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Cavalry Bandoleers, US. c1911-1918 Mex. Border - WWI


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[9 pages to follow]

 

I recently had the good fortune to acquire one of the early
Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) produced cavalry bandoleers (also
bandolier) manufactured for the cavalry board for evaluation
to be accepted as part of the 1912 new cavalry equipments.

Between 1910 and 1912, a few types were produced in small
numbers for field trials. The earliest type I have seen was
a c.1910; the company WPG (What Price Glory) produces a
fascimilie (photo below) for re-enactors.

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The belt has 12 pockets for 30.-06 (7.62x63mm) on clips,
two per pocket. The central pocket is pouch-like and is
meant for the .45LC cartridge of the M1909 Colt Revolver.
This bandoleer buckles like a trouser belt, as observed
in the photo.

On Feb 15th 2000, Ebay seller Pahaskabooks sold an original
for $2,000.00.

 

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The variation that I found was likely produced in 1911 or
early 1912, as it has 10 (5/side) pockets for rifle clips,
2 (1/side) bellows type pocket for loose .45ACP pistol
cartridges, and a central pocket with stitching to divide
three internal pouches for loaded 1911 magazines for the
M1911 Colt Pistol .45ACP.

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I had seen this bandoleer in one of Mr. Hughes' photos of
his early cavalry material. Prior to posting this, Kurt and
I discussed these bandoleers. This type was produced in
very limited numbers and was only field tested by two troops
(Troop B & Troop D) of the 11th Cavalry.

Mine is marked B 11 6, Kurt's is marked B 11 7

Troop B, 11th Cavaly, troopers #6 & #7!

 

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This photo is of Mr. Hughes' cavalry display. He uses a
P1910 Woolen Blouse. This was the last variation of the
army uniform that had the bellows style pockets, the falling
collar (NB: Double Disk), and French Cuffs. He displays a
rare trial holster, also for the 1912 equipment (that, like
the bandoleer was not adopted.) The holster is attached to
the 1909 mounted cartridge belt. His bandoleer still retains
the bayonet sheath (krag-type) used for the trials, although
the .30-06 Springfield was already the new weapon of choice
for the army since 1903. An early pattern campaign hat
completes his display.

 

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For the purpose of my display, since I didn't want to dig
through my buckets o' junk for a matching blouse, hat or
equipment, I used a P1912 spec 1126 blouse that would have
been more closely associated with the dressage for the later
1916 punitive expedition cavalry troops. The P1909 mounted
cartridge belt is suspended w/ 1907 suspenders. An early
1913 campaign hat (NB: String ties) completes my ersatz
display.

post-1529-0-53192500-1418937559.jpg

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The 1910-1912 bandoleers were considered failures by the
1912 cavalry board. The RIA produced gear used cotton web
of insufficient strength for practical field use. The
adoption of a pointed projectile in 1906 update for the
.30 Springfield (i.e. .30-06 / 7.62x63mm) caused the thin
web material to fail when bullets were pressed against the
material in day-to-day activities.

As a result a design that used 12 rifle clip pockets
(6/ side) and three horizontal pockets for carrying loose
.45ACP ammunition for the 1911 pistol was recommended and
subsequently produced as the 1914 bandoleer, the one most
of us are most familiar with that has the rimmed eagle
snap for those produced through c. Jan/Feb 1917. After
that date, those 1914 bandoleers were produced with 'lift
the dot' snaps.

Many of these bandoleers can be found marked with cavalry
units called up for the Great War, which were then re-assigned
to fight as dismounted or as infantry units. The machinegun
and the conditions of trench warfare had religated cavalry
as nearly obsolete on the modern battlefield.

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Dispite minimal cavalry activity in AEF zones of the European
theater of war, additional contracts were awarded for the
production of additional bandoleers. Russell, a competitor
of Mills, produced a variation of the 1914 design known as
the M1918 bandoleer.

This bandoleer is uniquely identifiable by its shape and
belt tab. Whereas the prior type bandoleers were shaped
in an arc, the 1918 was linear and "V" shaped, and the belt
tab was radiused.

The P1914 can be found with eagle snaps or lift-the-dot
type fastners for the pockets; however, the P1918 are
lift-the-dot only.

 

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post-1529-0-36654200-1418937861.jpg

 

At a future date, I'll re-shoot these items using natural
light; LED room light and the camera flash have greatly
distorted the colors. (That's a 1904 Blanket underneath!)

The bottom bandoleer, produced by RIA uses a dark khaki
color. The middle uses a dye mixture somewhere between
the olive green used on early 1914 pattern bandoleers and
the WWI light khaki used c. 1917-1918. The top P1918
is the light khaki found on all WWI web gear.

