Comparison of two original M42 Heer field caps

Comparison of two original M42 Heer field caps

Presented in these photos are two textbook original M42 field caps, worn by German Army soldiers in WWII. The one on the left (or on top) is from 1942 and is a size 55. The one on the right (or bottom) is from 1943 and is a size 56. The caps differ in the following ways:
 
Wool shade
 
Lining fabric
Air vent size and finish
 
Buttonhole style
Bobbin thread stitching style
 
Insignia shade, positioning, and relative size of graphic elements
 
Relative size of scallop on front flap, also height of flap and shape of flap end
 
Button material and color of stitching
 
They made these things by the millions, many manufacturers made them. They weren’t able to make them all the same.
 
Wehrmacht tips for care of footwear, from the “Tornister-Lexikon”

Wehrmacht tips for care of footwear, from the “Tornister-Lexikon”

The “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” by Gerhard Bönicke was a book filled with handy tips for living in the field. Originally commercially published in 1942, it was re-published by the Wehrmacht and distributed to soldiers in 1943. Here are instructions for how to take care of shoes and boots.

“Shoe care 

Proper care extends the life of shoes and protects against foot pain and blisters. After wearing shoes, either put them on supports or stuff with hay, straw, or newspapers. Never dry wet shoes on the stove or on the oven, this makes the leather hard and brittle, always keep them at least 1 meter from heat sources. Don’t put wet shoes on their soles, rather lay them on their sides or hang them up, so the soles can also dry. Regularly clean shoes inside and out. Clean the outside with a dirt brush and a wooden stick, and after drying, rub shoes and boots with leather fat or a fat-containing shoe cream. Rub in leather fat vigorously. Pay special care to greasing seams. Don’t overdo greasing, too much fat makes leather spongy, water-permeable, and causes cold feet. With marching boots, clean the shaft and upper, add fat (grease) to the lower. If you don’t have leather fat, use cod liver oil or castor oil. Avoid hardening oils (varnish) at all costs, as well as mineral fats and oils (vaseline oil). Regularly rub the insides of shoes and boots with a damp cloth or with a rag with methylated spirits. Always deal with small damages immediately. 
 

Soles in completely dried out condition should be rubbed with varnish or linseed oil, until the soles are saturated. This makes soles durable and waterproof. Replace lost hobnails immediately. Rub moldy footwear with turpentine oil or turpentine oil substitute, or with lukewarm water mixed with soap or “Imi”, this requires subsequent treatment with leather fat or a fat-containing shoe cream, dry well first.

Never apply fat to rubber shoes (fat destroys rubber), instead clean with a soft cloth with cold or lukewarm water (never use hot water!). To dry, hang up an ample distance from oven or stove.

Felt shoes should never be worn in wet snow and must be taken off as soon as they are soaked through, otherwise frost injury to the feet is unavoidable. Scrape and brush off coarse dirt, do not dry wet felt shoes too close to a heat source.”

Recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” part 4

Recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” part 4

The recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” by Gerhard Bönicke will be posted here in four parts as follows:

Part 1: Soups and egg dishes
Part 2: Vegetable and potato dishes
Part 3: Fish, meat dishes and sauces
Part 4: Salads, miscellaneous, sweet dishes and drinks

Part 4 follows.

 

“Salads

Vegetable salad. Boil any kind of vegetables (about 500 grams per man) and drain. Season the cooking water with vinegar or lemon juice, some salt, a little sugar, paprika and herbs, and thicken with potato flour (see fruit sauce). Add the vegetables and mix well together. When available, add raw, finely chopped sauerkraut and diced pickles.

Cucumber salad. Wash and peel the cucumbers, or leave young cucumbers unpeeled. Slice them as thinly as possible, salt lightly and drizzle with vinegar or lemon juice, oil or sour milk. When available, add some pepper or paprika.

Potato salad. Prepare as with vegetable salad, but use Pellkartoffln [boiled potatoes with the peel intact] cut into slices. Its good to add plenty of diced raw onion, diced pickles and finely chopped raw sauerkraut.

Lettuce. Wash the lettuce leaves well, drip dry and drizzle with a little vinegar or lemon juice, oil or sour milk. Tomato salad. Slice the tomatoes into very thin pieces and prepare as with lettuce, but with plenty of diced onion and some pepper or paprika.

