Thursday, February 9, 2017

East German, NVA, AK47 (MPi), 4 Magazine Ammo Pouch, Strichtarn Type 2 Camouflage, 1974

Today we'll be taking a look at the "last generation" AK47 ammo pouch from East Germany.  This is the pouch that you got a quick peak at in my last blog posting. 

This particular pouch is a four magazine ammo pouch in the last version of the Strichtarn camo pattern (rain pattern) used in East Germany.  This last version of camo has broader "rain stripes" and a darker background from the first version.  This Strichtarn Type 2 was used from 1968 until both Germany's were re-unified in 1990.

This pouch has the later style of "strap and D ring" fasteners.

It is dated 1/74, indicating it was made in 1974.  The stamping is inked inside the flap.

These ammo pouches were worn by all soldiers in the field who were carrying the East German AK47 (MPi).  Only one pouch was normally worn. 

There is not much else to say about these pouches, other than they are very well made and sturdy.  With four 30 round magazines, and 120 rounds of ammo, they are quite heavy!  With one magazine in the rifle, and a pouch full of 4 more mags, the total load-out was 150 rounds of ammo!

When East Germany adopted the newer AK74 version of the AK, the mag pouches were changed to a rectangular shape.  The smaller caliber, AK74 rifles went into production in 1985.  I would assume that production of the curved AK47 mag pouches ceased at that time.

Here are a couple of period photos that show these pouches in action.

Here is the photo album of this iconic East German mag pouch.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

East German, NVA, AK47 (Mpi) Double Magazine Ammo Pouch, Flachtarnenmuster, Blumentarn, Kartoffelmuster, 1956 - 1967

Today we'll be taking a look at a very unique, and seldom seen, East German, AK47 ammo pouch.

This mag pouch is the least common of all of the East German pouches.  It holds 2, 30 round AK mags, and is made in the old "Blumentarn" camo pattern.

This pattern of camouflage is officially known as the Flachtarnmuster pattern that was produced and used from 1956 until 1967.  It had a "phase out period" that lasted into the 1970's, so it is sometimes seen being worn with the later "rain pattern" camo in later photos.

Even though this camo pattern was officially known as Flachtarnmuster, it was more commonly called Blumentarn (flower camouflage), or Kartoffelmuster (potato camouflage).

These old Blumentarn pouches came in two sizes.  The first was the two mag pouch, and the second was the three mag pouch.  The two compartment pouches were for "technical troops", like engineers, radio operators, etc.  The three compartment pouches were for the "regular soldiers".  The two mag pouches are the toughest to find these days as much fewer were originally produced.  Mine is the smaller, two mag size.

These early pouches used a stud and button hole type of flap fastener, unlike the later strap and "D" ring fastening system.  This early stud style is a carry over from the old mag pouches of the WW1 and WW2 era.

My pouch is in extremely good condition, and is marked "NVA" inside the pouch with a small inked stamping.  As far as I know, none of these early pouches are marked with a date, however they were all made between 1956 and 1967.

You can see the "side-by-side" comparison of the the old Blumentarn pouch with the later "rain pattern" pouch in this photo.  I will be featuring the later "rain pattern" AK pouch in my next blog posting. 

Here is a historic photo showing these pouches in use.

Now let's take a closer look at this seldom seen, 2 mag, ammo pouch.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

East German Army Pioneer Shovel, DDR National Volksarmee Pionierspaten, NVA, Feldspaten - Field Shovel, FM logo

Well, I went and did it again......... I added two more shovels to the collection!  In my own defense, they were only sold in a "2-pack", with free shipping, and at a price I could not pass up.   Who could blame me?!

Pictured with a small NVA folding shovel and steel helmet for size comparison.

These shovels are a couple of "Cold War Classics" from the former East Germany.  They are what are commonly known as "Pioneer Shovels", or Pionierspaten in German.  These were the all-around utility shovels that were mounted on nearly every military vehicle in the East German Army.  They were also commonly used by Sapper and Engineer troops, and for just plain old garrison duty.

This style of shovel was used by Germany from before WW1, all they way up through the end of the Cold War, and the re-unification of the two Germany's.  Prior to the split up of Germany after WW2, the metal shovel blades were riveted together.  After the war, West Germany changed to a different style, but East Germany continued the "old-school" traditional shovels, with only minor modifications.

The East Germans started welding the blade to the shank instead of riveting, and the metal shank was secured to the wood handle with one or two screws on the back side.  This style of attachment is uniquely East German.  The wooden handle remained the same.

Both of my shovels appear at first glance to be identical, but on closer inspection, they are actually slightly different.  I am not sure if the differences are due to different production runs, or if they were built to two different sets of specifications.  

The metal blades and shanks are the same shape, but one is heavier and more curved than the other.  The heavier one also has a smaller logo and is fastened with one screw, instead of two.

The second, and slightly lighter shovel head, is flatter, with much less curve than the first one.  The logo is much larger, and the handle is fastened with two screws.

They both appear to have a darker, and flatter shade of green on the back side of the blade.  This seems to indicate that they may have been repainted with a brighter shade of green at one point.

The maker's logos are quite distinct, and large.  I have not been able to determine what company used this logo, or what the "FM" stands for.  That will be part of my ongoing research into these shovels (I'll add it to my long list of other "odds-and-ends" to research as well).

These shovels are very well built, and solid.  I may throw one of them in my Jeep, and keep the other in the bunker.  Either way, they are an iconic bit of "German Military History" that I couldn't pass up!

Here are a few photos of these shovels in use in the East German Army during the Cold War years.

Shovel mounted on deck by turret.

Here is a shot of the WW2 version in use during the war.

And now, to finish things up, here is the album of these two "Cold War Classics".

Shovel #1, heavier metal, smaller logo, more curved blade, with one attaching screw:

Here is Shovel #2, lighter and flatter blade, larger logo, and two attaching screws:

Here are a few more "side-by-side" shots: