Engineer Equipment

Small Box Girder Bridge

Folding Boat Equipment

Bailey Bridge

Flamethrower

Load Bearing Equipment

1903 Pattern Equipment
►Oliver Pattern

►1908 Pattern Web Equipment
1937 Pattern Web Equipment

1942 Battle Jerkin

1951 Pattern

►1964 Pattern

1982 Pattern

 Personal Kit

Correspondence
Edged Tools
Glasses
Handkerchiefs
Identification
Kit Bag
Lighters
Polishing, Washing & Shaving

Rations

Sewing Kit
Weapon Cleaning Kits

Protective Gear

►MRC Body Armour

Specialist Clothing

Tank Crew Suits

 

1951 Pattern Web Equipment

History

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.

However, the 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 changeover.

The committee 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 uniforms.

Orders of Wear

Components

The components of WE '51 were as follows:

Waistbelt

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.

Image:51belt.gif

Image:51waist.gif

Image:51waistclose.gif

Basic Pouches

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

1951 Pattern 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.

Image:51braces.gif

Haversack

L-Straps

Bayonet Frog

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 Straps

Entrenching Tool and Cover

Other Components

Some components for use by officers and others not equipped with a rifle, similar to components of the 1937 Pattern Web Equipment, included:

Brace Attachments

Compass Case

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.

Photos

Photos and artifacts courtesy Ed Storey.

Additional Reading

  • Summers, Jack L. Tangled Web: Canadian Infantry Accoutrements 1885-1985 (Canadian War Museum, 1992).

Notes

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


canadiansoldiers.com 1999-present