This figure represents a 1971 deployment of a kiwi soldier to the conflict in Vietnam (either Victor 5 or 6 rifle company of the 1 RNZIR). The mixture of gear is of mainly US, Australian and NZ manufacture and is representative of what was worn in the late period of NZ service there. The slant pocket jungle green shirt is of NZ manufacture and the “twiggy greens” trousers are of Australian manufacture. The JG “Giggle” hat is also of Australian manufacture. The webbing is a mixture of US M1956 and Australian. The belt and “H” harness and “bum” pack are of US manufacture and the SLR pouches, pack and two water bottle pouches on the belt are Australian. There is an extra British manufactured 1944 pattern pouch on the left hip.
On the right side of the figure you can see both a golok and Australian manufactured 2 quart collapsible bladder.
Carrying lots of drinking water while on operations in the humid conditions of the Vietnamese jungle was important and along with the two bottle on his belt order the figure also has a US 5 quart collapsible canteen attached to the pack along with two more US water bottles.
Printed on the front and back are instructions on how to safely fill with water or inflate and use the canteen as a flotation device.
Here are the US and Australian canteens side by side and a shot of the bottom of each showing the date and manufacture information. The Australian canteen is the darker green one.
With the bottles and 5 quart bladder removed you can now see the US entrenching tool. It is easier to also see the early model Australian large pack (a later version of the pack had external webbing strips for additional storage).
Inside the pockets, pack and “Bum Bag” you might find these items:laid out on a Australian camouflage, 1967 dated, rain coat, which can be folded up into its own pocket for storage are (from left to right), soldiers paybook, NZ Army identity card (carried in pocket), service identity discs (X2) with neck cord, Australian defence marked tooth brush, NZ manufactured 1967 dated spare underwear, waterproof bag that can be secured at the top used for carrying clothing in pack, three black inflatable bladders used to make an air mattress, next to the bladders are two pieces that also make up the bedding – on top of the mattress is a lightweight blanket, finally there are some more items of underclothing – aertex “T” shirt and 2 pairs of sox.
Close up of the items:The mattress is secured at the bottom with press studs and is divided into three sections with each of the bladders going into their own section. At the top of the mattress is an internal pillow, items like extra clothing can be placed inside to form a soft pillow. On top of the mattress is one of the inflatable bladders unrolled.The underclothing laid out on the mattress.Below are some excellent colour period photos of different companies from both Victor 5 and Victor 6 on operation in Vietnam in 1971.
Victor 5 was in Vietnam from May 1970 to May 1971. Victor 6 was “in country” from May 1971 until December 1971. These colour photos are from the excellent Vietnam War .govt.nz website.