Long after the U.S. Army had substituted webbing for leather in the soldier's
individual equipment -- cartridge containers, belts, etc. -- the Japanese continued to
use only heavy leather for all of these items. Within the last 12 months, however, laminated
canvas impregnated with rubber has replaced leather for practical
every item. Belts, cartridges boxes, rifle slings and numerous other items have
been captured, all made of laminated square woven fabric and impregnated with
rubber to a varying degree.
b. Cartridge Boxes
The new cartridge boxes are especially noteworthy, in that they represent
an ideal solution of a difficult problem. The material used in the box is laminated
canvas heavily impregnated with rubber and moulded into shape. The box top is
of the same material but the center is a thick piece of pure rubber and the top
is therefore somewhat flexible, permitting an unusually tight fit. This material is
superior to leather, especially in tropical climates where leather is apt to
rot. Other equipment was made up of fabric, of sufficient plies in thickness for the
purpose intended, coated with rubber, and cured. Strapping and belting was cured
flat; canteen covers and such items were cut to shape and cured over a mould.
c. Other Uses
The Japanese army is evidently plentifully supplied with rubber for any
conceivable purpose. Heavy bags of pure rubber were used as food containers on
Attu, and rubber boots and waders were of excellent quality.