Beach Group Equipment. What are they?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Trux, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Some years ago I obtained the War Diaries for the beach units landing on Sword Beach and a list of equipment carried in the individual vehicles and handcarts (from Danny). The list below is one that I have made from the many pages of the vehicle and handcart loads. Some items are obvious and well known, some I have found but many remain.

    I thought it would be interesting, and while away the dark winter days, to try and identify the various items and see if photos or diagrams etc can be found. I imagine that the same items would be carried by most battalion sized units.

    Anyone is welcome to join in.


    * Indicates that I know what they are, with varying degrees of certainty.
    ** Indicates that I have posted a photo or illustration below.

    Cooking equipment.

    **Portable cooker No 1. Large petrol cooker.
    **Portable cooker No 2. Small petrol cooker for detachments, vehicle crews etc.
    **Cooking stands. For Cooker No 1.
    **Cooking stand ends. For Cooker No1.
    *Baffle plate. To control Cooker No 1.
    *Levers. To control baffle plate.
    **Frying pan.
    Camp kettle.
    Large mincing machine.
    **Spring balance.
    **6 gallon containers. For cooking, transporting and serving food.
    **6 gallon insulators. For keeping food warm.
    *1½ gallon containers. For food.
    **2 gallon water container.
    Set cooks equipment.
    Cooks ladle.
    Butchers holdall. With butchering implements.

    Anti Gas.
    **Hand operated siren.
    *7lb tins bleaching powder.
    *2 pint tins khaki anti gas paint. Vehicle paint.
    *4oz tins anti gas detection paint. For boards etc. Turns red when contacted with gas.
    *Anti gas jacket. Impervious items for decontamination personnel.
    *Anti gas trousers. Impervious items for decontamination personnel.
    *Light anti gas jacket. Impervious items for decontamination personnel.
    *Light anti gas trousers. Impervious items for decontamination personnel.
    *Pair light anti gas gloves. Impervious items for decontamination personnel.
    *Pair anti gas rubber gloves. Impervious items for decontamination personnel.
    *Pair anti gas over gloves. Impervious items for decontamination personnel.
    **Anti gas capes. Double as waterproof capes.
    **Overboots anti gas.
    **Reserve respirators. Gas masks.
    **Container for reserve respirators.
    **Facepiece disinfectant cloths.
    **Defogging cloths for eyeshields.
    **Pack of 6 eyeshields.
    **Tins anti gas ointment. Contains eight tubes. For use on exposed areas of face.
    **Anti gas ground detectors. Paper squares which turn red on contact with gas.
    **Anti gas sleeve detectors. Arm bands which turn red on contact with gas.
    **Gas detector boards. Wooden board on a pole. Detects gas spray in the air.
    *Gas proof paper sack. Protect documents etc from contamination by gas.
    **Rattle. For gas warning.

    Anti gas clothing was either oilcloth or rubberised.
    In addition all uniform items were impregnated with anti gas material.

    **.303 CP. Cordite charge.
    **.303 BP. Incendiary. For AA use in Bren.
    **.303 tracer. For AA use in Bren.
    **9mm. For Sten gun
    **2” mortar HE.
    **2” mortar illuminating.
    **2” mortar green.
    **2” mortar red.
    **2” mortar smoke.
    **Grenade No 36. Standard segmented fragmentation grenade. Mills bomb.
    **Grenade No 65. Signal grenade
    **Grenade No 69. A light impact grenade.
    **Grenade No74. ‘Sticky’ anti tank grenade.
    **Grenade No 75. Hawkins AT grenade/mine.
    **Grenade No 77. White phosphorous grenade for signalling or smoke.
    **PIAT bomb.
    **Bangalore torpedo.
    **Detonators in tins.
    **40 foot safety fuse in tins.
    **Striking caps in tins.
    **Tins of 10 primers.
    **green signal cartridge. For signal pistol.
    **red signal cartridge. For signal pistol.
    **Illuminating signal cartridge. For signal pistol.

    **Shovel GS.
    *Shovel RE. Spade.
    **Felling axe. Long handled axe.
    *Hand axe.
    *Bill hook. For cutting small branches etc.
    *Nails in 1lb bags. Assorted sizes.
    *Maul. Long handled hammer for fencing.
    **7lb hammer.
    *Boring and jumping bar. For making a circular hole in wood by widening a previously drilled hole.
    **Pair pliers.
    **Tenon saw.
    *Folding saw
    *Cross cut saw.
    *Spirit level FS.
    *Spirit level 3’
    Carpenters bench. For sawing.
    Carpenters chests.
    Bags carpenters tools.
    **Long brace. For drill bit.
    *Pots of glue.
    Bag bricklayer and masons tools.
    Shoemakers bag.
    Equipment repair toolchest.
    Measuring rod.
    *Brazing lamp.

    **Signal pistol case.
    **Wire cutter frog.
    Wire plier frogs.
    Helmet chin strap.
    Sten gun slings.
    Helmet camouflage net.
    Camouflage face veils.
    Camouflage net 14’ X 14’.
    Camouflage net 24’ X 24’.
    Garnishing, dark brown.
    Garnishing, green.
    **Hurricane lamps.
    First aid box.
    **Polish No 3 mine detector.
    PIAT springs.
    Bren tripods.
    Mineral jelly.
    **Fire extinguisher.
    Waterproof cover 10’ X 6’.
    **Metal plaques.
    **Metal plaque stands.
    **Stencil outfit.
    Adhesive tape.
    112 yards flannelette.
    Tracing tape.
    **Electric lamp Mk 2
    Spare electric lamp batteries.
    Spare electric lamp bulbs.
    Spare socks.
    Bicycle spares.
    **Picketing posts.
    **Railway hand lamp.
    Coil twine.
    Coil 1” cordage.
    Coil 1½” cordage.
    **Loud Hailer.
    **Loud hailer battery.
    Sack of burial sticks.
    Bin, FAMTO. (First Aid MT Outfit).
    Carrier FAMTO.
    MT stores box.
    Rifle spares.
    Bren spares.
    2” mortar spares.
    Armourers tool box.
    Box, field stationery,
    Drums camouflage paint.
    Paraffin containers.
    Waterproofing material.
    Comforts pannier.
    **Medical pannier.
    **Electric lamp No 4.
    Box, AEL 1398 kit.
    Intelligence box.
    Staff pointers.

    **Cable layer apparatus.
    **Stick, crook, jointed.
    Boxes, primary battery.
    **Small cable drums.
    **Large cable drum.
    **Spare cable reel, empty.
    Spare antennae rods.
    **Telephones D MkV.
    **Barrow, drum WD MkII.
    **Satchels, No 38 set.
    **Wireless stations No 18.
    Signals office equipment.
    **Signal flags.
    Spare poles for signal flags.
    **Signal poles.
    8 foot aerial.
    **Ladder, field telephone.
    **Stands, lamp or heliograph.
    Earth pipes.
    **Poles, 17 foot, wood.
    *Terminal strip.
    Aerial rod case.

    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
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  2. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    Lamp or heliograph stand.

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  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    No1 burner france 1939.jpg
    No 1 Cooker with all fittings and a good range of cooking utensils.
    Hydra petrol pressure burner at left. This blasts an impressive flame through the stands.
    4 stands seem to be in use with an extra one on its side at the right and another upside down in right foreground.
    3 six gallon containers and a two gallon water container on the stands. Two more water containers to the rear.
    This set has a foot pump to maintain pressure.

    Hydra No 1 cooker.jpg
    No 1 Cooker 40 years later. They were usually dug into a trench. This one has the more usual hand pump.

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  4. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Mind your eyebrows lighting a No 1 Burner!
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  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Cooker No2.jpg
    Cooker No2 set up for action.

    Cooker No2 packed for transit with partner cooking container.

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  6. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    How many 3 ton trucks were needed to carry all that stuff?

  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Mainly airborne carts. A lot of them. If anyone is interested I could post a complete list of vehicles and carts, with loads. On a new thread perhaps. I thought it rather specialised though.

  8. Aixman

    Aixman WE addict Patron

    Yes, please, Mike, looking forward.

  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    OK Wolfgang. I know how much you enjoy such minute detail.

    I have recently been painting some nice 54mm Napoleonic Bavarian troops using the book and illustrations you kindly sent some time ago. A cavalry officer, an infantryman and a drummer.

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  10. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    Imperial typewriter.

    The office equipment at unit level was limited to the typewriter and the rotary copier. If only a small number of copies of a document were required the typewriter with sheets of carbon paper between sheets of plain paper could make five or six. For larger numbers, up to about a thousand, the rotary duplicator could be used. For this a master stencil had to be typed on the typewriter. This was then fastened onto the drum of the duplicator. When the handle was turned the stencil was inked and paper fed through the machine.

