We have looked over various items of M56 pattern webbing on the blog over the years, and regular readers will be aware that I have two distinct sets of the M56 Australian webbing in my collection, a early to mid-production set and a very late production set. Although the basic design is unchanged, all the details were updated on the Australian made web equipment over time, with newer materials, fixings and subtle changes based on operational experience. Previously we have looked at a late production example of the M56 suspenders here. Today we are looking at an example of the earlier production version:
The early version of the suspenders is made from cotton, in a standard olive green. Loops are provided to pass the straps of the sleeping bag spider through so they don’t slide off the shoulders:
The straps are adjustable with a locking friction buckle and wire hooks are fitted to allow them to be secured to the rest of the equipment:
The underside of the suspenders does have some padding attached to it:
It seems likely that there were some problems with sweat or water absorption as later production replaced the cotton covering the padding at this particular point with nylon, here the two patterns can be seen side by side:
The change over to nylon occurred around 1972, so this set of suspenders dates to before this point. In service, of course, items of different vintage were mixed and matched indiscriminately and early and late production items worn as part of the same set as long as they were still in good condition and functional. As collectors, we of course want a full matching set and so it is nice to have both ends of the timeframe in the collection.