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Paul Durrant

Recreating the cartridge pouch of the 95th

Recreating the cartridge pouch of the 95th

Over the years one thing that has always puzzled us here at the 2/95th is what the original pouch of the 95th rifleman might have looked like. To our knowledge no such pouch of the original 95th exists (though there are extant rifle volunteer corps pouches out there). So looking at what evidence we have, I thought it high time we had a go at recreating one.

But first, let's look at what we know...

We have two descriptions of the pouch which, whilst detailed in their own way, unfortunately leave us asking more questions than there are answers.

1802 description
Our first 'glimpse' (description-wise) of the pouch comes from the ‘View of the Standing Regulations for the Colours, Clothing, etc., of the Infantry, to which are annexed the Guards, Rifle Corps, etc. etc.’ (commonly referred to as the1802 Regs) where it describes the pouch as thus;


'1 December 1800 and Date of Establishment: The Pouch for a Rifle Corps to have a wooden box bored for 12 rounds, and another of tin capable of holding 24 rounds. The flap of the pouch without ornaments and rounded at the corners, and fastened under the pouch by a strap and button...'


That seems quite straight forward enough as the block and tin arrangement was quite common between 1790 and 1808 with 36 in the pouch seemingly the norm and the line infantry carrying an extra 24 in a separate tin magazine (making a total of 60 cartridge rounds).
 
However, in 1816, just over a year after Waterloo, Colonel Amos Norcott of the newly re-named Rifle Brigade submitted a memorandum to Horse Guards containing his views on the equipment of the 95th Rifles over the war years, and suggesting some improvements to be made.


The View of Norcott  - 1816

Of The First Pouch Issued To The Corps.
The Shape was an oblong with the top perfectly flat, side leathers united with the front, thus forming a complete case as a guard against weather. The Spare Flints were carried in a small leather bag with a running string, and this was attached to the body of the Pouch under the cover of it.
            The interior consisted of a Tin Case divided into two equal parts, and a wooden frame with holes for twelve cartridges. The loose Balls covered with greased rags were kept in the tin compartments, and the Ball Cartridges in the wooden holes. These latter were intended for use on the outposts at night, in the event of attack in dark, or bad weather, being then more easy to load with, than loose Powder and Ball.


Again, and as before, this seems quite straight forward apart from his description of the side leathers united with the front. What front are they ‘united’ to - the flap, or beneath the flap, the front of the pouch itself?

Anyway, he continues;

Of The Pouch at Present In Use.
It differs from the Former one in no respect as to interior. The form is an oblong curved, in order to sit close to the back of the Waist; it has no side guard against bad weather, and the place in which the spare flints are placed is unequal to hold them securely, being too small and without any running string to close it.


And then repeating himself but adding;

Observations on the Pouch and Plan for its Improvement.
The pouch at present in use with the Corps, altho' exactly similar to the old one, as to the interior, is yet very deficient to it in other respects. The form is an oblong curved, in order to sit close to the back of the Waist; It has no side guards or case against bad weather, nor is the place attached to the body of it, equal to hold the required number of spare flints, or to secure them from falling out. The pouch cannot contain, without the risk of bruising the cartridges in the paper packages as now made up, more than four parcels of ten each; and the wooden holes, twelve, thus making in the whole, fifty-two rounds, a number infinitely too small for Riflemen to have in their possession.; it is neither equal to the preservation of ammunition as the edges of the tin box injures it much, and the propensity of that metal to rust when damp is also unfavourable to the Powder…



So, what dimensions? He emphasises oblong - but then gives us a possible suggestion of how large the tin might be by stressing;

         "The pouch cannot contain, without the risk of bruising the cartridges in the paper packages as now made up, more than four parcels of ten each..."

Now the packages of 10 cartridge I made up (squashed up tightly, thus risking “bruising the cartridges”), are approx 3¼” in length x 2¾” in width x 1¼” deep.

Now I've been experimenting and have made...

but enough from me for now. Start drawing, scribbling, calculating and theorizing!

