The lightweight and easy to use Musette Bag was a popular alternative pack for many soldiers who would be otherwise be using the M-1928 Haversack. Although the Musette Bag was never the standard backpack, it was used widely in all theaters of World War II. When the M-1944 Field Pack and Cargo Pack were introduced, the Musette Bag was rendered obsolete.
Soldier with Bag, Canvas, Field, M-1936 (Musette Bag) worn as a backpack.
One result of the unpopularity of the M-1928 Haversack, was the spreading use of the Musette Bag. This bag was often seen with the paratroopers, but it was available for issue to most units and many used it.
In the photo at left, a WAAC demonstrates use of the Musette Bag as a pack. Since there were no straps provided to attach a blanket roll, the shelter half ropes were used for that purpose. The photo was taken 22 July 1943 at Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation.
The Musette Bag has a rear flap pocket with a snap closure, and a left side cargo pocket, also with a snap. The interior was sectioned into compartments. It was very common to see different colors used in the bag itself and the web straps as wartime production was often not able to coordinate the transition from khaki to olive drab. Most had "US" stamped on the flap with the manufacturer and date on the back panel. The equipment tab with eyelets was added later in production and is not present on early bags.
Two short straps with metal tab ends connect to two short straps with buckles to close the main flap of the bag.
The USMC issued a similar bag to officers, with the difference that it had its own shoulder strap attached.
M1936 Musette Shoulder Bag Straps
Two parallel web straps were sewn to the back of the Musette Bag vertically. The straps each loop through a snap hook and double back to an adjusting buckle. The straps attach the top rear of the bag to the M-1936 combat suspenders using the snap hooks.
The hooks can also be used with a general purpose adjustable shoulder strap that has D-rings on both ends. When used that way, the Musette Bag becomes a shoulder bag, not a pack. One of these straps was provided with the M-1936 Bag. Later, a similar strap was issued for use with ammunition bags, dispatch cases, medical corpsman's bags and other such equipment. The strap colors evolved with the fabric colors of the Musette Bag, and bag and strap were often seen with mismatched colors.
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