Jump to content

WWII Airborne Rigger Pouches


Recommended Posts

Hello all. I would like to start a thread here concerning these pouches. Very little is known about them, and I am no expert. However I feel that a thread where we can all come together and share what we know, and at the end we can have a proper reference thread on the subject. I have tried to search this board for past posts regarding this pouch, and I have found a few cool threads, but they are isolated and not very informative. FEEL FREE to contribute! ANY pictures of these pouches in use, ANY EXISTING EXAMPLES please share with us! Thank you USMF!

 

The Airborne riggers were quite ingenious. They developed special equipment to fit the needs of the parachutist in WWII. This led to quite a few different designs and applications of this special equipment, henceforth in this thread to be referred to under the blanket term: "Rigger pouches". Most of these pouches were produced on a unit level, so little to no official nomenclature exists as to their production. There is a mention of the classic Rigger Ammo pouch in one of the Army catalogs as "Air Corps Style Ammunition Pouch". But I do not know of any other official mention of these pouches.

 

Unlike most of the surplus we see, most of which was issued stateside, or never saw combat, rigger pouches most certainly saw combat. They were made for the fighting man, and nothing wears equipment like combat and its intense conditions. This means that the Original Airborne Rigger pouch is one of the scarcest and hard to find pieces of WWII American kit known to exist.

 

This makes collecting the airborne rigger pouch near impossible. What I know is that Mark Bando has an example of a classic airborne rigger pouch in his collection. I have seen a few isolated threads on this forum of members who have examples. I do not want to post any one's photos without permission, so if a MOD or the owners would like to move those pictures here than that would be great.

 

I will start this thread with a few period photos of troopers of the 504th in Sicily wearing these pouches.

 

 

post-153625-0-99457100-1415080149.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a few different pictures of gear spread out like this, taken shortly before the Sicily invasion, "Operation Huskey". They photos all show the typical combat load of a trooper of the 504th/505th RCTs when they jumped into Sicily. This one show the Rigger pouches on the right with corresponding 30-06 ammo. Other pictures show completely rigger made ammo combat belts, and Thompson Sub machine gun pouches. If anyone has these photos please share.

 

(Note the "Rampant Lion" emblem on the helmet.)

post-153625-0-72851700-1415081269.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

This picture is of troopers in preparation to D-Day, 101st (I believe). You can see on the nearest trooper is a rarer (tie down) Ammo Pouch. Usually the riggers used Lift the dot style snaps.

post-153625-0-77074300-1415081960.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

The use of rigger Ammo pouches seems almost complete among the 504th and 505th during the North African, Sicilian, and Italian Campaigns. But Use seems to taper off in time for D-Day. The issue of these pouches is less common, but still prevalent. I have yet to see a confirmed Market Garden photo with an airborne rigger pouch in use. Why did the pouches suddenly fall out of favor with the troopers?

 

It seems the 101st got their hands on some for D-Day.

post-153625-0-84920300-1415082452.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it interesting that a piece of Kit like the Rigger Pouch, can be thought up, mass produced and issued, become a major part of most rifleman's kit being widely used, and then almost completely disappear from History. Thank you USMF for allowing me my soapbox, and thanks to the fighting men from the sky who wore these unique pieces of gear and fought the hun.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your pre-D-Day group photo is actually 82nd Airborne, not 101st.

 

And the Thompson layout is not 505th, nor 82nd Airborne at all.

 

Rigger pouches were still in use in Holland (in much lesser numbers) in both the 101st and the 82nd Airborne.

 

Oh, and the 505th changed from the lift-the-dot flaps that they used in Sicily/Italy to the tie-down flaps for Normandy, which was a design faux-pas if you ask me....

 

Cheers,

Glen.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread about an interesting pouch!

 

I've always wanted to own some of these pouches but I've never found any I thought were original.

 

Does anyone here own any original examples?

 

Regards,

-Steve

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have one that came from Holland - apparently a 504th one - for two grenades, unfortunately with what appears to be a bloodstain on the rear, and I know that there are a couple owned by another member on here.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be very interested in seeing photos of originals.

 

Is there an approximate value for these pouches?

 

-Steve

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your pre-D-Day group photo is actually 82nd Airborne, not 101st.

 

And the Thompson layout is not 505th, nor 82nd Airborne at all.

 

Rigger pouches were still in use in Holland (in much lesser numbers) in both the 101st and the 82nd Airborne.

 

Oh, and the 505th changed from the lift-the-dot flaps that they used in Sicily/Italy to the tie-down flaps for Normandy, which was a design faux-pas if you ask me....

 

Cheers,

Glen.

 

As I said I am no expert. You seem to have info on these pictures. Im trying my best to start a conversion here, so maybe you can contribute in a more constructive manner? Thank you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

As I said I am no expert. You seem to have info on these pictures. Im trying my best to start a conversion here, so maybe you can contribute in a more constructive manner? Thank you.

 

Errr...? Way to go in making me feel like wanting to provide more information...! :blink:

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be very interested in seeing photos of originals.

 

Is there an approximate value for these pouches?

 

-Steve

 

Hi Steve, I think there's a couple of threads about these already - I know that Johan Willaert and 517th have posted photos of theirs before. Will dig mine out and get a photo of it for you.

 

Not sure on an approximate value - whatever someone is willing to pay, basically. These things are so rare, it's a seller's market.

 

Cheers,

Glen.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This keeps getting better! It seems that Tie down flaps were used in conjunction with LTD snaps from before Sicily. Does Anyone know if the 509th Used Rigger pouches in their landings in North Africa? Thanks all.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I answered my own Question Fellas! Check this out, there is an amazing album of pictures of the First Lady Elenor Roosevelt reviewing troopers of the 509th PIB as they trained in England in 1942-43. The photos not only show her as she makes her way around the men, but the high quality photos show Some of the earliest Airborne Kit in WWII.

post-153625-0-22019400-1415144706.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Col. Edson Raff "Little Ceasar" Commander of the 509th PIR escorts First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Note he carries a standard M1 Carbineicon. M1A1 Paratrooper Carbines had not yet been issued when the 509th PIR was in England. Note his Very early Carbine bayonet.

post-153625-0-14650900-1415144736.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.