Tropical M41 Rucksack – M. Forker, 1942

The M34 Tornister was a fur covered backpack designed to carry a lot of extra equipment and necessities for the German soldier. It was firstly introduced in November 1934. The M34 Tornister was carried on the back by usage of leather straps. The Y-straps with auxiliary straps or Koppeltragegestell aus Leder mit Hilfstrageriemen was first introduced in April 1939. Even though it was introduced in 1939 it only saw widespread use from 1941 onwards. Together with the introduction of the Y-straps the M34 Tornister was redesigned, the leather straps were changed for hooks on the back, this way the Tornister could directly be attached to the Y-straps. The redesigned Tornister became known under the official name M39 Tornister.

In 1941 a complete new type of backpack was introduced to replace the fur covered Tornister in the Tropical environment. It was completely made of mostly olive coloured fabric. This type is known as the M41 Rucksack and was derived from the M31 Rucksack that was specifically designed for mountain troops or “Gerbirgsjäger”. In 1944 this type was adopted into the standard marching equipment but it already saw wider use than the tropical front as early as 1942.

In 1944 a smaller backpack which was more manageable in the field was designed to get distributed together with the M44 uniform, this type was derived from the smaller artillery backpack which was specifically designed for use by artillery and cavalry troops. The main difference between the artillery backpack and the M44 Rucksack was the difference in production with straps and hooks, the artillery rucksack also had leather loops at the side to attach a blanket with usage of equipment straps which the later designed M44 Rucksack didn’t have. This type is known as the M44 Rucksack or Sturmgepäck which would indicate it saw first production in 1944 but there are examples known which are dated as early as 1943.

As the war progressed and a lot of materials became scarce you can see a lot of atypical constructions on backpacks, usage of poor quality leather, re-used leather, internal suspenders, British captured webbing, different coloured fabric from tan and olive to blue.

Model: M41 Tropical Rucksack
Colour: Light green
Material: Canvas and webbing
Straps: Detachable, Webbing
Markings: M. Forker Wilthen, 1942
Maker: Martin Forker Wilthen/Sa 
Hardware: Zinc and green painted steel
Notes: This M41 Tropical Rucksack was issued together with detachable carrying strap so it could be carried with or without the Y-straps.