WW II Field Packs
World War II Soldier with M-1936 Musette Bag Pack and Blanket Roll.
Today in WW II: 11 Mar 1941 The Lend-Lease Act signed by President Roosevelt, opening the way for ever increasing shipments of defense materiel that allies [primarily Britain and Russia] were unable to pay for.
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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