Category Archives: 72-Webbing

1972 Pattern Butt Pack

Tonight we come to the fourth and final component of the 1972/75 webbing set; the rear haversack, more commonly called the butt pack:imageThis is a nylon haversack that sits at the rear of the webbing set and is designed to carry the same contents as the 58 pattern kidney pouches and poncho roll:- NBC kit, field rations, spare socks, wash kit etc. Whilst the pouch is larger than the kidney pouches of the earlier set, without the poncho roll the capacity remains small and this was one of the major shortcomings of the set.

The throat of the rear pouch secured with a drawstring:imageThis in turn was covered with the top flap. On the underside of this top flap are the maker’s details:imageAt the rear are a pair of plastic D-loops that allow the yoke to be attached to the pouch:imageBeneath these is a white panel used to write the soldier’s name and number on when in service:imageThe 72/75 pattern set does not have a separate belt, so the rear pouch attaches to the side pouches directly so straps and plastic frictions buckles are sewn to each side of the pouch:imageTwo variations of haversack apparently exist; a plain one and a type like this one that has a long pocket across the base:imageSome sources say this was for a machete, whilst others say it was for a pick axe head, which is what I have fitted it with:imageA loop with a friction buckle is also fitted to the top of the flap of the pouch:imageThis seems to have been used to allow extra items to be strapped onto the webbing.

This piece finishes my set of 72/75 pattern webbing and I now have a complete set:imageThese sets are scarce as they were a trials item half a century ago, but all the pieces are still available from one supplier (albeit not cheaply) so I am pleased to have finally finished the set and have a full set up as a soldier on exercise whilst trialling the new web set in the early 1970s:imageimageimageimageHaving worn the set, I can see why it was never adopted. It is flimsy and complicated and the carrying capacity is limited, as is the sets adaptability. On the plus side the butyl nylon is much easier to decontaminate than cotton webbing, but it would be another ten to fifteen years before a far superior design was adopted by British Army when the PLCE set became the standard load bearing set for the next thirty years or more.

I have deliberately named this as being the 72/75 pattern in this post rather than the 72 pattern as I have done previously. I have been informed that the term 72 pattern is a collectors’ term and the official designation was the 1975 pattern PLCE set- this name would today cause far more confusion as the pieces are all dated 1972 or 1973 and PLCE is more commonly associated with the 1980s and 90s sets.

72 Pattern Right Hand Pouch

The 72 pattern web set was a trials webbing set that was experimented with in the early 1970s. It was designed to be easier to decontaminate in an NBC environment and to address some of the shortcomings of the 58 pattern design. It has been several years since we last looked at any parts of this set, looking at the yoke and the left hand pouch. Tonight we look at the right hand pouch. imageThis pouch is a mirror of the left, but does not have a set of loops for a bayonet frog. The waist belt is also a female fastener rather than a male:imageOther than that the design is identical so there is a ready use pouch for a single SLR magazine secured with a press stud:imageAnd a larger utility pouch that can hold either L4 magazines or a water bottle:imageThis pouch is fastened with a black plastic two prong fastener:imageThis was highlighted as a weak point in the design as the fastener easily broke in service.

The rear of the pouch has a sewn on panel to add a name and number to, originally white this example is now very worn:imageA pair of eyelets are fitted to allow a machete to be slung using a wire hanger:imageAs this would be right above the wearer’s thigh, this does not seem the most practical of designs!

The pouch fastens to the rear pouch with a set of tapes and plastic and in lieu of a bayonet fixing, the right hand pouch has a couple of loops to attach other equipment to:imageIt goes without saying that the 72 pattern was not a success. One soldier who tried it recalls:

I tried a set on once. It was alles über der platz. Unlike trusty ’58 it was very awkward to don with any kind of speed and looked fit to fall to pieces under any kind of strain. Gash.image

72 Pattern Yoke

A couple of weeks back we looked at the left hand pouch from the 72 pattern webbing set. Tonight we are looking at a second component from this set, the yoke. My thanks go to Stephen Madden for pointing out where to get this piece from. This component is clearly heavily influenced by the design of both the 44 and 58 pattern webbing sets:imageThe yoke has a pair of heavily padded shoulder straps to help distribute the weight of the webbing and its contents:imageAt the end of the straps on the front are a pair of buckles, like that used on the earlier 44 pattern set:imageThese connect to the small vertical straps on the front of the pouches. The centre of the yoke has the same straps and buckles as the 58 pattern set:image Opened up these reveal a metal stud that connects with the handle of a pick axe of shovel:imageThe pick axe handle would then sit vertically down the back as on the 58 pattern webbing. One unique feature of this yoke is the use of plastic tab buckles, much like that used on the US ALICE system of webbing:imageIn this contemporary photograph of a complete set of webbing, the yoke can clearly be seen holding together the components of the set:72webbingSadly I cannot find any stamps or markings on this piece of webbing, but the material it is made out of might have proved difficult to mark at the time. I now have half this set and with any luck I can track down the rest of the set in the coming months.

1972 Pattern Webbing Left hand Pouch

In the early 1970s the British Army trialled a new set of webbing designed for the nuclear age. This new webbing was the first to move away from cotton weave to a butyl nylon that could be easily decontaminated. The webbing system was a radical departure from previous design and had some innovative features that were not followed up on subsequent designs. The webbing system was officially known as ‘75 pattern’ by the MoD, is commonly referred to as ’72 Pattern’ by collectors and was actually introduced as early as 1971…complicated enough for you? As can be imagined, components for this set of webbing are rare and so far I only have two of the four main components. We kick off tonight looking at the left hand pouch assembly:imageAs can be seen the design has a large pouch designed to hold the water bottle and other personal items, this is secured with a black plastic buckle:imageThis pouch has the usual grommet on the bottom to allow any water to drain out:imageAnd on the side belt loops are sewn to allow an SLR bayonet to be carried:imageNext to this is a single ammunition pouch with a rounded top flap:imageThis holds a single SLR magazine for quick access and has a press stud fastening:imageThe webbing set is unusual in not having a belt to fasten other items to, instead having the male and female buckles sewn directly to the pouches, this example has the black plastic male fastener:imageAlso of note on the front is a webbing tab with two eyelets to allow extra items such as another water bottle to be attached:imageThis seems particularly impracticable as anything hung from it would be conveniently positioned to hit the wearer in the groin! Turning the ammunition pouch over we can see that the back is pretty plain:imageA large white panel is sewn on to allow the wearer to write his name and number on the webbing:imageThe pouch connects to the ‘bum pack’ part of the webbing through large plastic US style clips:imageMy thanks go to Stephen Madden for kind permission to use these photographs of his complete set of 72 pattern webbing showing how the parts all fit together:15202703_1543249369025610_5341110630851096588_n15202491_1543249612358919_2433907004048512584_nReturning to my pouch, the manufacturer’s details and a date of 1972 are stamped onto the underside of the main pouch lid in black ink:imageThis web set is pretty rare, and I suspect it might be unknown to many readers. I have also picked up the yoke for the set which we will be looking at in the new year, I am therefore after the right hand pouch and the ‘bum pouch’ if anyone can help me track them down!15241217_1541944765822737_7607187199140377599_n