Look forward to hearing ideas (and photos to follow!)
Ben Townsend

You'll be familiar with most of my ideas on this after, what, four years of gassing round the campfire. I'm most interested in the curved later pouch. One thought: how can the interior arrangements be described by Norcott as differing in no way, when the gubbins for the curved pouch are presumably curved?
Paul Durrant

I'm thinking he simply means same size, with similar style tin & block...
Paul Durrant

Most extant pouches of this period (26 hole drilled block) seem to only have a tin around 1½" deep. Using the size of the 'packs of 10' cartridge parcels as a guideline to it's measurements, here's a straight tin with a height of about 3";



The height is quite comfortable and the packets wouldn't be squashed by the block. However, side by side will be a tight squeeze. This seems quite deep for a tin that was designed to carry a supply of ball to refill the ball pouch on the belt. The compartment you can see is carrying 40 wrapped ball and could easily carry 60 - two compartments full of ball would be an incredible weight! However, it may go a long way to explain why Coote Manningham deemed it necessary for the pouch to have a 2½" cross belt to carry it.

Mind you, even though the block was only drilled for 12 rounds, I guess they'd need a re-supply. So maybe they did carry packets under there originally...
Paul Durrant

So, using a pack of 10 cartridges as an approximate measure and Norcott's statement of the later pouch "It differs from the Former one in no respect as to interior. The form is an oblong curved, in order to sit close to the back of the Waist...", here's an attempt at the curved tin.
Eddie

Paul
A very impressive level of reconstructive research -a specialised analysis of a subject I confess I know next to nothing about - there seems to be so many variants of pouches it leaves me totally confused.

Did you make the tins yourself?
Ben Townsend

Although we don't have a date for the move to the later curved pouch, I think its likely that by the time it came in the 95th were using predominantly cartridge (c.1809) over loose ball. The belt ball bag holds 30 ball loose, so we would expect the curved tray to be mainly a reservoir for cartridges, no? I wonder if it was designed with this is mind, in which case the sides might be higher, or whether the makers still expected it to hold mainly ball- after all it differs in no respect from the earlier pouch as to interior, except for the curve of course. How does the curve translate to the figure? Can you post a pic of it on a person?
Paul Durrant

The only illustration we have (so far) that we can definitely make out a curved pouch is on this occupation print with the figure who we're presuming is a rifleman:



As you can see, though beautifully curved, it's depth is nothing. It matches more the pouch of the Wallsend Volunteer Rifle Corps which is only the curved wooden block drilled for 16 rounds.

Early illustrations show Riflemen with straight pouches much like we have now:


So if the curved pouch is supposedly same interior as straight...
Paul Durrant

Straight with 12 bored block and curved with same;

Paul Durrant

The block seems excessively large for 12 rounds (even though I have decreased it's depth slightly) but I've let the tin dictate it's size.

Other blocks I've seen always seem to have the holes incredibly close together. If anyone's seen anything this widely spaced please let me know. The amount of unused wood left through this arrangement seems wrong - makes for you lugging more weight around!

If the block was drilled for 12 rounds in the way most blocks are drilled, like so...

You'd probably have a pouch about 5" square, 2" deep.

Nothing wrong with that as pouches goes. It was only meant to be a magazine to resupply the ball pouch on the front of the belt. But to keep it oblong the tin would have to be reasonably shallow - and no way you'd be able to cram in 4 x packets of cartridges!
tmdreb

My interpretation of the "side leathers united with the front" is something akin to the "ears" on the flap of later cartridge boxes.  
Paul Durrant

tmdreb wrote:
My interpretation of the "side leathers united with the front" is something akin to the "ears" on the flap of later cartridge boxes.  

This one did cross my mind. I suppose they are pieces of leather that are on the side. United with the front - or united at the top?

And will they allow the pouch to have a "top perfectly flat"

As for "united", does it suggest attached or just meeting?
tmdreb

Yes, it isn't the best illustration since it's round, but it got my point across.  I'm pretty sure this or some variation thereof is what the description intends to convey.
Paul Durrant

MAKING THE CURRENT 2/95TH POUCH AS CURRENTLY USED

With no existing cartridge pouch attributed to the 95th along the lines of Norcott's and the 1802 Regs description, the 2/95th reenactment group compromised with a not too uncommon design featured in the late Pierre Turner's 'Accoutrements of the British Army...' p60 (if you haven't a copy - get one!).

