The Chindits' Damned Pack... just how heavy was it really...?

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Hebridean Chindit, May 13, 2011.

  1. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Good question, but it must all be tempered with the addition of duration... I can't imagine they would have much requirement for LRP, but I'm strictly civvy-street...

    There's an earlier note in the thread as to the ridiculous weight the Para's went in with at times, but short-term, so I believe...

    The more we can put into this the more we all know...
     
  2. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Bad as things may have been for the Chindits, they weren't the only overburdened infantrymen of WWII. Excessive infantry combat load was and is a serious problem, and we've been discussing it on another thread here: http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/nw-europe/27454-destruction-north-caen-dust-kills-5.html

    One site I saw about the US 45th Infantry Div said that American infantrymen during the Italian winter of 1943-44 often carried an 82 lb load. Try that on a muddy mountainside.
     
  3. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Most of the accounts I read about involved raids, with just a few covering recce / LRPing, but in almost every case, specially those involving HALO infiltration, the reference to the "damned heavy Bergen" was present.
     
  4. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    I trump your muddy Italian winter mountainside with monsoon, mozzies, 100% humidity and a bamboo covered hillside that you have to clear whilst climbing the said Burmese mountainside location with an 80lb pack and a Bren, and a Lee Enfield, thrown in just for good measure... :D

    This is not here to become a p*ss*ng contest - there will always be someone nuts enough to be carrying an inhuman level of equipment because the answer must always be, "YES SIR...!"

    Interesting link and thanks for bringing it to the mix, TTH

    Just an aside the 80's Bergen (iirc) and the Falklands issue parka were not waterproof and tended to absorb an inordinate amount of water from what I remember - my parka is still on a hanger in the loft and I alway meant to get it waterproofed... the road to hell, etc...:rolleyes:

    I wonder how much weight of water could be added to the overall "package"...? It all adds up and nothing that was used in Burma was that waterproof... anyone have any notation on this...?
     
  5. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

    Hi Hebridean, I wonder if you happen to have a photograph of the pack? The reason I ask, is that I'm trying to get some interest from Unity 3d people, to make a computer game. To do this, I'm going to have to build a 3d model of; first one a Gurkha. I do have a few heads made but an Indonesian on Facebook, told me my Japanese guy, looks too Chinese :blush:
     
  6. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

    Does this one look about right?
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    There's bound to be better pics out there (quick search) but the comment re the lack of certain clothing in this one references dysentry... o_O
    Your image is there abouts - I don't think there was a standard layout - "Here's the gear, boys; go figure what works for you..."

    A game sounds fascinating... don't forget the flying boat... post some stuff but start a thread and see if it generates interest... ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  8. zeezee

    zeezee Member

    !! great photo !!
     
  9. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

    Will do Hebridean, I've been looking for 3d models on the web and I've got a sten and a short lee enfield but I'll need to remodel them, to make them memory small for the game. I'll also need to show them, so I've not got the wrong issue. Anyway here's a taster of the standard expected these days from a game. This guy still needs tweaking, more detail, hair and a better sweat map. This is the base Gurkha head.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Looking good...
     
  11. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    I'll try and throw a bit of light, I've some 22 months active service in jungle in two theatres. In one we conducted patrols without resupply for up to 10 days, in the other it was continous patrols for weeks on end with resupply every 5 (dry) or 6 (wet season) days. In the first we carried very little water in the second quite a lot, this makes quite a difference to loads. Second there were no mules to carry radios, the sets were lots lighter than WW2 but then there's the batteries, and we're not talking AAA here! Next ammo, 50 rds per rifle seems incredible light to me, I wasn't even infantry but carried over 300 rds of 5.56 for my personal weapon. I also note that soldiers wore vests - in the jungle? Unbelievable, by my second tour I'd learnt not to bother about underwear at all. KFS also unbelievable, you need nothing more that a spoon and clasp knife. We'd never wear shorts or rolled up sleeves, long trouser protect against leeches and insect bites and white skin doesn't help camouflage. And you'd never see a rifle sling - slung rifles in the jungle are like amateur night at the village hall.

    Our jungle loads were typically 80 - 120 lbs, with ammo being the biggest element (and no helmets or flak jackets).

    As far as webbing goes, I'm not sure if '44 Patt was available to the 2nd Chindit. Its advantage was decent metal mugs (I soon gave up carrying mess tins - 1 mug for brewing the other for boiling tins and shaving) and generally lighter, but its pack was very small, however, the '38 patt large pack with added side pockets was widely used. Of course other things in jungle are a mosquito net and the UK ones weren't notably light and poncho for your basha. I think the machete used in Burma was a UK issue, but recently clearing out my long deceased father in law's house I found one less its sheath, identical to what my father had in Burma but f-in-l served in N Guinea. Obviously I carried a gollok.

    I'd have expected the Chindits to have had detailed individual loading lists for soldiers.
     
  12. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    o_O Utterly astounding and excellent post - you can't just leave us with that - more details please, if you are able to...

    I can sense a lot of that-was-then-this-is-now when I read up on the time - when it comes to things carried in I suspect it varied, which is why I started this..

    1) My dad stressed that trousers tucked into the puttees stopped the leeches on his legs...
    2) I'm presuming that your primary weapon was auto/semi auto - that's the only reason I can immeadiately think of for "light" re quantity...
    3) Slung rifles... possibly as the Bren was a shared duty it became essential to keep the Lee-Enfield stowed somewhere...?
    4) Webbing was earlier pattern as far as I presently know... I've got earlier notes as to individuals customising their kit to suit...
    5) Almost no mention of mozzie nets... dad mentioned they were not allowed to bring in the "over-all" net they had used in India during training...
    6) Dad noted waxed boxes being used for drumming up - presumably the water stopping the box from burning...
    7) Machette commonly in use in Burma was definitely the Dah, with references to an inferior Indian one... supplied without a sheaf, which might explain your findings...

