Details sought on 1960's kit

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by 5645andym, Nov 16, 2012.

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  1. We are looking at setting up a display covering the middle part of the Cold War period, from around 1960 to 1970.

    Most people thinking of that period will talk about the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vulcan bombers and Polaris boats, the Czech “Prague Spring” and Superpower rivalry & so on but forget the large number of boots on the ground in Germany holding the line and deterring Warsaw Pact aggression .

    It looks like an interesting time with a lot of major changes to uniforms and equipment taking place and we think that it would be good to show the changes & advances made over that time, from Battledress, Lee-Enfield & Bren with 37 Ptn webbing at the end of the 1950's through the green 1960 Ptn clothing and on to DPM clothing with SLR/GPMG & 58 Ptn webbing in use by 1970.

    Can anyone provide us with some information on when various things came into widespread use so that we can work out what would or would not have been seen together in the middle of the decade (as we do not want to get things badly wrong!).

    We are particularly interested in the approximate dates that the following would have been introduced into use in a “typical” infantry battalion in Germany:

    1960 Ptn Smock & Trousers (the olive green predecessor to 1968 DPM kit)

    1958 Ptn webbing

    SLR & GPMG

    Sterling SMG

    We would also like to know if most units changed to the GPMG at the same time as the change to the SLR or was the L4 (7.62 mm version of the Bren) brought in first with the GPMG following later?

    We would also like to know when the NBC suit was introduced, when the Mk 2 version ( with the attached hood) was introduced and when that was replaced with the Mk 3 version (with the overall green cloth finish) and when the S6 respirator was first issued.

    Any recollections would be appreciated, either of the dates kit was changed over or as to what clothing and weapons were used together at the same time with an indication of the units concerned would be very much appreciated.
     
  2. SLR, GPMG, green combat kit, DMS boots and 58 pattern were all in use at the Yorkshire Brigade depot at Strensall in 1963. 1st Argylls in Germany were still in green kit in summer of 1967 but the Daily Telegraph had a photo of an inf bn arriving in Belfast in DPM in early 1968. Mind you, battle dress trousers were still being issued as barracks dress in some units in 1970 -71ish.
     
  3. On first posting to BAOR in September 1979, I was issued with a Mk.2 NBC suit, as were the majority in my unit. I know the new Mk.3 suits with olive-green fabric covering were held, but these were considered war stock only & very few had them on issue. Gloves inner & outer were issued to us, but no overboots as these were also considered war stock & none ever left the unit Mob Store. During the whole of my service (1979-84) I only had an S6 respirator.

    As far as webbing goes, for most of my service I was issued '58 pattern with its superb water-retaining qualities. However, when I was posted to Northern Ireland in May 1981 I received a full set of the lightweight '44 pattern with its superb large pack (far more useful than the '58 pattern one) & retained this until June 83.
     
  4. Joined in '58, got 37 pat web, had the same in Bahrain then Aden, London from '64 - '67 still had 37 pat, went to singers in '67 got issued 44 pat (and jungle boots which soon wore out in the jungle free exchange). went to Germany in '70 got 58 pat web and for the first time issued NBC suit, smock and trousers, inner and outer gloves, Sr6. did the NBC course at winterbourne gunner? in 70 or 71, no change of kit. and on going back to UK still had 58 pat web and same ole nbc kit and sr6 - supposedly the finest in the world when it fikrst came out.
    Got issued the barrack dress trousers whilst in London, had the green DPM even in germany from 70-72, got the cam dpm in Uk in '73,
     
  5. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    At IJLB Owes try in 66 we were trained on all the section weapons which at that time was the SLR, GPMG & sterling SMG as the main weapons. We also did others, among which were the 2" mortar, and that great bit of kit (not) the Energa grenade, the pouch for the launcher of this grenade was where everyone kept their KFS.

    @ Vasco, maybe the Belfast troops were trialling the new DPM. I know that our bn did not get it until our return from our first tour in mid 1970. Also we were the first BAOR major unit to go to Belfast. Our rear party had to paint the whole battalion's vehicles in the new DPM pattern, away from the shiny green of previous.
     
  6. I'd recommend this book amongst others

    Combat Dress, 1950 to the Present Day - 1989 (British Soldier in the 20th Century) [Paperback]
    Mike Chappell (Author)

    He's written several others for Osprey and they are all a vailable on Amazon.

    And this

    The British Army In Northern Ireland [Paperback]
    Simon Dunston (Author)

    Also check out HMVF.co.uk A military vehicle forum mostly but has a section on clothing and it seems that the period you are interested in is the one they seem to have focused on. A lot of anorakie types but the info is there and you're probably a bit of a one yourself and so might enjoy it in there ;-)

    D_B
     
  7. I think the L4 Brens actually came into service about 5 years after the GPMG; they took a while to get the conversion right.

    The L4 was issued alongside the GPMG: broadly speaking line infantry got GPMGs, and all other arms used the L4 right up until 1st Gulf War (even on Op Telic, they'd only found enough cash to give arty and other sub-units one or two GPMGs each....).

