Feeding weapons in the frontline with ammunition is essential in any battle. Although the British Army had motorised virtually all of their transport by 1939, it was still very difficult to bring motorised transport right up to the frontline as they made tempting and large targets. Therefore the last mile or two of most supply lines was completed by carrying stores by hand. Whilst ammunition boxes could just be carried, this was exhausting and didn’t leave the soldier with free hands to use his weapon. A variety of specialist webbing carriers was therefore developed that would make it easier to carry these heavy weights. This example is a webbing carrier for two metal small arms ammunition boxes as used with Vickers machine guns etc:The main body of the carrier is a double webbing sleeve that the boxes can be slid into:Other examples exist with just a single sleeve for one box. Small webbing strips at the base prevent the boxes sliding out:Turning the carrier over shows the special features included to make wearing such a heavy load more comfortable, there is a large 12” wide pad across the top, about ½” thick:A second pad further down is about 8” wide and 1” thick:These help cushion the load for the wearer. The pack fastens to the standard 37 pattern webbing using a modified L- strap:The top of the L-Strap has a webbing keeper to help secure any excess:And the bottom has a pair of brass hooks:This example was made by MECo in 1955, but is identical to wartime issue:Edit: My thanks to Rog Dennis who has identified the stores codes as being for specialist airborne equipment.
These carriers would have been unit stores rather than personal issue items, and would just have been used as and when needed. Quantities of these carriers are available easily enough, and all seem to be unissued. I can’t find many photographs of them in use, but they must have been useful as manufacture went on for at least a decade after the war ended.