Evolution of Soviet rifle pouches

In this post I will try to display evolution of Soviet Mosin and SVT pouches.. Some facts are still need to be discovered, so post will be updated. It will be placed to “Survey” section.  If you have something to add, please post a comment. Early period of Soviet Mosin pouches (1920’s-beginning of 1930’s) production is not explored well. Currently we know that type that was used until 1936, was almost identical to Imperial era leather pouches, with some differences (mostly in hardware).

Before 1930 pouches had small strap for opening, like at imperial pouches, later it was eliminated

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Type 1

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Type 2

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Type 3

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1934 marked pouch, picture from http://oldthing.ru

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Exists specification from beginning of 1930’s, that mention infantry and cavalry pouches, and shoulder strap for cavalry pouches. But how looked cavalry pouch and strap for it is currently is not clear. At the end of 1935- early 1936 occurred changes in Red Army equipment, and pouch was modified with D ring

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Interesting early 1936 pouch, that had cutout for ring, but no ring installed

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In 1937 was introduced new model – 2 section pouch.

1938

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This model was produced until summer, 1941. There some differences in models produced by different factories – pouches can have Y closure strap (earlier models), solid closure strap, difference in hardware, etc. All have 2-layer back side.

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According to the order of NKO (State Commetee of Defence) #005 from 01/02/1941 was decided to use kirza as material for ammo pouches together with leather. Kirza at that moment was a material from cotton fabric coated on the front side with the plastic mass of the vinyl chloride resins or poluebonit. Quote of the order is below

“Приказ НКО СССР № 005 от 1.02.41 г. с объявлением постановления СНК СССР и ЦК ВКП(б) «Об изменениях в форме одежды и нормах снабжения вещевым имуществом личного состава Красной Армии в мирное и военное время и о применении заменителей для людского и конского снаряжения».
Объявляю постановление СНК СССР и ЦК ВКП(б) от 18 января с.г. №129-55сс «Об изменениях в форме одежды и нормах снабжения вещевым имуществом личного состава Красной Армии в мирное и военное время и о применении заменителей для людского и конского снаряжения» (прилагается).
В соответствии с решением СНК Союза ССР и ЦК ВКП(б) от 18 января 1941 года – приказываю:
Главному интенданту Красной Армии:

9. Ввести применение заменителей на следующие изделия:
а) на ремень поясной для рядового состава – тесьму хлопчатобумажную наравне с кожей;
б) на полевую сумку с полеткой для начсостава – кирзу, заменив никелированную фурнитуру у походного снаряжения начсостава на оцинкованную;
в)на сумки патронные – кирзу наряду с кожей;
г) на потниковую крышу, переметные сумы, кобуры, подушки в живцу для верхового седла кавалерийского образца – кирзу, а на поводья, подперсья и вьючные ремни – тесьму хлопчатобумажную наряду с кожей;
д) на упряжь обозную: на шлею, обтяжки, подхомутные подушки и потниковые покрышки – кирзу наряду с кожей.

So in 1941 was started production of 2 section pouch with elements (front side of the pocket) from  kirza. Those pouches are extremely rare, only few known in relic condition

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With acceptance of AVS-36 (first serial self laoding rifle of Red Army) to the service, special pouches were designed to them. Only single examples survived untill nowdays. Pouches are bigger than later SVT pouches and have another construction. Pouch can hold 2 magzines. _ __ ___ 55

Another type

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Pictures from http://oldthing.ru

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One more type

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In 1939 was accepted to service new self loading rifle – SVT-38, and in 1940 – SVT-40. Early SVT pouches (1939-beginning of 1941) had D ring. Internal part was split with horizontal divider for 2 SVT magazines

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Later  D ring was eliminated

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2 types of pouches together

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In summer, 1941, production of SVT pouches was stopped, and was introduced new model that can be used for carrying Mosin clips and SVT magazines. Internal part  was splitted by 2 dividers (horizontal for SVT magazine and vertical for Mosin clips)

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Numerous variations were produced from leather, artificial leather, and canvas (only few known). Production must be ended in Autumn, 1941, with the beginning of production of simplified pouch, but single examples are observed with 1942 dates

Artificial leather pouches

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Leather pouches

1941 dated examples

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1942 dated examples

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Canvas pouch

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One more, pictures from http://oldthing.ru

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In October, 1941, simplified model was accepted to service. Pouches were produced untill 1945. They were made from canvas, leather, and kirza (rarest  type). Pouches of that type can accept ammunition in clips or one SVT magazine.

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Leather pouches DSC_2857

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Pictures from http://oldthing.ru

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Pouch from suede leather

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Kirza (rubberized canvas) pouches

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Canvas pouches

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More markings types (1944 and 1941-1942)

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118. СВТ-40. Бойцы 80-й стрелковой дивизии, 1943 г., Волховский фронт (Кофман В.М

4. Пулеметчики Другинни и Ермаков, Лен фр. июль 1942 (Тарасевич В.С

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Additional pouches were used together with other types of pouches, and have longer belt loops. Production period – unknown. Only examples with 1941 dates were observed

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5. Связка гранат. Трофей Маузер

16. СВТ-40. Партизаны отряда Кирсанова, октябрь 1941 Ленинград (Хитрин М.А.)$_4

Interesting expedient variation was produced at the war beginning – wood pouch that looks very close to pre 1937 pouches. Only few examples are known.

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So how pouches were used?

