Wehrmacht MP38/40 Pouch, leather
Description: early-war time production, right hand side, blackened leather construction, MP38/40 ammo pouch with steel fittings. The pouch is roughly, 26cm tall, 14cm wide, and 3cm thick, with three, narrow, vertical, magazine pockets with fold over top closures flaps. All three of the fold over, top flaps have a horizontal, stitched seam to the reverse and a stitched on, vertical, blackened leather closure strap to the obverse. The closure straps attach to leather reinforced steel studs positioned on the front of the pouch’s bodies with corresponding, stitched on, horizontal, leather retaining loops. Stitching has pulled loose in a few small spots on the bottom of the pouch, but not bad. The reverse of the pouch has two, diagonally angled, blackened leather, belt loops and the later, extended type, leather reinforced, steel “D” ring attached to the upper left corner. All reinforced with steel rivets. No apparent markings remain.
BACKGROUND:. In 1917 Hugo Schmeisser, then in the employ of the Theodor Bergmann Weapons factory in Suhl, developed the first German fully automatic sub-machine gun, designated the MP18/I, which was to be the forerunner of all the MP’s to follow. In August 1938 the German army adopted the newly developed MP38. Further developments and improvements and the need for a cheaper mass produced weapon resulted in the introduction of the MP40 in April 1940. Individuals equipped with the MP38/40 were issued a pair of specially designed ammo pouches which each held three, thirty-two round, stick ammunition magazines. The pouches were issued in pairs with the left hand side pouch having the addition of a small pocket stitched to the left side for the speed loader. The MP38/40 ammo pouches underwent a single modification with the early pattern pouches having a “D” ring on the reverse attached directly to the pouch while the later pattern pouches had the “D” ring on the reverse attached by a horizontally extended tab. Besides the standard, canvas construction MP38/40 ammo pouches a slightly different, leather construction pattern was also produced which had the small speed loader tool pocket situated on the front center of the left hand side pouch. Of Note: A photographic example of this type of leather MP38/40 ammo pouch can be seen. Angolia &. Schlicht’s book, Uniforms & Traditions of the German Army 1933-1945, volume 3, page 321. In the accompanying text to the photo the author states that most of the leather examples are dated 1942 and that the pouches in use have only been observed by Belgian volunteers in the Waffen-SS.