Miscellaneous (cook rice, prepare roux, cook pasta, stew fruit)

Roux. In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter, margarine, lard or oil, and add 1 heaping tablespoon of wheat flour or if necessary, rye flour. Stir constantly, and fry until the flour is golden or brown. Quickly remove the pan from the heat, and add ½ a drinking cup of water, bit by bit, stir well, return the pan to the fire and stir constantly to a smooth, creamy porridge. Add immediately to sauces, vegetables and meat dishes.

Stew fruits. Take 250-500 grams rhubarb stalks per man, wash them well, don’t peel them, and cut into 2-3 cm long pieces. Put in a pot with cherries, currants, whole plums, peeled quartered apples or pears without the cores, boil with as little water as possible until done (do not boil them to pieces!), sweeten to taste and allow to cool.

Rice pudding. Wash 2 to 2-1/2 drinking cups of rice, add 2 drinking cups full of water and bring to a boil over low heat. Do not stir! When the water is absorbed, add 2 drinking cups full of milk, little by little, and allow to continue to soak over the lowest heat, just until the rice becomes a bit granular. You can also toast the rice in a pan with some butter until it is golden brown, prior to cooking.

Noodles, macaroni, spaghetti. Bring 6 drinking cups full of water to boil in a pot. Add some salt, soup seasoning, bouillon cubes or meat extract, and shake in 4-6 handfuls of pasta. Slowly boil over low heat until the pasta is butter-soft. Shortly before serving, take the pasta out and drain it, rinse quickly with cold water, and mix in some butter, margarine or oil.

Sweet dishes

Applesauce. Thinly pare ripe or windfall apples, remove the cores and boil until soft with a little water and sugar to taste. Spread or mash through a sieve or loosely woven fabric. If available, mix in raisins, currants, and grated lemon peel.

Caramel pudding. In a dry pot or jar, melt 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar until brown, without adding water, until blue smoke develops. Quickly remove from heat and immediately add 1 drinking cup full of water, bring to a boil until caramelized sugar is completely dissolved, then add two drinking cups full of whole or skim milk, bring to a boil. Stir 4 tablespoons of pudding powder, corn starch or potato flour into a little water, and add to the pot to thicken. Bring to a boil once more, and pour the contents of the pot into a bowl that has been rinsed with cold water, to cool. To serve, overturn onto a flat plate.

Semolina pudding. Boil 3 drinking cups full of whole or skim milk, water, or half milk/half water. Whisk in ¾ of a drinking cup of wheat semolina, and boil 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add sugar to taste, and when available, add vanilla sugar and raisins. Pour into a bowl as with caramel pudding, and tip it out later (as above). Good with stewed fruit of all kinds (see above).

Drinks

Hot orangeade or lemonade. Mix the juice of 5 oranges or lemons with 4 drinking cups of water and 4 tablespoons of sugar, heat and drink hot.

Hot lemon milk. Stir together the juice of 5 lemons, 1-1/4 liters (5 drinking cups full) whole or skim milk, and 3 tablespoons of sugar, bring to a boil and drink hot.

Coffee. Brew 5-10 teaspoons finely ground coffee with 1 to 1-1/4 liters (4-5 drinking cups) boiling water. Steep 3 minutes and pour through a sieve or linen cloth into a pot. Add coffee essence of choice.

Hot cocoa. Stir 4-8 teaspoons cocoa powder together with 6-8 teaspoons of sugar, and a little cold water or cold milk. Bring 1 to 1-1/2 liters (4-6 drinking cups) water, milk or a water/milk mixture to a boil, pour in the stirred cocoa mixture. Boil up again and remove from heat.

Cooling fruit milk. Mix 4 drinking cups full of whole or skim milk with your choice of fruit juice, and cool.

Cooling lemon water. Stir the juice of 2-3 lemons together with 5 drinking cups full of cold tea (see below) and 3 tablespoons of sugar, and let steep 5 minutes. If needed, cool with a refrigerating mixture [described in a different part of the book].

Tea. Bring 1 liter (4 drinking cups) water to a boil, add 1 teaspoon black tea (or 1 tablespoon German tea) and steep 5 minutes. Add sugar and lemon to taste.”

Recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” Part 3

Recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” Part 3

The recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” by Gerhard Bönicke will be posted here in four parts as follows:

Part 1: Soups and egg dishes
Part 2: Vegetable and potato dishes
Part 3: Fish, meat dishes and sauces
Part 4: Salads, miscellaneous, sweet dishes and drinks

Part 3 follows.

Fish

(Fish requirement per man about 250 grams of fish for boiling, or 200 grams of fish for frying/baking, or less in an emergency.) Wash river and sea fish well in vinegar water, remove scales with a knife, cut the belly open and remove innards, cut off the head, tail, and fins, thoroughly wash again and- if possible- rub with vinegar water or lemon water.

Fried fish. Roll the fish or fish pieces in flour, dip in milk, roll in bread crumbs and fry until golden brown in a hot pan with oil. For large pieces, cover the pan briefly and let the fish steam. Season with chopped onion greens, parsley and chives, and preferably drizzled with lemon juice. Serve with Salzkartoffeln or Pellkartoffeln.

Steamed fish. Heat fat in a pot, add the fish, season with diced onions and lemon juice, cover pot and allow juice to form. Lightly thicken the juice with a roux, salt to taste, add Salzkartoffeln.

Boiled fish. Boil the fish until soft in plenty of water with some salt and sliced or diced onions. Season the cooking water with lots of green dill, soup seasoning, bouillon cubes, parsley and some salt, and thicken with flour or a roux.

Meat dishes (100-150 grams meat per man)

Meatballs (meatloaf). Finely chop beef or pork (or a mix of both) or put it through a meat grinder, mix with paprika, salt, some mustard and raw diced onion. Soften some chopped up chunks of bread in water or milk, and add some wheat or rye flour. Form into apple sized balls, roll in bread crumbs and fry in a pan with plenty of hot fat, until well browned on all sides.

Gulasch. Cut up beef, pork, veal, and mutton, or any one of those, into not-too-small cubes. Brown on all sides in hot fat with lots of diced onion, some garlic and plenty of paprika. Add a little water and some salt, and cook until soft. Replace the water that steams away.

Roast veal (also mutton or pork). Prepare like Gulasch, but leave the meat whole. Always make roast in an oven, turn it often and baste it in the drippings. Score the rind of pork checkerboard style with a knife. Season mutton with garlic.

Boiled meat of all kinds. Add the meat to hot water, salt, pepper or paprika, herbs of your choice (mutton with some garlic), and cook until soft. At the end, thicken the cooking water with some flour or a roux and add raw unions or onions fried in fat. If meat broth is needed, put the meat in lots of cold water with a few marrow bones, pour out most of the water before thickening with flour or roux, and season with finely chopped parsley.

Schnitzel and cutlets. Beat meat slices until tender, roll like fried fish in milk, flour and bread crumbs, add some salt and fry until brown in a pan in hot fat.

Game ragout (also other meat ragouts). Prepare meat as with Gulasch, fry and boil until done, for a sauce add marmalade or sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, lemon or vinegar to taste.

Sauces

Bechamel sauce. Dice 2 medium onions and fry until golden brown in 1 tablespoon of butter, margarine, lard or oil. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of wheat or rye flour, and fry while stirring until light brown, then add 1 drinking cup full of whole or skim milk and season the sauce with salt and some paprika.

Fruit sauce. Warm fruit juice. Stir some potato flour (corn starch, corn flour or pudding powder) into cold water, stir until smooth and add to boiling fruit juice.

Horseradish sauce, Clean a thumb-size piece of horseradish and grate it. Prepare a roux with 1 heaping tablespoon wheat or rye flour and 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or lard. Dissolve that in 1 drinking cup full of milk or water, bring to a boil and add the grated horseradish, season with a little salt and ½ teaspoon sugar and allow to cook a little bit more.

Parsley sauce. Bring equal parts milk and water to a boil, thicken with potato flour (see fruit sauce) or a roux. Add salt, soup seasoning, meat extract and raw or roasted diced onion and at the end, add lots of finely chopped parsley (in place of parsley you can use green dill, to make a dill sauce for fish dishes).

