instead of brass fittings) and more comfortable, as well as being quicker drying and resistant to rotting. It was introduced too late to see general service in the Second World War, and was not manufactured or issued in Australia. Australian troops serving with British forces in Malaya during the 1950s were, however, issued with it.

The pocket in the back of the water bottle carrier was used to store a Hexamine stove and fuel tablets. Water sterilising tablets were issued, but were usually carried in a Basic Pouch. Aluminium water bottles were originally issued with aluminium screw caps, which were bright and conspicuous in jungle conditions, and squeaked loudly when unscrewed. They were therefore quickly replaced with the rubber caps seen on these bottles

The left hand Pattern 1944 Basic Pouch was identical to the right, but had a pair of webbing loops on its left hand side to take the No 4, 5 or 7 bayonet.

Above The Folding Can Opener The P38 Story by Maj. Renita Foster for full story

Above, right Cup & saucer with Rising Sun General Service badge as used in army canteens.
Right. RAAF eggcup

Korean War Equipment

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
American pattern Field packs; photo left & centre. It was during the Korean War that field packs started to get sophisticated. This shows the start of the gradual change from the conservative British designs to the more adventurous designs coming from the USA.

M-1951 armoured vest; photo right. The Korean War saw the first use of modern armoured, or ballistic, vests. Designed by the US Marine Corps, these vests contained plates of bonded fibreglass armour. Capable of stopping pistol bullets but not rifle or machine-gun bullets, the vests were intended to protect the wearer from grenade and shell fragments. The vest was also able to stop bayonet thrusts. The Australian battalions received limited quantities of armoured vests late in the war and used them to outfit the patrols and raiding parties that ventured out into
no man's land.

Equipment from the Viet Nam era.

This vital piece of equipment was "home" to the Vietnam era Digger. He called it a "hutchie" (hootchie).

It was a waterproof sheet that allowed him to quickly erect a 1 man tent. 2 (or more) could be clipped together to make shelter for 2 (or more) Diggers.

It doubled as an easily erected sun shade and has many times been used by the Webmaster as a water trap during monsoonal rain in areas where ground water is suspect and resupply not available.

Click to enlarge In the mid 1950s this new style rain coat was introduced. The whole thing could be scrunched up and pushed into it's own pocket to make it easy to carry and pack. 

They stayed on issue well into the 1970s. The camouflage coloring was particularly good as when it got wet it took on the appearance of wet vegetation.

Click to enlarge It is hard to see what is what in this photo but all that jumble will be up and on the Diggers back in the flash of an eye if he is told to 'saddle up'.

Note the high number of water bottles. 

It might sound counter-productive to go out and buy a non-issue frame that adds to the weight you have to carry but most soldiers did so as a good frame lessens the burden by putting the stress points in the correct places. This is one popular design.  

Click to enlarge

In Viet Nam and Malaysia the troops were forbidden to use ground water as the people who tend the rubber plantations use arsenic as a control method and so the arsenic level in streams is well above safety levels.
  • This US Army water bottle and water bottle carrier are the same as used by Australian troops in Viet Nam >>>>>>
This is the "big pack" carried by all combat troops on patrol in SVN. It was used to carry all the Digger's equipment. It was attached with quick release clips so that on contact with the enemy packs could be dropped, leaving only the basic webbing and bum pack. This allowed quick movement. (See below)

1960s pattern web belt

The metal frame to carry back-packs was an American innovation from the Vietnam war.

The effect was to more evenly and more effectively spread the load-weight across the back and shoulders.

It also allowed the whole pack to be treated as one single item and quickly swung onto the back and/or just as quickly discarded in a "Contact" situation.

The "fighting" parts of webbing (ammo pouches, at least one water bottle, shell dressing etc called "basic webbing) ) were NOT attached to the metal frame but were carried on the web belt. This meant that a soldier could discard his pack and still have all the gear needed to fight effectively.

The green plastic water container circa1960

Belt buckle, web belt c.1965

Webbing during the Vietnam era was worn in two sections. Shown is "basic webbing", 1 bum pack containing some rations, 2 water-bottles, 2 ammo pouches. Also normally attached to this would be a shell dressing. As well there was a large back pack, bedding roll, extra water bottles all on an easily dropped section. When a "contact" occurred the Diggers would drop their large packs and move forward wearing only the "fighting" or "basic" webbing. (See "big" pack above).

Standard 2oz tin of foot powder as issued to troops

The ubiquitous hexi-stove. Shown are the folding frame stove, made out of light pressed metal. It was exactly the correct size to enclose a packet of heximine fuel blocks that came in the box shown. When issued the stove and fuel box came in the plastic wrap shown above left.

Fuel was resupplied as required and the frame would last up to 6 months, depending on the conditions.

Water sterilizing kit. Ground water as highly suspect in all areas of SE Asia and only rainwater caught by the troops themselves was considered "safe". 

If ground water was to be used (in many areas it was totally banned because of the use of arsenic in rubber plantations) it had to be sterilized. 

The resultant water had a foul taste but would not kill you.

Current pattern equipment

A fair sized market has grown up supplying troops and wannabees with military equipment. Not everything shown here is necessarily standard Army issue.

Left. Basic webbing, circa 1995


Click to enlarge

Steyr pouch

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Minimi Pouch Minimi 'panic' pouch Leg bag Map case closed Map case open

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge
Angle head torch Cup and  dixies  heximine stove 2 litre water bladder  
Click to enlarge All hooked up and ready to go. From left to right: Steyr magazine pouch, minimi pouch, canteen pouch with external hexi-stove carrier, butt-pack, platoon medical kit, and Steyr magazine pouch. Field Dressing pouch on left shoulder strap, slide-on daypack on rear suspenders.
Click to enlarge. Click Icon to SUPER enlarge. All that equipment has to go somewhere and the only place available is on the Digger's back. For a full accounting of where it all goes

Armband of Directional Staff who direct exercises

  • 2 armbands for Instructors.
    • Top. Instructors band
    • Bottom. Infantry Corps Instructor's band with RAInf Corps badge

L to R: Face camouflage paint, insect repellant, foot & body powder, grenade container

Statistics : Over 35 million page visitors since  11 Nov 2002  



 Search   Help     Guestbook   Get Updates   Last Post    The Ode      FAQ     Digger Forum

Click for news

Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces