The Canadian Provost Corps
1946 - 1968
Canadian Web Equipment 1964 Pattern
And Associated Items
In the early 1960s a totally new design of load carrying equipment was developed in conjunction with the new combat uniform. The new equipment was designated Web Equipment, 1964 Pattern (WE'64). WE'64 employed plastic buckles and fittings with hook and loop (Velcro) fasteners and was designed to be simple to adjust and easy to decontaminate. The belt and braces were made of a heavy rot resistant OD Green cotton web material. Individual pouches were coated with a green plastic waterproofing, this tended to flake or peel off after some use. WE'64 was not widely issued to the Regular Force until 1966 - 67 and was not issued to the Reserves until the late 1970s.
WE'64 was superior to the 1951 pattern in ease of assembly and adjustment, but in most other respects was a failure and disliked by soldiers. Equipment tended to slide out of position on the belt, and over time the hook and loop fasteners lost their ability to remain secured.
The most obvious fault was the absence of magazine pouches, but this was a design failure. The concept of the combined Combat uniform and WE'64 was based on the premise that the infantry soldier would ride into battle in an Armoured Personnel Carrier and dismount to engage the enemy. Combat would require only weapons, ammunition, water and light rations. Additional clothing and personal gear required for living in the field would be carried in the APC. This concept also assumed that the soldier would not be required to march long distances on foot or carry heavy loads. Magazines for the FN C1 rifle were intended to be carried in specially designed pockets on the Combat uniform. Magazines for the FN C2 light machinegun were carried in a 4 pocket "chest pack". There was no provision made for carrying magazines for the C1 submachinegun, they were to be simply stuffed into any available uniform pocket.
In the field, it was common to see belts held together with green guntape or metal keepers from the 1951 Pattern waistbelt. The "Y Strap" braces were thin and unpadded and dug into the shoulders. Some soldiers modified their web by replacing the Y Strap with American M1956 or M1967 load bearing suspenders.
The WE'64 set employed by Canadian MPs in the field normally consisted of a 2 1/4" (5.7 cm) wide waistbelt with green plastic buckle, "Y Strap" brace and (left to right)gas mask and carrier, bayonet, mess tin carrier, canteen carrier, grenade pouch and compass case. The position of the equipment items on the belt in the field could vary according to individual preference or Unit Orders, however the bayonet was always worn over the left hip. In hot climates, two canteens were sometimes worn. In the early 1970s it was common practice to attach a First Field Dressing to the Y strap and occasionally a second dressing was taped to the waistbelt or worn under the helmet cover. Pistols were not normally carried in the field by MPs, the C1 submachinegun was the standard weapon. No magazine carriers were produced for the WE'64, rifle magazines were carried in purpose designed pockets in the Combat uniform. SMG magazines were carried either in the Combat pockets or in 1951 Pattern pouches attached to the web belt.
Waist Belt And Buckle
The WE'64 waistbelt.
Detail of the WE'64 waistbelt buckle
"Y Strap" Brace
Detail of the WE'64 yoke or Y Strap. Note the thin material and absence of any shoulder padding.
Canteen And Carrier
Canteen and Carrier. The 1960 green plastic canteen introduced with the WE '51 Equipment was issued with WE '64.
A new version of aluminum canteen cup was issued, replacing the WE '51 canteen cup, but both patterns appear to have been used concurrently.
Mess Tins And Carrier
Aluminum or steel mess tins of Second World War pattern were initially issued with WE'64 but were withdrawn in the late 1970s. The Mess Tin Carrier was retained and proved a convenient carrier for the OG 107 combat rain suit.
The grenade pouch was similar in design to the mess tin carrier, but considerably smaller in size. Capacity was supposed to be two M26 or M67 (C13) fragmentation grenades but the fit was so tight that soldiers said that you could only fit one and one-half grenades into it. Five V40 "Mini Frag" grenades fit in the pouch quite nicely. Soldiers often used the pouch to carry the cleaning kit for the SMG. A velcro loop on the bottom of the grenade pouch was intended to carry the grenade launcher adapter for the FN C1 rifle.
Bayonet Frog and Bayonet
The Bayonet Frog was similar to the WE '51 pattern and the two were interchangable. The C1 bayonet was used on the Canadian made FN C1 and C2 rifles and on the C1 Submachinegun.
Similar in design to the WE '51 Browning Hi Power Holster, the WE '64 holster had a sleeve added next to the spare magazine pouch for the oil bottle.
Gas Mask And Carrier
The first pattern gas mask carrier had pockets for chemical agent detector paper, instructions and anti-dimming compound. It was a poor design as it could only be worn on the waistbelt. Later versions had sling attachments allowing it to be carried at all times.
Method of attaching the carrier to the waistbelt.
The C3 Series gas mask issued with the 1964 Pattern web had a side mounted filter cannister.
Compass Carrier and Compass
The WE '64 Compass Carrier was a new design accomodating (among other similar patterns) the Silva Type 15 (Ranger) Compass.
Entrenching Tool Carrier
A seldom seen piece of WE'64, the entrenching tool carrier. The entrenching tool from the 1951 Pattern Web was intended to be carried, but most soldiers never saw an entrenching tool after basic training. Full sized shovels and picks were normally used for digging.
FN C2 Magazine Chest Pack Carrier
Four 30 round magazines for the FN C2 light machinegun were carried in a 4 pocket "Chest Pack", which was commonly known by soldiers as the "C2 Mag Bra".
The C2 "Chest Pack" as normally worn. The soldier would obviously have some problem extracting the magazines when firing in the prone position.
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