By Joshua Boyle, IC
39th Infantry Regiment prides ourselves on the semi-immersive and full immersive nature of our public and private events. Due to this the group advises having period correct items, not only to bulk out your breadbag and make it more realistic, but also for use at the shows. The basic premise of kit packing, is that anything you might need immediately, or is essential to basic survival on the battlefield, goes into your breadbag; anything not essential, or a back up, goes into the rucksack. This is based off both French and German doctrinal practises which formed the basis of all Romanian doctrines. In fact, most armies during World War Two operated off a similar principal.
Below is detailed some examples of the items that can be put in the bags.
Inside your rucksack should be anything not essential to your functions as a combat soldier.
In Fig. 1 we see spare clothing in the form of underwear wrapped in a traditional peasant shirt, as well as spare socks. Personal items, such as letters, coffee and contraceptives are also wrapped in either a bag, cloth or the spare clothes.
Maintenance equipment for the leather equipment (polish wrapped in a cloth and brush) and personal hygiene kit is also placed near the personal items. The basic hygiene kit includes a small hand towel, soap, nail brush, Nivea cream, safety razer and spare blades, shaving brush, wooden tooth brush, tooth powder, scissors and hand powered hair clippers (more clearly shown in Fig 2.). Hygiene kits were not issued and were often brought from home, hence the mix of German bought Nivea cream and tooth powder and ordinary civilian items.
Fig. 2 shows the kaffeeflasch used for carrying hot beverages, a bottle of vodka, spare meat rations and the rifle cleaning kit. The rifle cleaning kit is the standard German cleaning kit intended for all small arms. Due to the prevalence of German/Mauser weapons in service with the Romanians (Vz24/K98, MP40, MP41, P38 and some PO8s) it’s not uncommon to see German rifle cleaning kits, or their Czech counterparts.
Fig. 3 shows all the items that should be affixed to the outside of the rucksack (as displayed in Fig. 3.5) using the leather straps. These include the greatcoat, blanket and shelter half. There are also 6 Zeltbahn style poles for making an A-Frame style shelter held in the cup on the right side of the rucksack.
As described above, in your breadbag should be all the items you need for fighting effectively in combat.
Inside your breadbag should be your rations (hence the name bread-bag). This particular examples has bread wrapped in brown paper. Often this might be replaced with pesmeți, a type of Romanian cracker, or Zweiback, a German rye based biscuit found in German Iron Rations when fresh bread couldn’t be supplied to troops. There is also an onion, butter, an apple and rice in a small draw string bag. This particular example also has an enamel mug to get easy access to water or soup if in need. There is also the soldiers eating irons. The mess tin also features, although this was secured to the outside of the breadbag (as shown in Fig 3.5).
In your breadbag there should also be the equipment you need to fight. This particular soldier is carrying a small German Red Cross (DRK) shell dressing. It’s not uncommon to see DRK or even Romanian Red Cross bandages being carried by soldiers. In the breadbag should also be your combat equipment. In this example there is a Soviet Anti-Tank RG-42 Grenade that has been captured. There is also a German Stielhandgranate High Explosive Grenade. Also in the breadbag is spare ammunition, carried in the form of 3 boxes of 15 rounds on stripper clips.
This is by all means not an exhaustive list, nor is it an example that should be followed to the tee. It is more to.provide a model or inspiration. The very basics that you will need for events are a hygiene kit, spare socks and underwear, blanket, shelter half, mess tin and eating irons.