M1956 Lightweight Carrying Equipment (LCE)
Pictures and opinions
This is the first set of equipment to use the familiar "Alice clips". All of this is in Canvas Duck with it's assorted problems. It is these asorted problems that bore the brunt of the Vietnam War as far as field gear. As such it is common to find extremely ragged out nasty M1956 gear. But if you can find fresh gear that didn't see the tropics, some of it can be usefull used with the later gear. Some of the noncoms did just that. This list won't be complete or all encompasing. I am excluding the Canteen covers, compass cover, and the belts. They are functionaly no different from later nylon versions. The pack roll straps and butt pack adapter will be omitted because they are nearly useless. And finaly the M16A1 shorty pouches are excluded because they are rare and expensive in decent condition, having bore the brunt of the use in the tropics of Vietnam.
M1956 Suspenders [Regular] 8465-00-577-4922, [Long] 8465-00-577-4923, and [X-long] 8465-00-823-7231
These are everyone's favorite. They are comfortable and soft on the shoulders. Easy and quick to adjust. The straps for the compass pouches on the shoulders are easier to use with the belt clips of many handheld radios. They also work better with many knife scabbards. They are H pattern and many feel the weight rides better with these. They are a little cheaper then the M1967 H suspenders but lack the buttpack clips. There was a buttpack adapter to put the buttpack higher on your back, but the solution was not very workable. There are a couple different versions of the suspender hooks in the back, plain hooks and snap hooks.
M1956 Universal Small Arms Pouch 8465-00-647-0852
Mostly known as the M14 mag pouch. The first version was actually designed to hold quite a bit of different magazine and clip types and has a steel plate in the front. It will hold two BAR magazines. It will hold four M1 Carbine 30 round magazines. It will hold a full bandolier of M1 Garand clips. It's not suited well to ether of the M16 mags due to it's shape. The steel plate front version will hold two M14 mags. There are two different types as the stiffener was removed on the later type. However this makes the carbine mags fit very loose. On both two straps hold grenades to the side. This is the largest capacity mag belt pouch until the arival of the 1984 M249 SAW pouch. These have a attachment to the suspenders that was offten cut off by the troops.
M1956 Field Pack 8465-00-577-4921
The first butt pack, It was more square and had two foldable flaps under the lid. Still commonly found and still very usefull.
M1961 Field Pack 8465-00-823-7622
The second butt pack made for the rigors of Vietnam. It was more rounded off and had a rubberized liner that closed inside. Still commonly found and still very usefull.
M1956 E tool carrier 8465-00-542-5842
The E tool carrier has a really nice feature never replicated in newer versions. A place to attach a bayonet atop the E tool cover. However this cover is made for the old E tool with the handle that doesn't fold down. However the M1967 tool will fit inside with the shovel folded up all the way, but it's very tight.
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