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DateOriginal Topic
1st June 2003ammo
By paul
how many rounds of ammo were issued to a soldier (held in their pouches) before
1. normal situation
2.imminent battle
1st June 2003Julian whybra
This has been covered before if you look back but briefly, seventy rounds, plus an extra thirty in an emergency. Then there was the company reserve of 200 rounds per man available (at Isandhlwana)
3rd June 2003Chris John
In a normal situation, a british soldier would carry 2 pouches, 35 in each and then an expense pouch which carried 30 extra. In battle though, you'd use these and then be given packs of 10 every couple of minutes and were fed as the battle raged on
4th June 2003Bill Cainan

It wasn't quite as neat as that ! Because the MH rounds come in packs of 10, there would be four packs in one ammo pouch (kept wrapped) and three in the other (two kept warapped and one packet opended). So there would be 40 rounds in one pouch and 30 in the other - both taking up much the same space, because of the ten "loose" rounds. Extra rounds could, as you suggest, be kept in the ball bag - which has a very poor press, spilling rounds everywhere as the men ran (There was a discussion on this recently on this site). The reserve ammunition would be kept boxed on the Company's ammunition waggon. You can do the sums quite easily to see why each Company would need a separate waggon to carry its reserve ammunition !

Hope that helps.

8th June 2003Adrian Whiting
I hope you will not mind me suggesting a correction to the above information !

The 1871ammunition pouches each held two packets (then called "bundles"), two pouches meant forty rounds.

The expense ammunition pouch held thirty rounds, intended to be carried loose for more immediate availability. This gave the seventy rounds per man total, carried on the man in the appropriate order of dress (i.e. an order which included all three pouches).

The 1882 pattern ammunition pouches were substantially larger, and enabled forty rounds to be carried in each - still in bundles, giving a net total per man of eighty rounds. The 1882 pattern valise equipment dispensed with the expense pouch but required soldiers to open each bundle in turn and carry the loose rounds in the pocket !

I think the reserve ammunition arrangements have been covered previously.

I hope this assists.

Thanks, Adrian
8th June 2003Martin Everett
Dear Adrian,
In the National Army Museum in J'Burg, there is a full sized model of Imperial soldier c1879. One of the pouches had slots to carry 10 loose rounds. This suggests 40 rounds in one, and 30 in the other as Bill has indicated.
I am not sure where this gets us.

8th June 2003John Young

Don't be mislaid by all things you see in a museum. I venture to suggest the figure in J'Burg is wearing later pattern pouches. Some patterns of the Slade-Wallace equipment certainly had loops to retain rounds.

As an example of errors the fine 24th figure in our own National Army Museum is wearing a belt buckle that never existed - it bears the word 'Regiment' in full rather than the correct 'Regt.' At the figure's feet are drawn, rather than rolled Martini-Henry cases. If the NAM can't get it right what chance the South Africans?

Frankly, I'll side with Adrian on this one, his knowledge of the 1871 pattern equipment would take some beating.

John Y.
9th June 2003Julian whybra
My understanding concurs with Adrian's description.
9th June 2003Adrian Whiting
Martin, do you happen to have any pictures of the pouch in SA ?

As John says, one pouch type for the 1888 pattern valise equipment had internal loops for ten rounds, and had one external loop at each end for a single round to be carried outside the pouch.

It may be that the pouch in SA is an 1871 pattern one locally adapted - I doubt that retaining the rounds in their bundles proved very popular, however the 1871 pattern pouch is not large enough to hold four cartridge bundles - I guess someone may try to prove me wrong on this by drastically stretching it ! - whereas the 1882 pattern can hold/was intended to hold four bundles.

I hope this assists