His illustration, of which he kindly furnished detailed measurements to us, is museum-dated as 1805 (though not currently residing in the NAM, it seems) and if this is true, then we might deduce that it may well be that as described in WO papers of 1804 relating to a new pattern pouch. If this original belonged to a Volunteer or Militia group, as so many extant items of our period seem to be, then it to may reflect the regular infantry's pouch, as later in 1804 we are informed that Volunteer commanders must have the same pouch as the regular infantry:

WO3/152, 208



MAKING THE 2/95TH POUCH

To begin with,  I used metal templates to cut out the main body shapes using approx 3.5mm thick, veg tanned leather. In this example I have chosen to dye the main pieces at this stage




DYING & REVERSING THE FLAP
I have been given mixed messages on the dying process applied at this time. Some believe black leather was achieved in the tanning process, others think that the leather was soaked. In some examples I've seen it is clear that the leather was dyed on one side only and is revealed in the method of reversing the flap.

On pouches of our period, the flap was reversed so that the coarse, flesh side was facing out. This provided a surface that enabled ball-black to adhere to and thus making it waterproof. The flap and rear panel was probably cut as one piece, dyed (either before, as a whole hide, or after cutting), then cut across - separating the main flap from the rear panel - and then the flap reversed, resulting in the dyed surface now being on the inside of the flap.
Cut then reversed

Royal Carmarthen Militia, NAM

60Round Infantry, Leeds Armouries



STAGES OF CONSTRUCTION
Nail holes in original pouches suggest that the cut pieces were first nailed to a shaped block to enable the sewing of the edges. However, that is the easy part! A lot more sewing is needed before this stage: the buckles need to be attached to the narrow base/sides panel, the thin pocket to the front panel, the supporting loop on the rear for the cross strap to go through, the side panel reinforcements attached and the button tab to be attached (using invisible stitching);


The preparation of buckles is discussed in another post;
http://2nd95thrifles.myfastforum....ut1009.html&highlight=buckles


BLOCK & STITCHING
The completed pieces are then nailed to the block making the simple saddle stitching along the edges easier (remembering to slip in the semicircular 'thickeners' inbetween the reinforced shoulders). Once finished the nails are removed at the block (hopefully!) slid free.


Then the messy part - ball-blacking. I have made my own, a mix of animal fat (lard), beeswax and bone-black. The result feels pretty solid but once the working in starts soon becomes soft a malleable (WARNING: do not do this near a carpeted room!!). Once worked in to the fleshy flap, I go over with the back of a candle-heated spoon to smooth and even it out. I then leave it for a few days, occasionally lightly buffing it.

(It is presumed that blackening such as this resulted in a hard, shiny surface coating but I'm not convinced as we only have 200 year old examples as evidence.)


TIN, DRILLED BLOCK & BUTTON

Drilled block: 26 holes using a 17mm drill. Originals for muskets are 19mm and I've no idea how they managed it in this size block!!
Support for the block: Turner's original illustration (and another earlier one in the book) shows the block supported by a simple wood frame. This is by far the easier and simplest method. I have now gone over to a tin tray as in the Carmarthen pouch. Initially I used sheet steel hot-dipped in tin at 0.5mm but this proved a tad too thick, heavy (and not being a tinsmith with the tools of the trade) difficult to form. I now use a thinner 0.3mm electroplated.



Button: The Turner shows a metal button but my thoughts are that this is a later addition. Most pouches of this period have buttons or traces of them. I can't explain how to do them other than I believe they are made on a small wooden button drilled in the middle. This allows a strip of thin leather to form a loop on the bottom and the ends I wet and weave through to the best of my ability until the wood is covered. I then rub these smooth and dip in dye. The result is no two buttons are the same which, as a consolation, is exactly what I've found with originals!



FINISHED RESULT
(The flap in the pouches in these pics I dyed after reversing flap. No reason.)
Neibelungen

A  very good result and  pretty much  how I've  made my boxes.

A few notes;
I suspect your  end  pieces are  pasted  in together (flour/starch/chesnut type glue used  in  shoemaking) to  keep  them all in one and  prevent slipping.  A number of examples don't show  the  horizontal bottom stitch  or side nailing to  keep  them in plase.

The overburnishing  of the blackball  would  brobably be either glassed  (similar to  an  artists muller)  or  a  shoemakers  sole iron (same as a hot spoon but is iron and  has more weight so  copresses  it down into  the fibres better.

If you add a small  amount  of  pure terpentine to  the mix it will  harden more as it evaporates and can  reduce the  lard/tallow amount.  A small  amount  of rosin  will  help  too.