    Regular infantry used the L4 along with- or in place-of the GPMG in tropical locations - Belize, SE Asia, Kenya, etc.


    IIRC up until 1970-ish there were still .303" Brens, Vickers and 4(T) sniper rifles in service alongside 7.62mm SLR & GPMG. RM used the Vickers in Borneo in 1966, and kept them until about 1971.

    Some units still had Sten MkV as late as 1970.
     
  8. brettarider

    brettarider On ROPs

    4T,
    Our unit still had the SMG/L4 until 93/94 I done my APWT on the SMG and I know the L4 was brought out to play on Mil Trg at Vogelsang in Oct 93
     
  9. Joined up in 1976 (JLR RCT at Norton Manor, Taunton).

    1937 pattern webbing

    S6 and 1958 pattern nylon bag

    1968 DPM combats mit puttees and DMS

    SLR's with wooden stocks

    LMG's (Brens) .303 as DP's with drum type rear sights and 7.62 with leaf sights for range work

    Posted to Germany 1978.

    SLR's with plastic stocks (for NI tour)

    LMG's (Bren) 7.62

    3 part NBC suit (grey) replaced later with a grey 2 piece suit, some lads got the 2 part green NBC suit early 1980,s

    Best bits of kit for me were;

    Black coveralls

    First version of NI glove

    Olive green Canadian style parkas, issued in October and taken back in April by the SQMS.
     
  10. Hmm. I was basing that recollection on my OTC dates (ditto for the note about the Argylls, which I am pretty sure about), but you may have put your finger on my weakest link. FWIW, the Marines were in DPM NLT end 1971 because they issued it to an acquaintance in the RMR while he was attached - we were amazed when we saw it. As I suppose most people were. I was issued it at the RAF OCTU in June 1972. It had been in use there for some time.
     
  11. All of this will count for nothing if you do not have a Bedford RL on display.
     
  12. I was in REME at the time and was posted to an armoured unit in Muenster, West Germany and the end of 1970/beginning of 1971.

    In 1970 we changed from Pullovers Khaki lightweight to heavy green Woolen Pullovers but still wore Olive Drab combat kit for guard mounting. When I was posted to my first Regiment, which was part of 4 Guards Armoured Brigade, we also wore the Guards "Evil Eye" flashes on both shoulders of all uniforms except No 2 Dress. Normal working dress in barracks was Green Coveralls with detachable buttons, KF shirt, BD trousers underneath the Coveralls, a "37" pattern web belt and beret. In Cavalry Regiments and the Royal Tank Regiment, the coveralls were held up by elastic bands (normally 3 strong ones on each leg) over DMS Boots. The coveralls were later replaced by pop buttons and when 2 RTR took over, we changed to black coveralls and had to remove all Brigade flashes from uniforms. If not in Coveralls, pressed Battledress Trousers were worn with stable belts, KF Shirts and Pullovers, or in Shirt Sleeve order with Regimental accoutrements (Regimental Lanyards, Epaulette slides etc).

    We were originally issued with the Mk 1 (grey) NBC suit with detachable hood, and IIRC for a short time still had the original 1950s respirators with small haverbag and demisting wax and cloth until these were replaced by the S6 Respirator and a cloth haverbag.

    The Mk 1 DPM suits were issued around about 1971, (not a patch on the old olive drab ones IMHO) although again, in the armoured regiments, these were only worn for guard mounting. Whilst the Panzer crews had GPMG as well as .30 browning, the LAD were issued with the 7.62mm LMG (Bren uprated). Tank crews were issued with 9mm SMG (which were all modified by welding a small strengthening plate to the folding butt in 1972/73) whilst attached personnel were issued with the trusty wooden butted SLR.

    In 1973/1974 the sturdy heavy woolen greatcoat was withdrawn from service - how I missed that in the winter, and at some stage we moved from kaki woolen gloves to dark green woolen gloves which were little short of useless.

    Oh! I nearly forgot to mention the hairy woolen swimming trunks we were issued with as well !
     
  13. I went to N Ireland from BAOR in Jan 1971 and we were all kitted out in the olive combat gear as were all other units on the streets (I think) with the exception of the paras. Prior to then some units in BAOR were wearing DPM.

    In early Feb 1971 the snipers atop Flax St Mill were still using No4 sniping rifles but only because the starlight 'scopes could not be fitted to the God's SLRs. In mid Feb God allowed starlights to be fitted to his favourite weapon and that resulted in an increase in the number of PIRA boyos who had the honour of meeting Him earlier than they had anticipated.

    By late April 1971 DPM was being worn by most regular soldiers on the streets.
     
  14. All the above is exactly how I remember it all, I spend three years in 8reg bimbling about in coveralls and boots,I only started to dress properly when I went to NI and that was olive drab combats, never got any dpm ffs when I left in 1974 I still was wearing 37patt,
    I often wondered when they withdrew greatcoats?...answered above.
     
  15. A number of the RAOC, Senior NCO's were wearing cut down (shortened) Great Coats at 17 VSD, Ayrshire Barracks in the late 70's.