WW II Field Packs

WW II Pack
World War II Soldier with M-1936 Musette Bag Pack and Blanket Roll.

Today in WW II: 25 May 1940 Boulogne, France is captured by the Germans.  More 
25 May 1941 King George of Greece abandons Crete, relocating to Cairo in a narrow escape from German forces.
25 May 1942 Japanese attack force leaves Hokkaido for invasion of the Aleutians Islands, Alaska.
25 May 1945 Chiefs of Staff of US military set 1 November 1945 as start date for invasion of Japan [Operation Downfall]. The huge casualties of Downfall avoided by use of Atomic Bombs in Aug 1945.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

World War II Combat Packs

The U.S. Army entered World War II with the Haversack, M-1928 that differed little from what was used in World War I and even before. By the end of the war, completely new equipment of all types had been designed and issued to most troops. This was true with combat packs as much as any other equipment.

Many specialized pack designs were used during World War II, for example the Mountain Rucksack issued to mountain troops and, later, Special Forces or the Jungle Pack that was issued not only to forces operating in the Pacific jungles, but also in the ETO. For heavy or irregular loads such as ammo boxes, crew served weapons (machine guns, mortar) or just miscellaneous cargo, the packboard was issued and used. Some troops carried unique bags or packs associated with electronic or mechanical equipment they were issued like mine detectors or radios. Many types of "dispatch bag" or "map bag" canvas carriers were in use in addition to the musette bag which could be a pack or a shoulder bag.

For infantry in combat, the main line of field and cargo packs were these, each with its own Olive-Drab page:

Army Load Carrying Systems: Post-War to Vietnam

The same gear issued in World War II continued in use through the Korean War, although fabrics and colors changed. There were revisions in load carrying systems for the Army in 1956, 1961 and 1967 although these were minor redesigns still using belt, suspenders, and one or two carrying units attached. The 1967 components were the beginning of the use of nylon fabrics and the slide keepers in place of the hook attachments that dated from 1910. The big change in packs came with the introduction of the ALICE system toward the end of the Vietnam war (1974).

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