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Thread: East German MP44 Magazine Pouch

  1. #1
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    Default East German MP44 Magazine Pouch

    While not technically WWII, I think this is a good fit for this forum because of relevance. Mod's please feel free to move this if you disagree for I am but your humble servant.


    After years of searching, I recently found an East German MP44 magazine pouch with that well used look I love so much! I almost always prefer old stuff having that "helped make History instead of just passing through history" look. If you have no idea what an MP44 magazine pouch is, then you'll probably be absolutely, positively bored out of your mind here. BUT, if you DO know what I'm talking about, you'll most likely be interested in this.

    Anywho, as much as I'd like to have a WWII original example, there are so many fakes out there I'm wary of every single one I see. Also, even if I 100% knew it to be original, there is no way I'd pay the ridiculous price they command. When I was much younger, I bought an East German rework Luger for less than 1/2 the price a non-rework was going for and it shot just fine. In fact, I still have that Luger and it still shoots just fine. What that old Luger taught me is that I could collect lots and lots of original and neato East German stuff for a whole lot less money and enjoy the hell out of it without having to worry about "devaluing" it should I ever decide to sell it off. An added bonus was that the collectosnobs didn't want it so nobody was faking it. To this day, I still enjoy collecting East German goodies. The funny thing about early DDR gear is that it's usually far more rare than its WWII equivalent; a fact that is compounded because its obscurity means that most don't know it when they see it. This pouch is a perfect example of that phenomenon. In fact, I'm willing to bet that a few fellow MP44 nerds reading this will have either never seen one of these or won't believe that this is what I'm saying it is (they'll just think it's a poorly executed attempt at producing a WWII fake).


    SO here it is in all of it's salty used glory:

    As can be seen, it's made of a course weave canvas. The leather is still nice and flexible. In my experience, all of the early East German gear was of excellent Quality both in materials and construction.


    The rear:

    The belt loops are canvas but of a different kind (much tighter weave) than the body.


    The "D" ring still shows some of the original black paint finish:



    The bottoms of the cells are reinforced with a second layer of material:

    The rectangular stitching at the very bottom of each cell fastens a hard piece of internal leather.


    A closeup of a leather closure strap and its stitching:

    Note the irregular weave of the canvas.


    Closure stud detail:

    The steel stud does not present on the inside of the cell. In other words, the stud was attached to the leather and then the leather was sewn to the cell. Also note that the material was folded over and sewn at the top of the cell to prevent unraveling.


    Inside of cover flaps showing leather lining:

    Note that the sides of the cover flaps are thick leather. The lining itself is very thin and pliable. Although you can't see it, there is a rectangular piece of thick leather at the top of each flap sandwiched between the thin leather liner and canvas exterior.


    Although almost certainly originally marked, I have yet to see one of these pouches with markings intact. What I have seen on every one is some blacked out area and this one is no different:

    When looking at a specific piece of East German equipment, my experience has been that where markings were applied varies from example to example so you cannot say that ALL examples of a particular item are ALWAYS marked in the same place. I also know that East Germany supplied loads of no longer used equipment to various countries around the world during the cold war and much of it was "sanitized" before shipment. My working hypothesis is that's what we are seeing here. I wish the technology existed to look through that black to prove me right or wrong. I think that all of these MP44 pouches, new or old, were sanitized when put into storage in case they wanted to sell them off at a later date (to Syria, for example).


    There are only two places where any markings are present. One is the number "20" stamped into the leather on one of the flaps:

    The other we will see in a bit and it's the proof that this pouch is indeed East German.


    Photo depicting the side of a top flap showing construction/threading details:
    Some P38 "experts" are yo-yo's who, for some reason lost on me, can't or won't accept the truth when it's staring them in the face.

  2. #2
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    The little pouch intended to hold a magazine loading tool:

    Unfortunately, there was no loading tool in there! I know that the Easties manufactured Luger magazine loading tools (I have one) but I don't know if they just used left over WWII MP44 magazine loaders or made new ones. My suspicion is that they did both.


    The same pouch from a different angle illustrating that the closure flap is a single piece of leather folded into shape, riveted and then sewn to the main body of the magazine pouch:



    The closure snap was originally painted black:



    The stud is steel with remnants of some gold coating on it:



    Detail of the closure flap interior:


    And here we see on the snap the only other markings to be found.


    Let's take a closer look:



    Age and funk have obscured the markings just a little but they are still readable. At approximately the 12 o'clock position, you can see a "K". Continuing clockwise, we then see a dot, then an "I", another dot, an "N", another dot, a "4", and one more dot before coming back to the "K". I knew immediately that I was looking at an East German snap here because I have a number of East German canteens from the 1950's with exactly this same snap. Let's look just one example of three I have with this snap:

    These old Eastie canteens are great. I have one that was well used before I got it and has been on many a camping trip with me. These used to be cheap and plentiful but while they are still cheap, they are increasingly hard to find. ANywho, they are different than but very similar to their WWII counterparts. And like their WWII cousins, the felt cover is held in place by snaps.


    Here is one of those snaps with nearly all of its black paint still in place:



    And here is the stud for that snap:

    Look familiar?


    And here is the back of the snap:

    Marked "K", dot, "I", dot, "N", dot "4", dot. One of the other canteens has identical snaps but has a "5" in place of the "4". I would not be surprised if the number is a year. 195"4".


    So that's it. As I've said, I think these East German MP44 magazine pouches are rarer than their WWII cousins but they are almost totally ignored/unknown by collectors so they are nearly worthless....which is a good thing if you are a DDR collector. These originally came in sets of two, one for the right side and one for the left. This one is a left side (I think) so I'm still looking for a right side. If anyone has one they would like to part with, look me up because I'll almost certainly give you more for it than it than you'll get elsewhere. Even if all you have is another left side example, I'll probably buy that too.....I'm a sucker for this old Eastie stuff you know! I'm also looking for a Czechoslovakian set because everyone knows I like early post-war Czech stuff too. I'd show you what they look like but I don't have any to show....so sad.

    Thanks for your time. I hope I didn't bore you to death. And thank you Mr. old East German dude for manufacturing this well worn thing. It gave me an excuse to do what my wonderful Mother and best friend always wanted me to do...write.
    Some P38 "experts" are yo-yo's who, for some reason lost on me, can't or won't accept the truth when it's staring them in the face.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cololab's Avatar
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    I learned something new this morning. Thx for posting.

  4. #4
    Senior Member pitfighter's Avatar
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    Nice - I use the Yugo pouches for my gear they are similarly built.

    That is a cool one.

  5. #5
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    Very nice stuff ! ...and very interesting reading your post, thanks for posting !

    Antoni
    http://rg34.blogspot.com.

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