The Australian Army adopted the FN Minimi as its light support weapon in 1989 as the F89 and license built the weapon at Lithgow in Australia. The ammunition for the machine gun is belt fed and as well as loose belts, soft belt bags are used to carry the ammunition in to prevent it from snagging on foliage or getting damaged. We have previously looked at a British 100 round belt bag here, but tonight we have an example of the 200 round bag in Auscam to look at:
The main body is made of a heavy duty Cordua nylon, printed in the distinctive DCPU camouflage of the Australian Army, here rather faded:
The top of the bag has a plastic section that allows it to be attached to the weapon and guides the cartridges into the breach of the minimi:
Note the pictogram of the cartridge to make sure it is loaded the correct way around! This is repeated on the underside, along with the country of manufacture (Australia) and the date in the form of two ‘clocks’ with arrows indicating it was produced in December 1998:
To access the main section of the ammunition carrier, a large zip goes around the base with a press stud on the zip tab so it is not accidentally opened:
These ammunition bags can be seen being used by the Australian Army as you would expect, here a hundred round example which is slightly smaller than mine:
Interestingly I have found photographic evidence of the British Army using examples of the 200 round bag on their minimis in Auscam camouflage:
Quite why is not clear and whether this is an operational thing, an exercise etc. I couldn’t say, but it is certainly intriguing.
My thanks go to Michael Fletcher for again helping me add an interesting piece to the collection and fuelling my Auscam passion!