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NVA FIELD PACK


BEAST
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Many years ago (1980s), one of the guys I used to reenact with sold this pack to a local militaria shop. Fortunately I knew the shop owner and was able to buy this and a couple of other items. The vet who sold it had served in Vietnam with the 101st Abn. I asked him about it and he said that it came out of a NVA cache.The vet thought that, at the time, they were fighting against the 821st NVA Regiment and that the pack was captured while fighting in the A Shau Valley.


The pack is in excellent condition and seems to have more compartments than I would expect with a "normal" pack. Maybe this was also for carrying a radio or other specialized gear? Any thoughts would be appreciated!



post-185187-0-96386100-1572014129.jpg


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Cap Camouflage Pattern I

The only NVA 821st Regiment I know of is the 821st Dac Cong (Special Forces/Sapper) Regiment, but I don't know if they existed during the war.

 

The bag is unlike any I have seen and is certainly for some specialized purpose. I don't think it was for carrying a manpack radio that would be used in the field on the wearers back, it would be inconvenient to have to adjust the buckles every time to access it, and all of the manpack radios already have straps to carry it. I do think it may possibly be for carrying a larger base station that would be set up at a camp. The top pocket could be for a transmitter and receiver and the bottom could be for a battery, wires could go on the left and an antenna on the right. Or it could be for something totally different.

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I had a a pack very similar to this I recently traded for some other VC items. Pretty sure it was chicom made. Yours looks chicom based on the buckles.

 

Cap I think you are right about the pack's purpose. I traded mine to a more advanced collector who said it was definitely radio-related. Not RPG-related, as I had once thought.

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Cap Camouflage Pattern I

I agree that that style of buckle is seen on Chinese made equipment, but also on North Vietnamese gear.

 

It is certainly not for an RPG, the Chinese and Soviet models are well known and this is not one of them, the North Vietnamese made RPG packs have a separate pocket for each warhead and each booster, not something you want loose and flopping around, especially as the only safety feature early RPG warheads to prevent them from detonating was a plastic cap over the impact fuze, if someone took or knocked the cap off and smashed it into something hard enough it would detonate. And the "VC" solutions to RPG packs were woven rattan baskets with straps on them or a wooden or rattan frame that the rockets were attached to. I don't know what a B-50 pack looks like, but I have no reason to believe it would be any different.

 

So while I cannot say what it is, I can say what it isn't.

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Thank you both very much for your responses! A carrier for large size radio makes sense to me also. Hopefully I can find a period photo of Chinese troops or North Vietnamese troops using the pack.

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  • 5 months later...
Cap Camouflage Pattern I

A Vietnamese man told me believes 821st Dac Cong Regiment only existed during the Sino-Vietnamese war in 1979, and that is the only time I have seen them mentioned, so that idea is probably out.

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  • 1 year later...
Cap Camouflage Pattern I

Coming back to this and oh duh, it has to be the 812th Regiment who operated in I Corps, including in the A Shau.

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