Australian WW2 Ground Sheet

In Australian vernacular a “hootchie” is an individual shelter, offering a single soldier a little protection from the wind and rain. Up until the 1950s the standard issue shelter given to Australian troops was a 7’x3′ piece of rubberised fabric, dark green/grey in colour:

This unfolded to make a simple ground sheet of cover to protect the digger from the wet:

This was obviously pretty scant shelter, so the ground sheets could be combined to make bigger shelters that more than one man could fit in. To help fasten them together, brass eyelets are set around the edges of the groundsheet with pieces of cord attached to allow them to be tied to one another:

Alternatively, if you had four obliging trees, the groundsheet could be set up as illustrated in this Australian Army manual:

This particular sheet is stamped up with the D/|\D mark of the Australian Department of Defence and a date of 1945:

These groundsheets were often carried on the back of the soldier’s belt using a unique piece of Australian webgear that allows a groundsheet and blanket to be attached to the belt as a roll:

For a 75 year old piece of equipment, these are suprisingly easy to get hold of as one dealer in Australia has a large supply and with shipping to the UK the price is still only about 20 pounds.

One comment

  1. Hi there, great blog! Are you able to tell me which army manual discusses this item and includes the image above? I’m trying to work out exactly how this item attaches to the webbing, and how it is secured to the four trees like in the image, as all the groundsheets I’ve seen of this type lack eyelets in the corners. Cheers.

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