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Musette Bags M1921 - M1936

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I don't really know anything about them but to me the 'MADE" looks a little odd.


I'm always looking to buy old sets of bagpipes

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Well you have to laugh sometimes, early this morning I went through my bunch of musettes, I had crated all my stuff up ten years ago when I got divorced and so this is my first viewing of the musettes in ten years. Well Well guess what was in there amongst the pile, an Australian made one. It is not marked USMC, or made in Australia as the one on Ebay, but it does have the same maker ' SH***W? ' sorry I can't quite make out the last letter. Otherwise it is identical to the one on eBay, the back straps are the same, and the pocket on the right. What was most interesting was the price label inside, I paid £2 ( $3 ) for it in the late sixties.

One of my interesting finds in a musette some twenty years ago was a WWII British army brass button escape compass. Sometime after I had bought the musette, I ran my hand inside the the internal pockets and pulled my hand out quickly with a pin nice guy of blood coming out one finger. Inside was this brass buttons with four central holes and a small indent on one side of the rim, they were sewn onto British special forces uniforms and airmen. If escaping & evading the enemy the button was removed and behind it was a small tack, the button was balanced on the tack and the dot on the rim showed North. The musette cost $15 the button compass was worth $100, great find.


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Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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Did anyone notice that the bag on eBay seems to make use of what appears to be the same button used on U.S. Marine Corps HBT P41 dungaree coats and trousers to close the large back pocket that I suppose was used for ponchos, but the side pocket button is the standard "flat" face type? Don't know if this adds to the mystery or not.

 

Also, just a thought, but where was an Australian maker at the FAR end of a very long supply line going to come up with all the identical hardware that was used by American makers in producing such bags? Even in the U.K. they had to substitute British hardware in some places on stuff made for the U.S. Army.

 

Another thought. Of all the items which might somehow have been in short supply for Marine Corps units in Australia, certainly there must have been many that would have been of a much higher priority, not to mention usage, than Army M-1936 style musette bags, a pattern that the Corps itself had already deemed in need of modification long since by 1944.

 

I would apply the same logic to the discussion of camo helmet covers marked as "Made In Australia" that some of you were having elsewhere on this forum.

 

If they were going to set up all the manufacturing required to create reversible camo material, why produce just helmet covers? Why not make camo coats and trousers also?? Anybody ever seen any that were marked as made down under? In fact, the 1st MARDIV had to go into New Britain wearing the unsatisfactory Army jungle suits.

 

If the Marines wanted to contract for something they needed, it would seem to me that Winter Service uniforms might have been a much more likely choice. You know, WOOLEN garments in a country with millions of sheep and an already well developed woolen textile and garment industry. Instead, Marines got Aussie battle dress as a substitute.

 

Just some musings. Take them for what they may be worth.


PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER, SADLY, HAS PASSED AWAY

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Hi Everyone, do you know a lot of people value their youth, I value that I had one and it was back in the nineteen-sixties. There was not all this paranoia about militaria, everthing was so cheap and original there was no major faking items up, because it was all so cheap it was pennies. Take the WWII American Willys Jeep, you could buy on the road working ones for £35 - £50 ( $50 -$70 ), all the spares were original U.S. stock in cosmoline wrapping, there was no Phillipines made stuff or French Hodgekiss parts, the French army were still using Jeeps, they were not letting Hodgekiss spares out.

 

All the clothing I bought cost pennies, my first M-42 jump jacket was twenty pounds with a 101st patch on it, it's a struggle to buy an original patch now for twenty pounds. My blade marked M-3 knife in an M-6 scabbard cost £10 ( $15 ) with six original WWII patches a couple being felt made ones. We wore original stuff a lot of the time I used to live in an original A-2 flying jacket, I wore it to work and to go out in, Mom did ask me to take it off to go to bed at night though.

 

I met a couple of guys about six years ago, they had both just bought a Willys Jeep each, they wanted tio know why the knitted Beanie Jeep cap cost so much at £25 as the one guys father said that they were only a couple of pounds after the war. I asked them why they had paid £4.500 and £5.000 for their Jeeps as they were only £10 and £15 after the war. I now doubt that there's a Jeep anywhere in this hobby that does not run with fake or re-production parts. As this stuff has become more collectable so the prices have risen, as they have risen then here's the quick buck cowboys, and the re-production stuff.

 

Don't blame the cowboy's, blame the people who don't bother to learn about the stuff, blame the people who put more value on fantasy rather than reality, blame the paranoia caused by high prices and the questions eveyone now asks when they look at an original item. A lot of people now are trying to virtually convince their selves that things are fakes, rather than convince their selves that they are original. Try looking at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty.

