M56 Australian Ammunition Pouch

As we have discussed before, during the Vietnem War the Australian Army took the opportunity to modify its M56 webbing from the original US design, based upon operational experience. One item that desperately needed changing was the ammunitin pouches. These had been designed for the smaller 5.56mm M16 magazines, but Australia was using the larger 7.62mm SLR magazines and the standard M56 pouches could only carry a couple of these magazines. A new, larger pouch was designed that could hold these magazines, and grenades which the Australians preferred to carry inside a pouch rather than clipped to the outside:

The pouch is made in a dark green nylon, with the distinctive mid green edging of Australian produced webbing. A long tab is fitted to the top to allow it to be attached to the shoulder braces. The box lid is secured with a quick- release staple and tab:

A large /|\ is stamped in black on the front of the pouch indicating Australian Army ownership:

Earlier examples had the letter ‘DD’ either side of the arrow, but this was deleted on later production. Despite Australian Army doctrine wishing to keep grenades inside the pouches, the loops to carry them were retained on either side of the pouch:

These loops were generally used to attach either a first aid pouch or a toggle rope.

The rear of the pouch has a pair of metal clips fitted to allow the pouch to be fixed to the belt:

Finally the base of the pouch has an eyelet let into it to allow any water to drain out rather than gathering in the base:

These pouches were to remain in service until the introduction of the F88 rifle with its smaller 5.56mm magazines and the accompanying 1988 pattern Auscam webbing.

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