The Rucksack was one of the signature items of the German Mountain Troops (Gebirgsjäger). Due to the nature of the environment in which they operated, the Gebirgsjäger needed the ability to carry more supplies and equipment than their lowland counterparts in the infantry and Panzergrenadier units. The pack is very flexible, able to be be carried on its own or incorporated into the rest of the fieldgear system. It has three outer pockets and two large internal compartments.
Although the Mountain Rucksacks used in WWII were generally one standard pattern, many variations exist depending on the time and place of manufacture. Pre-war packs are typically made from heavier, higher quality cotton duck, with aluminum hardware and leather reinforcements. As the War went on, the hardware was changed to steel (in a few cases brass- I was surprised too), many small details were simplified and a lower quality linen canvas appeared. Many packs are made from multiple shades of material.
ATF's Gebirgsjäger Rucksacks:
There are many variations of these rucksacks. Ultimately, I decided on using a 1942 manufacture pack as my sample. This was to allow us to use some of our existing hardware and fabrics- which cut down on the tooling cost. All hardware had to be custom made for us, just to make these packs. The snap hooks, the reverse prong buckles, swivel hooks, 45mm D-rings, 18mm and 13mm buckles, tapered shoulder straps and so on.
Keep in mind, of my 11 original packs, no two are identical- so if you have a WWII pack, something on ours will most likely differ from yours. The variations include but are hardly limited to, size & type of buckles, the length and pattern of shoulder straps, color of the pack, color of the internal pockets, width and facing (smooth or rough side facing out) of the straps and loops, and the means of attaching the shoulder straps.
This is the most complex piece of fieldgear we have ever had made. Each pack has 213 individual parts, most of which need to be measured, cut out, and hand-stitched, riveted or glued in place. If we did all the hand sewing here, these things would be two or three times this price. The flap alone has 19 different hand stitched points.
The packs are made from olive green cotton/ linen canvas, color matched to original fabric. Our hardware is steel- I chose the 18mm rocker buckles (as opposed to the roller type with separate loops), and the leather is heavy, 7-9oz. cowhide. This is the model with the exposed drawcord so you can easily replace it. (As opposed to the type where it is sewn inside the rim of the main pack.) All straps are backed with leather and or heavy canvas reinforcements at the points where they are sewn on.
These packs are the largest of all German WWII rucksacks. They are roughly equivalent to a US military "ALICE" pack. The main compartment is 19"H x 21"W x 10" deep. There are two side pockets, 11"H x 4"W x 2.5" D, and one the rear pocket is 10"H x 15" W x 2" D. There is pocket on the inside of the flap measuring 13"H x 17" W, and another inside the main compartment of 17"H x 20"W.
We have no yet reproduced the rare and elusive waist belts. These amount to an extra long mess-tin strap. They were held in low regard by the troops (and usually ditched) and originals are almost non-existent.
At some point in the future, we intend to offer some of the often missing spare parts. Namely the extenders, straps with snap hooks, and waist belts. These packs will include all but the waist belt as most people don't like to wear them- plus we'll have to offer different sizes to accommodate the physique of the modern male...
At this time, we do not have extra hardware to sell.
Made with some US materials, assembled overseas.