The Danish M45-59 webbing equipment
The M/45-59 webbing equipment did not change much from the already proven M45-50 design.
Belt, water bottle, bayonet frog, braces, large pack and small pack remained the same. However the colour changed from "karkee" to olive drab. The webbing texture remained the same as the previous equipment, but all metal fittings were made in bonderised aluminium. It was superior to the brass used on the old equipment, and did not need the same level of maintenance and care as the brass. Pistol holsters for officers, NCO’s, medical corps and military police were the only things to be dyed OD. All other equipment pieces were made in an OD colour to begin with. However the Army had large stocks of the old M/45-50 webbing. Because of this, karkee coloured and OD coloured webbing was used simultaneously for decades. No one seemed to bother what the conscripts were issued. This is odd; since the reason for the change in colour was that the olive-green equipment did not stand out in infra-red light the same way as karkee did.
The M/58 uniform changed colour as well, and two shoulder straps were added in 1961.
A few new items was introduced with the colour change and the basic infantry set-up now included a poncho carrier with tent pinching gear pocket, new water bottle carrier, new ammunition pouches for the Garand, from 1969 a new gas mask carrier and from 1975 ammunition pouches for the German G3 rifle, in Denmark designated Gevær M75.
Component guide: M/59 equipment
NB: Only the new additions are mentioned. Since all the other equipment bits and pieces remained the same (M/45-50), apart from the colour change I find it unnecessary to repeat myself.
It is important to remember a few things regarding the M/45-59 equipment. It was not a clear cut change from one equipment set to another, and equipment bits from the M/45-50 were used with the M/45-59 and vice versa. If not stated elsewhere, the equipment pieces mentioned was introduced and used simultaneously with the piece of equipment it was meant to replace.
DK: A-taske M/59 (Ammunitionstaske M/59)
UK: Ammunition carriers. (Garand riffle)
Complaints about the huge M/50 universal pouches lead to the development of the M/59 ammunition carrier. The ride considerable lover on the belt, and to make life a little easier for the troops, they designed the pouches in way that they slope to either the right or the left side. When mounted correct, it is more comfortable than the old pouches, and lighter. There is no difference on left or right pouches, since they are capable of mounting on either side. They are mounted with the standard British style C-hooks made of aluminium. The only weak spot on this pouch is the old style press stud fastener. They tend to brake faster than LTD fasteners or quick release (Like on the patt. ‘37 Mk.III pouch)
DK: Feltfalskehylster M/59
UK: Water bottle carrier. It is a redevelopment of the M/48 model, that was based on the Carrier, water bottle, W.E. Patt. ’44. But the Danish version is missing the D-hook. The D-hook is replaced by two brass buckles and two webbing straps. However this carrier resembles the US carriers more than the British one.
This type of water bottle carrier was not issued in large quantities. The old M/48 model had been produced in vast amounts by M.E.Co. and was still issued in the 1980s. The M/59 had rounded flaps instead of the edged ones on the M/48. The colour is OD, and the metal fittings are aluminium. On the inside there is a small pocket for water purifying tablets. The water bottle is the same as the one used with the M/48 carrier. Stamped FMI 1964. FMI = Forsvarets Materielintendantur = The army material command.
DK: Regnslags taske M/59
UK: Poncho carrier for the US style poncho with a small internal pocket for tent pitching gear.
The poncho carrier is something different than the rest of the equipment. It is made of a lighter material than the rest of the equipment. It is still 100% cotton, and in OD. There is sewn a light green edge on the lid and the seams on the sides. It has a very quality feel about it, and there is taken great care of detail when compared to the later version.
It is stamped: FMI 1966.
DK: ABC taske M/69
UK: Carrier for the Canadian C3 gas mask adopted by the Danish army in 1969. It replaced the old gas mask carrier in the army; however the home guard used all three types of carriers until the 1980s.
Made of 100% cotton, that has turned a greyish/green with the years. It has seen a lot of service, but is holding together well. All metal fittings are made of aluminium. There is room for a spare filter in the carrier together with tracing paper, anti-dimming gel and the other gas mask accessories. Keep in mind it is introduced before a proper NBC suit was introduced. The army told the conscripts to use the poncho as a makeshift protection suit. There is only quick-release buttons on the carrier since speed is the key when dealing with NBC attacks. If stored correctly, the gas mask is extremely easy to get out in lightning speed. Although some comfort is scarified to be able to achieve this.
DK: Magasintaske M/75
UK: Magazine carrier for the HK G3 riffle.
The same model as the Germans used, and basically everyone else that used the G3 rifle. The NATO store code indicates that his is German manufacture. (The country code is 22) They are not very worn, but the glue that binds all the different layers together did not do the job particular well. The inner part is made of a pressed and water resistant cardboard like material, and the outer part is made of a nylon coated cotton mesh. All metal fittings are made of aluminium. They slide onto the belt with the two belt loops on the back.
DK: Forbindelsesstykke M/65
UK: Somewhat similar to the Attachment, brace, W.E. Patt. 37, and Attachment, brace, W.E. Patt. ’44 and Patt. 1925 Attachments, brace.
This brace attachment was made to replenish the depleting stocks of WWII manufactured brace attachments in use with the Danish army. It is made in greenish / grey coloured webbing with aluminium metal fittings. Stamped HTK = Hæren Tekniske Kommando = Army Technical Command. The metal “buckle” is open at the sides, to make it easier to mount and remove it on the belt.
To finish this guide, I would like to talk more about what happened after the introduction of the M/75 ammunition carrier. The army experimented with rubberising the entire webbing set, and using a mix of cotton / polyester for the small pack and braces. The problem with the M/45-50 and the M/45/59 was that it weighed almost 1/3 as much when wet. To improve its water resistance they tried with the rubber and the synthetic fabrics. The quality dropped significantly. It is most evident with the poncho carrier. The second pattern poncho carrier I’ve got is of the rubberised version. It is a very crude, and hastily manufacture product, without the same level of detail as its older “brother”. But luckily for us, we decided to use the current British LBE instead at some time in the 1990s. It is designated M/96. In hindsight, it is not hard to understand, why we chose Britain as our no. 1 LBE supplier.