Web Infantry Equipment, Pattern 1937

Component Pictures and Data

List of Changes No. §B1623, approved 8 June,1938, announced almost all of what became the full set. Missing from this was the Haversack for officers, which is dealt with in the relevant section below. It did not include a Pack, as the Patt. ’08 design was used. The instructional handbook, The Pattern 1937 Web Equipment, was announced over a year later, by Army Council Instruction (A.C.I.) 719/1939. The pamphlet was now more complete than the L. of C. entry, the Haversack, officers’ and the Pistol Case R.A.C. having been added. In 1951, L. of C.. §C4686 transferred V.A.O.S. Section A1 to the new Section CN, under the Catalogue of Clothing and Necessaries. The setting up of this new Section also entailed a rationalisation of Stores Codes. Those with wartime allocations in the 5000 series, were re-numbered into the main 0001 – 2300 sequence. This included several items that were Not In Vocabulary (N.I.V.), that were pertinent to Patt. ’37 W.E. Six wartime introductions and three pre-war items were therefore absorbed into Patt. ’37 W.E. For completeness the 1938 items and these late additions are all listed below.

Note on U.K. manufacturers and web materials

With the outbreak of war, in 1939, manufacturing capacity within the Mills Equipment.Company (M.E.Co.) and M.Wright.& Sons (M.W.& S.). could not meet demand. A huge number of firms were brought in, many not remotely connected with manufacturing accoutrements. This inevitably led to expedient manufacturing differences, as none had looms capable of “reduction weaving”, or “integral weaving”. The descriptions below cover what we’ll term the standard production. Other manufacturer’s products, as and when photographs are received, will be added later. Note that the fabrics used vary in weave and quality, even in Mills’ own products, as should be expected in wartime.

Note on Stores References

These did not exist until after the Great War and were not actually marked-on until 1944-5. They took the form “AA” as a prefix, derived from the Section of the Vocabulary of Army Ordnance Stores (V.A.O.S.) being Section A1, Helmets and Accoutrements. Section A2 was AB and, when they were later devised, Section A3 was AC, etc. The full code prefix was therefore “A1/AA”. When the contents of Section A1 of the Vocabulary of Army Ordnance Stores (V.A.O.S.) were transferred from Didcot Ordnance depot’s accounts to Branston’s, they also changed to a new Section CN, raised under the Catalogue of Clothing and Necessaries (C.C.N.). Codes previously entered formally in Section A1 therefore became “CN/AA”. Items introduced during the War had been given provisional codes, in a 5000 sequence. These did not officially exist, being “N.I.V.”, i.e. their addition to V.A.O.S. had not been ordered, so the 1951 transfer brought about a plain “CN” prefix, with no reference to their origins in the AA 5000 sequence codes.

Patt. ’37 W.E. was still in service when the C.C.N. and V.A.O.S. were combined into the Catalogue of Ordnance Stores and Ammunition (C.O.S.A.), but still as Section CN Accoutrements and Steel Helmets. In the post-war period, as early as 1958 (in one instance), partially by 1965 and fully by 1970, the old CN codes had changed to N.A.T.O. Item Identification Numbers (N.I.I.N.), of the form 8465-99-973-6076 ATTACHMENT, BRACE, WEBBING, Cotton drab, Web equipment 1937 Pattern.

Group 84 Clothing, individual equipment, and insignia
Class 8465 Individual Equipment
Nation Code Number 99, indicating the U.K.
N.I.I.N. 9736076 Attachment brace etc, split to 973-6076 for ease of reference.

Though these N.S.N.s (NATO Stores Numbers) can be found marked on certain Patt. ‘37 items, at this early stage, KW has not included these. When time permits, these will be collated and added to the individual item headings.

Note on Empire manufacture

A separate account will be added to cover the manufacturing differences for Australia, Canada, India and South Africa. KW are still deciding whether to include the variations of Patt. ’37, that were supplied to Europe and elsewhere, after 1945.

Note on Metal Fittings

Just as steel fittings had been used on some Patt. ’08, Army Council Instruction (A.C.I.) 703/1943 announced the use of Sheradised steel fittings, as a economy measure. These were greyish and had a rough surface texture and were not be polished. Although the A.C.I. commented that mixed fittings, in both brass and steel would be encountered, it did not mention the other changes; the belt slides were changed to narrow webbing and the Hooks, brass with tip were deleted. Instead, a smaller hook (brass, or Sheradised steel) was stitched directly onto the belt ends. In the early 1950s, the metal fittings changed again to Bonderised steel, appearing as a matt-black finish. This also led to a coding variation, appearing either as CN / B / XXXX or as a suffix, CN XXXX B. Somewhat of a statement of the obvious!

The articles described below are the original standard, with all-brass fittings. Rather than repeat the above on each article, note that they can be found with these different fittings. No analysis has been done of exactly what was made in this “economy” style. It would be most useful if readers could inform KW of what economy items they have in their collections, with details of exactly which fittings are not made of brass.