I'm not sure  of the  necessity  for  splitting the rear  flap and reversing as  as most I've seen are  all  reversed or  all  flesh side.  It  is  possible the  flap  was damaged and replaced,  but would add an amount  of extra sewing and  introduce a weak point or water  ingress .  I'll  dig through my notes and  see  what  I can  find.  

Most examples  of the 1802/4  style tend to  have a  inner flap

Please note,  none  of these are  in any way a criticism,  just my perspective and  it's great to  see  people making reconstructions based  on actual  examples and  methods.  

Great work  !!.
Eddie

As the proud owner now  of one of these its nice to see the amount of research and care that went into producing it. And again 2/95th follows its established  reputation of sharing information to benefit the hobby as a whole.

Do you do buy one get one free?
John Waller

Curse you Durrant! I'm going to have to have a go at making one now!
Neibelungen

The  Leeds  pouch  is interesting as the  design  with the  internal  wings  conforms to  the styles  illustrated  in the  Guards R&F 1866 Arms and Equipment  of the British Army (pietrie or walters), though  it's shape and construction is  earlier and is the  only one I've seen with evidence  of the split back .  

I've noticed a couple of contemporary 60 round pouches from canada have similar  'ears'  to, and  your  quotations  from extant sources also make mention of ears  or  inside flaps.  But no  later  30's or 40's  pouches have that, boxing  in the sides  of the  internal  flap.
Turner notes a similar  pouch  with WIV cypher,  but  it's conjectural

I wonder  if  it's not been  reworked from an older  pouch to  serve a later  purpose,  hence the  split flap and the victorian  badge.

Going through  Tuner's  original  drawings (specifically the carmarthen boxes) he  gives no  indication of a rear split to the flap, and  all the  others,  especially the ones with protruding  sides to  the back plate are all  single  piece and  grain out for the most part.

All  definately show evidence  of being nailed to  a block during construction,  with  punch marks  over the holes from removal (exactly the same effect seen on shoe lasting).

From my perspective  I'd  draw the conclusion  that the  earlier 1798/1802  boxes  were taller and narrower,  being about  9" wide,  2 1/2" deep and  about 6" tall  .(give  or take  variations).  26-30 cartridges  in a wooden  block and a wood  or tin tray  for about 20+ beneath.  External  pocket flap (internal  access pre1790 ? )

With the introduction of the 60  round pouch  sizes change  to  around  8-9" by 3 1/2-4"" by  5-6" tall. Tin top and bottom trays.   I'm not sure  of the exact layouts but  probably  30 or 40 on the top in 10's vertically and  20-30 horizontal on the bottom tray ?.  

I'm guessing,  but probably this  pattern  served  through till  the late 1830's or early 40's ,  when the introduction  of  percusion cap  muskets (39 and 42 pattern) meant  need for a priming charge  in the cartridge was reduced ?    Sizes change to  about 5" by 5" by 7-8"" (1845 reduced size  and improved construction pattern changes? )

My conjecture would be:
1760's to 1790's Varied but similar to below but with  internal access to lower tray via pocket flap.
1798-1802 would be  tall  narrow boxes with wood block and lower tray
1804-12+    60  round  pouch  Fatter and slighly shorter with top and bottom tin trays and  either  'ear's  or internal flaps. External pocket. Leather  or iron studs ?
1815-40 As above  but boxing  in the sides  of the  internal  flaps. Brass studs ?
1840/5-59 as above but reduced size later  and  tool pouch later.
1866 new patterns for  Schneider rifles.

Ears are  possible and be even be  probable  on the 60  round pouch
Split to  rear main  flap:   possible but seems to me to  be  a weakness and  unneccessary (only seen on one example)
Internal  flap:  seen on almost all pouches
External Pocket: seen on all  pouches

I'm guessing that between 1802 to  1812 there was a mix  of  many different  boxes  in  use and  available stock of even older patterns were  issued to make up  for supply and  losses.  Styles and individual  details might have varied  and given the mixtures  of  regimental  stampings and BO  marks, were  probably made up  locally as much as issued especially at first. I forget the durations specified for them , but probably a 10 year lifespan, so  even up  to  1812 old patterns would have still been issued or in use.

ps.. those  little tabs are  interesting and  common..   perhaps more designed for a strap  or loop with a double stud end to fit  onto it rather than   fasten to  some button .. ?  They tried a similar thing in the 40's  with later with the waistbelt but was short lived.
Paul Durrant

Don't forget the 18 x 2 double ended block pouch...

