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Cold War Provost - Hints for your webbing contents!

Required (i.e. 'issued') kit...

First things first; there are a couple of required (issued to squaddies) items: These are:

Mess tins, which MUST be the pukka British issue things - best sources - any decent military surplus store - look for the arrow or "crows foot" on the hingeline panel of the folding arms, along with the NSN, or Nato Stock Number (which varies, it seems).
58 pattern water bottle and mug. Do NOT, say again, NOT, go for the inferior chinese knock-offs. Remember, genuine british military kit will have the arrow or "crows foot" on it: On water bottles and mugs, it's very clearly marked on the front along with the NSN. Watch out for clever copies - they're made of inferior plastic, not thick black shiny plastic, and do NOT have the NSN. If you're not sure, don't buy it; ask on the C20 forums for advice on where to find (which shops) sell the real deal kit.

Next up, the "gucci" items...

Personal first aid kits are a useful thing to have, whether or not you're a LIving History re-enactor or not. The main problem is that current offerings on the market, by and large, are either DPM camouflaged, or very brightly coloured, with pouches made from some form of "ballistic nylon" or other, so are not exactly period-accurate.

Best way around this? Grab hold of a US Personal First Aid kit. They're 20 quid or so, and you'll most likely have to bin a few out-of-date items from them, but they're worth-while, are OD green, and period-accurate - and yes, the author HAS seen these on British soldiers in the early 1990s (sorry, no photos), so it's not outside the bounds of possibilities that British Soldiers had - ahem - horse traded some item or other (most likely a pack of GS rations, which at the time were far and away better than US MRE ration packs at the time) for a US first aid kit. This said, there is a "Jungle First Aid Kit" (pictured) available that, while it comes in a nylon pouch, is at least OD Green. The only problem with them is that there's no place to hang them on 58 webbing - The author got creative, and stuck his one into his bergan when he was in the RMP(v)!

You should also buy or somehow procure a First Field Dressing, and tape/secure that to the upper left front riser of your 58 webbing yoke - these were issued, and were surprisingly effective at what they were intended to do - plug holes in soldiers!

KFS sets. The author was issued, right out of the mess, a knife, fork, and spoon. Even a brand new in-traning squaddie would tell you that these'll rattle like crazy in webbing. So, the first order of business down the NAFFI shop or PRI shop (if one was available) was to get a set of civvy camping cutlery. In the end, and amusingly enough, the chinese supplied the best offering!

Similar to what you see on the left, they came with an OD Green canvas-like sheath, which had a flap one tied off to secure the cutlery inside. The cutlery itself consists of a knife, fork, and spoon, which slip into a collective holder that doubles as a fairly good can-opener and bottle-opener.

In the days of GS tinned rations, this was a godsend, as the issued can opener that came with every pack of GS rations was a fiddly pain in the posterior to manipulate!

Compasses. The Army issued - and still does - a perfectly good compass to the RMP - the Mk 4 Silva (similar silva compass shown to the left). Marked in mils and degrees, with a handy series of grid scale markers on it, you can tell the military version as it'll have the obligatory "Crows' Foot" arrow on it - best place for these - militaria fairs.

When you've got one, grab some para cord, and tie a lanyard to it - you do NOT want it to fall out of your pocket - do NOT put it into your webbing - it'll most likely get crushed or broken when you absent-mindedly throw your webbing into a corner somewhere when knackered!

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