This Web Equipment was made by the U.S. Mills Woven Cartridge Belt Company of Worcester, Massachusetts. All of the pieces are maker marked with the M.W.C. B. Co. "MILLS " in a cartridge logo and are dated 1916. At present, we cannot identify the country for which it was made. Several partial sets have been documented, but no one seems to have the complete equipment.
The pieces listed below are the only ones seen so far. Missing components include the Haversack and Straps, with Keyway fitting.
The Back adjustment strap for this equipment is similar in design to the ones used in other Mills Back Adjustment Web Equipments. The American style brass tips on the belt section differ slightly in form from the British M.E. Co. ones, the brasses are blackened, and the angled buckled straps are sewn to the inside instead of the ouside of the Strap, but this type (except for the keyway fittings) would be interchangeable with the ones for W.E. Patt. '13, Patt. '19, Patt. 25, or Patt. '40.
The inside of the same Back adjustment strap.
The Cartridge carriers are, for the most part, typical for a Mills Cavalry Web Equipment. The Carriers are "one over two" three pocket designs, and have horizontal straps extending rearwards from both top cartridge pockets, which identifies this as a Double Sliding Strap equipment. Both Carriers also have the post for the Straps, with keyway fitting, on the top buckles. The waist buckle is the U.S. Mills "Military Pattern" loop and olivet type, which was standard for M.W.C.B. Co. Belts. It was also used by M.E. Co. for some of its designs, such as the 1917 Web Equipment, Officer's. The hooded cartridge pocket covers are apparently unique to this particular equipment. This cover design was patented by M.E. Co. in 1918.
The rear view of the same pair of Carriers. Note the fitting connecting the top buckle to the body of the Carrier. This is the same type of fitting later used in the W.E. Patt. '19 and Patt. '25 Cartridge carriers. The Brace threads through the three bar buckle in the usual way, then passes through the large slot on the lower fitting to pass behind the Carrier. This design was simplified in W.E. Patt. '40.
The Braces are different in some ways from the British M.E. Co. designs. Overall, these are several inches shorter and the 2-inch wide center section is longer. Also note the U.S. style brass connector sewn inside the crossover loop. The right Brace passes through this as well as the crossover loop. On the outside view (far left), you can see the transverse web loops on the wide part of the Brace. The Strap, with keyway fitting, passes through these. The end with the transverse loop is at the rear of the Brace.
The 1916 Cavalry Web Equipment Brace (below), compared with the one for the Belgian M1915 (above). The detail near left shows the logos for both the Belgian (above) and Cavalry W.E. (below) Braces.
This is the only example I've seen of the Water bottle carrier for this equipment. Note the angle of the chapes and buckles that connect it to the Cartridge carrier and the Strap, with keyway fitting. These indicate this Carrier was to be worn on the right side, just as with the 1919 pattern (and opposite W.E. Patt. '40). The bottle is maker marked "Minton", who were British manufacturers. It is not known whether the bottle is original to the equipment, but the owner has noted that it fits very loosely in the Carrier. From the A. Gustaf Bryngelson Collection. Photos © A. Gustaf Bryngelson 2008.
The 1916 Cavalry Web Equipment. Even missing its Haversack and Water bottle carrier, this is is clearly an Albert Lethern / Mills Equipment Company Cavalry Double Sliding Strap Web Equipment design. To complete this equipment, the (missing) Haversack connects to the horizontal strap extending rearwards from the left Cartridge carrier, and to the (also missing) Strap, with keyway fitting. This Strap passes through the loops on the top of the left Brace, and its keyway fitting attaches to the stud on the top of the right Cartridge carrier. The Water bottle carrier (see above) connects to the horizontal strap extending rearwards from the right Cartridge carrier, and to the second (missing) Strap, with keyway fitting. This Strap passes through the loops on the top of the right Brace, and its keyway fitting attaches to the stud on the top of the leftt Cartridge carrier.
The inside of the 1916 equipment, compared with the inside view of the M.E. Co. Double Sliding Strap Cavalry Web Equipment from the 1919 catalogue.
A detail showing the fixed angled buckled straps. They are sewn to the inside of the Back adjustment strap, in the same fashion as was done in the 1912/13 Trials Patterns. On the later Cavalry Web Equipment designs from 1919 onwards, these straps are sewn to the outside.