"A soldier was selected with 36 rounds of ball cartridge in his pouch; he was the flugel man of the regiment, and had been many years a a soldier...     ...the first three rounds were fired in one minute; the remainder of 18 rounds in five minutes and a half. And deducting the time lost in turning the cartouche box, which the soldier could not do without being assisted, the 36 rounds were fired in thirteen minutes."

A Series of Military Experiments of Attack and Defence, etc. J Russell, Naval and Military. pp16-17,


(excuse crap quality of pic. Iain's fault!)
Eddie

Neibelungen wrote:

ps.. those  little tabs are  interesting and  common..   perhaps more designed for a strap  or loop with a double stud end to fit  onto it rather than   fasten to  some button .. ?  They tried a similar thing in the 40's  with later with the waistbelt but was short lived.


These button hole tabs have been discussed before - page 2 of  the"cartidge box locations  topic".

As to a strap linking bayonet belt and cartridge box I found just such an  item illustrated on page 55 of Michael Barthorps' British Infantry Uniforms since 1660 - 6th regiment Grenadier corporal 1802 - looks to be a detailed period image - attributed to Victoria and Albert museum. Copyright prevents me from scanning and attaching!
Neibelungen

Interesting reading through the  General  Regulations and  Orders   from 1822 and 1848.  

It notes (1822)  that among the list  of items provided by the  Board Ordinance,  "accoutrements  of  black  or tanned leather"  are  only provided as an  allowance  of 12 shillings and ten pence  for militia  only and are not listed as  being provided by  them to  line units.

From this I  and reference to  the 1848 Regulations  (which list accoutrenents as being part  of off-reckonings)  accoutrements were still  provided locally by the colonel  to  a  standard sealed pattern.

The 1848 is more specific,  implying that an  inspection of  items  in the off reckoning list was  was to  the  Board  of General Officers  (1848 implies that 2 sealed patterns  of every item  were  provided to  the  regiment  for comparison  of anual  returns, for clothing) and that  accoutrements (p 146-150, signed samples  were sent to  the board  of general officers for comparison to  Sealed Patterns.)

Although,  (unlike the 1822) it does not provide a list  of BO provided  items,  the list  of accoutrements,  while  including swords,  does not encompase  firearms  or canteens  (both known  to be  BO issued  by then).  1822 does not list canteens  as BO issue..

I think, from this  it might be reasonable to imply  accoutrements were still provided up  to  at least 1848 at  a regimental level and could vary slightly from a sealed pattern as long as generally conforming.  
Militia (at 1822) may have  been  supplied BO accoutrements (or money towards them)

I don't know what extent this interpretation will  add to  the  discussion,  but  shows that BO  marks  on accoutrements till  1848 were not likely to be  standard apart from  possibly militia.


Addendum,   General Orders and  Regulations  1811  also  show  Militia accoutrements are supplied by the Board  Ordnance but not for the regular troops.
Greg Renault

Regarding a strap between the bayonet belt and cartridge pouch.

I found detailed instructions for fitting accoutrements on page 22 of A Catechism and Handbook on Regimental Standing Orders, and 1852 work by Anthony Walshe intended to prepare junior officers for the lieutenant's examination.  (http://books.google.ca/books/about/A_catechism_and_hand_book_on_regimental.html?id=C04BAAAAQAAJ&redir_esc=y )

Although well beyond our period, I find Walshe's  comments interesting because the Army was still using shoulder belts to support the cartridge pouch and bayonet at the time, and because Walshe, who served in at least 2 regular units, presumably describes common practice.

