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2 REI equipment questions

#1 User is offline   iac1 

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 02:25 AM

Gentlemen, Two questions regarding Italian Army equipment;
#1- The 'tactical bag' shown on page 89 of Rex Trye's book 'Mussolini's Soldiers'. It's a generic tan canvas / burlap haversack with 2 plastic buttons holding down the flap. Does anyone have any information or photos / documentation on this bag ? I can't find it anywhere.

#2- The belt buckle with two parallel facing tongues (pins) to secure the belt. Can anyone show or expalaine how it worked ? I can't figure it out from photos.
Grazie, IAC.
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#2 User is offline   Jeff Leser 

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 05:58 PM

IAC

I have been traveling for the last few weeks, so I apologize for not reading your questions earlier.

Question #1. The following is currently supposition. I have been studying Italian equipment for a few years, but had yet begun research this particular bag. I have an example of this bag and have attached a few pictures.

The issue of the sacco per armi a piedi and borsa tattica combination replaced the tascapane and zaino combination. The soldier was therefore not issued a tascapane (haversack). My assumption is that this simpler tascapane was issued as a ditty type of bag for use around camp or extra ammunition the field. I don’t have any photos of this bag, but as I stated, I hadn’t yet begun to research it.

Attached File  Field-Tascapane-1a.jpg (22.24K)
Number of downloads: 102

The bag has a pocket sewn into the front side of the bag. I believe this holds a medic packet (see picture below).

Attached File  Field-Tascapane-2a.jpg (25.46K)
Number of downloads: 113

Questions #2. The buckle is shown in Coccia’s Le uniformi metropolitane del Regio Esercito dall a reforma Baistrocchhi all’inzio della seconda guerra mondiale 1933-1940 (page 231).

If you look at the leather equipment belt for the M1909 field gear, there is a short length (leather tab) sewn on the end of the belt with holes. The buckle is fitted to this extension using the two inner slots on the buckle and secured using the inside tongue. See picture.

Attached File  Belt-Buckle-1a.jpg (28.92K)
Number of downloads: 120

To wear the belt, the free end of the belt is fed through the two outer slots in the buckle, and is secured using the outer tongue. See picture.

Attached File  Belt-Buckle-2a.jpg (30.61K)
Number of downloads: 115

Pista!

Jeff
btg. sciatori Alpini « Monte Cervino » (reenacted)
19° reggimento fanteria « Brescia » (reenacted)

#3 User is offline   Moncello 

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 09:32 PM

Camerati,
The Historical Documents show the Belt also buckled to the long bit as the adjustment with the short tab doing it up,( this is the Complex I use).
The Buckle is also shown on the Left or Right side... Krazy.. :lol: ( again, I have the Buckle on the left.)


:D
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#4 User is offline   Jeff Leser 

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 05:11 PM

Moncello

Quote

The Historical Documents show the Belt also buckled to the long bit as the adjustment with the short tab doing it up,( this is the Complex I use).


I would like to see that source. Another mystery of the Italian's unique approach to uniforms and equipment waiting to be discovered and understood.

Agree that the historical record doesn't seem to favor the buckle on a specific side of the ammo pouch. I have examples of the buckle worn left and right. I need to check my manuals to see if the pictures consistantly have the buckle on a particular side.

Pista!

Jeff
btg. sciatori Alpini « Monte Cervino » (reenacted)
19° reggimento fanteria « Brescia » (reenacted)

#5 User is offline   iac1 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 02:20 AM

To jwsleser, That's it, that's the bag ! I have not been able to find any info about it elsewhere !
Thanks also to you and the other responders regarding the buckle. And I agree; another mystery regarging REI equipment design.
My apalogy in late responce, IAC.
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#6 User is offline   Jeff Leser 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 12:40 PM

RE: The buckle and which end of the belt to use.

Posters on other forums and all indicated that the buckle was fastened on the long end of the belt, not the sewn end as I have indicated. The picture in Coccia supports this verison. Hence it appears my understanding is incorrect (and Moncello is correct) and you should wear the belt with the buckle afixed to the long end, and secure the belt around the waist using the sewn end.

Pista!

Jeff
btg. sciatori Alpini « Monte Cervino » (reenacted)
19° reggimento fanteria « Brescia » (reenacted)

#7 User is offline   Moncello 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 06:53 PM

jwsleser said:

(and moncello is correct)

Pista!

Jeff



Camerata,
This Formula is rarely seen ( or ever heard) by this Rezident.... :lol:

If I have assisted our cause, then that is enough.

