The Web Equipment, Cavalry Patt. '40 was entered into the List of Changes by List of Changes entry §B9033, dated 16th February 1944. We are not sure exactly when W.E. cavalry Patt. '40 was put into service, but probably no later than 1941. The pattern was not entered into the List of Changes, however, until 1944, when the Pouches, basic, W.E. cavalry Patt. '40 were added to the Pattern. While this delayed entry into the List of Changes is unusual, it is not unique. Quite a few items didn't appear in the List until years after they entered use, and some, including Web Equipment, Pattern 1944, never were entered into the List at all.
Carriers, cartridge, W.E. cavalry Patt. '40, 45 rounds
Carriers, cartridge, W.E. cavalry Patt. '40, 45 rounds, were introduced with the Web Equipment, Cavalry Patt. '40 by List of Changes entry §B9033, dated 16th February 1944 as Stores Ref. A1/AA 5296 (left) and A1/AA 5297 (right). The Carriers are mirror images of each other, and connect to the 2-inch wide Strap, back adjustment, W.E. cavalry Patt. '40, across the back. The 1-inch horizontal strap extending from the top of the Carrier attaches to the Carrier, water bottle, W.E. cavalry Patt. '40, (left) and the Haversack, W.E. cavalry Patt. '40, (right). The Braces, W.E. cavalry Patt. '40, attach to the buckle at the top of each Carrier, and the Straps, with keyway fitting, W.E. cavalry Patt. '40, attach to the post on each buckle. Each Carrier has three pockets, and each pocket holds 15 rounds of .303-inch ammunition in three 5 round chargers. This provides a total ammunition load of 90 rounds. In general, these Carriers are a refined and lightened version of the design used in the W. E. Patt. '25. They have only three pouches each instead of four, and they have the upper straps and post on the upper buckle with post that are the distinguishing marks of the Mills Cavalry Web Equipments. This pair of Cartridge carriers is maker marked "M.E. Co." and dated 1940 (left) and 1941 (right). From the Karkee Web Collection.
The rear of the same pair of Carriers. Compare these with the same view of the Patt. '25 Carriers. The number of cartridge pockets has been reduced from four to three. The connection between the buckle at the top and the Carrier has been simplified, and the Waist belt buckle is now only 2-inches wide. The most striking difference is the 1-inch strap extending horizontally to the rear, attached at the top of the topmost cartridge pocket. This immediately marks the Carrier as a cavalry design. Because both Carriers have this feature, Patt. '40 can be classified as a Double Sliding Strap Cavalry Web Equipment, as discussed in A Short History of Mills Cavalry Webbing. The horizontal strap attaches to either the Water bottle carrier or Haversack.
The picture at far left shows the retaining strap sewn in under the cartridge pocket flap. This was to prevent the chargers from falling out if the flap came unsnapped. Again, a comparison with the Patt. '25 equivalent is worthwhile. The same idea, but the execution differs in detail. The picture on near left shows the buckle at the top of the Cartridge carrier. The post at its center marks another distinctive feature of the Mills cavalry web designs. The "keyway" buckle on the Supporting strap attaches to this post.
Pouches, basic, W.E. cavalry Patt. '40, were introduced with the Web Equipment, Cavalry Patt. '40 by List of Changes entry §B9033, dated 16th February 1944 as Stores Ref. A1/AA 1460 (left) and A1/AA 1461 (right). This Pouch is very similar in design to the Pouches, basic, W.E. Patt. 37, with the addition of a 2-inch aside piece to join it to the Back adjusting strap, and the typical 1-inch upper side strap found on Mills Cavalry Web Equipment. The Patt. '37 pouch, while certainly to be used as a general utility carryall when needed, was sized to carry Bren magazines. The Bren would be an awkward weapon on horseback, though, and according to A.C.I. 345/1944, the Patt. '40 Pouches were intended to carry magazine for the Sten carbine or Thompson sub-machine-gun. For some reason, it appears that many more right Pouches (such as the one shown here) were made than left ones. This example is maker marked "M.E. Co." and dated 1944. FRom the KArkee Web Collection.