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The loop inside of the musette bag


robinb
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So I was discussing the loop once again with a collector today and maybe came up with an answer to what that mysterious loop is for. I used my 1918 dated British Made US marked bag to start the test. I have two different WW1 era flashlights. Both have a leather strap on the back that just happens to be the same width and length as the inside dimensions of the mystery loop. As you can see they fit very well. What other purpose could that leather strap have than to fit around that loop? And what piece of gear would an officer need out of his bag in an instant?

 

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So then I tried a TL-122 (not the A model) in my 1938 dated musette bag. Perfect fit but a little harder to get it to slide back out of the loop if needed.

 

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Next I used a 1940 dated bag. The loop is smaller from then until the 1945 date. I've run out of answers now. A TL-122-A won't go through the loop. Not even close. So maybe now the flashlight was just supposed to clip to the loop?

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world war I nerd

That's a very interesting theory as I never thought too much about the loops inside of the mussete bags or what they were meant to contain.

 

You just may be on to something here. Then again, I'm sure that if tested, a number of other useful articles, such as a pack of cigarettes, a shaving kit or a soap box might also fit inside the loop ... each of which, depending on where they are placed on the scale of importance, an officer or soldier might want keep any one of those things close to hand.

 

I have to admit that I've not seen much (if any) period advertisements for either WW I era flashlights or mussette bags. However, if the bag's loop was made to correspond specifically with the dimensions of the flashlight (or some other object) and vice versa, I'm sure that fact would have been highlighted in the ad.

 

If possible, chasing down period adverts if any exist might confirm your theory.

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I havent tried it but recall seeing reference that the folding tent post fit in the loop

I agree with Doyal I believe the loop is for Tri fold tent pole, that is what I recall anyway.

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I havent tried it but recall seeing reference that the folding tent post fit in the loop

I agree with Doyal I believe the loop is for Tri fold tent pole, that is what I recall anyway.

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and here this whole time I thought that was just where the strap went if not slung over the shoulder...

 

This has to be addressed in the 1918 era. No suspenders were used. The strap stayed on the bag. The loop was a hold over from 1918.

 

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I got one from a vet that had the strap folded in the loop. Not sure if that is what it was for but that is how he had it.

Bob

Was he a WW1 vet?

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He enlisted in 1919,a and rose through the ranks to Lt. Col to command the 32nd ID guys over the Owen Stanley Mountains in 42.

 

I always thought the leather strap on the WWI flashlights was to hold it on the belt.

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Somewhere, in the dusty bins of yesteryear's researches, I do believe I recall seeing an actual blackline drawn diagram of what to pack in a ruck and where exactly it is supposed to go.

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world war I nerd

During WW I, as far as I know the musette bag was not an article of issued equipment for AEF officers (or enlisted men). If a satchel was needed for any purpose, the Ordnance Department, Medical Department, Quartermaster Corps, and so forth designed and adopted a musette, satchel or haversack to fill the need.

 

If they were actually adopted by either the U.S. Army or the AEF in 1917 or 1918, I've never seen any documentation stating such or any official Quartermaster markings or contract dates, etc. stamped anywhere on any of the 20 or 30 bags that I've encountered. Every example that I've seen was commercially made in either the U.S.A., England or France. I always assumed that they were purchased as needed by AEF officers (and enlisted men) who opted not to carry a 1910 Haversack & Pack Carrier, but I could be wrong about that.

 

Robin, where did the WW I mussette bag to which you fitted the strapped flashlight originate? Any labels, tags or markings on it that indicate where it was manufactured or if it was "issued" or commercially made?

 

I'm just wondering if the loops on French, English & US made bags were all made to the same dimensions. If so, then there must have been a specific object for which they were made to fit.

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world war I nerd

Interesting, I've seen British broad arrow marked mussette bags, but I don't ever recall seeing one that was also stamped U.S. It's entirely possible that the U.S. marked bags were purchased overseas by the Chief Quartermaster, AEF. Much of what was officially purchased "over there" still remains undocumented.

 

I do know that British military outfitters were quick to adapt & rebrand as much of the British officer's kit that they were selling for the hordes of incoming Yanks that were passing through the United Kingdom (more than half of the troops who served in France landed in England, Scotland or Ireland before crossing the English Channel to France). It's possible that the U.S. was just a marketing ploy used by retailers to separate the Americans from their money. I read something about this a year or two ago, but I don't recall the exact details or context.

 

Regardless, I'm not saying that's what happened, but it is another possibility.

 

I'll take a look at the various images of the mussetts bags I've downloaded and see if they have loops of the approximate size and take another look at their markings to see if there are any signs of them being issued through AEF or US Army supply systems.

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On the drawing for the "Bag, Canvas, Field, Olive Drab, M1936" or better know as the M36 Mussette Bag, the part in question is unhelpfully called "Loop".

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Well that answers it, the "loop" was officially put they to annoy collectors nearly a century later.

I can imagine a couple of guys sitting around making spec drawings and one saying to the other,

Hey I dare you to add something to that drawing you are working on just to mess with people. Yea, said the other, but what do we call it?

I dunno, how about "loop"said the first in reply.

 

Well it could have happened that way, at least i my mind it did.

 

Bob.

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Seems to me I found the answer years ago in the OFFICERS GUIDE, IIRC.

 

I have several guides but hadnt had time to look

 

I was thinking if there was a govt spec for the M36 bag it would state or possible say what the loop was for as I hadnt seen bags designated as issue in WW1 as WW1Nerd stated.The few WW1 I have encountered are brit design or made.

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