A bandolier or a bandoleer [ is the only accepted spelling in the
United Kingdomwhile both are accepted in American usage. See American and British English spelling differencesand American and British English differences] is a pocketed belt for holding ammunition. It was usually slung over the chest. In its original form, it was common issue to soldiers from the 16th to 18th centuries. This was very useful for quickly reloading a musket.
A somewhat different form of the bandolier came into use in the 20th century when it accompanied modern cartridges and
hand grenades. Bandoliers are now rare due to the prohibitive size of modern magazines.
The bandolier was used to keep ammunition off a soldier's hips, as carrying too much weight on the hips can constrain movement and cause difficulty in retrieving the ammunition.
Bandoliers were used in the Boer War,
World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf Warand the Iraq War. In World War I & II, bandoliers were issued primarily to riflemen. Today bandoliers are worn by soldiers operating light machine guns such as the RPD, M60 machine gunand the M249 SAW.
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