    Gestetner duplicator.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
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  11. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Salter's 100lb Spring Balance.
    A hook is fitted at the top so that it can be suspended from a convenient, and strong, point. A hook suspended from the bottom allows items to be attached for weighing.

    Useful for weighing a side of beef but they will not see one of those for some time after D Day.

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  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Air Raid Warning.

    Carter siren.jpg
    Carter hand operated air raid warning siren.
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  13. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Anti gas equipment.

    Gas warning rattle. Twirl it round and it gives a loud clackety clack.

    anti gas boots.jpg
    Dunlop rubberised anti gas boots. For decontamination personnel.

    anti gas dubbin.jpg
    Tins of anti gas Dubbin. Boot polish.

    anti gas ointment.jpg
    Anti gas ointment. For use on skin, particularly the face.

    Anti gas brassard. Worn on the upper arm. Turns red in the presence of gas.

    Pack of anti gas eyeshields. Protect the eyes from gas.

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  14. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    More anti gas items.
    This photo comes from the superb 3 volume work by Jean Bouchery and published by Histoire & Collections, 'From D Day to VE Day'. Described by the author as 'the 21st Army Group technical trilogy'. Required reading for the lover of small detail.

    1. Light Service Respirator.
    2. Respirator bag.
    3. Gas detection armband.
    4. Pack of 6 anti gas eyeshields.
    5. Tin of anti fogging compound and rag with which to apply it.
    6.Box of eight tubes of decontamination ointment.
    7. Wool and cotton pads for applying ointment.
    8. Anti gas Dubbin.
    9. Gas warning rattle in cover.
    10. Tin of gas detector paint for vehicles.
    11. Detector, gas, ground. Paper impregnated with detector material.

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
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  15. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Frying pan.

    frying pan.jpg
    A nice compromise shape. A round pan would not fit conveniently on the cooker.

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  16. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Even more anti gas items.

    gascape (3).jpg
    Anti gas cape. Designed to be worn over all equipment including the pack.

    gas detector board.jpg
    Anti gas board. Painted with gas warning paint which turns red on contact with gas.

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  17. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    As an aside. The only genuinely 'used' Assault Jerkin I have seen was shown to me by the son of an OR in a Beach Group on Sword beach. Apparently although told to 'hand them back', when he saw they were just being slung in a heap and not counted, his father had put it in his kitbag as a useful piece of kit and brought it home.

    He told me it had had an emergency ration tin and a what I deduce to have been an emergency survival kit in when his Dad gave him it. He didn't recognise the chocolate in the rusty tin and the celluloid container of the survival kit had decayed and deformed so he binned them (morphine and amphetamines are probably best disposed of!).
  18. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    This is the airborne handcart which carries much of the Beach Group equipment. There has been confusion in the past since it is variously listed as airborne truck, airborne trailer, airborne handcart. Designed to be pulled by two men it really needed four to move it across a dry sandy beach. With a waterproof cover it was watertight. There was a folding version but this was not watertight.


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  19. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    The cable handcart.

    signal cart.jpg
    D Day on Sword.

    drum barrow.jpg

    A nice simple design but cleverer than it looks. A drive chain runs round a sprocket wheel attached to one of the cart wheels and round a smaller sprocket attached to the spindle of the cable reel. When the chain is engaged and the cart is moving the cable is payed out at the correct speed. There is also a hand crank which can be used for recovering cable. Whenever possible cable was supposed to be recovered for re use.

    The cart was designed to be pulled/pushed by two men. Usually one man used a crook stick to guide the cable.


    The cable drum is cable drum, large.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
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  20. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    The wireless sets.

    Wireless 38 (2).jpg
    Wireless set No 38.
    A short range patrol set designed to be carried and operated by one man.
    On the left is the set in its webbing carrier. This could be attached to the standard webbing equipment.
    On the right is a standard signals satchel carrying the battery, junction box, earphones and throat microphone (the last three shown in front.

    Wireless set No 18.
    A short range man pack wireless set usually for communication between Battalion HQ and companies. Earphones are on top of the set. Hand microphone, junction box, aerial rods and a box of spare valves are in front. All these accessories are carried in the signal satchel.

    Beautifully restored and photographed items from IWM.

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