He notes:  

The Accoutrements in order to be kept steady, and in their proper places, are to be connected by two straps.  One to be sewn close to the left of the Pouch, one half-inch from he top of it, and to pass horizontally round the Bayonet-scabbard, to a stud fixed on the inside of the Bayonet-belt; the other strap to be sewn on the inside and near the centre of the Pouch, near he top; this strap to aass to a second stud fixed on the inside of the Bayonet-belt, which is thus made to bear in part the weight of the Pouch and Ammunition.[/b]
Ben Townsend

Greg, I like the pack layout for inspection in Catechism.. It is very postperiod though useful sidelight.
Neibelungun highlights the practice of issuing black belts to militia which comes up a lot.
Quick note on accoutrements, Colonel Stewart's correspondance contains some communication with accoutrement makers of the 3/RB in 1817. He is Colonel-commandant of this battalion on its reduction and is trying to off-load accoutrements owned by 3RB onto the market. Not only are items of the 3RB's accoutrements stored with the makers, but they have also been returned for restoration and repair. An odd procedure. Will dig the notes out.
John Waller

Ref the 'connecting strap' I found this in The local militia paymaster; or, Military Friend By George Thomas (capt.) Pub 1812. (Available on the web as a downloadable E-book and an interesting read)

On this private parade the captain and his subaltern will attend and minutely after the serjeant has examined the company inspect the arms and accoutrements and see that the latter are properly adjusted The bayonet belt to be under that of the pouch the pouch buttoned to the strop that is fixed to the bayonet belt
Neibelungen

You find a number or similar ideas mentioned in several of the standing orders to regiments, especially around the 1830's and 40's.

The talk of the catridge box being 1-2" below elbow hight, paralellel and conected to the bayonette belt via the strap.

I'd agree that the use of a strap was probably intended to happen but was probably not implemented except on a regimental level and then varied.

I think the standing orders of the 85th mention something, from memory, but a couple of others also talk of a strap around the hilt of the bayonette too.  

Given that cartridge boxes and bayonette belts were locally made and had life spans of several years, it's likely that issues using different methods were probably and implemented (if at all) in different ways (strap and stud brom bayonette) (separate strap with studs) (separate strap  over hilt), and a lot of boxes would not even have been made with the tab required. (10-12 year lifespan so even 1814 would see pre-1804 boxes in service legitimately)
Eddie

Excellent bit of info John.
How universal such a strap was we may never know - soldiers of the period are more often than not depicted from the front - and if from the rear rarely in sufficient  detail as to show such things.
I did wonder about the 33rd ( present day) using such a strap  - perhaps we may get a comment from Doc White.
Paul Durrant

Neibelungen wrote:
"The  Leeds  pouch... is the  only one I've seen with evidence  of the split back..."  


I've asked Bruce Kane, the guy who reported on the Toronto 60rnd for the JSAHR, about this feature and if it's on the Toronto one. He's going to try and re-examine it and make fresh pix.  

Neibelungen wrote:
"I wonder if  it's not been reworked from an older pouch to  serve a later purpose, hence the split flap and the victorian badge."


I think the Leeds (Royal) Armouries have it from Windsor - which apparently has them by the ton pinned high up on the walls of various halls for decoration. A colleague told me they have numerous badges on them stuck on seemingly at random. I'm going to try and  look into this.

Neibelungen wrote:
"From my perspective I'd draw the conclusion that the earlier 1798/1802 boxes  were taller and narrower, being about  9" wide, 2 1/2" deep and about 6" tall (give  or take variations).  26-30 cartridges in a wooden block and a wood or tin tray for about 20+ beneath. External  pocket flap (internal  access pre1790?)."


Don't forget that there is also a separate tin magazine on their bayonet pouch for holding 24 rnds.

Neibelungen wrote:
"With the introduction of the 60 round pouch sizes change to around  8-9" by 3 1/2-4" by 5-6" tall. Tin top and bottom trays.  I'm not sure of the exact layouts but  probably 30 or 40 on the top in 10's vertically and 20-30 horizontal on the bottom tray?"


Regarding earlier thinner designs: My understanding (I've been told!) was that musket rounds were initially distributed in parcels of 12rnds which, with an allocation of 60rnds a man, allows for 2 packets in the tin magazine (24), 26 in the block and 10 distributed under the block (the trays aren't particularly deep). That also answers for the thin, reverse block pouch with 18 x2 (36) and the 24rnd tin magazine. However, Gen Norcott in 1816, when talking about the kit of the 95th, talks about parcels of 10 rounds being distributed. If this was also the case for the line infantry, then your 60rnd design should neatly fit 4 parcels standing on top and 2 on their side below.

Neibelungen wrote:
"Split to  rear main flap: possible but seems to me to be a weakness and unnecessary (only seen on one example)..."


To be honest, I don't see this as a weakness. It's not a join under stress and is held in place by up to 6 lines of stitching crossing over it from where the back cross strap retainer is sewn on. That would have to come away before the flap split was exposed - and then that would be the least of your worries.

