Earlier this year we looked at an early eighties example of the M56 small field pack, or bum pack, here. Since then I have added a second example of this piece of webbing, that is slightly later in date and has some subtle detail differences:
It is best to compare these packs directly and lay one next to the other:
As can be seen, the colour of the binding along the edges has changed from a mid green to a darker olive green colour, whilst the securing straps have changed from a green-brown to a much more vibrant green shade. The way these straps have been sewn on is also subtly different, with the stitching far more prominent in the later example.
The later pack is dated February 1988 and must come from one of the very last batches of M56 webbing before the 1988 pattern set was adopted. The date is clearly marked under the top flap with the NSN code and a /|\ ownership mark:
The differences between these two packs is subtle, but it is quite fun to have a variant