Early Pattern large M56 Pouches

When the Australians introduced the M56 web set, they had pouches based off of those used by the US that were sized to fit rifle magazines such as those for the M14 (in the case of the USA) and the SLR (in the case of Australia). What quickly became apparent on operations was that these pouches were too small. They could not hold larger magazines such as the thirty round magazines used on the L2A1 automatic rifle and were poorly sized for any addition loads such as grenades or belted ammunition. Australian soldiers quickly pulled old 1937 pattern pouches out of stores, sliced vertical slits into them to allow them to be threaded onto belts and used these as extra utility pouches. This was okay as an expedient, but something better was needed. The solution was to produce larger pouches with the same fixtures and fittings as the existing m56 pouches to allow them to be used in place of these.  The pouches were made of the same dark green cotton as their smaller compatriots and have the same mid green binding around the edges that is so redolent of Australian M56 equipment:

The front of the pouch was marked in black with D/|\D, although most are very faded now as in this example:

The top flap of the pouch is secured with a metal loops and fabric tab:

Loops are still fitted to the sides to allow grenades to be carried, although this practice was discouraged by many units as it was easy to lose them when walking through thick undergrowth:

The tab at the top allows the pouch to be attached to the yoke. There is a friction buckle to allow the length to be altered depending on the user’s height and a snap fastener to allow it to be clipped to the yoke:

This is made of cotton webbing, although later models would substitute a darker brown nylon webbing for this. A pair of metal slide fittings are fitted to the back to allow the pouch to be fastened to the waistbelt:

The pouches were marked internally, although this is usually really badly worn:

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