27 December 2012
Part 1 of R.J Dennis's article on wartime Israeli accoutrements which featured in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of The Armourer. ...
Part 1 of R.J Dennis's article on wartime Israeli accoutrements featured in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of The Armourer. Two years later, the Jan/Feb 2013 issues includes Part 2, so here is a reminder of the objects covered by Part 1.
Additional images to accompany Part 2 of the article are shown below.
Israeli Accoutrements - The Early Years
Israeli accoutrements have received little detailed coverage, so these observations will hopefully catalyse further discussion and discovery.
When Israel achieved independence in 1948 her supplies of military equipment were motley, to say the least. Equipment was obtained from wherever it could be found, so their military accoutrements were a mixture of UK and US items, with the infantry using Mauser and Lee Enfield rifles, together with Sten SMGs.
Israel then approached the Mills Equipment Company, or M.E.Co., in whose 1956 Golden Jubilee book, The Development Of The Mills Woven Cartridge Belt 1877-1956, the then Managing Director, Albert Lethern, recorded an all-too brief comment on p68:
“…In addition the Israeli Army has been equipped with the 1937 Pattern modified to incorporate the “back-strap balancing feature” of the 1944 Pattern Equipment…”
A photo caption elsewhere is dated 1948 and shows the new pattern, albeit incorrectly stated as Patt. ’44 W.E. Its official Israeli nomenclature is not known, so I will ascribe Model 1948 W.E., just for reference. Being essentially Patt. ’37 with a few modifications, M.E.Co. could certainly have supplied Israel quickly.
After 1945, M.E.Co. supplied many countries with Pattern 1937 Web Equipment. With few exceptions, this was the standard UK issue, but some countries then requested modified items from M.E.Co. and, in due course, the countries made their own add-on items. It is therefore reasonable to assume Israel was no different and their hybrid pattern was substantially indistinguishable from Patt. ’37. Formal trials of Patt. ’44, took place in 1946, in Palestine, using 6th Airborne Div. personnel.
The Israelis could well have noted the Braces, but a more logical reason may have been cost, as the new country’s funds must have been limited.
With their existing UK and US accoutrements, they may have requested a Pattern that would be compatible and interchangeable with these.
Israeli Accoutrements - The Six-Day War
The full article and images appear in the January/February 2013 issue of The Armourer. Additional images are shown here: