Over the last year we have looked at two different Home Guard impressions. The Home Guard were nothing if not varied and today we have a third, different impression focussing on this force. The idea of the Home Guard being made up of old, untrained and poorly equipped men is an enduring one, but by the middle of the war the Home Guard was well equipped, had many young and fit men and was working on developing innovative urban warfare tactics that played to its strengths. Today’s impression depicts a Home Guardsman involved in an urban warfare exercise and is closely based on soldiers that appear in the training film “Home Guard Town Fighting Series, no 1. Weapons and Equipment’ that was released in 1943. Our soldier is equipped with the Sten gun, which was being commonly issued to the force by this date in place of the Thompson:
The battledress, boots and anklets are entirely standard and he wears a Mk II helmet with a helmet net on it to break up the outline. His equipment is stripped down for mobility and consists of belt, sleeve, bayonet frog, a single home guard pouch and a modified 1939 pattern basic pouch to carry the magazines for the Sten:
Note that the bayonet frog does not carry a bayonet, but is used instead to hold a short crowbar, described in the film as a ‘jemmy’, as seen in this still from the film:
The jemmy would be used to break down doors of abandoned buildings when fighting in urban areas.
- Civilian collarless shirt
- Battledress blouse
- Ammunition boots
- Battledress trousers
- Home guard webbing set with Sten gun pouch
- Leather anklets
- Mk II helmet with helmet net
A used-to-be-common name here for a short crowbar/prybar like this was a ‘jimmy’ hence the phrase ‘jimmying a lock’. Today it’s used more often for a strip of thin metal or plastic used to open car doors when the owner either locked the keys inside, or more often, has them in his pocket somewhere else and you need to ‘jimmy’ it open before you can steal it. I wonder what the etymology of the word is and which version came first, or if they arose completely seperately 😉
A short crowbar such as this makes for a very effective hand-to-hand weapon as well, I’d rather face off against a bayonet.
Its a bit hard to tell from the photo – but it looks like the ‘jemmy’ in the picture is actually a scaffolders podger rather than a short crowbar. It would achieve the same result.