100-year impress: beginning with the metal holes of adapter board in ALICE/MOLLE system

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 The metal holes of adapter board in ALICE/MOLLE


Once some people were curious about what is the purpose of a pair of metal holes of adapter board in ALICE/MOLLE system. If one person know a little about military products, he should know that there are same metal holes in many assemblies in ALICE system. The metal holes in the bottom of medical bag in ALICE system is a good example.


We also can see the metal holes in two inches belt of the medium backpack in ALICE system.

Some people who are familiar with the military products used in the second World War and Vietnam War can point out soon that these holes are used for hanging attached bag and bayonet scabbard. The early individual equipment of US army were mounted by the copper double hook on the back.

Following are grenades bag, canteen bag and first aid kit in the equipment of M1961 system.



Correspondingly, there are holes used for hanging assemblies like this in the equipment at that time.

There are small holes in the sides of the cover of field rations bag.

There are also small holes in the bottom of magazine bag.

The hanging points in M1941 backpack were generally used for hanging shovel cover and canteen.

Method of use

History of the holes

Some person may want to ask that when the holes were invented. It is unbelievable that the holes has long history of more than 100 years.

Its official name is very simple, Hook, Double(FSN: 5340-297-6834) which is mainly used in M1910 and M1961 system as one of the mounting structures of the attached bags of equipment. The mounting was finished by running the double hook on the back of attached bag through backpack, belts or the metal holes in other attached bags. The time it was invented is more early.

In 1901, American Anson Mills filled a series of military products patent applications in the Patent Office, one of these patents is called “Seamless Woven Pocket”.

It is a small first aid kit which can contain a packet of bandage. It was mounted on Seamless Woven Catridge-Belt as another patent of Anson Mills with the mounting device with two hooks which was made by bending a wire.

This is the prototype of double hook mounting device. But it was found in the later test that it does not work well for canteen and other heavier things, and it also soon damage the buttonholes of belts. So the shape of double hook was improved to be the shape now that the end of hook extend to middle, and tilt inward.
In addition, “Seamless Woven Cartridge-Pocket” is the third patent of Anson Mills. The above three patents common composed the prototype of M1910 equipment system.

Now, we never see this mounting structure again. In order to keep the generality with early equipment in design for MOLLE II, this structure was kept in the adapter board of MOLLE/ALICE which is mainly used for hanging M8A1 bayonet scabbard(the marines were issued with only a few M9 bayonet, and issued generally with M7 bayonets with M8A1 bayonet scabbard. )
Following are the early M8A1 bayonet scabbard and the later M8A1 bayonet scabbard, the pictures are taken from vietnamgear.com.




But few people specially use this adapter board for hanging bayonet scabbard, most of the time bayonet scabbard were hanged on equipment by binding which with tape or rope which are some of the local methods.

Iron lock of ALICE

And while we are on adapter board of MOLLE/ALICE, incidentally, let us talk about the iron lock of ALICE which is quite common for you.

Its official name is Keeper, Belt-Strap(FSN: 5340-753-5580).

Its history is not long as the hook, its prototype first appeared in EX-54 equipment system. EX-54 was improved to be M1956 equipment system after improvement, and the design details also were changed to what it is now, no changes all the time.

Following is the attached bag of EX-54 system, part of pictures are taken from vietnamgear.com.

Magazine bag


Canteen cover

Shovel cover

Hip bag

Us army began to study the problem about lightweight of military equipment in 1960s, then a plastic, lightweight and experimental substitute was invented. But it was found in test that the plastic lock was damaged easily, so this plan was denied soon, and the small lock is still being used today.


But then, few people used this adapter board when the mixture of ALICE and MOLLE were used in 2001-2003, and soldiers generally hang attached bag of ALICE on one inch belt.

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