A long time ago we looked at the second pattern mine clearance kit issued to British soldiers during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That kit folded out with pockets for every item in the set. Today we are looking at the earlier design of the kit which was rather simpler and consisted of a simple pouch made in desert DPM fabric with a top flap secured by a single press stud and a set of PALS loops on the front:
A pair of tabs on the back allow it to be attached to a vest or set of body armour:
The equipment was procured from a company called NIC instruments and unusually for military equipment, the company has included its website address as part of the label sewn into the pouch together with the more usual information:
The design is a simple open pouch and so all the elements of the extraction kit are simply placed into a zip-lock bag and placed into the pouch:
This would have been far more awkward to use in service as the user would have to hunt through the bag for the item they were looking for, rather than just going straight to an item as on the later pattern. The actual contents are the same however and include a pair of instruction cards, white and red markers for daylight and cylumes for night-time marking of suspect mines or IEDs, a flexible probe and a solid mine probe that disassembles into three sections to fit in the pouch:
Screwed together these components make a robust probe to gently prod the ground for suspect items:
I find the evolution of modern equipment fascinating as it is very clear in this instance why the pouch was upgraded. By having everything in a bag it is much easier for something to become accidentally lost, especially if a soldier was looking for something at night. By having dedicated pockets for each item, a soldier can confidently find an item by feel alone in the dark, only the item actually needed is pulled out without the risk of everything falling on the ground and it is easy to see if a piece of clearance equipment needs replacing.