Map Case

Tonight we are looking at an example of a British Army map case. Map cases are used in the field to protect maps, store instruments to use those maps and provide a weatherproof way of viewing a map. There were a number of different designs of map case in use by the British in WW2, this example is officially titled General Service Map Case Number 2 Mark 1 Emergency Pattern:

FullSizeRenderdThis design of map case replaces an earlier design that did not have a webbing back, using an integrated Tufnol board instead. This new design did away with the brass fastenings that secured the webbing cover to the Tufnol board and allowed manufacture without the board when supplies were short. Tufnol board is a composite comprising of a fabric or paper impregnated with phenolic resin creating a durable and waterproof plastic sheet. The Tufnol board is slipped into the mapcase behind a celluloid panel:FullSizeRenderfThe celluloid panel allows the maps to be annotated with a chinagraph pencil, without damaging the paper copy of the map:FullSizeRenderbThe cover of the map case is drawn over this panel and secured by two Newey studs:FullSizeRendereInside the cover are pockets for pens and measuring instruments to use with the maps:FullSizeRenderaThe map case would have contained usually a service protractor, a HB pencil and selection of chinagraph pencils. The protractor would have been rectangular rather than the typical semi-circular civilian type and had graduations and scales to accompany the map. Chinagraph pencils were wax pencils that came in a variety of colours and could be used to mark the maps. I have just one of these, marked SO for the stationery office. The map case is slung around the body with a thin webbing strap that is secured to the rear of the case by two brass buckles:FullSizeRendercThis map case was made by W&G Ltd (Waring & Gillow) in 1944:FullSizeRenderhThere were various sizes of map case in use, the one above is a typical infantry example, larger ones were used for artillery spotting and on vehicles. The fine bevy of officers below shows a variety of different sorts of map case with a preponderance of larger sized examples:1

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