Original U.S. M1956 Vietnam Era Entrenching Tool Shovel Cover / Carrier
Original Item: Vietnam Era US Army/USMC M1956 Entrenching Tool or Shovel Canvas Carrier Cover. This is the cover that was used to carry the Vietnam Era Entrenching tool with the Pick Head attachment. These covers also have a set of M1910 belt hook grommets on the front as an additional attachment point for other accessories. Offered in solid but used condition. Two Alice clips included. All covers dated in the late 1950s through the 1960's with U.S. ink stamp to front.
History of the M-1956 Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment
There was little change in World War II web gear until 1956, after the Korean War, when a major redesign was issued.
Measures Approximately 10" x 7
Components of M-1956 LBE
The new system of web gear and pack was called the Load-Carrying Equipment (M-1956). As described in FM 21-15, the main components were:
Individual Equipment Belt (pistol belt)
Suspenders (Load Bearing)
Field Pack (butt pack)
Entrenching Tool Carrier
First Aid Case/Compass Pouch
Sleeping Bag Carrier
The M-1956 Load-Carrying Equipment was lightweight, with only a small pack. Its components were still made of cotton canvas webbing, same as used in World War II, but they introduced the slide clip fasteners (sometimes called Alice clips, but ALICE equipment came later). The slide clip keepers replaced the old-style M1910 wire hooks for all attachments.
The Individual Equipment Belt was manufactured with two types of weave, horizontal or vertical. The belts had metal tab closures and three rows of grommetted holes that could accept the M-1910 hooks from older equipment that could continue to be used.
The Load Bearing Suspenders came in three lengths -- Regular, Long and Extra-Long -- that attached to the top row of grommets of the Individual Equipment Belt.
The M-1956 Load-Carrying Equipment remained standard until replaced by M-1967 Individual Load-Carrying Equipment during the Vietnam War. M-1967 equipment was made of nylon, a material much better suited to the tropical conditions of Southeast Asia.
The square shaped M-1956 Field Pack (or "butt pack") was made entirely from cotton canvas. It had grometted holes on the main flap to accept M-1910 wire hook attachments as well as canvas tab loops on both sides for attachments with slide clip fasteners. The M1956 Field Pack attached to the belt with slide keepers and to the Load Bearing Suspenders using grommets on canvas tabs. At the bottom were straps to hold a rolled poncho. The M1956 pack was too small for more than a single day's use so troops in Vietnam either: used larger rucksacks, added another bag from the M1945 equipment, or used other expedients.
In 1961 an advanced version of the M56 Field Pack was introduced, a bit larger with a more rounded shape. The M1961 variant had a larger top flap, and a rubber collar in the opening to help keep the contents dry and longer straps. The M1956 pack remained the most widely used.
M1956 Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment was still not light enough, given advances in available materials. In 1962, a set of M-1956 equipment was made up in nylon for testing. The results showed the equipment performed as well or better than the canvas duck M1956 equipment with a savings of almost two pounds of weight. This development was combined with an item issued in 1961 (the Lightweight Rucksack, FSN 8465-782-3248) to form the Lightweight Individual Clothing And Equipment (LINCLOE) Quantitative Material Requirement dealing with load-carrying equipment. After considerable additional work, the M-1967 Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment (MLCE) superseded the M1956 gear.
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