Australian 1956 Pattern Water Bottle and Carrier

My thanks to Cal Fischer for correctly identifying this  accoutrement and providing information to let me rewrite this post to accurately reflect the item.

As the age of Empire drew to a close the militaries of the colonies increasingly went their own ways, leaving behind Britain and drawing their influences form their regional neighbours. This was increasingly the case for the Australian Military who turned to the United States to supply much of their 1956 pattern webbing. Tonight we are looking at the water bottle and carrier form the 1956 pattern equipment. The set consists of a green plastic bottle with a webbing carrier:imageAs can be seen the carrier is closely modelled on the US 1910 pattern carrier, but made in nylon. The shade is rather lighter than that used by the US Army, and on the rear is a wire hook to fasten it to a belt:imageAnd a pair of metal clips like the US ALICE system is also sewn to the rear:imageBeneath this can just be made out a white stamp with a NATO stores code and the /|\ mark, sadly the date is badly worn, but I believe it says 1968:imageThe stores NSN code has the -50- indicating the carrier was made in the US for a foreign contract. The inside of the carrier is lined with felt that helps insulate it so the water in the bottle stays cool; this also adds a degree of protection to the bottle itself:image

The oficial instructions on the cover read:

The cotton duck canteen cover has a felt lining and is attached to the pistol belt by means of two attaching clips located on the back of the cover.

The canteen cover accomodates the canteen. Keeping the felt material on the inside of the canteen cover wet during hot weather will help to keep the water in the canteen cool. The cover must be kept dry during cold weather, however, as the felt material will give limited protection in preventing the water in the canteen from freezing.

The bottle is made of green moulded plastic:imageThis type of water bottle was introduced by the Canadians and copied by the US Army who introduced them in 1963 to its own troops and the bottle helpfully reminds squadies not to use it over a direct flame- the plastic would melt! The canteen was a vast improvement on the old enamelled WW2 pattern examples, but was limited in capacity so Aussies often carried two on their belt rather than the prescribed single bottle.

The 1956 pattern webbing was frequently mixed with bits of modified 37 pattern and 44 pattern webbing to make up a mixed set that suited Australian soldiers’ needs. In this view the waterbottle carrier can be seen on the belt, along with a modified 37 pattern pouch:untitled


  1. Just a couple of things:
    1. The pouch you are showing is Australian M1956 Pattern, if you take the 50 out of the NSN you have the old US FSN for a M1956 Canteen cover. 50 in the nation code spot of the FSN/NSN indicated US export military goods in the 1960’s.
    2. The US copied Canada on the M1962 plastic canteen, these canteens were already issued to our troops in late 1960, the US only approved them in late 1961 early 1962 and did not start manufacturing them until 1963 with the 1st issue to the troops in Vietnam in early 1964.

    • Thanks for the comment, very interesting. I will update this post accordingly! Information on post war webbing for commonwealth countries is very sparse unfortunately

  2. When Australia adopted the US M1956 webbing system, the initial issue was manufactured in the US from US materials – virtually identical to contemporary US webbing except that the stencilled ‘US’ marking was replaced with a ‘D(arrow)D’. I believe this was about 1961. This might be where the ’50’ on FSN stems from. From that initial batch M1956 webbing started to be manufactured in Australia – your example here is one of the first Australian manufactured batches. You can see that us Aussies added on our own tweaks i.e. the addition of the belt hook so that it can also be used with the Brit Patt 44 webbing system if necessary (which we used in Malaya). I believe your cover may actually be dated 1965. By 1968 the stencilling on the canteen covers would have changed to black and a different style of font (with no surrounding box). The white markings within the box are indicative of early Australian manufacture. The other thing you are missing from this system is the Cups Canteen – a folding handled kidney cup, once again virtually identical to the US example apart from Australian manufacturer stampings.

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