Personally, I think the word would go out to manufacturers that the flap should be reversed. How they did it would be for them to work out. Frankly, cutting the section in two and reversing it is a proverbial pain in the a*** when it comes to putting it together and I didn't do this on my earlier pouches.
Paul Durrant

John Waller wrote:
On this private parade the captain and his subaltern will attend and minutely after the serjeant has examined the company inspect the arms and accoutrements and see that the latter are properly adjusted The bayonet belt to be under that of the pouch the pouch buttoned to the strop that is fixed to the bayonet belt


Hits the 'LIKE' button!!
John Waller

Paul Durrant wrote:
John Waller wrote:
On this private parade the captain and his subaltern will attend and minutely after the serjeant has examined the company inspect the arms and accoutrements and see that the latter are properly adjusted The bayonet belt to be under that of the pouch the pouch buttoned to the strop that is fixed to the bayonet belt


Hits the 'LIKE' button!!


I don't understand the bit about the bayonet belt being under that of the pouch. Surely this was never the case as the bayonet belt carried the breastplate? However I think it does show that some kind of connecting strop was used by some militia at some point at least.
privatecannon

Quote:
I don't understand the bit about the bayonet belt being under that of the pouch. Surely this was never the case as the bayonet belt carried the breastplate? However I think it does show that some kind of connecting strop was used by some militia at some point at least.


There's a researcher in Canada that has always insisted that the proper way to wear your belts is to put on the bayonet belt first, then the cartridge box belt, then unbuckle the breast plate and rebuckle it over top of the cartridge box belt.  I never got around to asking him his source for that, but perhaps it is this militia manual.  

He claims it locks the belts together very nicely.  I claim it's a pain in the butt to get your belts on and off...

Chris McKay
John Waller

privatecannon wrote:
Quote:
I don't understand the bit about the bayonet belt being under that of the pouch. Surely this was never the case as the bayonet belt carried the breastplate? However I think it does show that some kind of connecting strop was used by some militia at some point at least.


There's a researcher in Canada that has always insisted that the proper way to wear your belts is to put on the bayonet belt first, then the cartridge box belt, then unbuckle the breast plate and rebuckle it over top of the cartridge box belt.  I never got around to asking him his source for that, but perhaps it is this militia manual.  

He claims it locks the belts together very nicely.  I claim it's a pain in the butt to get your belts on and off...

Chris McKay


I suppose that would work - bayonet belt under at the rear and over at the front. But why?
Neibelungen

The  pouch belt should  fit between the top pins and the  bottom lip of the mushroom studs  from the rear  of the  beyonette belt strap. In theory  it should stop  them sliding about and  hold them in position on the front.

It's also possible to  slide the pouch belt through  below the plate and above the strap and then lock it into place  with the top pin  of the  plate above it  on the bayonette box strap.   A  lot  of modern  bayonette belts seem to  be made without the  rear loop to  hold the long end  in  place in  line with the rest  of the belt.  This will  definately fix  it more securely,  but  often the thickness  of the belting will  prevent it,  especially  if the  pin and stud lengths are  short.

Most  period buff belts are thinner, often only 3-4.5mm (1/8 to 3/16") because the leather was a lot stronger and much  denser than  modern  veg tan or  'buff' types  used today.  Clayton's  buff  is nothing  like  a period buff  really.

Officer's shoulder belt  straps  are sometimes even  thinner.

There are  specific  injunctions  in some standing  orders  (notably the 85th) against  soldiers altering their belt lengths without  permission of the  officer as well  as specifying the  position that the belts should cross  on the front.

It's a pain removing them,  but generally  if you were under arms  you'd remain  with them till  dismissed.  Re-enactors  tend to  want to  wander  off to  lunch a  lot more than  a soldier  would.
Neibelungen

Quote:
I suppose that would work - bayonet belt under at the rear and over at the front. But why?


It  keeps both  sets  of equipment  locked together,  so  that you can't  pick up one without the other and/or stops confusion of having to  sort  out both a  pouchbelt and a bayonette belt seperately  if you  piled them up  together
Greg Renault

The bayonet belt to be under that of the pouch

My interpretation: Pouch goes on first, bayonet belt second.  At one's chest the long portion of the bayonet belt is run under the pouch strap, and through the keeper loop at the underside of the short portion; the bayonet strap breast plate is then fastened over the pouch strap.

