As some of you may know WWII Army Commandos are really my main British interest as a collector, and as a result I'd been after a set of these pouches for some years, as I missed out on buying a pair of these pouches while at Beltring back in the late 1990's, as a friend (I use this term very loosely) bought quite a few sets of these due to the price being cheap and that fact he knew what the pouches were for and the dealer did not, basically when I ask him which dealer he purchased them from he would not tell me, as he was like that LOL. Anyway fast forward to this year, and I found a dealer friend of mine had some of these for sale, so I ended up buying eight sets, with the intention of keeping some for myself and friends and selling on the others.
These are actually a set of the special drum magazine pouch design, for the ground based versions of the Vickers K GO aircraft machine gun, which was an inter war designed .303 caliber machine gun with a very high cyclic rate of fire 800-1200 depending on model, due to a large stock of these weapons being available form Egyptian stores, it was decided that they could be converted for a number of ground based roles, including use as a vehicular and squads light support weapon. Thus the Vickers "K Gun" was used by elements of the SAS, the Parachute regiment and the Army commando units, for assault operations of D-Day, and was the only land based weapon which even came closed to matching the MG 42's high rate of fire. These pouches were designed to carry the "K Gun's" drum magazines with each pouch capable of carrying up to two drum mag's, however in the normal British army manor, the amount of ammo carried by each man was restricted due to the weapons high rate of fire.
These pouches are not in fact a 37 pattern item as they are specifically deigned to carry K Gun magazines so as a result they have an Army stores coded of 0220 which covers Assault and Commando Special Equipment in section A5/AE of the regulations. The pouches are the first pattern type as used on D-Day, and include an integral harness to support the drum magazine due to there weight, plus they also have extra loops stitched to the fixed harness so they can except the standard Cross straps to further spread the load. The pouches are constructed along the lines of normal 37 Pattern webbing but with all production being of 1944 manufacture they use a mixture of Brass and late WWII economy style Sheradised* metal fittings.
*Sherardizing is a zinc based coating similar to and has the appearance of light grey Parkerizing.