Original U.S. Vietnam War 1966 Model Lightweight Rucksack Frame With Straps
Original Item: Only One Frame Available. This is a beautiful, genuine Lightweight Rucksack Frame. This model 1966 version features a riveted construction with wraparound tabs on strap loops. The tabs would be eliminated on the next frame modification introduced in 1968. The frame is complete with correct shoulder straps, upper and lower back straps, and buckle tabs for attaching cargo straps, which are not present. This does not have the center back strap as seen on many rucksacks during the war. These straps were introduced 2 years later with the 1968 frame.
The frame and straps show signs of honest use and wear. There appears to be no damage to the frame or straps. Most of the OD green paint on the frame is retained nicely and the straps are faded from wear, sweat and sun exposure, which is more evidence of it being used in service. This is a wonderful example of an early Vietnam War lightweight rucksack frame, which is becoming harder to find, especially undamaged. Measures 21 1/2"H, 17 1/2"W, and 5" deep.
Comes ready to be paired up with your Model 1966 rucksack that doesn’t have a frame!
The lightweight rucksack with aluminum frame was developed by Natick Laboratories for cold weather and mountain use as an initial effort to develop lightweight load-carrying equipment in 1961. It weighed 3 pounds (1.4 kg) as compared to the 7.5 pound (3.4 kg) cotton rucksack with steel frame which it replaced.
The aluminum frame gave the load stability on the wearer's back, and the nylon pack, with a capacity of 1.15 cubic feet was almost twice as large as the M-56 pack (.67 cu ft). Furthermore, a small demountable platform was provided which could be attached at the bottom of the frame; this shelf made it possible to carry items like a five-gallon water can, and thus served as a lightweight packboard.
The Lightweight Rucksack was the primary rucksack utilized by United States troops during the Vietnam War and also used in arctic and alpine areas. It replaced the M1952 rucksack and was in turn replaced by the ALICE in 1973.
Its ensemble consisted of a nylon pack with a cinch cord, top flap and three exterior pockets and a tubular aluminum frame with padded shoulder straps and waist belt. The Lightweight Rucksack, Nylon, was developed in 1962 as a part of the United States Army's efforts to develop suitable equipment for use by Special Forces, long-range reconnaissance patrols, and mountain and arctic troops. Testing was conducted by the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in the Alaska and Panama Canal Zone. Four patterns of the lightweight rucksack exist, with the latter two models featuring attachment points which allow the pack itself to be mounted in two and three locations on the frame, respectively. A prototype rucksack was produced in 1962, featuring a welded frame. The 1964 model was virtually the same, but with the contract information stamped in the pack rather than sewn in on a label. The next improvement came along in 1965, when the frame was changed to a riveted version rather than a welded one. The last modification was made in 1968, with the addition of a middle horizontal back strap. In South Vietnam the lightweight rucksack replaced and augmented the M1956 and M1961 versions of combat packs and was later partially replaced by the tropical rucksack of the M1967 MLCE (Designed specifically for jungle warfare). The rucksack was typically mounted low on the frame allowing bulky equipment to be strapped above. Stocks of lightweight rucksacks were replaced in United States military service beginning in 1974 with the adoption of the ALICE equipment. Lightweight rucksacks are currently quite desirable among collectors and period reenactors alike.
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