According to instruction mod.36 equipment use, -2 or 3 pouches Next changes occurred in 1941. According to resolution of NKO USSR №58 from 31/01/41 – 2 mod. 37 pouch 1 additional pouch t8tkxo3s According to instruction which was printed 25.7.41

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For Mosin rifles 2 mod. 1937 pouch or 2 combined pouches 1 additional pouch 130823_600

For SVT rifle Self loading rifle (SVT) 1 mod. 37 pouch or SVT pouch 1 additional pouch 1 chest pouch (bandoleer) mod.1941 1 SVT or combined pouch

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2 section pouch can hold (in each section) 1 paper or cardboard box, or 4 stripper clips, on of the middle with bullets to the top, or 1 paper box and 10 spare rounds (?)

additional pouch 2 cardboard boxes, or 3 paper boxes 8 stripper clips, in 2 rows (in each row one of the stripper clips with bullets to the top)

chest pouch (in each section) 2 stripper clips, or 3 stripper clips , middle with bullets to the top, or 1 paper box Interesting, that it is not mentioned that chest pouch had section for SVT mag, so looks like pouches that have that pocket were produced after this date

SVT pouch 2 magazines, or 1 magazine and 2 stripper clips, or 1 magazine and 25 spare rounds, 8 of them with bullets to the top

Since October, 1941 simplified pouch can be used instead combined or 2 section pouches, and chest pouch was intended not only for self-loading rifles owners

In 1941 was restored production of chest pouch (bandoleer), which was earlier produced during WW1. Some 1941 bandoleers had pockets only for ammunition in clips, but most had also pocket a SVT magazine. Version with pocket for a SVT magazine was produced in 1941-1945.

1941 bandoleer with pockets only for ammunition in clips (property of Mark Retzlaff)

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Bandoleer with pocket for SVT magazine

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Samples of 1941-1945 markings at bandoleers

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Unique bandoleers that were produced from captured German and Italian fabric es3suw78 uyibrnmfmjon4eahf4jmxx96

Postwar bandoleers were produced untill 50-s, but postwar model did not have pocket for a SVT magazine

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Interesting model was founded recently. Looks like some transitional model between old construction pouches and typical postwar model. Only one example with 1945 date is known.

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Postwar pouches

And here is most common and well known type – postwar 2 section pouch. Was produced since 1946. First models have D ring, later it was eliminated. They were made from kirza, brown or black leather

Kirza pouches

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Leather pouches (obseved with dates 1946, 1948, 1956)

Type 1

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Type 2

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Type 2.1 with alloy pin (1947)

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Type 3

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Type 4

This is  early postwar leather pouch (with D ring), because of leather type, structure, hardware and construction – one layer backside instead of 2 layer as at prewar, and even early postwar examples

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DDR produced pouches

They were produced as reparation to USSR

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They can have different leather structure\type\color,  some types are below

Smooth leather

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  Pebble grain leather

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Pig skin

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In 1950’s was started production of combined Mosin\SKS pouch, whic was produced  untill 90’s (latest observed date is 1990)

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Here is another type of leather pouch, was produced in end of 40’s- beginning of 50’s

Infantry version from brown leather

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Naval version from black leather

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11 thoughts on “Evolution of Soviet rifle pouches

  1. Outstanding reference here. Have you seen a bandolier like this before: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/WW2-RKKA-Russian-Soviet-Mosin-tissue-bandolier-/251834651883?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3aa283d4eb The attachments for the straps are reinforced with leather and offset a bit from the ends, which would likely make it easier to use the end sections, and the straps are asymmetric with a broader section going over the soldier’s left shoulder where the weight rides.

    Regards,
    Joel Vecchione

  2. This is a reproduction item. It had K in triangle stamp – it is marking of the guy in Ukraine (seller is also from Ukraine) who make reproductions of various soviet equipment.
    And it’s construction is closer to postwar bandoliers, see pictures above.

  3. Greetings,

    I would like to discuss this type 2-section pouch with you if possible:

    Please contact me via email

  4. Was under the impression that the larger pocket in the bandolier was for a grenade. Limiting it to an SVT mag would make them less useful to most soldiers. That said, when using an SVT, I load all of the pouches, including the large one, with stripper clips.

  5. Wonderful Information!! I needed to know these things. I live in Moscow,and I see more than you can possible imagine,and so this helps very much sorting what find and see.I have lived here for 15 years,and I am very confident in knowing there is a lot of things still buried away here.

  6. What was the proper ammo pouch arrangement in mid to late-war time periods for soldiers with SVT-40s? I see an early war configuration with the double pouch, did it still happen 1943 onwards? As far as I know only the VDV kept utilizing the double ammo pouch configuration and regular infantry used a single double cell pouch and maybe a reserve ammunition pouch.

  7. Quantity of produced SVT’s was rapidly decreased since 1942. Rifle was not very popular between avarage soldiers. Majority of 1943 and 1944 rrifles were never issued to troops. Since early 1942 only three pouch types remained in production – simplified pouch, bandoleer, and additional pouch. Since 1943 only 2 pouch types remained in production – simplified pouch (simplified pouch also can accept SVT magazine) and bandoleer. Both of them were not comfortable to use, soldiers don’t like them. So they try to replace them with other earlier types.
    “proper ammo pouch arrangement” – soldier received pouches that were available at military unit stock. And this can be any type of pouch that allowed to carry required quantity of ammunition.
    It’s clearly visible at wartime pictures – soldiers carry random combination of pouches.

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