--End of post. --

 

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love the belts. -ray

Ray LeMere

 

In Memory of -

--------------------------------------

Dale LeMere (grandfather) pre-Vietnam US ARMY

Charles Spiller (great grandfather) WW1 US ARMY

Charlie Spiller (great uncle) WW2 PARATROOPER

 

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Excellent topic and collection! If this is the one I think it is (sold on ebay recently?), you got a pretty good deal (I’d never seen one before).

 

I’ve since wondered why the magazine pouches weren’t retained in the later versions. The half-moon clips are enough of a pain in the butt to load for the 1917 revolver, so trying to juggle a magazine, a pistol, and the loose ammo mush have been a nightmare.

 

I’d love to see the daylight color comparison when you have time.

-Todd

Currently looking for WWI items, specifically photos of the 116th infantry regiment, and any material related to the USS Olympia.

Always on the lookout for any rations, miscellaneous personal items, pack filler, care package stuffers, knit Red Cross material, and oddball equipment to supplement the Doughboy display.
Have some extras? I help friends fill out their living history kit, and could always use more loaner gear!

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Nice collection.

 

This bandoleer was (according to a private conversation with the late Carter Rila) part of the 1912 equipment trials. It was therefore experimental. "ArmyJunk" posted these photos in the past showing views of the bandoleer as well as associated bayonet and belt. Carter Rila had never seen the photos, but he had found the report that went with them as he related in the conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Dear RustyCanteen:

 

Thank you for posting those photos. I bought a CD off Ebay from an individual who photographed

the 1912 board study and results, as well as the photos submitted in 1912. The ones that you posted

are among them; I did not want to post his work without permission, so I omitted them from my post.

 

He's the same guy selling the 1,500+ drawings on CD from the Quartermaster Depot.

 

There are expiramental M1912 Pistol Belts with pouches that I had NEVER seen before. The study

is well worth the trivial price just for the photos.

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Dear RustyCanteen:

 

Thank you for posting those photos. I bought a CD off Ebay from an individual who photographed

the 1912 board study and results, as well as the photos submitted in 1912. The ones that you posted

are among them; I did not want to post his work without permission, so I omitted them from my post.

 

He's the same guy selling the 1,500+ drawings on CD from the Quartermaster Depot.

 

There are expiramental M1912 Pistol Belts with pouches that I had NEVER seen before. The study

is well worth the trivial price just for the photos.

 

 

Thanks for the heads-up about the cd; I had no idea there was such a thing. Now I will need to order one!

 

Those photos were posted years ago, but they are great. I suppose the ones on the cd are higher resolution?

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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The Ebay usename is 245thCAC for the guy selling the 1912 cavalry

new equipments report on CD.

 

Since he posted this photo on Ebay, I'll add it here. Although one

cannot see the bandoleer in this photo, it is possible to see the bayonet

that is attached to it behind his shoulder.

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Hi Mike

 

Thanks for the interesting post and photos of your bandoleer, sorry I did not reply earlier.

The bandoleer in my display above is the one sold by AGM a few years ago, I had been hoping to find one for years so was pleased when that one came up for sale, it cleaned up very well. In fact we are lucky to have one in any condition. I would like to locate a trial belt to accompany my display, I know the chances are slim but never say never as I thought that about the bandoleer.

 

I do have to apologise about an error I made in my message to you, my example is D troop not B, sorry for the mix up.

 

I know I mentioned some photos I have of these in my message to you, I see some have been posted above below is another you might find interesting.

 

 

 

post-693-0-39523400-1419377545.jpg

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  • 2 years later...
  • 2 years later...

As an update to this old post, I am posting these two photos of a
bandoleer I added to my collection.

Mills produced the early bandoleers, which were olive drab in color and
utilized the eagle snaps for closure. Around Dec. 1916, Mills switched
to khaki dyes, so some khaki bandoleers can be found with eagle snaps,
which were still being used as late as Feb. 1917. During WWI both Mills
and Russell were contracted to produce bandoleers in khaki tan.

This one is likely experimental, as it is marked as produced by Rock Island
Arsenal in 1917; upon a closer look, there is something incongruous about
the marking and the bandoleer itself. Scroll back-'n'-forth between the
two posted photos and see whether you notice.

Hint: It's not the color.

 

post-1529-0-04209100-1573864788_thumb.jpg

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Did you catch it?

A closer look reveals that this is a Model 1918 bandoleer with a 1917
production date.


The M1918 bandoleers used canvas web flaps, with woven cotton pockets.
The metal end of the belt has a radius, unlike the M1914s which used square
tabs and were all canvas; moreover, the M1918s were assembled in a "V"
configuration, whereas the M1914 were rounded so as to fit closely to the body.

In this attached photo the two lower belts are M1914s, one an early olive
drab with eagle snaps; the other a later khaki tan with lift-the-dot
fasteners. The one at the top is a M1918, and is so called because this
is what Rock Island Arsenal called this design on the blueprints they
supplied to both Mills and Russell.

 

post-1529-0-85804500-1573864968_thumb.jpg

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