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MODEL 1912 TRIAL SERVICE SADDLE RATION BAGS – IN LIKE NEW UNISSUED CONDITION - COMPLETE WITH ALL THE ORIGINAL WEB STRAPS AND LEATHER LACES – EXCELLENT SET:  As one of the evolutions in the series of saddle trials and development undertaken by the Ordnance Department during the early 20th Century, the timely approval and issue of the Model 1912 Trial Saddles to a number of regular army cavalry units for testing in the field coincidently as the deteriorating political situation in Mexico threatened the security of the southern border of the United States, guaranteed the 1912 Trial Equipments’ place in US military history.   

Designated in 1912 as the model name suggests, and developed, manufactured and made available for issue by 1916, the majority of the cavalry units that Gen. Black Jack Pershing led south across the border in March of that year on his “Punitive Expedition” were mounted on the Model 1912 Trial Saddles.  The months spent in Mexico provided the opportunity for such personalities as Pershing, Patton, Eisenhower and a host of others to not only hone their military skills, but unknowingly begin their assent onto the world stage to fulfill the roles they would play during the following thirty to forty years.  This happenstance of timing, and the association with such famous personalities, secured for the Model 1912 Horse Equipments what may have been an otherwise unattainable niche in Ordnance Department history.   

This set of Model 1912 Service Saddle Ration Bags as they were titled by the army, served the dual functions of a pair of saddle bags, attaching to the saddle across the rear of the cantle, or when reconfigured, served as the soldier’s pack when he was dismounted.  Having survived in excellent condition, this set was never issued and has not suffered any of the effects of poor storage in the years that followed that damaged so much of the early 20th Century equipment.   

This set has never been assembled into the configuration in which it would have been worn by a dismounted soldier, nor do they show any evidence of having been attached to the saddle, rather this matching pair presents just as it left the factory.  In its current configuration, the pair are separate as they would have been to be assembled by the soldier to mount on the rear of his saddle.  The configuration as assembled for wear as a pack by a dismounted soldier is shown below in the photographs of the plates in Ordnance Department Manual Description and Directions For Use And Care of Cavalry Equipment Model of 1912 printed in 1916.    

The canvas duck is very clean with no wear, stains or other damage.  All of the metal fittings are present with the majority of the original blackened finish present and intact.  The front of both flaps is stamped “US”, the interior of each flap, and the interior of each meat can pocket is stamped “P.B. & CO.”, and “1918”.  The original leather laces for lacing the outer flaps of the two ration pockets together when the bags are worn in the dismounted configuration are both present and full length.   

It is important to note that this set is complete with both of the original “belt and stay straps” – the short dual-purpose straps which are seen in the photographs below attached to the bottom of each bag.  These bags stabilized the set when mounted on the saddle and in turn when worn as a pack, the straps were moved to the billets on the body of the suspenders and the snap hooks engaged the eyelets on the top edge of the soldier’s cartridge belt in order to distribute the weight of the pack.  These straps are often missing from these sets and once separated from the set are virtually impossible to replace.      

Complete sets of the Model 1912 Ration Bags, once available, are no longer easily found on the market, and certainly not in this “new old stock” unissued condition.  This is an excellent set to complete your Model 1912 Service Saddle which could never be upgraded.   (0906) $750  



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