Walshe in his Catechism states that placement of the plate is the last step in fitting accoutrements.  The idea seems to be to work from back to front, getting pouch then bayonet where you want them (perhaps buttoned together), then run the bayonet stap in front, placing the plate where the pouch and bayonet straps cross, so that it will fasten both straps together.
Paul Durrant

So...

Do any of you guy know of extant bayonet cross belts with a couple of small unexplained holes in them? I'm wondering if the straps from the 24rnd tin magazine that was attached to it had perhaps brass studs (for want of a better word) that pushed through the cross belt: See illustration of Volunteer below;


My reproduction of Tin Magazine based on original in Inns of Court & City Yeomanry


Left: Law Association Volunteer,
Right: Private of the 3rd Foot, Atkinson
Paul Durrant

Greg Renault wrote:
The bayonet belt to be under that of the pouch

My interpretation: Pouch goes on first, bayonet belt second.  At one's chest the long portion of the bayonet belt is run under the pouch strap, and through the keeper loop at the underside of the short portion; the bayonet strap breast plate is then fastened over the pouch strap.

Walshe in his Catechism states that placement of the plate is the last step in fitting accoutrements.  The idea seems to be to work from back to front, getting pouch then bayonet where you want them (perhaps buttoned together), then run the bayonet stap in front, placing the plate where the pouch and bayonet straps cross, so that it will fasten both straps together.


This from the 1802 regs (and with a nod to my tin magazine!);

"The Belts for the Pouches and Bayonet are to worn crossways over the Shoulders and to consist of Buff Leather of equal Breadth viz: 2 1/8 Inches which are to be coloured White for all Regiments excepting those which are faced with Buff; for these Corps they are to be of that Colour. The Belt is to be fastened to the Pouch by two small Buff Straps and Buckles under the Pouch and to admit of being shortened or lengthened according to the Size of Man. The Plate of the Bayonet Belt to have the Number of the Regiment and to be placed so as to cover both Belts where they meet on the Breast. On the Inside of the Bayonet Belt there are to be two Ds to which the Magazine Straps are to be occasionally buckled...."
Paul Durrant

Paul Durrant wrote:
So...
"Do any of you guy know of extant bayonet cross belts with a couple of small unexplained holes in them? I'm wondering if the straps from the 24rnd tin magazine that was attached to it had perhaps brass studs (for want of a better word) that pushed through the cross belt.."


The 'hole' reference I think may come from Pierre Turner's description/speculation on how the magazine was attached. I understand the 1784 reports suggests the magazine "...to be fixed to the bayonet belt in such a manner as to be easily taken off, or put on; it not being intended to be worn except on active service." Turner's brass stud arrangement may be based solely on the Atkinson print above (if you look really closely). Unless of course, he's seen an original one.

However, this is the 1802 Regs description:

"Sixty Rounds of Ammunition to be carried by each Rank and File of the Guards and Regiments or Corps of Infantry when upon actual Service, Twenty-Four of which are to be in a Tin Case furnished on such occasions by the Board of Ordnance. This Magazine is to be covered with Black Leather and delivered complete with Buff Straps and Buckles to be occasionally fastened to the Bayonet Belt. The remaining 36 Rounds are to be carried in a Pouch in which there is to be a double Box of Wood bored with this Number of Holes." and "...On the Inside of the Bayonet Belt there are to be two Ds to which the Magazine Straps are to be occasionally buckled."

Pierre Turner also mentions in his book, p46 (bayonet belts/frogs), that; "...the use of the shoulder belt was authorized in 1784...and two 'Ds' were to be placed on the inside of the belt to which the magazine straps were to be buckled."
Paul Durrant

Paul Durrant wrote:
So...

Do any of you guy know of extant bayonet cross belts with a couple of small unexplained holes in them? I'm wondering if the straps from the 24rnd tin magazine that was attached to it had perhaps brass studs (for want of a better word) that pushed through the cross belt: See illustration of Volunteer below;


My reproduction of Tin Magazine based on original in Inns of Court & City Yeomanry


Left: Law Association Volunteer,
Right: Private of the 3rd Foot, Atkinson


Unless it just had its own thin cross strap that went over the shoulder but hid under the main bayonet cross belt?

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