I always enjoy adding the small bits of kit to fill out my packs and haversacks. Often they end up containing a far better range of equipment than the average soldier ever saw but it is fun tracking the items down and the completest in me likes to know I have all the right bits. My Cold War NBC kit is fairly extensive now, helped by the fact that it is very cheap and not many of us seem to be collecting it! One item I have not had until now though has been a set of repair patches:These patches were issued to troops to allow running repairs to be made to NBC suits in the field. Ideally if an NBC suit got damaged it would be replaced with a new one to ensure the best protection possible for the wearer. The military understood however that this might not always be possible in a combat situation so soldiers were issued with small packet of patches to allow them to stick them over any small rips or tears in their suits as a temporary fix. These repair patches do not seem to have been on general issue, but were distributed before major exercises as recalled by Steve martin in his book ‘Stab in the Dark’ where he recalls their distribution prior to the large Exercise Crusader:
We were given our NBC kit, repair patches, spare canisters etc.
The packets are vacuum sealed clear plastic and contain six repair patches, each about 4” long by 1 ½” wide:A ‘V’ notch is cut into the packet at one end to make it easy to tear it open:Instructions are printed on a piece of white paper and explain how to use the repair patches:I imagine that this is the sort of item you would never want to have to use, as the last thing a soldier would want in an NBC situation is to have a failing in his suit and need to repair it! Having said that, if the worst were to happen these patches would have given men at least a chance of survival until they could get into a replacement NBC suit.