British Army WW2 Bergen

Tonight we are looking at a British made Bergen rucksack. These rucksacks were developed in Norway before the war and variations of them were used by all sides in the conflict. The use of the bergen is often associated with Commandos who made extensive use of them due to the large size and comfort of the pack:FullSizeRenderThe bergen is built around a metal frame that allows the pack to sit high on the back, as can be seen from the rear, the pack is considerably larger than the normal 37 pattern small pack:FullSizeRender1The bergen has a large canvas body, with a flap that buckles over the top:FullSizeRender2There are two pockets on either side and a longer thinner one across the front, all secured with webbing straps and metal buckles:FullSizeRender3Lifting the top flap we can see that the main body of the bergen is secured with a drawstring:FullSizeRender6Under the lid of the bergen is a zippered pocket for maps and a /|\ mark and date of 1943:FullSizeRender5This example is made by D & M Ltd, unfortunately I haven’t identified who this stamp stands for. I am inclined to think it is most likely a canvas good manufacturer rather than a webbing manufacturer as most of the bergen is made of canvas, with only webbing fittings. Turning the bergen around we can see then innovative metal frame that characterises this style of carrier:FullSizeRender4The metal frame holds the main pack rigid and allows it to be worn high on the back, allowing the shoulders to carry a greater weight. The frame also curves around slightly at the front to stabilise the load. The webbing straps are designed to cushion the weight against the back to make it more comfortable, standing the back pack from the back also encourages the flow of air between the two offering greater comfort. Sadly the leather fastenings at the base of the A-Frame have perished on this example. These bergens were produced throughout the war and from similar components after the war for the civilian market, using surplus shoulder straps. Unfortunately therefore, even if the carrying straps are WD marked and dated this is no indication that the bergen is a wartime issue military one. The best markings to confirm military production are those under the top flap like this example.

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