Continuing our look at the nylon 1958 pattern webbing set, today we are going to take a closer look at the yoke issued as part of this set. The 1958 pattern set had been introduced at the end of the 1950s and in many ways was a very modern, ergonomic set of web equipment, especially after it had been modified to reflect service feedback. One major drawback the set had however was the cotton webbing from which it was made. This cotton webbing absorbed both water, which made it heavy, and more worryingly it would absorb chemical agents making it impossible to decontaminate. This meant that in a battlefield where chemical agents were used, the 1958 pattern set would have to be discarded after a chemical attack rather than being cleaned as it was just not possible to do this easily. The simple solution to this problem was to make the webbing from nylon that was far more waterproof so did not absorb water and more importantly could be easily cleaned of any chemical agent that might have been used.
The yoke itself is based on the final pattern of 1958 cotton webbing yoke, but manufactured in nylon fabric:
The 58 pattern yoke is a ‘H’ pattern design, with heavy padding where the yoke passes over the shoulders to help cushion the wearer from the weight of the set. The yoke passes over the shoulders and joins at the back where there is a quick release fastener:
This fastener is designed to allow a pick handle or a short shovel to be carried. These tools have a hole on their shaft and under the quick release fastener is a metal spigot that is used to attach the tool, before the straps are secured around it to hold it firmly:
Note also the two loops on the yoke used to hold the straps of the pack when this is worn. The pack has a pair of snap hooks on the ends of these straps and these attach to a pair of D-rings on the ends of the padded section of the yoke:
The buckles below the D-Ring are used to adjust the yoke at the front- the straps passing down to the pouches, back up and through the buckle allowing the length to be changed just by pulling on them. At the rear of the yoke, the straps pass down to a pair of tabs with C-hooks to allow them to be connected to the belt:
This yoke seems to be unissued and is excellent condition, which means the marking are nice and clear and we can see that it was manufactured in 1977:
We will be returning to the nylon set for a final piece of webbing in the coming weeks, although i am still some way from having a complete wearable set unfortunately.