If you are a regular reader of the blog you will know that this year we have been taking a close look at post war Canadian webbing. So far we have only covered items from the 51 pattern set, however thanks to the kind help of my fellow collector Andrew Iarocci I now have 64 and 82 pattern sets in my collection and we will be looking at these over the coming months as well. It made sense to me to start with something of an overview of each set, and tonight we start off by looking at some of the history of the 64 pattern set, then over the coming months we can look at each component in more detail.I would argue that the 64 pattern set was one of the worst equipment sets every forced upon the poor infantryman. It was designed at a time where it was expected that warfare would be on a post-nuclear battlefield and troops would remain buttoned up in their armoured personnel carriers for much of the time. Therefore it made sense to make the webbing as minimal as possible. Note then that there are no ammunition pouches- you were supposed to carry your magazines in your pocket! As the set would not be supporting the weight of ammunition pouches, the yoke has very flimsy 1” wide straps, which were uncomfortable to wear for any length of time. Finally all the components are held together with Velcro. This is fine for quickly reconfiguring the set, but Velcro becomes less effective when it is wet and items had an annoying habit of dropping off on exercise! One user noted:
Problem is Velcro often does not work when wet and every now and then we do have to work in the rain. You either taped everything up with gun tape which looked stylish and made it hard to adjust your webbing ( removing/ adding jackets) or prayed you didn’t have all your gear fall off during ATC.
I seriously doubt whoever designed it was an infanteer. The web gear seemed ok for Arty and Engineer types who just needed something to hold NBCD kit and say water bottle close to hand while doing their thing and without being too bulky and intrusive. Also because of its minimal size it was ok for vehicle crews…Like most I loved it when first issued after this Korean/WW2 vintage stuff we’d had, but to be honest I soon missed that and was raiding my old gear for ammo pouches etc.
We will come back to this set in more detail in the coming months, next week we will take an overview of its successor, the 82 pattern set.