1937 Pattern Economy Haversack

During wartime many items of webbing were changed to allow economies of manufacture to allow them to be manufactured quicker, more cheaply and without the use of strategic materials such as brass. Today we are looking at an example of a 1937 Pattern haversack that has had a number of changes made to its construction to save strategic materials:

Firstly, the brass tips on the rear 2” tabs have been deleted, leaving them as just plain webbing:

This change would have saved considerable amounts of brass and, unlike the fastenings for the top flap, the shoulder straps would only have been added or removed form these tabs relatively infrequently, normally being left in place. As such there was less need to reinforce this section as without constant use the tabs would not fray as quickly as they might do on other parts of the haversack.

The second change to be made to the haversack was to replace some of the brass buckles with those made from sheradised steel:

The process of sheradising involved heating steel components to around 500 degrees Celsius in a drum with zinc dust. This dust then fused to the metal and created a protective coat that prevented rust from forming. Steel was much cheaper than brass, and brass was needed for munitions manufacture so this was a sensible change. Unfortunately the finish was not always effective and after eighty years some components can be found with rust upon them:

Collecting the variations in 1937 pattern equipment is fascinating, there being so many items out there to track down with subtle differences of manufacture and design.

If you want to learn more about 1937 Pattern Webbing, check out my new book on the equipment set that can be found here.

2 comments

  1. Like so many others, I carried one of these in University, they were pretty much ubiquitous.
    Even then, I could see the irony of ‘war protesters’ carrying military surplus bags and wearing combat jackets and berets while calling the people who wore them for a living vile names.

  2. In the CCF at school in the 70s our uniforms and webbing all seemed to date back decades including woollen battle dress uniforms and ancient webbing.

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