Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hungarian M49/82 Zeltbahn - Poncho, Historical Zelt Pole Information

I did a bit more research and and made an inquiry into my Hungarian M49/82 Zeltbahn-Poncho over at the online military collector's forum, Wehrmacht-Awards, and hit the jackpot.  I would like to thank Charles for his information and his offer to share several photos from his personal collection that I have included in this posting.

The zelts from WW2 used an oval grommet at the "point" of the zelt that was designed to fit over the bayonet on the end of the rifle, (M95 Steyr Rifle).  The rifle and bayonet were used as the pole, with a helmet over the end to keep out the water.

Post WW2, the grommet was changed back to a round shape to accommodate the long spike-type bayonet on the M91/31 Mosin Nagent rifle.  Again, the rifle and bayonet were used as the pole, with a helmet over the end to keep out the water.

After the 1960's, the Hungarian Army switched over to the AK47 rifle with a blade type bayonet, so a tent pole set was issued to match the round zelt grommet.  

 Since my zelt is post 1960's, it would have been issued with a take-apart pole set that would have been carried in the assault pack.

The following three photos were taken after WW2 and show the M49 zelts in use (the earlier version that my M49/82 is patterned after).  It is interesting to note that there are several WW2 German Waffen SS, pea-dot pattern zelts being used along with the Hungarian zelts.  You can also see that the pole in the first photo is actually a tree branch!  This would lead me to believe that these zelts were often used without a pole set...............  You can also see how a large, tent sized "fox hole" was dug out under the tent to give more head room and to accommodate the extra length of the rifle when used as a pole.


M55q said...

The Danish army had a poncho / tarpaulin / rain coat / gas cape (all in one) they could use as a tent. No pole sets available since they were told to use their Garand riffle as the centre pole. No need to use the helmet as top cover, since there was a hood on the poncho.
But when they introduced the HK G3 riffle in 1975, they had to "invent" a pole set since that particular riffle was useless as a centre pole.

Sharky said...

Thanks for the information on the Danish zelt poles. It seems that using the rifle and bayonet for the zelt pole was more common than I originally thought! Here in the US, the M91/31 Mosin Nagent rifles are available on the surplus market for about $150 USD (at nearly every gun shop). They come with the rifle, bayonet, ammo pouches and cleaning pouch and oiler. I may have to pick one up to go with the Hungarian Zelt !!!!!!

M55q said...

Sounds like a good idea. The Mosin Nagants are fairly cheap in Denmark as well. I prefer the Finnish produced Mosin Nagant riffles. They tend to shoot straighter. But the Russian riffles are well made. No doubt about that. And cheaper.