39 Pattern Binoculars Case

The 39 Pattern equipment set was designed over the course of a weekend and was more or less a copy of the 37 pattern webbing set, but made out of leather to allow for alternative manufacturers, who worked in tanned animal hides, to be employed in manufacturing personal load carrying equipment. As well as the standard rifleman’s equipment, items for pistol equipment were also produced includng the subject of today’s post, the binoculars case:

This case has an unusual D-shape, with a flat back and a curved front that allows a variety of service and civilian binoculars to be carried within. The lid opens away from the body and is secured with a rectangular piece of leather, rivetted on to act as a hinge:

A tab on the opposite side with a press stud secures the lid when it is closed:

Opening the lid gives access to the interior which is lined with thick felt to help protect the binoculars from bumps and shocks:

The base of the case is recessed slightly to allow it to be rivetted to the main body:

As with the rest of the 39 pattern set, the binoculars case makes extensive use of copper pop rivets to secure the pieces of leather together.

The rear of the case is flat and has the methods of attaching the binoculars case to the rest of the equipment set:

A pair of belt loops are provided to pass the equipment belt through and these are attached to a top strap with a 2″ buckle that is used to connect to a corresponding tab on the bottom of the compass pouch:

This top flap was often cut away in service, so it is actually quite unusual to see a complete and unmodified binoculars case such as this one.

The 39 pattern set was rushed into service and as such had a number of fundamental flaws. With the binoculars case it was found that because it opened outwards, the compass pouch worn above it interfered with the lid and made it extremely difficult to open and extract the binoculars. Normally these sorts of faults would be resolved during trials periods, but the 39 pattern was developed and approved so quickly that these problems only came to light once in service, so it is perhaps unsuprising that the 39 pattern set was soon withdrawn from service and passed down to colonial allies rather than being used in combat by British troops.

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