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German WWII Rucksacks

The German military used a mind-boggling variety of packs during WWII. There are five main backpacks or rucksacks, each one coming in a wide array of variation. Most troops were issued a tornister pack (usually fur-flap) during basic training. This pack was found to be overly complex to make and wanting in space and practicality, so the M31 was developed from the Gebirgsjager's pack. The M31 and the Gebirgs rucks were similar in size to the "ALICE" packs used by the US Army in the 70's and 80's. There was also a smaller, "Artillery Rucksack", which can be seen in photos being worn by all sorts of units throughout the War. There are several other rucksack style packs commonly found, but they have no name or nomenclature associated with them, which are similar to the M31 but simpler. Muddling things yet more, was the German penchant for "field made" packs.

Topping all of these complexities off is the fact that packs and rucksacks, even "standard issue" ones, were made from nearly every material in the German inventory. The canvas can be linen or cotton, the color can be olive, green, fieldgray, gray, field blue, khaki, beige, camo, or a mix. The fittings and straps were made from black or brown leather, gray, olive or green webbing, leftover internal suspender parts, or captured materials. The hardware varies widely as well, and the internal pockets and reinforcements are made from any and everything imaginable.

Despite originals being relatively plentiful, there is little historical information available on them. The tornister was standard issue in both WWI and WWII, the Gebirgsjager's pack is mentioned as such as is the Artillery ruck. That's about it. Mostly, we have worked from photographs and unit markings to make some sense of these things.
All of which is enough to give neophyte collectors aneurysms and keep fieldgear collectors busy for years. So, if "your original" doesn't look like "our" original, that's not news. To illustrate this fact, here are a few of the M31's we currently have on hand.
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