M1928 Haversack (New Generation-Fall, 2013) – At the Front

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Background:

The M1928 Haversack, as big of a pain as it was to pack, was a mainstay of Rangers (not just the 5th) during World War II. In both regular Infantry as well as Ranger Battalion TO&E’s, Officers are allotted the M1936 combat suspender/musette bag pack system. However, there is little evidence of this combat system seeing much use in the MTO and ETO by Rangers. With that, the encompassing point is that this is an essential piece of kit for our organization…virtually everyone had and used one in the 5th Ranger Battalion. As we advocate the use of only reproduction gear, a quality, affordable haversack has been necessary for years.

Previous generations of At The Front haversacks were fair. The experience of a number of Able Company 5th Rangers Living History Association members shows that if exposed to the elements (particularly sunshine) they would turn a lovely color somewhere between lime green and piss yellow. Also, some of the hardware was less than durable. I’m not saying we need it to survive a nuclear event and clearly they were not going to stand up like the Cadillac of sacks made by WWII Impressions, but it was at least expected to survive average reenactor use.

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Ordering:

A new generation of M1928 haversacks is now available from At The Front. These packs are $79.99 as of Oct. 2013. I purchased mine as a “defect” for $50 because the eyelets for attaching a bayonet are too close together. This issue didn’t bother me as I have seen originals with similar spacing issues.

 

Out-of-the-Box Thoughts:

The pack is based off a Boyt made example from 1942. At The Front’s website states, “The color is a very authentic and khaki-nazi pleasing golden olive-brown.” The material is definitely more brown than their usual. From 1942-1944 haversack colors varied greatly and the color of this pack fits well within the acceptable range. The material used for the edging is a lighter OD3 color. At The Front also explicitly states that these are imports, not made in the USA. As usual, cost passed to the consumer prompted the decision to have these made elsewhere.

 

The Reproduction:

This reproduction is solid. The construction of this piece of gear seems pretty good. The straps are the same length as originals so they are not particularly well suited for excessively large individuals. Editors note: thank god! Big guys existed in World War II. Their equipment wasn’t custom made for their lengths. If your a big-tall Joe, your haversack SHOULD fit in a way that it rides a little high. Authentic is issue. The straps are reinforced with 2 brass rivets each. The rivets are not blackened like the rest of the hardware. Some original Boyt packs manufactured in 1942 have these reinforcing rivets, some do not. I am sure they add a lot to the durability of this pack, so I welcome them. Much of the hardware on this pack is stamped brass. Brass, steel, and zinc based hardware were common on Boyt haversacks, but brass was phased out as supplies of such essential metals became scarce during the war. The clips at the end of the straps are steel and are marked “CHINA.”

All of the straps on this pack are pretty substantial and are attached securely. I have a feeling that this pack will endure far more than the old generation of ATF packs did. The markings on this pack are on par with ATF’s other repros, they don’t look bad, I think they are probably screen printed. The mfg. marking is “ATF 1942” and there is a larger number 2 below the date. I am not aware of what that marking is, maybe something exclusive to the sample they had. The construction and quality of this pack remind me of those sold by Schipperfabrik.

Editors note: Comparing the “US” stamp, quality/texture of canvas and brass hardware and construction method, its quite obvious that this product is made by the same supplier overseas who reproduce 1910 equipment for Schipperfabrik. This new replica from At the Front is about 100% heavier/stiffer canvas than the previous yellow-abomination offered by ATF.

 

Final Thoughts:

All in all, I would strongly recommend this product because of its good quality and low cost. At $79.99 ($50 “defect”) it is a good deal for what you get. It is much closer to the quality of the WWII Impressions M1928 haversack than the old generation and comes in at a much lower cost than the WWII Impressions haversack, making it a great compromise for those on a budget who still want an authentic product.

 

Written by: Dustin Day