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"British webbing 1940" Topic

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Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2020 1:10 p.m. PST

I'm finally getting around to painting up my 1940 British as well as a unit of Dad's Army. My late war British have gray green webbing and anklets. I'm tempted to use buff for early war troops.

What color have you used for webbing on your early war British troops?

Thanks in advance.

Anthony Barton11 Oct 2020 1:56 p.m. PST

The conventional wisdom is that the personal webbing was "blancoed"
( a commercial paste renovator) one of several possible colours. Your late war grey-green is presumably to represent worn Khaki Green 3, a darkish grey-green-olive colour which was popular after D-Day.

The BEF in 1940 is variously described as wearing pea-soup green or khaki , both of which were shades of Blanco. I've done some research on these colours, and possess actual Blanco samples, and the nearest Vallejo matches are thus:~
For Khaki Blanco , which is a close match the the untreated raw webbing as it was supplied, Khaki Grey 880 or Green Ochre 914, or somewhere between the two.

For the Pea-Soup shade, actually called Khaki Green Light,use Yellow Green 881. Unfortunately the Vallejo colour seems to have changed recently, since I made the initial mixes,and is now rather too green ,so make it more neutral with some Khaki 988.

Of course under combat conditions the webbing became soiled fairly quickly, and tended to revert to a nondescript khaki, which from colour photos always seems to be lighter than the battledress.
And some non-personal items like Bren spares hoglegs were never blancoed, and respirators likewise , which always remained in their original Light Khaki tone, which was almost a light stone colour with little green in it.

John Armatys11 Oct 2020 3:36 p.m. PST

This page gives details on blanco colours link

The Dad's Army other ranks belts are probably brown leather with web braces and pouches.

Martin Rapier12 Oct 2020 12:06 a.m. PST

Tbh, almost all my British chaps are done in unblancoed webbing (so a sort of light ochre shade) as it makes a nice contrast with the khaki uniforms.

As noted above, in 1940 pea green was a common shade, and later in the war, KG3 although it was by no means universal, being at the discretion of unit COs. In the Mediterranean, webbing was often scrubbed, which made it even lighter.

Blanco is a paste dye used to stain the cotton webbing, originally provided in tins, but for the modern re enactors, liquid versions are available which is far easier to apply but still a monumentally tedious job.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2020 9:42 a.m. PST

Great question and double kudos to John for the link!


Pan Marek12 Oct 2020 1:52 p.m. PST

OK, I have to admit I served in the US Army, not the British Army. Doesn't the application of a material based on ground clay shorten the life of canvas webbing?

And, isn't trying to "smarten up" field equipment an essentially futile endeavor in the first place?

Anthony Barton12 Oct 2020 11:45 p.m. PST

I rather agree that in a campaign it was pointless,but perhaps it's worth remembering that the men were rested periodically,and there was a very long standing tradition that they should smarten themselves up for periods out of the Line, when there were often parades, or even leave in places like Brussels.
The webbing that was blancoed was "personal" rather than just platoon stores, and the belt and anklets were expected to be worn even on leave, and in a smart condition.
The name of course comes from the original white pipeclay product, which was still in use in the early 1900s on the buff Slade-Wallace equipment, and is still around for use by bandsmen and so on.

It's all just bull really, something that all armies are prone to, the British in particularly, who had a mass-conscription army with the traditions of a small professional army imposed on it.

The use of khaki-coloured blanco started in WW1 , with the widespread issue of the 1908 webbing, with the blanco intended to match the fabric.The Pea-Green was also in use , as some photos attest, since you can see men with darker webbing .
In WW2 the colour range was wider , and the shade chosen depended on the Colonel ,and to some extent on common-sense considerations of camouflage.

Returning to the original point , for small figures a light stone colour works very well , making a good contrast with the Battledress.

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2020 10:44 a.m. PST

Thanks to all.

New painting plan – 1940 regulars Gray Green webbing.
Dad's army – Brown belts with buff webbing.

Dagwood13 Oct 2020 2:05 p.m. PST

Dad's Army had leather anklets as well, not webbing ones.

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2020 5:27 p.m. PST



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