Big Al Posted May 28, 2019 Report Share Posted May 28, 2019 (edited) Greetings everyone. Have I got a treat for you all. I found this belt on eBay, listed mistakenly as an M1918 BAR belt and priced similarly. It was obviously different, but I didn't immediately know why. By chance, I had read a discussion on a web forum talking about the magazine belts made for the Colt Monitor, and this belt matched the verbal description exactly. Naturally, I couldn't just let it be snatched up by some unwashed simpleton. Within a few weeks (the seller was away at the time of purchase), the belt was all mine. The belt is completely devoid of manufacturer markings. However, judging by the methods of construction and comparing details of the workmanship with unmarked accoutrements for the Thompson submachine gun from the same vintage, it is my contention that the belt was made by the Russell Manufacturing Company of Middletown, CT. Each half of the belt is constructed of a single piece of cotton webbing 6⅛" wide, with the pockets, flaps, buckles, and connecting strap keeper loops stitched to them. Eyelets are provided along the top and bottom edges of each belt half, with the lower ones for accessories using the M1910 double hook for attachment, and the upper ones for suspenders. The provision of the upper eyelets is somewhat questionable, however, as there are only a single pair of eyelets on the top edge of the right-hand half of the belt. It's assembly is somewhat sloppy, with the pockets being stitched on at inconsistent heights. Though overall, the belt is completely sound and serviceable. In examining a reprinted edition of a catalog and manual compendium published by Colt entitled Colt Automatic Machine Guns and Rifles, the belt shown therein has six pockets for magazines. However, this discrepancy does not call into question the identity of this belt for the following reason. The commercial BAR's were listed as being sold with six magazines each. This fits with my belt's configuration as that gives two magazines per pocket, with the last pocket being used to carry the leather accessory case, as was the standard in US military service at the time. The belt shown in the catalog was likely a prototype belt which never went into production, or possibly a later variant of the belt as yet undocumented. Aside from having two more pockets, it is identical in every way compared to my belt and the belt in Rock in a Hard Place, even down to the number of eyelets. With all due respect to Mr James Ballou (God rest his soul), he was partially incorrect in his identification of the belt as specific to the R80 Monitor machine rifle in his work on the history of the Browning Automatic Rifle, Rock in a Hard Place. In the Colt catalog, the belt is also listed for the R75 and R75A machine rifles, with an identical photo plate appearing in each section. Outside of belt. Pockets have been stuffed with paper for appearance.Inside of belt showing eyelets for suspenders (above pockets) and accessories (below pockets).Right half, showing one pocket with a single pair of accessory eyelets and blank space.Left half, showing three pockets and pairs of accessory eyelets.Detail of connecting strap with eyelets for suspenders running through the adjustment buckles.Detail of inside of belt at the adjustment strap.Detail of webbing keepers and merrowing on the end of the adjustment strap.Page from Rock in a Hard Place identifying belt.Page from Colt Automatic Machine Guns and Rifles in the section for the R80 Monitor machine rifle. An identical photo plate appears in the section concerning the R75 and R75A. Edited May 28, 2019 by Big Al Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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