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Post Info TOPIC: Artilleryman's Uniform Question
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Legend

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Artilleryman's Uniform Question
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A silly question, perhaps, but one that has puzzled me. Why did the RFA and RHA carry ammunition bandoliers around their necks, as in the photo below:

What did they carry in them pouches? It's not like they can fit an 84mm shell in there! Obviously the handsome chap in the photo above is using one pouch for some snouts (smokes), and another to keep his matches dry. But seriously, why a tiny-pouched bandolier?



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Legend

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OK, I'll play "straight man" :).

Believe it or not, Cavalry, Artillery, Engineers, (see also http://landships.activeboard.com/t38854104/p-1903-bandoliers/), Intelligence etc. and, of course, Infantry, were and remain "the arms" or "fighting troops" and would be expected to carry 50 rounds of .303 Mk VII ball (or whatever) in 5 x 2 x 5-round charger clips in those bandoliers. 

Pretty much superseded in front-line use by WW1 but certainly still in use by some fighting corps and formations in some armies (still on issue until 1941 for Aus Inf according AWM but not, I think, front-line).  Corps which descended from those are "the arms" too - Armour, Signals, Army Aviation - except the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (WW2), they were steadfast in "the services", along with Service Corps, Medical, Ordnance, etc.  Hmmm ... also used in WW1 by the Australian Army Service Corps according to AWM, again.  No "simple" rule then.

I suspect that when such as the Mounted Infantry (for instance the Light Horse Regiment in Australian forces) discarded their leather bandoliers in the trenches for something more practical, the other "arms" snapped them up with glee - and they were probably already part of some official (or superseded) order of dress as shown for the Engineers in that link above. 

More importantly, as you observed, fine for holding (small) packs of cigarettes and posing for photographs.  And, in the latter case, the machine-gunners wouldn't loan them their cartidge belts and Mexico was neutral, so sombreros were "out".

Things change - I suspect the division of "the arms" from "the services" went pretty much by the board with the doctrine of "self protection" in more recent years (1980s-1990s?), FWIW. And perhaps "self protection" is the reality in any war, regardless of doctrine, as shown by the AASC being issued with (but slender evidence thus far - though I don't doubt they posessed the things) P1903 bandoliers.



-- Edited by Rectalgia on Wednesday 27th of July 2011 06:50:52 AM

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Legend

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More bandoliers.  Australian Engineers again - 3 Section, 3rd Field Company, Australian Engineers, late 1914 prior to embarkation (they saw action against the Turks 3 Feb 1915 in Egypt).



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Jaylynn

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I could watch Scihndelr's List and still be happy after reading this.

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