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WWII Airborne Rigger Pouches


Ronny67
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This has been a great discussion guys!! Thank you all!

 

Someone above mentioned something that I would like to hear more about, namely the tactical viability of the pouches. The poster above mentions one excellent point and one that I have noted using the pouches during reenacting days. Once you use one or two magazines/clips from the pouch it becomes a noise liability with the mags/clips rattling around like crazy. The other thing I have thought about is that the rigger pouches add a step in a firefight - namely you have to remember to refasten then lift a dot or you lose all your rounds! With a regular cartridge belt you remove the M1 en bloc and you are done. With a rigger pouch you remove en bloc and have to resnap - may not sound like much but in the heat of combat having an extra step to remember might be the difference between life and death - not to mention the aforementioned risk of losing mags IF you forget to resnap! That is why I have always especially questioned the efficacy of the rigger pouches with the ties and not the lift a dots. Can you imagine having to re-tie a knot after removing each en bloc or magazine while being fired on??? By the way, this discussion hasn't really discussed the tie down rigger pouches but if anyone has an original example I'd sure love to see it here.

 

Another idea I'd like to throw out for discussion is just how much these pouches were really used? Early on you certainly see more guys wearing them than say, 1945 - but lets say you have a full infantry company - aren't you still more likely to see most of the soldiers in the company wearing cartridge belts or pistol belts than pouches even in 1942? BTW, I don't know the answer to that question just thought I'd ask for expert opinion.

 

Lastly, and someone above touched on this - I think the reason you see these pouches peter out is that in the end they weren't considered very handy combined with the army's drive toward standardization.

 

Again, thanks for all the insights, replies, photos, opinions etc. Great stuff!

Very best,

 

Bill K.

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Bill- I think the tie pouches were absurd, as well. You make VERY good points about these pouches drawbacks and flaws. Just food for thought, pictorial evidence seems to show that paras used these pouches heavily in initial drops, but you see less and less of them as the campaign moves along. i think a lot of guys wanted to drop with as much ammo as possible, and then after they connected with the ground pounders, discarded the pouches for regular cartridge pouches and belts. In that picture of the 509th guys resting in SouFrance, you see a guy in the back round with a standard ammo belt as well as a pistol belt with rigger pouches.

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These 509th troopers are Dog tired after feirce fighting in SouFrance. Note the USAAF style pouch on the kit to the right.

 

In a constructive helpful way, these troopers are 504th guys, not 509th. ;)

 

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In a constructive helpful way, these troopers are 504th guys, not 509th. ;)

 

 

Thanks for the info. I got this picture off of a french website about Dragoon. Thanks for the correction! :P

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Did any of you guys notice the .38 or .45 Revolver in the 504th picture ? or are my eyes deceiving me ?

 

Regards

 

Lloyd

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hi

 

one Usaaf pouch for thompson , found in flea market for 0,50 euro this summer

 

100_7023.jpg

 

100_7024.jpg

 

olivier

This is a beautiful pouch! How do you tell it's USAAF?

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If you go to "Display" and check out "Jumpin Jack's Collection", page 22, post #432, you will see will see two rigger-made pouches now in my collection. Both pouches are unmarked. As soon as I overcome a posting problem, I'll move the photo over to this subject. Jack Angolia

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I noticed in a lot of the first and second page pictures most of the guys had a rifle and a side arm. Was this standard?

 

It depends on the unit and the time of the war. It originally stemmed from the idea of dropping the longarms in the drop canisters, so the sidearms was to give the troops something to use until they got to their rifles.

 

Obviously tactics changed, Griswold Bags came into use (or weapons were simply slung in one piece over the shoulder for the jump), and sidearms were officially withdrawn from issue for normal Rifle/Carbine-equipped enlisted troops.

 

Cheers,

Glen.

 

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The beauty of this Forum is how everyone works together, share information, and bring forth new, sometimes amazing information. Ken, thank you very much for bringing this photo up to be added to the discussion. Jack Angolia

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Thanks for sharing Jack.

 

To keep this thread alive with new info on Rigger pouches, I would like to expand from USAAF style pouches. I have posted a few pictures of layouts of gear from the 503rd. You can clearly see rigger pouches for en-bloc clips as well as TSMG mags. Here is a photo of a trooper from the 503rd with his special TSMG pouches. Does anyone have an example of this pouch? or any other photos of 503rd men displaying specialized equipment? Thanks USMF!

post-153625-0-40801000-1416782875.jpg

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It depends on the unit and the time of the war. It originally stemmed from the idea of dropping the longarms in the drop canisters, so the sidearms was to give the troops something to use until they got to their rifles.

