H000591 M31 MESS KIT. (Kochgeschirr 31)

BACKGROUND: The M31 mess kit was officially introduced on March 23RD 1931 and was based on the WWI M1910 mess kit but was a slightly smaller version with a reduced capacity of roughly one and a half liters. The M31 mess kit was constructed in two parts with a small removable, shallow, top lid which could serve double duty as a plate or a frying pan and a larger, deep bottom compartment that could be used more as a bowl or pot. Originally the M31 mess kits were manufactured in aluminum but later as the aluminum was required for other more critically essential items the mess kits began to be manufactured in steel although aluminum mess kits continued to be manufactured and utilized. Regulations prescribed the assorted manners in which the mess kit was to be carried with the most common form being to secure it to the bread bag suspended from the load carrying waist belt although other methods were also utilized. When issued the mess kit came accompanied with a leather strap designed to secure it to the individual. Following the old adage that, an army runs on its stomach, the M31 mess kit must be considered one of the most important of all personal equipment items. Of Note: Regulations authorized each combat soldier a daily food ration which was most commonly prepared in the field by a units mobile field kitchen and distributed to the front line troops but this wasn’t always possible in combat situations. As a result, front line combat soldiers were to be supplied with assorted canned rations and some bread to be carried individually in the event that food from the field kitchen couldn’t reach their positions. Although regulations dictated the daily quantity of rations issued to each soldier it became more and more difficult to meet the requirements as the war continued and any food became a valuable commodity.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Standard issue, 1.7 liter capacity, kidney shaped, tooled, aluminum construction mess kit. Removable top lid which serves double duty as a plate or frying pan. The removable top lid has a riveted on, hinged, fold back, steel handle with a raised lip to the bottom edge which secures the lid to the bottom of the mess kit body. Both the top and bottom edges of the hinged handle have raised, horizontal, strap retaining bars with central cut-outs. Each side of the mess kit body has a small, riveted on, carrying handle mount with an extended, closed loop to secure the swivel, wire carrying/suspension handle. The wire carrying/suspension handle features a semi-circular indentation to the top center allowing it to be suspended over a fire. Body is maker marked and dated for 1941 and the top for 1940. Original owners initial on both pieces. Complete with original strap.

GRADE ****                             PRICE $169.00

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