WTK: original wall tent pole design?

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wc56daveyboy
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WTK: original wall tent pole design?

Post by wc56daveyboy » Mon Oct 04, 2021 1:19 pm

Does anyone have information, pictures of perhaps, what the design of the ww2 small wall tent uprights /poles originally looked like?

Were they one or two piece?
Hexagonal (like GP tents) or square?
Slip together design?

And the ridge pole?
Was it two piece? Or one piece design?
Slip together or hinged?

Thanks


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nick peters
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Re: WTK: original wall tent pole design?

Post by nick peters » Thu May 05, 2022 10:04 am

Davey For the small wall tent
Upright poles;9ft long one piece, hexagonal
Ridge pole 9ft long one piece, oblong with a slight radius curve on the top edge.
Hope that helps you.
regards Nick

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Re: WTK: original wall tent pole design?

Post by wc56daveyboy » Sun May 15, 2022 6:18 pm

Thank you Nick!

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John Neuenburg
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Re: WTK: original wall tent pole design?

Post by John Neuenburg » Fri Jun 10, 2022 1:00 pm

The ridge can be hinged. Most I have seen are like this. Original hinges are weak and can be twisted apart when erecting or striking the tent if the two people don't keep the vertical posts parallel. Solve this by bolting a steel flat bar on each side to support the joint, drill through for four bolts. The bars also solve the dip in the middle of the ridge because the hinges are usually loose. If you can find latrine screen parts, there is a 9 foot solid ridge pole the correct shape included. Or make one from 2x3 lumber or rip a 2x4. Plane a small radius on one of the small dimensions, or at least bevel the two corners. This is to lessen wear on the canvas.

Ridge is wrapped with sheet steel on each end and riveted or screwed to the wood. A hole goes through the assembly for inserting the long spike that is on the post. Without the steel supporting piece it would be easy to break the end of the ridge when twisting the ridge due to not keeping the posts parallel. The latrine screen ridge has the metal ends.

I think you'll find the posts are 8 feet not counting the spike and the manual is wrong. The wartime posts were wood octagon, not hexagon, with a thin wall tubing support at the top about 2.5 inches long, one rivet through the post, to reenforce the spike area. The lumber was turned round on a lathe there so the steel tube fit well. The diameter of the lumber across the flats is about 1.62 inch. If you are making all this, find some tubing 1.75 OD x .065 wall, cut some 2.5 inch pieces, and there you go. Milling lumber to an octagonal shape is not for everybody. You can go with round oak. I used that for my M-1942 Command Post and they are about 1.62 OD. Best solution of course is do what I did - find genuine G.I. posts.
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nick peters
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Re: WTK: original wall tent pole design?

Post by nick peters » Sat Jun 11, 2022 12:20 am

Ooops Davey
I made a mistake on my previous post. I got my Hexagon and Octagon mixed up. Johns correct ,original small wall upright poles were OCTAGENAL.
Sorry mate.
regards Nick

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Re: WTK: original wall tent pole design?

Post by Quartermaster » Sat Jun 11, 2022 7:54 am

I believe that the manual is correct with the 9' upright pole length.

The manual goes on to state that, in setting up the wall tents, to actually dig out the ground where the pole sits and determine the correct length above the ground surface to allow the tent walls and doors to just touch the ground thus avoiding either ground/air gaps or too much canvas touching the ground besides the sod cloths. Actually this is the stated practice for all the tents listed in the manual.

It states the tent poles usually sink into the ground (especially if the surface ground is moist from rain) so to dig down where the earth is usually drier and more compacted.

I have found for the present day tent use, which is usually rather temporary, it is sometimes a better choice to carefully measure the tent from top grommet to ground surface. This distance will be surprisingly different from tent to tent due to age and shrinkage of the canvas. Cut the upright poles to match the tent requirements then use a small piece of 2 by 4 lumber (which one may paint green or brown for camouflage) to rest the pole on for stability. My experience is that to go a little bit longer than shorter. As always - - it's better to measure twice and cut once!!
Dwayne
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Re: WTK: original wall tent pole design?

Post by John Neuenburg » Tue Jun 21, 2022 3:54 pm

The only thing I can say is the sets of octagonal military posts I received with my two wall tents over the years, first one bought in the 1980s, were both 8' not counting spike and they worked perfectly if sat on the ground with no hole. No signs of these being shortened although could be they were years before and used enough times to make the bottoms look as-issued. Maybe a surplus distributor shortened a bunch of them knowing that is the length that worked well with the tents for modern users?

I used those tents at one or both of our annual club events, 4 or 5 night durations sometimes on soft turf at the April meet, and zero need for digging. I think setting posts in holes might be more appropriate for encampments lasting weeks or months. If the ground is quite soft, the posts will make their own holes when the tent is up. I would be interested to know if anyone has a U.S. 1940s wall tent that measures near 9' high.

I also have a set of military, two piece, 8' posts with spikes that are perfect for one not wanting to carry long posts. They join via a male/female arrangement. These are some kind of fiberglass or composite tubes with around a 1/4" wall and wood inserts glued in top, bottom, and where they join. They are sort of an orange color with U.S. and maker stencils. Worth looking for. They might be 1950s items.
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Re: WTK: original wall tent pole design?

Post by Quartermaster » Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:00 am

To actually answer the original question concerning the original components of the small wall tent.

The manual FM 20-15 Tents and Tent Pitching (February 1945) states that the Tent, Small Wall complete should include two (2) one piece nine-foot (9’) octagonal upright poles and one (1) nine-foot (9’) ridge pole. It also details that the uprights should have an appropriate depth hole for the two uprights to stand in. It is hard to believe that the US military, noted with its unrelenting aim to provide accurate documentation, would allow a typographic error to be overlooked before printing and distribution. To take this a step further, the Tent, Small Wall is included in the post war version of FM 20-15 Tents and Tent Pitching dated January 1956 and the same pole lengths are included unchanged from the earlier field manual.

There is no way of telling or proving that a WW2 US military Tent, Small Wall or any other style, that was obtained some forty years after it was manufactured, packaged and issued contains 100% of the original components. Thus, a small wall tent found any date after being issued could have any sort of octagonal pole as the US military specified a huge number of lengths and sizes of tentage poles for all sorts of applications. Components such a poles, pins, tensioners and line could have been replaced due to items failing, for the convenience of the user or using whatever is available when required.

Soldiers and civilians alike show a great deal of ingenuity in making things work for the end result of utility when the directions cannot or will not be followed for whatever reason.

What has been stated in the post above seems to work rather well and that’s the aim. If a reenactor, living historian or even the ordinary camper wants a usable surplus tent then that is an acceptable solution. If the purpose is to portray a WW2 small wall tent as used in the correct time period then there are two paths to choose (1) strive to be as 100% correct in material and use as specified for that time frame (these are the anal retentive types) or (2) take the “close enough” choice where concessions are made for practicality reasons – sometimes invisible to others and sometimes readily seen by observers. Either choice is perfectly correct – dictated by the presenters point of view.

For the record, in my several small wall tents, I use two piece sleeved poles cut to length and a latrine screen sleeved ridge pole also cut to length – all adjusted to accommodate the current tent dimensions due to age and shrinkage. Practicality won out and transportation is much easier!
Dwayne
1943 Willys MB
1945 Bantam T3


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