 

Obviously tactics changed, Griswold Bags came into use (or weapons were simply slung in one piece over the shoulder for the jump), and sidearms were officially withdrawn from issue for normal Rifle/Carbine-equipped enlisted troops.

 

Cheers,

Glen.

 

 

If I was dropping behind enemy lines, I would want as much fire power as possible. I think most troopers thought this as well. You can see in the pre-Africa 509th pictures with Mrs. Roosevelt, that every man has a .45. Most men early in the war jumped without griswold bags. They extended the sling of their weapon and tucked it underneath their reserve chute, under their equipment belt and "Belly Band" of their T-5 main chutes. I also believe that men in the airborne units carried what they wanted into combat. If you wanted a .45, and you were in a specialized airborne unit about to jump as part of a big invasion, your QMs got you a .45. You can see many men of the 505th and 504th carrying .45s who are not non-coms or officers. My point being, Most guys wanted something extra just in case, and they were in a position to get it. For fun, here is a picture of a 517th trooper hamming it up before Dragoon with 2 .45s! :D

post-153625-0-89779800-1416783321.jpg

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But you didn't just get "what you wanted" - people seem to think that the Airborne was some free-for-all branch of the army. It wasn't. The 101st jumped into Normandy with hardly any non-Officer pistols, as they weren't issued them. They went by the T/O&E. You had to be fairly lucky to get a privately-sourced pistol there, and where it when the officers weren't looking.

 

The 82nd post-Italy took the pistols back off the EM who had had them in Sicily and Italy, as they were going to the new T/O&E. This was less well enforced than in the 82nd and you see more of the NCO's etc with Pistols that they've able to keep (probably through bribery with their officers... haha). But the quantity is certainly much less than pre-Normandy time.

 

The 517th "found" a huge mass of German pistols and holsters before Southern France and issued them out to their men in lieu of the now-not-issued .45's.

 

Etc, etc...

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Thanks for the info Glen!

 

Any one have any pictures, examples, info on 503rd pouches? In that picture of the 551st guy, you can see a specialized pouch that is most certainly rigger made on his belt. Any word on these?

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But you didn't just get "what you wanted" - people seem to think that the Airborne was some free-for-all branch of the army. It wasn't. The 101st jumped into Normandy with hardly any non-Officer pistols, as they weren't issued them. They went by the T/O&E. You had to be fairly lucky to get a privately-sourced pistol there, and where it when the officers weren't looking.

 

The 82nd post-Italy took the pistols back off the EM who had had them in Sicily and Italy, as they were going to the new T/O&E. This was less well enforced than in the 82nd and you see more of the NCO's etc with Pistols that they've able to keep (probably through bribery with their officers... haha). But the quantity is certainly much less than pre-Normandy time.

 

The 517th "found" a huge mass of German pistols and holsters before Southern France and issued them out to their men in lieu of the now-not-issued .45's.

 

Etc, etc...

 

Glen - you're my hero! Well said brother!

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Bill- I think the tie pouches were absurd, as well. You make VERY good points about these pouches drawbacks and flaws. Just food for thought, pictorial evidence seems to show that paras used these pouches heavily in initial drops, but you see less and less of them as the campaign moves along. i think a lot of guys wanted to drop with as much ammo as possible, and then after they connected with the ground pounders, discarded the pouches for regular cartridge pouches and belts. In that picture of the 509th guys resting in SouFrance, you see a guy in the back round with a standard ammo belt as well as a pistol belt with rigger pouches.

 

The main reason why some rigger pouches had lift-the-dot snaps and some were made of 550 cord is a simple question of logistics - then ran out of them! Did some discussions with the staff at the 82d Airborne Division Museum at Fort Bragg a few years ago, and research found that when the Division Rigger shops were making these pouches, the supply of lift-the-dot fasteners ran out. Improvisation came into play, and the 550-cord tie downs were used. Not the best solution, but in time of war & with the impending invasion on Sicily, they had to get the mission done. When the time came, Troopers would untie the pouch & placed the Garand or M-1 Carbine clips, or grenades, inside one of the upper pockets of the jump jacket & drive on.

 

And to clear up any misconceptions, each and every unit in WWII had a MTOE, or Modified Table of Organizational Equipment. This MTOE dictates what equipment is carried, by whom, in what unit, weapons, vehicles, etc. This also established methods of supply and resupply internal to an organization. If gear was damaged or lost, how was it to be repaired or replaced. This being said, paratroopers would not of simply discarded their rigger pouches for standard cartridge belts once they linked up with another unit. Rigger pouches were pretty much not in use by the 82nd after the Normandy campaign, but you still see a mix of both standard and rigger-modified equipment through to the end of the war, just not on a large scale - a simple question of logisitics.

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