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What did the soldier carry?
Posted 03 March 2011 - 08:34 PM
I have not discovered a manual that describes how the sacco or zaini were packed. This has been one of my ‘Holy Grails’ that I have searched for. In many cases, the unit (regiment or below) would likely instruct soldiers how to pack their packs.
The borsa correndo and borsa tattica would be packed per SOP (the tattica without the coperta and telo). The borsa correndo then would likely be placed first in the sacco. The borsa tattica would be placed on top of it. All the soldier’s required items should be in the two borse. The pockets would hold items needed for extended moves like extra march rations (so the soldier would still have his combat rations in the borsa tattica). The pockets would also hold any items that the soldier would like easy access during a long move (shave kit if bivouacs were provided, extra ammo, rations, etc.). The design assumes that no ‘loose’ items would be place in the main part of the sacco, but soldier will do what they will do. The coperta and telo would be strapped to the sacco.
The borsa tattica likely was placed on top for easy access. While the sacco wasn’t intended for combat, the soldier would want to quickly take out the borsa tattica if required and drop the sacco. It is quite likely that soldiers got rid of their borsa tattica and used the sacco as their main pack. This is conjecture.
Posted 03 March 2011 - 09:43 PM
The Cappotto is strapped to the borsa tattica while it's in the sacco, correct?
This is what I had assumed and I've learned from experience that it is indeed difficult to find loose items in your sacco ...particularly when it's dark and your lampada tascabile is buried somewhere in there!
Hmm, that's quite an interesting idea. I would think they'd want to keep the borsa tattica, as this was their only real musette bag, but this is also only conjecture on my part.
While it may not be "per regulations" (if they even exist), this is quite helpful and will prove useful for packing my sacco for the next event. Grazie!
Posted 04 March 2011 - 03:09 PM
If it will fit. My experience is that the borsa tattica will not fit in the sacco if bulky items are still strapped to it. Straping items to the sacco is what the equipment straps are for. Experiment to determine what works for you. Note that the cappotto and coperta are not normally carried at the same time. One would be carried in the battalion trains.
It is one idea to explain the photographic evidence. There are many combat pictures of Italian soldiers only carrying the borsa antigas. The borsa tattica replaced the tascapane. What many here acknowledge is the possiility that the borsa antigas was used as a tascapane and the borsa tattica wasn't carried. So why?
Posted 10 March 2011 - 02:04 AM
I'm not of opinion that the soldato discarded his borsa tattica, if the only evidence we have is a lack of photographs. What that tells me, is that it might not have been used often, but doesn't tell me it was thrown away altogether.
I think that discarding pieces of equipment completely would have been done under extreme and unforeseen circumstance; the enemy has broken through the lines, one's unit must beat a hasty retreat and what's deemed unnecessary is left behind, or a similar scenario in which one's unit has become encircled. There's also the case of the baggage train and its contents being destroyed by bombardment or by an enemy that has broken far into the rear.
Perhaps for brief assaults/operations the borsa tattica was left at the jump-off point, the maschera antigas with it and the borsa antigas filled with ammo, grenades, etc. Or it was possibly easier to remove the maschera antigas, leave it in the sacco and use the borsa antigas, than it was to use the borsa tattica. I'm very hesitant to speculate that any piece of equipment was discarded, as opposed to it being kept with the rest of the kit in the baggage train.
These are a just few possible explanations and I could be completely wrong on this.
Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:53 AM
As you are aware I do play with my gear...... when not obeying Instructions from my Organ's of State Terror or the demands from State Production Quotas..
I have happily packed the Sacco with the Boras per corredo per le armi a pied e borsa tattica in it but I only packed the Cappotto on the top of the borsa tattica, the Telo Tenda e coperta da campo were on the Sacco, I put the coperta da campo on top e Telo tenda on the bottom.
The borsa tattica being more of a Tedesco Model 31 Bread Bag than an Inglese 37 pattern Small Pack, wouldn't likely be fully loaded if you were Entrained in transport as you wouldn't have drawn Ammunition or Munitions which was one of the main elements of the borsa tattica's function.
Due to lack of Mechanised Transport organic to a Infantry Division means much is carried on a man's back, hence Italiano Personal Equipment was designed to allow much to be carried if necessary, wearing your borsa tattica slung from your Shoulder (on its strap), the Sacco has a large space to fill with your Unit's material needs.... unnecessary items of Clothing would unlikely be bought to the Front but held in rear areas.
