Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Turkish Mauser Ammo Pouch, Three Compartment Leather

I am finishing up some research and documentation on a couple of Turkish Mausers that I have in my collection so that I can get the photos and information posted here on the blog.  Until then, I thought that I ought to start with a  few postings on some the of the accessories that go along with the Turkish Mausers.  So with that in mind, here is the first in that series.

Here is a very "Turkish", ammo pouch.  I say " Very Turkish"" because of the condition.................

One of the first things that you will notice about just about any piece of vintage Turkish firearm equipment, is that they are "hammered"!
The Turkish Army was manned by conscripted soldiers, who apparently were not thrilled with being in the service and took out that frustration on their equipment (this is just speculation, of course).

The Turks were the ultimate recyclers of military surplus.  They obtained rifles, bayonets, pouches, and other assorted gear, from just about any country they could, and then "Turkified" them.  They would modify, disassemble and then mix and match parts, issue and reissue, and then do that again and again.  Once an item was put into service, it was in continuous service until it was surplussed.  For most of the firearms, bayonets and ammo pouches, that meant that they could have been (and often were), put into service back in the early 1900's through the 1940's, and then used continuously.  The equipment was used, abused, bent, broken, repaired, rebuilt, re-invented, for years, until most of the "old gear" was taken out of service and surplussed in the 1970's.

This vintage Turkish ammo pouch is no exception.  This pouch is undated, so there is no way to say for certain what its true age is, but I would estimate it to be from the WW1 era.  The Germans supplied literally tons of weapons and equipment to the Turks during the WW1 era.  The "German Style", three compartment, leather, ammo pouches were the standard Turkish Mauser issue pouches all the way through to the 1970's.  Nearly all of the pouches are unmarked, or have old Imperial German markings on the back.

This ammo pouch has several soldiers names or initials scratched and written on the back.  From the look of them, I am sure they go back many years!  It is fairly common to find old Turkish gear that has had names or initials scratched and written by their original soldier-owners.  It is these personal touches that really appeal to me. 

I will do some very minimal restoration-repairs, to the stitching, using original style thread, and possibly construct a replacement Y-strap D-ring tab for the back, but other than that, the pouch will remain as it is. 
When I do restoration-repairs like this, I look for old, used, leather that has been worn and aged so that it matches the piece that it will be paired with.  After stitching, I "age" the thread with dirt and grime to match the rest of the original stitching.  Stay tuned for a restoration update in a later blog posting!

I will let the pouch speak for itself.  Here is the album of photos.  Enjoy!


Unknown said...

Are you SURE these are Turkish? They are not German??

Sharky said...

This pouch is definitely Turkish. Many of the early pouches were made in Germany for export to Turkey, for Turkish military contracts, and are nearly identical to the German issue. The Turkish pouches are unmarked, and German pouches have the date and makers name. The Turkish pouches also have the imprinted border lines. The Turks used their WW1 vintage leather pouches until they were pulled from service in the 1980's........... hence the "hammered" condition of most of them!
Nearly all of the WW1 German ouches are made from pebbled leather, and only a few of the late-war pouches were smooth. Sometimes you find the old German pouches that were re-issued by Finland. The Finnish re-issue pouches are marked with an SA stamp in the leather or ink mark.