Modified Parachutist’s Sten Ammunition Case

Tonight’s object is unusual in being a professionally modified version of an already scarce piece of webbing. The parachutists’ Sten ammunition case was a webbing bag designed to be used by paratroopers to carry extra ammunition into battle. It was strapped to the leg when jumping out of a plane, then released and allowed to dangle beneath on a string for a safer landing. It used quick release tabs and had a special pocket for the 20 foot cord that attached it to the soldier:imageA removable harness was fitted to the back to allow it to be strapped to the leg:imageThis piece of webbing was never popular and withdrawn from service pretty quickly, which possibly explains tonight’s modified version of the case:imageThis piece has been professionally modified, I suspect at a unit level, and is now designed to be carried over one shoulder. The modifications include replacing the quick release fasteners on the top flap with webbing buckles and straps to make it harder for the case to accidentally come open:imageThe pocket for a static line has been removed and a webbing carry handle fitted to allow the case to be carried ‘briefcase’ style:imageNote the pen lines for the original pocket, part of the construction process when the case was first made. Two 1” twig buckles have been fitted to the top sides of the case, allowing a standard shoulder brace to be used as a shoulder strap so it can be slung over the body:imageOn the rear the metal loops for attaching the case to a leg harness have been removed and the holes covered over with small pieces of webbing:imageAll the sewing for the modifications is expertly done on a machine and is as good a quality as any webbing manufacturer’s work. The case itself opens up and has space inside for fifteen Sten magazines:imageThe bottom of the case is permanently sewn in to provide support for the magazines, the top half is covered by an internal flap:imageThe underside of the top flap indicates this case was originally made by MECo in 1942:imageI suspect it will be very hard to get proof of who made this modification to the ammunition case, or exactly why. I suspect it would have been done semi-officially to make use of a spare piece of equipment and was probably a unit authorised conversion. Certainly the case is far more suited to ground operations with a shoulder strap than a leg harness and it is a convenient, if heavy, way of carrying fifteen Sten magazines around to resupply troops with.

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