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WESCO JAPAN Canteen Question


pwcosol
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pwcosol

Recently picked up a canteen on a M1936 pistol belt. The rig appears to have been together for a very long time. The belt is khaki with gray metal clasps and bears no markings (not worn away, either). The canteen cover is O.D. and marked "COLETTE 1952"on the side & "USMC" on the front. Canteen is stamped WESCO | JAPAN on the bottom, with a small, (unknown to me) marking stamped above the maker (see attached). Also noted a engraved series of letters (?) & numbers on the reverse of the canteen, too. Think there has been some earlier discussion on this and if the USMC ever acquired any field/782 gear from (or contracted with) Japan during the Korean War. One advantage would be the short supply route from Japan to Korea as opposed coming from CONUS. In addition, U.S. losses of gear were heavy from the northern campaign to the new MLR as well. Thoughts welcome...

WESCO obv.JPG

WESCO bottom.JPG

WESCO rev.JPG

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Those Japanese canteens were made for the camping/surplus store trade.  They also made pistol belts and canteen covers that are often lighter weight than the original and have cheap metal fittings.  Sometimes you see the canteens matched up with real gear - without pictures I can't say which you have.

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pararaftanr2
1 hour ago, VMI88 said:

Those Japanese canteens were made for the camping/surplus store trade.  They also made pistol belts and canteen covers that are often lighter weight than the original and have cheap metal fittings.  Sometimes you see the canteens matched up with real gear - without pictures I can't say which you have.

Agreed. I had one just like it to play "Army" with in the backyard in the 1960s. It was purchased at the local Army / Navy surplus store in town. The cover that came with it was much lighter in weight than a true GI example. The canteen and cover were packaged as a set in a clear plastic bag with cardboard header card so they could be displayed on a peg in the stores.

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pwcosol

Thanks  guys for your replies. Have seen the thin, cheap "JAPAN" canteens, covers & pistol belts. In fact, have a neat belt I kept to go along with a Mossberg 152 I have. This WESCO canteen seems a solid as any USGI one. Also, note in the added photo, a area where there is a worn saddle on the rim of the black cap (likely the cap shackle chain being responsible). Added photos of rest of the rig as acquired. Cover has two sets of inked numbers inside the flaps. Makes me wonder if these match those etched on the reverse of the canteen (but difficult to ascertain if this is the case). Belt is sans any markings other than the (owner's?) initials "TB" inked on the inside. Belt is USGI grade and has blackened copper/brass clasps. There is a minor field repair as well...

WESCO J Cap.JPG

CanCov Col 1952b.JPG

CanCov Col 1952a.JPG

WB 1.JPG

WB 2.JPG

WB 3.JPG

WB 4 Repair.JPG

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Your canteen cover and pistol belt look real.  I think they just got paired up with a commercial canteen as often happened, probably because the cheap commercial gear just wore out.

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As stated on FB this is just a commercially made canteen that got joined with a military belt and cover. Not an uncommon occurance in the 50s and 60 for Boy Scouts and Sportsman and Camping types to buy gear. I have seen the Japan marked canteens,cups and mess kits over the years.

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pwcosol

Thanks to all. Will end up keeping the M1936 pistol belt & canteen cover together. Though a bit off the path, pictured is the Japanese made, commercial utility belt I mentioned in post #4. Material is a khaki cotton with three utility pouches and a row of cartridge loops. Under the large pouch is one set of brass eyelets to accommodate a M1910 belt hook...probably the place to hang one's USGI pattern canteen (among others). There was a small, silken tag marked "Made In Japan" hanging by a thread, by where the belt end folds over to secure one of the clasps, but it fell off with my touch.  Think I will find one of those cheap covers and mate it with the WESCO canteen and belt...

Made In Japan Utility Belt obv.JPG

Made In Japan Utility Belt rev.JPG

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These ammo belts were also found in Lnart and local sporting atore in the 60s and 79s. I bought one as a kid. Mine was a darker gree. Also had a small tag on it with Made IN JAPAN sewn  under the folded over area that secured the end of one buckle. The tags can be cloth or paper and easily wore off  when worn and used.

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pwcosol
22 hours ago, doyler said:

These ammo belts were also found in Lnart and local sporting store in the 60s and 79s. I bought one as a kid. Mine was a darker gree. Also had a small tag on it with Made IN JAPAN sewn  under the folded over area that secured the end of one buckle. The tags can be cloth or paper and easily wore off  when worn and used.

 

Thanks doyler! I agree...any kid would love a belt like this when going out to shoot his air rifle or .22. You have nice, convenient pockets to hold your ammo, etc. Think the length adjustment to the belt would accommodate a 32 inch (maybe 34 max.) waist. I thought it would go well with the two Mossberg .22s I have...a M142 (bolt-action) and M152 (semi-auto). If not familiar, these came out shortly after WW2 and into the 1960s. Both have similar stocks with a fold-down fore end, and M1 carbine overtones.

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1 hour ago, pwcosol said:

 

Thanks doyler! I agree...any kid would love a belt like this when going out to shoot his air rifle or .22. You have nice, convenient pockets to hold your ammo, etc. Think the length adjustment to the belt would accommodate a 32 inch (maybe 34 max.) waist. I thought it would go well with the two Mossberg .22s I have...a M142 (bolt-action) and M152 (semi-auto). If not familiar, these came out shortly after WW2 and into the 1960s. Both have similar stocks with a fold-down fore end, and M1 carbine overtones.

 

 

Yes... I gave one to a little trooper at an out door military show in Wisconsin. He was looking at "stuff" and his parents were pulling him along saying we cant affors this or that. I asked if he would like a "ammo" belt and he could have the one  in the box. I typically have a box of items for kids at the show to give them something. Handed him the belt and he lit up like a bottle rocket. I gave him an overseas cap that was a bit moth nipped too. Later I see him wearing the cap and the belt he has across his chest like a wild bandit. He was running around showing everybody his "stuff" 

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I found this picture of a commercial canteen set I found in an antique store a while back.  It may not be the same brand as the one that started this thread but the idea is the same.

 

0529171230.jpg

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