This equipment was manufactured by La Industria Lonera S.A., in Barcelona, Spain. It was made from an Albert Lethern design using Mills patent looms. Unusually for a Web Equipment made outside of Britain or the United States, it incorporated Cartridge carriers with woven integral pockets and reduction width Braces. The component parts are maker marked "LILSA" and dated 1925. The Spanish Pattern Cavalry Web Equipment was produced for only a short time and examples are rare. LILSA also manufactured an Infantry Equipment that I have never seen. I would be very happy to hear from anyone who has any other items of Web Equipment made by LILSA.
This partial set is missing the Haversack, Water bottle carrier, Strap, with keyway fitting, and Rifle sling. I have never seen examples, or even photographs, of any of these missing components of the Spanish Pattern Cavalry Web Equipment.
According to Albert Lethern, Mills Back Adjustment Equipment was first introduced around 1911. The variation of the Back adjustment strap shown here, which has only one fixed buckled strap, was first seen in Mills Patent No. 108, 167, approval dated 23rd July 1917. This feature is indicative of the Single Sliding Strap Cavalry Web designs. In this variation, the opposite hand buckled strap is on a loose Slide that fits under the Rifle Support. As is usual in a Back Adjustment design, the Back adjustment strap is connected to the Cartridge carriers to form the Waist belt assembly.
The design of these Cartridge carriers is based on the ones used in the W.E. Patt. '19 Rifle Equipment, with an external securing strap on each pocket. This pair differs from the Patt. '19 Carriers by having only three pouches (instead of four) per Carrier. Other changes include the horizontal strap extending rearwards from the top pocket of the left Carrier and the stud at the top of the buckle. Both of these are integral features of all Mills Cavalry Web Equipment designs. In addition, the right Carrier has a rifle retaining strap at the rear. This is a another defining characteristic of the Single Sliding Strap cavalry equipment. In this case, this strap is faced with leather on the inside.
The rear of the same pair of Carriers. Note the Patt. '19 / Patt. '25 style fitting that connects the top buckle to the body of the Carrier. This design was simplified in the later W.E. Patt. '40. Also note the 3-inch wide hook and loop buckle, again following the Patt. '19 / Patt. '25 design. In Patt. '40 this was changed to 2 1/4-inches.
The Rifle Support and Sliding buckled strap are unique to the Single Strap Mills Cavalry Web Equipment designs. This example of the Rifle support is faced with leather. It slides over the Back adjustment strap and the horizontal buckle is attached to the rifle retaining strap at the rear of the right Cartridge carrier. The Sliding buckled strap fits over the Back adjustment strap between the loops on the Rifle support, angled inwards with the buckle at the top. Unlike the fixed buckled strap attached to the Back adjustment strap, the Sliding buckled strap does not have a keyway fitting on the bottom end. The end of the right Brace threads through the buckle to secure it.
The Spanish Cavalry Web Equipment Braces are, in main, typical examples of the Mills Reduction weave Brace design. The left Brace has transverse loops for the Strap, with keyway fitting, to pass through. This is characteristic of Single Sliding Strap Cavalry Web Equipment designs. Also note the unusual angled crossover loop, different from the M.E. Co. design.
The Brace extension, with keyway fitting, is attached to the bottom of the Brace after it has been passed through the buckle on the Sliding buckled strap. The keyway fitting attaches to a stud on the Rifle sling buckle, as shown in the picture at right, taken from the Mills 1919 Cavalry Web Equipment Catalogue.
The outside view of the Spanish Cavalry Web Equipment. To complete this equipment, the (missing) Haversack, with Water bottle carrier attached, 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 Rifle sling connects to the keyway fitting on the Brace extension, with keyway fitting.
The inside of the Spanish equipment, compared with the inside view of the M.E. Co. Single Sliding Strap Cavalry Web Equipment from the 1919 catalogue.
The LILSA logo and and date on the rear of one of the Braces.