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Attaching the Gas Cape Pouch
By Jonathan Bocek

With the memory of the First World War and it's use of poisonous gas, all German Army personnel were issued & required to have with them a gasmask, gasmask canister, and accessories. Use of chemical warfare was considered by the German High Command, but fear of Allied retribution made them rethink this course of action and sustain from its use. Nevertheless, fear of possible chemical attacks made the gasmask and gas cape a constant companion of the German Landser through-out the war.

Originally, the gas cap pouch was to be worn on the chest of the soldier, suspended on the shoulder sling of the gasmask canister.  Of course this was and seen to be very impractical to the frontline soldier, especially since the item never saw much use.  In short, it got in the way.  So what did the frontline troops do to rid themselves of such a nuisance?  Just tossing it off into a ditch was not an option for in the German Wehrmacht, everyone was held accountable for all items issued to them.

A frequent alternative was to fasten the pouch directly to the gasmask canister using equipment straps or rubber inner tube bands.  This of course was not an official way of attaching the gas cape pouch and was often prohibited.  It was thought that the tension from the strap used to hold the gas cape pouch tightly against the canister would cause the gas cape in the pouch to crack under harsh winter conditions.  This would render the cape useless against chemical agents.

A new "official" method of wear was ordered by the German High Command on December 11, 1942 (HM 42. No. 1130).  The shoulder sling was attached to the sling loop closest to the hinge spring.  Then it was passed through the other top loop and fed through the gas cape pouch attachment loops.  It was finally buttoned to the bottom loop along with the hook strap (see figure above).  This allowed the gas cape to be attached to the canister with out sliding or use of equipment straps that may damage the cape (see image below).

It maybe difficult for some to connect the hook strap with the shoulder strap at the bottom.  This is due to the post-war or repro straps being to thick for the lug.  If this is the case with your canister sling, the below image shows another option to get the same effect of the official method of wear.


Sources:
- Uniforms & Traditions of the German Army Vol. 3 by J.R. Angolia & A. Schlicht

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