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Escape & Evasion

A number of versions of escape and evasion kits existed among the allied forces, the ones below were issued to Airborne Officers, NCOs, and various troopers until the extras ran out. Keep in mind that not everyone had these and whomever did, had different variants, colors, sizes, and contents due to the many manufactors on the warfront effort.

There are 5 different British Map pouches and 1 American that was issued to British Forces made by various companies so stamps, color lots, sizes vary a little from each one:

1) A khaki ruberised canvas pouch marked on the front in black 'MAPS ONLY' with 'C/D' (sometimes C/E) above. Contents would be the fabric escape map 43 C/D, a hacksaw blade encased in waxed paper and a basic escape compass.
2) As above but with 'C/D' over 'E/F' in the top left hand corner or in the center as this picture shows. Contents as above but has the two maps 43 C/D & 43 E/F.
3) As above but with a large red 'F' in the centre (probably for France) over the warning ' If this packet is found it must be handed in to the nearest Police Station at once.', in the bottom right corner is an 'O' in brackets. In the top left corner is a diagonal red stripe, overprinted with '43' in white. The back of the pouch is sometimes marked 'Mark 111' in red. Contents as a before except the map is 43 C/D.
As above but with a large red 'F' in the centre.In the top left corner is a diagonal red stripe, overprinted with no '43' in white.
The back of the pouch is sometimes marked 'Mark 11' in red. Contents as a before except the map is 43 C/D.
 
4) As 3 except front is marked 'FI' in black (probably France and Italy), the warning is also in black as is a letter 'F' in brackets in bottom right hand corner. Top left hand corner has two diagonal bands, a black one over a red. Contents would be saw and compass as previous. Could contain up to 4 maps, probably 9C(a)/9U,K3/H2,K1/K2 & C/D.
 
5) As above but marked 'C.M.F.' over 'PACKS' in the centre in black (? Central Mediterranean Forces). Contents would again be saw and compass with maps 43 C/D and 43 E/F. Additionally these pouches had 2 foreign language phrase cards in them and sometimes a blood chit.
 
6) The American pouch was of yellow rubberized canvas marked 'U.S.' in the top left hand corner in black, it also carries the above warnings if found in the bottom centre in black. The full contents of this pouch are unknown, but suspected to be the saw and compass would be there along with 2 British maps, K1/K2 & K3/H2. Also it is believed they also contained an amount of US dollars. These pouches seem to have been issued to US, British and Commonwealth troops for Operation Torch, the invasion of N. Africa.
   
Of the above descriptions, are 1) & 6) pictures of which are shown to the left.
The '44' Maps Only pouch, 'Zones of France' map, hacksaw blade, and compass shown to the right.

The map used in the 'Band of Brothers' was in a pouch that is left out of the list from above. This pouch is most commonly seen in black & white photographs so many can only guess as to the colours, possibly black printing on the khaki pouch with the '44' in white. This photo is shown below and is of the pouch used for the Normandy invasion and contained the 'Zones of France' map (it's not too clear but this in fact is the map shown in the picture).

These pouches are approx 5" (135mm) x 6½" (165mm) and are made into an envelope with no external overlapping seams. They are sealed along the top edge with a separate 2" (50mm) strip of the material. The seams are held together with an adhesive that seems to like rubber solution (you can find that in a cycle shop as it's used for mending punctures).

To keep with the theme, WWII type reproduction escape and evasion pouches will be in displays and events. They can be purchased from our webmaster who has done an outstanding job researching and reproducing these items at a low cost to the reenactor.

Here is a picture of a reproduction pouch.

 

C/D Escape Map
Here is a picture of the C Side of the Map.
   
Here is a picture of the D Side of the Map.
   
Here is a zoomed in picture of the C Side of the Map.
   
Here is a zoomed in picture of the D Side of the Map.
   
E/F Escape Map
Here is a picture of the E Side of the Map.
   
Here is a picture of the F Side of the Map.
   
Here is a zoomed in picture of the E Side of the Map.
   
Here is a zoomed in picture of the F Side of the Map.

 

Here is what the compass and hacksaw blade in the pouches look like. Small and easy for concealment.
   
 
   
 
   
Here are 3 variants of escape compasses used throughout the war.

502nd PIR - 101st Airborne Division
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