Having manpacked all my gear from the Deling Front last year in the pouring rain, Bersaglieri feathers stuck to the side of the Model 33 Helmet, Model 91 Carbine reversed on my shoulder, Cappotto rolled horseshoe fashion over the left shoulder, the Sacco with coperta da campo on top of it and slung Boras zaino modello 1929 per armi a cavallo on my right hip under my Telo Tenda which covered me and everything else.... big grin on face as the rain ran down my nose, with a bunch of UK Tedesco SS Re-enactors watching...( its a wonder what having half a damp bird stuck to your head does for you)... I knew who was having more fun .....
I learnt that day it allows you to move a lot of gear in one Lift using Italiano Equipment..
Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:23 PM
- 53rd Reg. 2nd Sforzesca Div: France and Russia
- 30th Bn. Montebello legion MVSN: Russia
- 4th/1st Italia Div: Italy late 1944-45
- 4th Div "Monterosa": Gothic line Dec 1944
Posted 06 May 2012 - 01:28 AM
I have looked at the picture a lot but can't state for certain what they are using. I am thinking that the sacco alpino is on the ground and the borsa tattica per sacco alpino is on top. But I am not sure.
I finally have a sacco per arnesi fuori uso per sacco alpino (bag for other items for the alpine rucksack). The alpino would use this bag to pack his personal items and clothing A handy item when living out of a pack.
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Posted 16 July 2012 - 12:18 AM
This is what an Italian soldier was issued/carried in 1942. This display reflects the items the solder would be wearing; hence they are not depicted in the picture. It is 1942 because the gloves in the picture were issued starting in late 1941, and the display has a second pair of boots (the fanti wearing the first). The Italian Army didn’t begin issuing a second pair of boots until Greece, the harsh campaign illuminating the poor quality of the Italian boots. From my information, only a tin of boots black/polish is missing. The shaving kit is Italian post war but contains all the required items, including a clothes brush.
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The Italian fanti carried these items in three bags/packs. The first is the borsa corredo per le armi a piedi (issued bag for the dismounted soldier, on the right in the picture below). This bag was first issued in 1927 and was used for clothing and other personal items. The bag could be secured with a lock The second was the borsa tattica per armi a piedi (tactical bag for dismounted soldiers on the left in the picture below). This pack was the standard combat pack for the army. Where the borsa corredo contained personal items and clothing, the borsa tattica carried ammunition, grenades, food and any other items the soldier would need in combat. The third bag/pack was the sacco per armi a piedi (pack for the dismounted soldier in the center) also issued starting in 1939. The sacco was used when the soldier wasn’t in immediate combat. The borsa corredo and the borsa tattica were carried inside the sacco during non-tactical movements. When combat was possible, the sacco was dropped with the unit trains, the borsa tattica being carried by the soldier. The trains would secure the sacco with the borsa corredo until the soldier could retrieve these items. All the items are packed inside the two borsa in the second picture below.
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Here are all the items packed into the sacco.
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When I pack these items, I did encounter a problem. I couldn’t pack the two borsa in the sacco if the borsa tattica had anything strapped to it. I could get the borsa tattica with a blanket or overcoat inside the sacco if I didn’t pack the borsa corredo inside as well. The picture in U&A 163 (page 86) does show a borsa tattica with something strapped to it inside the sacco. However it is clear that the borsa tattica is inside without the borsa corredo. I also had difficulty strapping both a blanket and an overcoat outside the sacco. The straps were bit too short (which is not the case with the sacco alpino, the straps are quite long). The two borsa did fit inside with little problem if nothing was strapped to the borsa tattica.
The borsa corredo wasn’t part of the new packs issued in 1939, but a holdover from the earlier system. Was the borsa corredo packed inside the sacco, or was it transported separately in the unit trains? What was normally strapped on the outside of the sacco?
This post has been edited by Jeff Leser: 16 July 2012 - 02:14 PM
Reason for edit: Fixed some grammar, clarified some points
Posted 28 August 2012 - 08:02 PM
Outstanding job! It's always nice to have a visual aid to go along with a discussion like this and I can't wait to see your Alpini display.
I agree, the straps on the sacco are far too small for both. Do we know for certain both were carried by the infantry year round? I imagine it would different for the Alpini, considering the climate and altitude in which they were meant to be deployed.
I was thinking maybe the great coat was strapped to the sacco and only in the winter was a blanket issued out, which would be strapped to the sacco while the greatcoat was being worn? Just a thought.
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