Patronentaschen (Cartridge Pouches) M1909
The M1909 Cartridge Pouch is made of leather. It has three separate pockets, each holding 20 rounds of rifle ammunition attached to four separate stripper clips (Ladestreifen) with five rounds each, making a combined total of 60 rounds per pouch. On the back of the pouch there are loops through which the uniform belt slips and a ring into which the breadbag strap, or Tornister shoulder straps, may be hooked to help support the equipment worn on the belt. Normally, two pouches are worn, one on each side of the belt buckle, allowing the Soldat to carry 120 rounds of ammunition.
Each member will wear two M1909 Patronentaschen of black or brown leather. The use of Peruvian or pre-WWII Polish issue pouches, which are similar to original WWI German issue, is allowed at this time. German WWII pattern pouches are not acceptable.
Unlike the WWII practice, the First World War German Soldat was not issued "Y" straps for his equipment waist belt. Instead, the M.1887 Brotbeutelriemen (breadbag strap) hooked to each cartridge pouch and passed behind the neck, serving the same purpose as the WWII "Y" straps.
Notes on blackening leather:
In 1915 order came down that all leather was too be blackened. This was expected to be done by the soldiers themselves and was not part of the production process. Therefore, depending on availability of materials to do the blackening, this was not always done. There has been an ongoing debate since WWI reenacting began on how universal blackening was - and the debate continues.
Members of IR63 over the years have included many serious and casual collectors, and the sheer number of items dated 1916-1918 that we have observed that have never received blackening indicates to us that non-blackened leather was not a rare ocurrance (or blackening was definitely not universal). Therefore, IR63 is not going mandate that all leather be blackened (although blackened is the preferred condition.) See the "How-to" page for a non-dye method of blackening.
Now, deciding not to blacken leather DOES NOT mean you should show up at an event with pristine undyed leather. One limiting factor for blackening is oil - if you tried to blacken/dye heavily oiled leather the color would not take, and worse, it would rub off on everything around it - including your uniform and hands. Germans were fastidious on leather care as leather was a limited quantity and preservation of what they had was more important than its color. So, if you don't dye - OIL.
Over oiling is not good, but a good coat of oil applied periodically will naturally darken leather over time. So, how much is too much? Hard to quantify, but the is an article on leather care Leather Preservation that should help.