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In my 1918 manual is listed the content of the leather box.



Do you know of any PDF version of that 1918 manual that might be available online ?

what is the exact title i might google ?

I have a pdf version of a Sept. 1918 technical training handbook for the M1918 but it does not include photo plates like your picture shows.


In regards to the count of 42 BAR magazines, is there any reference in the manual to how that number was totaled up among the BAR team's belts and bandoleers ? or was the 42 mags supposed to be a rear area ordnance / quartermaster resupply ?

I get 42 if you include 6 for the gunner's belt (1 pocket containing the leather parts box)

6 for the loader's belt (if he's using a butt cup belt...and also 1 pocket has a leather box)

6 for the 2nd assistant's belt (again with 1 pocket being filled with something other than 2 mags)

24 mags divided among 4 bandoleers (2 left, 2 right) for the loader and 2nd asst.


I have seen references to the total load for a BAR team in WWI being 48 mags which wouldn't account for the gunner having a leather parts box in a mag pocket.... or 44 mags which means 2 of the 3 team members each have a pocket dedicated to something other than 2 mags.


it all kinda gets confusing with all the various online or print material.




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I found the below copy and pasted article (segments copied) from NRA/American Rifleman online. It adds to the confusion of how many magazines each of the team members were "prescribed" to carry on their belts. It does not describe the particular belts beyond calling the gunner's belt a "wide" belt with a metal boot. it originally mentions 960 rounds amongst 48 magazines, then later in describing the transport of the weapon the magazine total adds up to 44. (gunner loses 2 mags for the spare parts kit....and 2nd assistant somehow loses 2 mags, but for what ? another spare parts kit ? an oil can ? ........


A recently uncovered U.S. Army document, dated Sept. 17, 1918, and originating from the “Automatic Arms Section” of the AEF’s Engineering Division, sheds some light on how the Browning Machine Rifle was viewed at the time of the great Allied offensive that would bring the Great War to an end. —James L. Ballou


The gun team for this rifle is composed of three men, namely, a gunner, loader and carrier. Nine hundred and sixty (960) rounds loaded in 48 magazines is carried by this team. The belt equipment is so arranged that it does not interfere with the carrying of the standard pack equipment, and is so compact that even with the 400 rounds the loader and carrier carry, they can double time or go into action the same as infantry.


The gun is carried by means of a sling similar to that of the service rifle. The gunner carries the gun, spare parts kit and six magazines. A wide belt is provided for the carrying of the kit and magazines, to which is also attached a metal boot into which the stock of the gun fits and facilitates firing from the hip in marching fire. An assistant carries 20 magazines in a belt provided for that purpose and a second assistant carries 18 magazines.

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courtesy of battleorder.org .....WWII ammo / magazine loads


The base of fire for both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps rifle squads was the M1918A2 BAR, although the Army officially fielded 1 per squad (2 unofficially depending on unit standard operation procedures) while the Marines fielded 3 per squad by 1944.

In the Army, the BAR gunner typically carried 10 magazines in an M1937 cartridge belt and 1 magazine in the gun. Each cartridge belt had 6 pockets that could each carry 2 magazines, although one would be used to carry a leather tool pouch. The assistant gunner and ammo bearer were also issued an M1937 cartridge belt and could each carry 12 magazines (a total of 35 magazines of 700 rounds). However, mags were likely distributed amongst the riflemen as well as a fully loaded BAR magazine belt weighed 20.2 lb. Generally speaking, until late 1944, the assistant gunner and ammo bearer would have carried the BAR magazines in the M1937 cartridge belt and their rifle ammunition (and other gear) in 2 M1 general purpose carrying bags. After Operation Overlord in mid-1944, the M1937 cartridge belts for the assistant and ammo bearer were deleted. They would then be issued M1923 cartridge belts for their rifle ammo and carry the BAR ammo in their general purpose bags.


In the Marine Corps, rifle squads were divided into 3 fire teams of 4 men each from 1944 onwards. Each fire team had an automatic rifleman and assistant automatic rifleman. The automatic rifleman carried 9 magazines, with 8 in the cartridge belt and 1 in the gun. Each assistant could carry up to 12 magazines, but 4 could be distributed to the fire team leader and rifleman (2 each) if needed. This brought the squad's BAR magazine count to 63, or 1,260 rounds compared to the Army's 700 rounds.



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