1972 Pattern Butt Pack

Tonight we come to the fourth and final component of the 1972/75 webbing set; the rear haversack, more commonly called the butt pack:imageThis is a nylon haversack that sits at the rear of the webbing set and is designed to carry the same contents as the 58 pattern kidney pouches and poncho roll:- NBC kit, field rations, spare socks, wash kit etc. Whilst the pouch is larger than the kidney pouches of the earlier set, without the poncho roll the capacity remains small and this was one of the major shortcomings of the set.

The throat of the rear pouch secured with a drawstring:imageThis in turn was covered with the top flap. On the underside of this top flap are the maker’s details:imageAt the rear are a pair of plastic D-loops that allow the yoke to be attached to the pouch:imageBeneath these is a white panel used to write the soldier’s name and number on when in service:imageThe 72/75 pattern set does not have a separate belt, so the rear pouch attaches to the side pouches directly so straps and plastic frictions buckles are sewn to each side of the pouch:imageTwo variations of haversack apparently exist; a plain one and a type like this one that has a long pocket across the base:imageSome sources say this was for a machete, whilst others say it was for a pick axe head, which is what I have fitted it with:imageA loop with a friction buckle is also fitted to the top of the flap of the pouch:imageThis seems to have been used to allow extra items to be strapped onto the webbing.

This piece finishes my set of 72/75 pattern webbing and I now have a complete set:imageThese sets are scarce as they were a trials item half a century ago, but all the pieces are still available from one supplier (albeit not cheaply) so I am pleased to have finally finished the set and have a full set up as a soldier on exercise whilst trialling the new web set in the early 1970s:imageimageimageimageHaving worn the set, I can see why it was never adopted. It is flimsy and complicated and the carrying capacity is limited, as is the sets adaptability. On the plus side the butyl nylon is much easier to decontaminate than cotton webbing, but it would be another ten to fifteen years before a far superior design was adopted by British Army when the PLCE set became the standard load bearing set for the next thirty years or more.

I have deliberately named this as being the 72/75 pattern in this post rather than the 72 pattern as I have done previously. I have been informed that the term 72 pattern is a collectors’ term and the official designation was the 1975 pattern PLCE set- this name would today cause far more confusion as the pieces are all dated 1972 or 1973 and PLCE is more commonly associated with the 1980s and 90s sets.

One comment

  1. In 1975 the MoD doughnuts produced a second trials set that they called the “1958 Mk2”. Talk about confusing!

    In QM stores, the adopted items linked to this set were called ’72 Pattern. MoD got it wrong but army got it right. I think the MoD confused the ’75 Pattern with the earlier ’72 Pattern.

    Are you sure that there are two versions of the rear pouch? The “flaps” of the pickaxe head sleeve can be folded in above itself, thereby disappearing from view. The poncho rolls up and goes under the rear pouch flap, secured by the two adjustable straps there. The golok is carried, seemingly dangling from the amm pouch.

    There are a couple of adjustable straps that connect to the rear of the yoke for carrying NBC smock and trousers. These seem to be very rare. So is the rear pouch liner – which I’ve never seen. Much like those drawstring bags they issued for PLCE rucksack main compartment and side pouches.

    The field pack for this set became the “GS Rucksack” after a tad of modification. The frame was deepened, the side pockets switched from the breakable plastic pronged fasteners (on the large util pouches and on the front of the SAS Combat Pack) to an adjustable strap and the buttonhole affair on the “pocket” for the frame was dispensed with.

    I’d REALLY like to know what the “buttonholes” on that thing are for…

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