1896 Pattern Colonial Infantry Equipment
Authorized by a Royal Order dated July 7, 1896, this pattern of Infantry equipment was design for use with the new Model 1893 Mauser rifle. The set consisted of a four pocket cartridge pouch worn on the center front of the waist, a belt with a brass frame buckle, a bayonet frog, and a shoulder slung reserve ammunition haversack. It was made of natural, undyed leather which, under tropical service conditions, soon turned from light colored leather to russet brown. Intended only for troops on colonial service, photographic evidence shows widespread use in Cuba and the Philippines. Currently, Puerto Rican issue of the 1896 Pattern Colonial equipment has not been documented. After the fall of the overseas colonies, the Model 1896 equipment saw only limited service in Africa and for training. It appears that production ceased with the conclusion of the Spanish American War and the short service life of this equipment ended after existing stock were used up.
Image courtesy of Andrés Jesús Borrero Gómez
Three eager soldiers from an unidentified Peninsular Infantry regiment taken at Guanabacoa, Cuba near Havana ca. 1897. Note the extra Mauser cartridges tucked into the loops on the shoulder sling of the reserve ammunition haversack. One of these soldiers is the Great Grandfather of the donor.
A Soldier of the 28th Infantry Regiment wearing a set of the Model 1896 Colonial equipment.
Supply troops in Barcelona packing Model 1896 equipment sets to be shipped to the 6th Expeditionary Battalion in the Philippines, ca. 1897.
Front and rear view of a complete set of the Model 1896 Colonial Infantry equipment as worn in the field.
The cartridge pouch consists of four pockets with overlapping flaps, brass studs to hold the flaps closed and three belt loops on the reverse. A soldier would have worn only one pouch.
1896 pattern cartridge pouch front view showing the typical overlapping flaps.
1896 pattern cartridge pouch rear view showing the three belt loops.
Interior views, soldier's name inscribed.
Detail of a brass finial. These are held in with a copper rivet through a hole in the shank
The belt has a single tongue brass frame buckle and a rounded point billet end.
A second example of the reserve ammunition haversack.
Variation of the reserve ammunition haversack with maker's mark. A souvenir of Rough Rider veteran Leland Barney, Co. M, 1st. US Volunteer Cavalry from the Cuban campaign.
Artifact courtesy of Hayes Otoupalik
All material is Copyright 2006 by William K. Combs. No portion may be used without permission.