    Like so much about the Chindits, it is frustrating to persistantly find what is not recorded - only time I have found a precise reference to weight is from Brig. Ferguson and that was 72lbs...

    You mentioned your dad being in Burma...?
     
  13. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Ammunition: I'm surprised that no one has pointed out the difference in weight between 5.57 and 303! 300 rounds of 303 would certainly weigh you down! Though my jungle experience was in Belize - no leeches!

    Chris
     
  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Chris,

    When were you in Belize? I visited a friend there in the 70's and remember on a walk down Stan Creek Road coming across a British garrison. We had a brief talk with one of the soldiers at a nearby bridge. Rumour had it that Prince Phillip was to make a tour down the road, but it never materialized while I was there. In Guatemala city there was a huge outdoor relief map of the country which could be viewed from an elevated lookout. There was no border at Belize which they considered part of their territory. It was like night and day crossing that border. We were serenaded by the young Carib girls on our bus trip down to the orange plantation our friend was care taking.

    There may have been no leeches but I was advised to walk lightly in the bush and watch for poisonous snakes. My girl friend was bit by a "beef fly" and on our return to Canada was horrified to discover she had something growing in her foot that would occasionally poke its head out. The doctors at the tropical disease centre in Toronto were delighted of course as they bowed their heads in examination and discussed what exactly it was. She had to bring them back down to earth with a " Forget that and just take the damn thing out now." ... :lol:

    Cheers ...
     
  15. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Damn, mapshooter, you served your time in Hell even without coming under fire.
     
  16. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    Having checked infantry ammo loads used in a jungle theatre:

    300-500 5.56 or 140-180 7.62, all except MG gunners carried a rifle. 600-800 rds, 7.62 link per sect with 300 on gunner rest in 100 rd belts carried by rest of section, 2 grenades/man (HE, WP) 1 Claymore/man (3.5 lbs), 40mm grenade lnchr per section and ammo, 2 or 3 M72 RLs per sect, 1 kg PE per man (in case cbt engr mini team wanted to make a big bang.

    50 rds .303 is unbelievably few for jungle, where ammo resup in contact is very difficult (its not easy anywhere), I'll leave it to someone else to say what the normal UK inf ammo load was in WW2. I assume the Bren pair carried 10 mags.

    Rifle slings aren't needed in jungle because rifles are always carried ready to use instantly. The thing about jungle is contacts are usually close range (10 - 20 metres), longer range means open areas such as across padi.
     
  17. sparky34

    sparky34 Senior Member

    in the early 50s in MALAYA , weapons were carried without webbing except the bren ,,we who had lee-enfieldss had a bandolier with 200 - 303 rounds and it was
    tied around the waist ..must admit to wearing vest and underpants that certainly
    helped against chaffing between the legs ..mind you other regiments may have done
    things differently ..
     
  18. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    50 rds .303 is unbelievably few for jungle, where ammo resup in contact is very difficult (its not easy anywhere), I'll leave it to someone else to say what the normal UK inf ammo load was in WW2. I assume the Bren pair carried 10 mags.

    50 .303's is the most quoted figure I've found...
    2 type 36 grenades...
    Most true "Cameronians" tended to be short and stocky, but dad was just over 6', and from what I found in his notes tended to be "stuck" with the Bren; although most of the time with the platoons, in general, the load was "shared" - by "Blackpool" the platoons were down to 25 men, everyone carried at least 1 Bren magazine but dad (and others) referenced 5 being carried... I'm not sure how many Bren's (average) they had per platoon yet...

    That's it...

    Sten's came later but some were at "Blackpool" but seriously distrusted - no references to ammo carriedfound in my present ref material but still on-going
     
  19. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Chris,

    When were you in Belize? I visited a friend there in the 70's and remember on a walk down Stan Creek Road coming across a British garrison. We had a brief talk with one of the soldiers at a nearby bridge. Rumour had it that Prince Phillip was to make a tour down the road, but it never materialized while I was there. In Guatemala city there was a huge outdoor relief map of the country which could be viewed from an elevated lookout. There was no border at Belize which they considered part of their territory. It was like night and day crossing that border. We were serenaded by the young Carib girls on our bus trip down to the orange plantation our friend was care taking.

    There may have been no leeches but I was advised to walk lightly in the bush and watch for poisonous snakes. My girl friend was bit by a "beef fly" and on our return to Canada was horrified to discover she had something growing in her foot that would occasionally poke its head out. The doctors at the tropical disease centre in Toronto were delighted of course as they bowed their heads in examination and discussed what exactly it was. She had to bring them back down to earth with a " Forget that and just take the damn thing out now." ... :lol:

    Cheers ...

    Hi Cee

    Having attempted a few years back to work out where I was when, I reckon I was in Belize Feb -Aug 1976. I was based in Airport Camp the whole time. Yes, plenty of nasty snakes in Belize. The target trenches on the ranges were exciting as the snakes went in for water and couldn't get out again. It was worth wearing a hat in the jungle as the beef flies laid their eggs in wounds such as you got from deadfall! Reputably you could hear the beefworms munching their way round under your skin if they laid on your head. Crossed a stream once with a tommygoff (fer-de-lance) curled up right beside our path, but I didn't notice it till afterwards!

    Chris
     
  20. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    In Guatemala city there was a huge outdoor relief map of the country which could be viewed from an elevated lookout. There was no border at Belize which they considered part of their territory.

    We still do ;)
     

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