WW II Jungle First Aid Kit
Brig. Gen. Frank D. Merrill, commander of Merrill's Marauders, in Burma, 1944. He is wearing the jungle first aid kit M2 on his left front. A Carlisle first aid pouch hangs from the bottom tab of the jungle first aid kit.
Today in WW II: 23 Sep 1940 After just seven weeks of development, American Bantam delivers the first prototype jeep to Camp Holabird, MD.
Individual First-Aid Kit, Jungle from WW II
Individual First-Aid, Jungle M1 (first pattern)
Following the battle for Guadacanal in November 1942, the Medical Department was asked to develop a first aid kit for use by troops in jungle areas. One was soon added to the medical supply catalog in the form of a cotton roll-up with two rows of separate slots for contents packaged in bottles, cans and boxes, secured by tie straps (similar to a mechanic's tool roll -- photo above). This form was in use by the Army and Marine Corps from late 1942 until it was superseded in 1944. The first pattern nomenclature was Kit, First Aid, Jungle, Individual, M1 with Medical Department Item No. 97107.
Typical contents included insect repellant, foot treatments, Carlisle bandage, water purification tablets, aspirin, and other items suitable for the tropical environment. Contents were stocked and replenished individually and changed based on experience or the availability of better medical supplies.
Kit, Jungle, Medical, Individual, M-2
Kit, Jungle, Medical, Individual, M-2 dated 1945.
Further experience in jungle fighting in the Pacific and CBI theaters led to the standardization of a second form of the jungle first aid kit. The roll up proved to be too large and was inaccessible since it had to be stowed in the soldier's pack. The new form was adopted 17 August 1943, called Kit, Jungle, Medical, Individual, M-2 (stock number 9710900). It consisted of an OD#7 cotton duck pouch with an M1910 hook intended to be hung from a pistol or cartridge belt. Its back panel was reinforced with webbing and extended below the pouch body where two M1910 grommets were provided so additional gear could be hung under the kit, typically a Carlisle bandage pouch (see Merrill photo at top). By 1944 these kits were common in the areas of jungle fighting, for both Army and Marines, and remained in wide use in the Pacific Theater to the end of World War II. They were not issued in Europe where the Carlisle first aid kit continued as standard.
The interior had five individual compartments separated by cloth dividers -- the three larger ones sized for a Carlisle bandage or similar size item. The two smaller compartments would hold water purification tablets or other similar size item. The top was covered by two side flaps and a main flap with an additional pocket. A fabric loop in the flap pocket could hold bandages. The main top flap folded over and secured to the body with two large snaps.
In late 1944, production was changed to make the dimensions a little larger. At that time the nomenclature changed to Container, For Kit, Jungle, Medical, Individual, M-2. The M-2 jungle first aid kit continued in use (primarily by the Marine Corps) through Korea and the early Vietnam War. It was superseded in the mid-1960s by Case, First Aid Kit, Empty (FSN 6545-912-0625), the basis of the Individual First Aid Kit.
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