1951 Pattern Web Equipment
In 1950, Canada
made the decision to adopt US designed weapons and to procure a
set of infantry equipment compatible with those weapons. Large
stocks of 1937 Pattern Web Equipment being held as "mobilization
stores" (equipment to be issued in the case of a war) began to
be sold off that year. It was felt that the introduction of US
small arms and some pattern of suitable equipment would be
phased in over several years.
Korean War, to which Canada committed an entire brigade of
soldiers in 1951, led to a hasty issue of a considerable
proportion of the country's remaining mobilization stores and
resulted in an immediate need for new gear. A committee chaired
by Lieutenant Colonel C.A. Ballard of the Directorate of Staff
Duties was assembled in Apr 1951 to determine what pattern the
new web equipment would be. One of the major requirements was
the ability to carry both ammunition for both US and Canadian
pattern weapons, as both would be used during the projected
decided that rather than a wholesale adoption of US-styled
equipment, minor changes to the 1937 Web Equipment could be
made; according to Summers in Tangled Web, a prototype of
this modified equipment was produced in just ten days.
Two views of 51 Pattern Webbing, as
illustrated in the Canadian Army Manual of Training (CAMT
7-45), Infantry Section Leading and Platoon Tactics,
1954. Scans courtesy of Ed Storey.
The 1951 Canadian Pattern
Web Equipment was similar to 1937 Pattern Web Equipment, with the major
notable distinction of being olive drab in colour rather than khaki.
Metal fittings were brass, but generally painted black. The new
equipment was not issued in time to see action in the Korean War, and
issue took place beginning in the mid 1950s and continued for several
years. The equipment was intended to be replaced with the 1964 Pattern
Web Equipment, in conjunction with the changeover to a new combat
uniform. As is customary for large scale equipment changes, the issue of
the 1964 pattern was also delayed, especially among reserve units, and
1951 Pattern continued in service until the late 1960s, with both the
new Combat uniform as well as the older bush dress and battle dress
Orders of Wear
The components of WE '51
were as follows:
The focal point
of the 1951 equipment was, like the 1937 equipment, the waist
belt. The closure remained the same, and the two slanted 1 inch
buckles on the back for accepting the braces were also retained.
New to the equipment was the addition of three rows of eyelets,
very similar to those used in US Army pistol belts for the 50
years previous. The sizing of the belt also differed from the
1937 belt by using a hook on the belt ends to connect the metal
tabs to the centre row of eyelets (rather than the cloth loops
of the 1937 belt, which were deleted). Two metal keepers were
also used on the 1951 belts.
Waterbottle and Carrier
Mess Tin and Carrier
Soldiers in the
Second World War often found the mess tin did not fit well in
their haversacks (or that they haversack itself was
inconvenient) and so they often carried their mess tins in a
spare water bottle carrier suspended from the brace ends of
their 1937 Pattern webbing. Pattern 1951 web gear provided the
soldier with a purpose made mess kit pouch.
Braces were somewhat flimsier than the 1937 Pattern they were
modelled after. Made from only one thickness of cotton webbing
material that was doubled over and sewn, the 1951 braces were
not as durable as their predecessors. Like the 1937 braces, they
were issued in a left and right, with a cloth loop on one brace
in each pair crossing the other brace through. Blackened brass
was used on the brace ends.
Slipped over the
waistbelt and worn on the left hip. This frog was designed for
use for the smaller spike bayonet used on the No. 4 Mk 1 Lee
Enfield, and was identical to the later 1937 pattern with the
exception of being olive green.
Large Pack with Support
Entrenching Tool and
Some components for use
by officers and others not equipped with a rifle, similar to components
of the 1937 Pattern Web Equipment, included:
The case for the
issue compass was very similar to the 1937 Pattern; lined with
felt and stiffened, so as to protect the compass from damage, it
could not be attached to the belt via metal hooks. Instead,
there were two cloth loops arranged vertically, as well as one
horizontally across the top through which a brace attachment
could be passed. A bottom loop, designed for attachment to metal
hooks, was provided as on the 1937 Pattern case.
artifacts courtesy Ed Storey.
All drawings on this page
are done on a scale of 1 pixel = 1/16 of an inch, with the exception of
some larger items such as the waistbelt, who have been rendered at a
scale of 1 pixel = 1/8 of an inch. The larger scale drawings have red
scale bars, the smaller have blue.
No attempt is made to
show all different variants of the following equipment types; rather
these should be considered representative samples, or typical
illustrations. Pouches, Packs and Carriers