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WWI Medics & Cavalry Ration Bags

Started by QED4 , Mar 19 2007 05:54 PM

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#1 QED4

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 05:54 PM

Hello.

for your information ;)
@+ solcarlus

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Why is a medic wearing a cavalry ration bag?

#2 robinb

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 08:49 PM

Because in 1917, the Medical Corps was issued M1912 Cavalry Ration bags to be used as thier packs.
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#3 artu44

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:29 AM

In this pic of the period you can see a Medic wearing equipment Robin listed. Solcarlus, take a look at the web canteen extender (hanger, double, web, for canteen) and at the diagnostic tag carrier (Pouch for diagnisis tags and instrument). It looks like a big WWI fiRst aid pouch.

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  • medic2.jpg

Edited by artu44, 20 March 2007 - 02:34 AM.


#4 QED4

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 06:15 AM

OK, a little more specific please. What was the theory for issuing a medic a Cavalry Ration Pack I don't think a medic in the field would have much need for oats. Was it for the horse drawn ambulances or did they use them for something else? And if so what was the advantage of using it over the standard pack or anything else? These packs are quite heavy and don't have that much volume, the only thing is they come apart so they can be thrown across the saddle, what advantage would this have for a medic? This dose not seem logical (of course the army is not known for its logic) or am I missing something. Was this for Medical Units that had horses or would a medic in an Infantry unit have it too? Basically, what was in it, horse rations, medical supplies, or the medic's own rations and extra socks?

#5 artu44

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 07:32 AM

OK, a little more specific please. What was the theory for issuing a medic a Cavalry Ration Pack I don't think a medic in the field would have much need for oats. Was it for the horse drawn ambulances or did they use them for something else? And if so what was the advantage of using it over the standard pack or anything else? These packs are quite heavy and don't have that much volume, the only thing is they come apart so they can be thrown across the saddle, what advantage would this have for a medic? This dose not seem logical (of course the army is not known for its logic) or am I missing something. Was this for Medical Units that had horses or would a medic in an Infantry unit have it too? Basically, what was in it, horse rations, medical supplies, or the medic's own rations and extra socks?




As far as I know the ration bags was dedicated to the cavalryman rations and not for feeding horses , horse feed bags are specifically issued for it. In my opinion when they introduced the m1910 haversack they had a lot of surplus ration bags so why dont give them to second line soldiers equipped as cavalry, army doesn't throw away anything.

#6 QED4

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 04:35 PM

The Feed Bag was the bag that was filled with food and strapped to the horse's shout so he could eat. I don't think food was carried in it mainly because it could not be tightly closed and if it was it would only be one meal. Since the horses eat like the proverbial horse they required a lot of food and as I remember the food was portion controlled into single meals and put into cotton or canvas bags. These bags were then carried in the Ration Pack which could be separated and carried over the saddle like saddle bags. It could be made into a back pack because in the field the horses could be quite a distance from the wagons with the food and the soldier would have to shleep it in. The cavalrymen had the same meat can, bacon can, and condiment can as everyone else. A fiend of mine has a good book on the Cavalry but he is out of town so I can't give you any references now.

#7 robinb

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 05:05 PM

So you're saying that the Ration Bags were carried on the horse to carry food for the horse? And then the Cavalryman would pack it to the horse at feeding time?

#8 Allan H.

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 05:12 PM

The ration bags were issued as a pack for medics because they had a solid bottom- unlike the M1910 backpack which used a pack extension and used a blanket to hold all of the contents within the confines of the pack. Imagine trying to stuff an M1910 pack with field dressings, scissors, medical tape, bottles of pills and salves etc.
The ration bags made for a compact carrying system and fit the medic's requirements.
Allan

#9 robinb

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 07:32 PM

I doubt that was the reason for the Medical Dept adopting the M1912 ration bags. If you're right, then where was the Medic supposed to carry his mess kit, etc? The belt was supposed to hold all of the neccessary medical items the Medical Enlisted Man was to carry.

#10 Keystone

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 01:44 PM

Robin,
The mess kit was carried in the ration bags. Kind of difficult to explain... the front of the bags laced together and provided a pocket for the mess kit. (I'll see if I can get some pics of my bag on later) This is the way the cavalry was supposed to carry the mess kit while dismounted. The specifics are in the M1912 manual, which I'll also try to get pics of.
Tim

#11 US CANTEEN GURU

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 05:48 PM

You fellows could confuse a scarecrow what his job was.

In 1912 the Cavalry Equipment Board adopted a set of horse equipments that was fielded as the Model of 1912 (Experimental). The ration bags were carried at the cantle (rear) of the saddle and were configured as saddle bags. Most of the cavalry soldier's personal and mess equipment, including the canteen, cup and cover, were carried in leather pommel bags.

The ration bags were designed so that they could be configured into a back pack for extended service dismounted.

In 1917 the Army plans for expansion for the A.E.F. included activating twenty-seven new cavalry regiments, three cavalry brigades and two cavalry divisions. The Ordnance Department started manufacture of horse equipment for these formations. Headquarters AEF soon determined there was no requirement for cavalry in Europe. The cavalry regiments were all reorganized as field artillery regiments.

As a result of the requirement for thousands of sets of horse equipment when the cavalry regiments were reorganized there was a large amount of the manufactured equipment that became excess.

For whatever reason the Hospital Corps adopted as part of the hospitalman's personal equipment the ration bags, that were excess to cavalry requirements, in the dismounted back pack configuration to replace the Model of 1910 Haversack. The personal and field equipment carried in the pack was all that would have otherwise been carried in the haversack.

The Hospital Corps use of the Model of 1912 ration bags had nothing to do with horse mounted service.