 

I have shown an Australian made musette above, I bought it for £2 it was already used and abused, so who was ripping me off forty years ago who was selling me a fake, how were they trying to fool me. Forty years ago I was the crank, I was the one that was starting a collection of this stuff, 99.9 percent of the other purchasers were carrying their sandwiches to the factory in theirs. So the surplus dealer was ripping the factory workers off was he, was he laughing behind their backs and saying ' I just sold that guy a fake Australian made bag, and he's carrying his sandwiches to work in it, what a fool'

 

Yes I had the best days, yes we rolled around in original Jeeps and yes we used original items, and when we wore them out we went and bought another one.

 

Love it or hate it, it's General Apathy that gets you every time, ( excuse the pun )

 

Cheers ( Lewis )


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Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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Personally I would like better pictures but based on what I see I have no problems with the bag. Construction looks correct (it is not uncommon to see the Aussie's make stuff backwards!) and remember they weren't just making stuff for the USMC. The Army had tons of stuff made in Australia.


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"YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH RED WINE, TOO MANY BOOKS, OR TOO MUCH AMMUNITION."

Rudyard Kipling

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Based on Ken's comments I placed a bid on that bag but wasn't willing to invest too much on it so got outbid. I still had some issues with it one being that I don't know why the Marine Corps would have had musette bags made in Australia as late as 1944. It would make more sense earlier in the war when the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions were based over there for operations in the south Pacific. But you can't usually apply logic to military procurement so the bag may very well be legit....I just wasn't willing to pay much for it.


Greg Robinson "marine-kabar"

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**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER, SADLY, HAS PASSED AWAY**

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/106069-rip-greg-robinson/

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M1921

 

2_Musette_Bag_1A_Front__M1921_.jpg

3_Musette_Bag_1B_Rear__M1921_.jpg

4_Musette_Bag_1C_Label__M1921_.jpg

 

Craig,

I had never heard of the M1921so pardon me if I ask a dum Q. Is the bottom section khaki leather or is it canvas too? I do have a similar bag attributed to a WW1 vet Ohio NG officer with russet brown leather bottom. Might I perchance have an M1921 that I did not know about? I don't think it is marked at all.

 

G



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Gil,

I do not know if the bag I show with the leather bottom is actually called a M1921. I did that to account for that item in the display. It is dated 1921. During WW1 Musette Bags were used but usually of UK or French orgin. I think perhaps this was the first US made version post WW1. You see the design with a leather bottom and single closure strap used in manuals of the period. The 1940 issue of FM21-15 shows this bag.

 

My bag does have a leather bottom. I was told once that the bags with russett bottom were issue and bags with light color leather were private purchase.

 

 

 

tweedie

Welcome to the forum.

 

I am not sure exactly what that loop is used for. We have discussed it several times over the last few years and several ideas have been put forth but no one has presented period documentation as to the intended purpose. The loop appears on the 1921 dated bag as well as the last 1945 dated bag. The interior of all these bags are the same.

 

Some of the thoughts are:

 

To hold the old design 3 section hinged tent pole. When an attempt was made to document this no one could get the tent pole to fit correctly.

 

To hold the guy line for the tent. This is possible but more likely the guy line would be used to tie the tent in place. In fact in the 1944 or 45 dated issue of FM21-15 shows a tent roll on the outside of the musette bag and tied in place using the guy line.

 

To hold the eating utensils (as Gil just suggested) but I think these utensils were intended for the outside pocket on the side of the bag.

 

I would love to hear other ideas or even better period documentation showing the intended purpose. With all the new members we have gained in the last few months maybe someone knows for sure.


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Hi,
Maybe this could have been used to carry the helmet during march or horseride?
This is a picture taken from the officer's guide showing the wear of the M1917(A1??) over a musette bag (previous version of the 1936):

the chinstrap can go through this fabric loop, under the flap, holding the helmet in place. I tried with a M-1 and it works:

post-24355-0-14634200-1399758031.jpg

I'm lacking period photos but maybe someone has some showing this way of carrying helmets.
It may be wrong, but I'm trying to find...
Regards
Tweedie


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That is a new idea to me. Of all the suggestions I have heard that has never been one of them. The pic you show is from the 1940 edition of FM21-15 and may have been used earlier in other manuals. It was reused in the Officer's Guide.


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That is a new idea to me. Of all the suggestions I have heard that has never been one of them. The pic you show is from the 1940 edition of FM21-15 and may have been used earlier in other manuals. It was reused in the Officer's Guide.

 

Hmmmmm. I think Tweedie has an excellent idea. I too have always wondered how they carried the helmet on the musette bag -- also on the M1928 (meat can pouch). Certainly we see these in pix -- especially going aboard troop ships.

