Post WW II Battle Dressings

Senior Airman Brandon Copenhaver (left) and Airman First Class James Wallace from the 603rd Air Control Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy, apply a battle dressing bandage to a victim as part of the self aid and buddy care competition, exercise Combat Challenge, 26 April 2002.    The bandage is probably DRESSING, FIRST-AID, FIELD, INDIVIDUAL TROOP, CAMOUFLAGED
Senior Airman Brandon Copenhaver (left) and Airman First Class James Wallace from the 603rd Air Control Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy, apply a battle dressing bandage to a victim as part of the self aid and buddy care competition, exercise Combat Challenge, 26 April 2002. The bandage is probably DRESSING, FIRST-AID, FIELD, INDIVIDUAL TROOP, CAMOUFLAGED.

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Battle Dressings After World War II

Immediately after World War II, the individual soldier continued to be provided with a single Carlisle bandage as his primary first aid in case of injury. The dressing itself, and the pouch to carry it, evolved along with the Army and Marine Corps equipment changes. The name became "Dressing, First Aid, Field" commonly called a Field Dressing or Battle Dressing.

First Aid/Compass Case M-1956.  A drain grommet was later added to the bottom of the case
First Aid/Compass Case M-1956. A drain grommet was later added to the bottom of the case.

The M-1956 Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment included a cotton First Aid/Compass Case that replaced the M-1942 web First Aid Pouch that held a Carlisle dressing. On the back it has a single Alice keeper, and it is closed with a single snap. The M-1956 cotton case was replaced by the First Aid/Compass Case in the M-1967 Individual Load-Carrying Equipment, styled the same as the M-1956 with the same keeper and snap but made of nylon (NSN 8465-00-935-6814). This form was carried forward unchanged to become the LC-1 Alice pouch and was still being procured in 2005.

These cases held a single dressing package (or served as a military compass case) and were usually carried on the suspenders or equipment belt. During the same time period, some Marines and others were issued the Container, For Kit, Jungle, Medical, Individual, M-2 until it was superseded by Pouch, First Aid, Jungle type (NSN 6545-912-0625).

Table of "Dressing, First Aid, Field" Packaging

The table below gives at least some of the individual Field Dressings (or Battle Dressings) in use in the post-war period, including Vietnam and later. As the pouch for an individual dressing was replaced by the Individual First Aid Kit, the Field Dressing became one component of the kit, as well as a common component of the "First Aid Kit, General Purpose" or larger kits. All such medical supplies fall under Federal Supply Class (FSC) 6510 - Surgical Dressing Materials. Some NSNs were made in multiple packages with slightly different nomenclature. Stock numbers changed over time (if the item continued in use) -- early stock number format such as "2-011-755" became FSN 6510-201-1755 which became NSN 6510-00-201-1755.

DRESSING, FIRST-AID, FIELD, INDIVIDUAL TROOP, CAMOUFLAGED NSN 6510-00-159-4883
DRESSING, FIRST-AID, FIELD, INDIVIDUAL TROOP, CAMOUFLAGED NSN 6510-00-159-4883.

FSN/NSN Nomenclature Description
6510-00-083-5573 DRESSING FIRST AID, FIELD, WHITE 4 x 7 inch absorbent pad.
6510-00-159-4883 DRESSING, FIRST-AID, FIELD, INDIVIDUAL TROOP, CAMOUFLAGED 4x7 inch camo dressing. Produced in 1970s-1980s. Same as 6510-201-7435?
6510-01-167-7284 DRESSING, FIRST AID, FIELD Not known
6510-00-200-3180 Bandage, gauze, compressed, camouflaged Not known
6510-00-201-1755 BANDAGE, MUSLIN, COMPRESSED, CAMOUFLAGED 37 x 37 x 52 inches, with 2 safety pins. Brown paper wrap, plastic overwrap, black lettering.
6510-201-7425 (V-30) DRESSING, FIRST AID, FIELD, CAMOUFLAGED Large 11 3/4 inches square
6510-201-7430 DRESSING, FIRST-AID, FIELD CAMOUFLAGED 7 1/2 x 8 inch. Clear plastic wrap over paper dressing, printing on the plastic in black.
6510-201-7435 (V-32) DRESSING, FIRST AID, FIELD, INDIVIDUAL TROOP, CAMOUFLAGED 4x7 inch camo dressing in clear plastic package enclosed in brown paperboard box or paper wrap with plastic overwrap. Produced in 1960s.
6510-201-7455 DRESSING, FIRST AID, FIELD 4x7 inch.
6510-01-336-6192 DRESSING, FIRST AID, FIELD TRAINING 4x7 inch.
6510-935-7084 DRESSING, FIRST AID, FIELD, INDIVIDUAL TROOP, CAMOUFLAGED 100x120 mm (4 x 4 3/4 in). Small field dressing produced around 1970. OD plastic wrap, black lettering.

Most packaging included the word "Sterile" and the directions, "Red color indicates back of dressing -- put other side next to wound." If a dressing was "camouflaged" it was olive drab in color. Dimensions are approximate.

The instructions provided in training were:

  1. Tear open the plastic cover and remove the dressing.
  2. Tear the inner paper wrapper and remove the Battle Dressing.
  3. Unfold the absorbent portion of the dressing.
  4. Place the white, absorbent side against the wound.
  5. Wrap the four olive drab "tails" around the body and dressing to keep it firmly in place.

Find More Information on the Internet

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