#12 QED4

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 06:41 AM

So basically what you are saying is the only reason that medics were issued these packs was because they were there. There was no advantage to a medic using it other than it would not interfere with his belt and he carried his personal equipment it. It seems to make too much sense for the Army.

#13 US CANTEEN GURU

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 12:30 PM

So basically what you are saying is the only reason that medics were issued these packs was because they were there. There was no advantage to a medic using it other than it would not interfere with his belt and he carried his personal equipment it. It seems to make too much sense for the Army.


To the casual observer, lack of research, misinformation, (much of it from dealers) and the experiences of people that didn't like anything about the military there is frequently a general or specific allegation of incompetence by the military. It is true that sometimes things didn't function as planned. But is it not also true that in general plans and material items don't always go as expected? If the Army had designed the Ford Edsel everyone would have said that was a typical military blunder.

The military that most people experience is populated with people that could not make it in civilian life, are disgruntled and most likely "lifers" that "found a home in the Army." The military is unique in that very rarely is a person assigned to a job for which they are completely educated, trained and experienced. For the most part things go pretty well and equipment is functional until it gets into the hands of the disgruntled people trained and led by lifers.

The Marine Corps, that everyone seems to adore, prefers to "do it their way." The USMC jumped on the mostly "off the shelf" MOLLE system without much in the way of testing. The experience of the Marines in Afghanistan was that the MOLLE gear was deficient in allot of ways and soon became unserviceable. The follow-on generations of MOLLE has greatly improved the material. The Marines are now embarked on acquiring the Infantry Load Bearing Equipment (ILBE) that dear fellow tax payers is costing allot of tax dollars, while the Army goes forward with fielding the greatly improved MOLLE system.

Yes I know LBE is a relatively miniscule slice of the military budget, but it affects the users at the basic level where the LPCs hit the sand. But let us turn back a few years in the history of the U.S. of A. The American voters in their infinite wisdom bought a well known political party's sophisticated and dedicated leader. He was among other things the Commander in Chief of the armed services. During his eight years tenure funds for military exercises, training, research, testing and new equipment went to more needful people.

Okay, that's the military the voters got, but I guess life style for the rest of us improved. Now comes religious fanatics and tyrannical leaders that not only degrade the lifestyle of their own people but are sympathetic to the fanatics' jihad. The American military that has yet to recover from eight years of "leadership" is rather rapidly deployed to secure the interests of us, the U.S. Suddenly comes the rush for adequate equipment and training, for which the costs are relatively astounding. Suddenly comes the cry the military leaders are buffoons, they should have anticipated the unpleasantness and been prepared through training and the acquisition of serviceable equipment.

I think you get my point and I shall stand down from Box, Soap, one each.

BTW I don't know why the medics got the ration bags but I can see the point of a pack short enough that it doesn't ride the belt. I am not aware of any other available pack that would have provided this feature. Considering the weight and configuration of the ration bags it is likely the Hospital Corps would have preferred something like a large pack similar to the upper pack of the USMC M1941. I would say the hospital corpsmen likely got the ration bags because they were available and not by choice or design.

#14 atb

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 05:18 PM

The M1912 Ration Bags were designed to carry the cavalry trooper's rations and mess gear, not fodder for the animals. See Steffen's volume for an exerpt from the period document that tells exactly what the tooper is to carry in the Ration Bags. It was adopted for the Medical Corps because the full pack M1910 Dismounted Haversack with the long roll would have interfered with the rear pockets of the Medical Belt. The Ration Bags ride higher on the back and the full pack is carried as a bedroll over the top of the pack. The Ration Baggs were issued with long leather thongs for securing the blanket roll.

#15 lebelmilitaria

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 06:41 PM

Has anyone out there seen or has access to a image of actual AEF in Europe usage of the M1912 ration bags? All photos of it in use by medics have usually all been QM photos taken here in the USA. I've never seen any photos or heard of any out there of images of AEF medics using these bags. I've seen many, many images of medics w/ musette bags of various types in both AEF Signal Corps photos and RPPCs. Anyone out there w/ evidence they were actually used by the AEF in France? Thanks, Will

#16 atb

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 02:55 PM

Some images of the M1912 Ration Bags being used by medical personnel in France and in occupied Germany after the Armistice.

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#17 rayg

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 03:31 PM

Some images of the M1912 Ration Bags being used by medical personnel in France and in occupied Germany after the Armistice.


All of the 1912 Ration bags I have seen having the red cross on them were altered by having the had the metal D rings removed from the back on the straps and the straps sewn directly to the packs, Ray

#18 atb

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Posted 19 August 2007 - 06:15 AM

I've never seen one of the modified ones or any with red crosses on them. Any images available? My experience and ownership with these has been that they were either unmarked other than the "US" and maker's marks or they have medical unit markings (Hospital, Ambulance Company, etc.). I will speculate that those that were modified were done some time after WW1.

#19 lebelmilitaria

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 01:52 PM

I've never seen one of the modified ones or any with red crosses on them. Any images available? My experience and ownership with these has been that they were either unmarked other than the "US" and maker's marks or they have medical unit markings (Hospital, Ambulance Company, etc.). I will speculate that those that were modified were done some time after WW1.


exactly, i know you have probably seen dozens if not hundreds of these as most people have who have played w/ US Great War items like unfortunately myself, but I have never seen or heard of any w/ red cross markings or seen any images anywhere. btw....thanks honestly for the images and info

#20 artu44

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 11:47 PM

I saw one few months ago on ebay with a quite small ugly red cross painted on. I can't remember if it was US ebay or France ebay, anyway that cross could have been painted even some days before.

Edited by artu44, 30 August 2007 - 11:48 PM.



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