Second Issue, 58 Pattern Ammunition Pouches

I was recently fortunate enough to be able to purchase some early 1958 pattern webbing which is quite different in form to that we are so familiar with. These pieces will allow me to put together an early 60s set of webbing and we will be covering the components over the next four weeks. We start today with the ammunition pouches which although early, are not actually the first version of the 58 pattern ammunition pouches:

The very earliest pouches had metal stiffening in the sides of the top flaps to each pouch, which were swiftly deleted by around 1964, but otherwise the second issue pouches were identical to the initial production run. The pouches themselves are made of pre-dyed green cotton webbing and are thinner in depth than the later and more familiar 3rd issue pouches- they will only hold two magazines in each pouch:

The interior of each pouch had a piece of webbing sewn in that pulled up the magazines when you lifted the top flap to allow them to be more easily removed. This feature was not a popular one and they were often cut out, as in this pair where only the stub of webbing remains:

These pouches have had a hard life and the loops at the top of each pouch and on the side have also been removed at some point, however considering the scarcity of the early pouches I can live with this until a pair in better condition turn up! The final distinguishing feature of these early pouches is the belt loops on the back which are set vertically rather than on an angle like the later issue:

This makes the pouches hang vertically and they tend to get in the way of the wearer’s legs as he moved about so it is easy to see why they were replaced with the angled hooks. The other features of the pouches were to remain unchanged until the fourth issue, so the left pouch has loops for a bayonet:

And the left has the pouch for the Energa rifle grenade launcher:

These pouches were only produced for a short period of time before being updated to the more commonly seen 3rd Issue, and the ones that were produced continued in service and saw much hard use so survivors are rare. The early pouches are easy to spot in period photographs by the very vertical way they hang on a belt, which resulted in them being pushed around to the sides more than was probably preferred:

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