Without delving into too much detail about Danish foreign politics of the Cold War, it is important to remember that Denmark initially bound itself to a British sphere of interest. In the first decade of the Cold War Denmark aligned itself with Great Britain within NATO, bought a substantial amount of old British World War Two equipment, and planned on a number of future acquisitions. The reason for this is straight forward. Great Britain had since the late 1800s been the most important market for the agricultural surplus of Denmark (butter and bacon), and Britain had show itself during World War Two and immediately after as a ‘friend’ of Denmark and Danish political and economical interests. Hence it was no surprise that following the end of World War Two Denmark choose to support the British occupational forces in Northern Germany with a substantial number of troops. Since the Danish soldiers were part of the British forces they were supplied with surplus British uniforms and webbing from the war. Keeping with this initial choice the Equipment Commission tasked with procuring and developing new load bearing equipment for the infantry of the Danish army contacted the London based company Mills Equipment Company Ltd. The Danish army had found the British 1937 Webbing Equipment wanting. Especially the entrenching tool and water bottle.
The ‘Oppakningssystem’ M/45-50: Between 1946-1950 the Danish Equipment Commission and Mills developed a distinct Danish webbing systems based on components from several different British webbing sets. Most noticeably the equipment incorporated design details from the 1937 webbing, the 1940 cavalry webbing, and the 1944 webbing. The final pieces were added in 1950 and the entire load bearing equipment was named ‘Oppakningssystem M/45-50’ in Danish services. The LBE was meant to be used together with the US Garand Riffle introduced in Danish service in 1950. However, the US or Italian made Scabbards did not fit the British style belt, and a new ‘adaptor’ was designed that allowed the bayonet to be worn without altering the scabbard. US made covers for the entrenching tool and British bags for the Mk. II Lightweight Respirator was altered in Denmark to fit the belt. The US entrenching tool, cover, and the respirator bag were integral parts of the M45-50 Webbing Equipment.
The M/44 Uniform: The Uniform was a redevelopment of the uniform issued to DANFORCE (The Danish exile army in Sweden, 1943-45). Based on the British battledress the uniform had a distinct British look.
(Remember that it is possible to enlarge the below photos by clicking them!).
|M/45-50 Webbing Equipment, M/44 Uniform and all the small bits and pieces that went into the packs.|
1: Garrison cap, M/44.
2: M/44 Uniform and tie.
4: M/49 Gas mask.
5: Knife, fork, spoon and cover.
6: Cover for the mess tin and heater.
7: Mess tin, water bottle, and cup.
8: "Housewife" and boot polish cover.
9: Emergency rations.
10: Small pack (F1 / paksæk).
11: Universal pouch.
12: Entrenching tool and cover (US made, altered to fit British style belts).
13: Carrier for the Mk. II Lightweight Respirator. In Danish service altered to fit the belt vertically.
14: Water bottle carrier.
15: Camouflage net and scabbard for the US bayonet (Garand).
16: Bayonet. Many of the Danish bayonets were made in Italy.
17: M/44 trousers.
18: Anklets / gaiters.
19: World War Two vintage M1 helmet with Danish helmet net and new liner produced in Denmark.