 

G



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I re-read FM21-15 to see if any new ideas came to me.

 

One of the things specified in regards to the pic you posted is that the helmet strap is secured to the pack suspension straps so that is counter to your idea.

 

There is a detailed list of everything an officer is expected to carry to the field. Of the things listed to be carried in the musette bag there is nothing that would match up with that loop. Most of the things you could attempt to match up are supposed to be carried in the bed roll on separate transport.

 

Things listed to be carried in the musette bag are:

Flashlight

Handkerchief

Mess kit, complete

Raincoat

Rations

Toilet set

Towel

 

Things listed to be carried attached to the musette bag are:

Steel helmet

Overcoat

 

We all know that liberties were taken with what was carried and where it was carried but the question we are addressing goes back to the original basic design. There was an intended purpose for this loop. If it was not used then why wasn't it dropped from later designs? My first bag is dated 1921 and the last is dated 1945 so surely somewhere in 24 years this would have been dropped from the design spec if no longer required. Many other things were dropped or revised during WW2 so why not this loop?


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One of the things specified in regards to the pic you posted is that the helmet strap is secured to the pack suspension straps so that is counter to your idea.

 

Hi

 

I do agree but this is a drawing, not a pic. Even if this drawing is very sharp, the "artist" could have forgotten (or decided to forget...) to draw the chinstrap under the flap.

Period photos could bring answers. The few veterans who used the musette bag I met had no idea about the use of this loop and some never noticed that it existed!

Maybe the army designed this loop for a special purpose and forgot to explain its use to the troops (this won't be the first time) or this use was lost because it was not convenient.

If I come across some pics, I will post them

Tweedie


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I did not make my comment about where the straps were secured based on the pic. It was based on the text of the manual explaining how and where to secure the helmet.

OK, so the drawing is precise and my suggestion false...

One day we will find!

Tweedie


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Well, in reading the above, something new has occured to me -- would the small roll of toilet paper provided in the rations fit it the small loop we are discussing? It certainly would be handy there -- easier to get at than down in the bag itself.

 

G



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I have several of those toilet paper rolls that I found in a compartment of a M1935 Bed Roll. I think they would fit the loop in discussion but I doubt if those TP rolls were around in 1921 (or before) when the loop was designed.

 

I'm sure this loop was used for many different things over the years but to me the question is what was it originally designed for.


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Hi,

Could anyone tell me what the markings on these musette bags mean?

 

The first one belonged to Lt Woodworth but what "for shipment 6814 CV" means?

 

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7ys3vbm.jpg

 

 

The second one as the marking " RE-7373-KK" what's that?

 

6jdm3ur.jpg

 

thanks!

 

tweedie


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For information only. Here is a picture of the french Musette TAP50 whose design was patterned after the USM36 Musette bag.

 

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"One law for them, another one for us !"

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So it seems that you carried your bayonet on your belt if you had a musette or a later style, is that assumption correct?


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That is a correct assumption. The original users of the M36 did not carry bayonets though. It was an officer's bag and he carried a pistol, then senior NCOs got them and they too carried pistols. Later mechanized troops were issued the pack and they had bayonets and then of course the paratroopers used them.


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Hi all,

 

The late war model of the M1936 Musette bag with the panel sewed on... I saw a pic that it could be dated 1944.

 

So such bag found in a town of the battle of the bulges ( december 1944 ) wouldn't be weird ?

 

On the one i have there is no date or marking visible , except the US .

 

Can anyone help me on this one ?


" You can manufacture weapons and you can purchase ammunition,

But you can't buy valor and you can't pull heroes off an assembly line ".

 

-Sergeant John B. Ellery-

U.S. 1st Infantry Division

 

Hang Tough my friend!

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Flea market - couple bucks.

 

Appears to be unissued -

 

what is the correct date strap to add to this?

 

Is it common to have no date?

 

Is this a recognized manufacturer?

 

TIA

44

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Well, in reading the above, something new has occured to me -- would the small roll of toilet paper provided in the rations fit it the small loop we are discussing? It certainly would be handy there -- easier to get at than down in the bag itself.

 

G

 

I've heard that the loop was for tent poles but never thought it looked big enough to slide 3 of the through? think.gif


Looking for for 37th Division

VietNam and earlier Special Forces &

USS Hemminger DE 746 items

"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

See my FB sales page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1928884587130681/pending/

 

 

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Three sections of a tent pole will not fit the loop for sure. I think it was General Apathy that showed a pic of one leg on the hinged 3 section pole going thru the loop.

 

The loop will work for this but remember the loop was there on the 1921 dated example so what ever it was intended for came from that same era.

 

The loop remained there from 1921 until final production and so far no one has managed to find a manual or any written instruction for the intended use.


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