Grazie, Camerata jwsleser.


Pavia, Bravo!.


:D
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#8 User is offline   ARDITO71 

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 07:08 AM

This type of knapsack was adopted to carry extra ammunition, or grenades, or explosives.
(Pocket used to transport detonators, not the medic packet).
In the era photographs do not see its use, but tales of the Commander of the 31st Genio Guastatori in Africa Settentrionale, speaking of bags with explosive charges.
Already in the Circular No. 243 of April 18, 1929, year VII, pantry 19
was adopted something similar: "Tasca per Bombe a mano", but I do not have never seen this accessory.

The "borsa tattica" or "zaino tattico M39" is this:
Posted Image
the buckle on the belt was fixed in this way:
Posted Image
Posted Image

Ciao, Luca
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#9 User is offline   Jeff Leser 

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 03:56 PM

Good day Luca

Thank you for the addtional information. It is interesting that the small pocket was used for detonators. Do you have any pictures of the detonators? Information onn Italian engineer items is difficult to find.

Pista!

Jeff
btg. sciatori Alpini « Monte Cervino » (reenacted)
19° reggimento fanteria « Brescia » (reenacted)

#10 User is offline   Frederico Aquini 

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 09:11 PM

While we're on the subject of pionieri e guastatori, has anyone seen a period photo or reference to this satchel?

Posted Image

Posted Image

I was curious, so I bought one of these from Sportsman's Guide (I have no I idea what I'm going to do with it). The one they have pictured has G/V leather, but the one I received brown-tan coloured leather and brown coloured hardware that I usually see on postwar items.

Any help in identifying it would be much appreciated. If it turns out it was something only made & used after the war, I won't feel bad using it for spare parts/material.

Frederico
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#11 User is offline   Grillo 

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 11:51 PM

Frederico,

I picked up the same satchel several years back in Italy and was told by the seller it was for use by the guastatori as well but I had and still have not seen any pictures of it being used by them. So, I asked some of the more experienced Italian equipment collectors what it was and they told me it was a WWII officer's portable writing case. The top with the single strap was to hold paper, the middle flap was the hard surface to write on, and bottom compartments were used to hold ink, writing utensils, erasers, etc. I have not seen any photographic evidence to back up their claim either but it makes sense though not it is not as glamorous as the guastatori assault pouch one.

I can not say for sure either way but that is what I believe it is. If you ever find out for sure what it is, please let me know.

-Tim
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#12 User is offline   Frederico Aquini 

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 08:48 PM

Grazie Tim!

Not a definitive answer, but this sure makes things more interesting. :D That's one reason I like all of this Italian stuff; there's still much that isn't known (in the English speaking world anyway) and it requires a bit of research, which for me is the fun part. While certainly not everything is known about every piece of WWII German equipment, I'd wager to say that just about everything worth knowing has been noted and that sub-genre is hardly lacking in secondary sources, both printed and electronic.

It'd be cool to have answers to what this or that piece of gear was designed before, but it certainly wouldn't be as fun! :D

Grillo said:

So, I asked some of the more experienced Italian equipment collectors what it was and they told me it was a WWII officer's portable writing case. The top with the single strap was to hold paper, the middle flap was the hard surface to write on, and bottom compartments were used to hold ink, writing utensils, erasers, etc. I have not seen any photographic evidence to back up their claim either but it makes sense though not it is not as glamorous as the guastatori assault pouch one.


You're right, that isn't as "glamorous", but I like that answer better! Whether it's true or not, I now have a use for it, besides collecting dust! I neither reenact as an officer nor have such an impression, however I have had need for something period to carry "office" supplies for filling out paper work and documents.

While I like the "Officer's portable writing case idea", there are certain aspects about the case that make me have second thoughts. In particular, the back three compartments. What ever this case was meant for, it seems those three back compartments were designed for something very specific in mind: notice the two middle vertical divider walls have "half-moon" cut outs and the twill "pull-tab" passes through a slot under one of these, but then over the other. If it was intended as a field writing case, it was designed for some very specific writing implements.

Does yours differ in any way from the pictures I posted from Sportsman's Guide? As I stated previously, mine has post war coloured leather and hardware. Mine also lacks the leather corners on the outside. I also noticed the middle divider, or "writing surface", is made out of some sort of synthetic, plastic like material.

It might also be worth noting, that I saw this being sold by on the internet by a vendor out of Italy as an engineer's satchel.

I look forward to hearing other's thoughts and speculations on the subject of the "Italian Mystery Box"! :lol:

Frederico
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