Mustard sauce. Stir 4 tablespoons of mustard in 1 drinking cup of water until smooth, add some salt and a pinch of sugar, Stir a heaping tablespoon of potato flour in a cup of milk or cold water, and add to the boiling sauce to thicken. Good with hard boiled eggs, fish recipes

Bacon sauce. Brown diced bacon and onions in a pan, add some rye or wheat flour, and as soon as the flour begins to brown, add cold water or cold milk, stir and boil for a short time. When you add the cold water or cold milk, you need to have the pan off the fire. Season to taste with soup seasoning, salt, herbs, etc.

Recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” Part 2

Recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” Part 2

The recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” by Gerhard Bönicke will be posted here in four parts as follows:

Part 1: Soups and egg dishes
Part 2: Vegetable and potato dishes
Part 3: Fish, meat dishes and sauces
Part 4: Salads, miscellaneous, sweet dishes and drinks

Part 2 follows.

Vegetable and Potato Dishes

Fried potatoes. Take Salzkartoffeln, Pellkartoffeln [see below], or raw potatoes that have been peeled and cut into very thin slices, put them into a hot pan with fat or bacon, cook until golden brown (flip often!). If possible, cook together with diced onions and leftover meat. For 4 men, about 20 medium potatoes, sliced, is recommended.

Salzkartoffeln or Pellkartoffeln. Take 5-6 medium potatoes per man, slice thin, wash, put in cold water with some salt, and put it on the heat. Allow to boil until the slices can be easily stuck through with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife. Drain out the water and put the pot back on the fire, turning it several times, to steam. Pellkartoffeln are not peeled, and are prepared the same way. Pellkartoffeln are healthier and more thrifty than Salzkartoffeln.

Mashed potatoes. Prepare 4-5 potatoes per man as Pellkartoffeln, remove the peels, and grate or mash well. Take ½ drinking cup full of milk or water per man, or a half milk, half water mixture, warm it, add salt and add to the mashed potatoes. Briefly heat it again, stirring it well.

Potato noodles, potato cakes. Mix 2 drinking cups full of mashed potatoes with about a third of a cup of wheat flour and one egg. Add salt and let rest for a half hour. From this mixture, roll out finger-thick noodles on a flour-dusted board, or form patties the size of the palm of your hand, rolled in flour. Patties are best if rolled in bread crumbs and cooked until golden on both sides, in a well-heated pan. Or, cut the finger thick rolled out dough into 5 cm long strips and put in boiling water, then simmer until the noodles float to the surface, remove from the water, allow to dry, and lightly fry in a greased pan.

Simple potato pancakes. For each man, grate 3 medium size potatoes, stir this raw mixture well. In a pan (if possible, use 2 pans) heat butter, lard, tallow, margarine or oil, and add the batter, in a thin layer. Cook on medium heat until light brown on both sides. Good with applesauce and sweetened coffee.

Green beans (about 500 grams of beans per man). Cut off the tips of the beans and pull out the strings. Wash the beans, break or chop them up, heat them with some fat in a pot and steam, cautiously adding water. When the beans are soft, add a little more water and thicken with a roux, season to taste with savory and a little salt. Good with beef and mutton. If the beans are to be cooked together with meat, first place the meat in cold water, boil until half done, then add beans and prepare as above.

Legumes in porridge form. Soak 1000 grams of legumes overnight in 6 drinking cups full of water, prepare like bean soup (see above) and when done, replace the water that has evaporated. Mash the very soft legumes. Good with potatoes, sauerkraut and fatty meat.

Kohlrabi. Cut the woody stem ends off of 2 kg Kohlrabi, then peel, wash, and slice as thinly as possible. Kohlrabi greens can be used with it, finely chopped, as long as it is tender and green. Steam and thicken as with green beans. Good cooked with some coriander, popular with all kinds of meat dishes.

Canned vegetables. Bring the contents of the can to a boil and thicken with a roux, season to taste.
 
Cabbage (green and savoy cabbage), kale. Clean one medium head per man, remove wilted leaves, wash well. Do not wash the inside of the head. Chop or cut in strips, season with coriander and some salt, and steam like beans (see above). Prepare red cabbage like green or savoy cabbage, but chop more finely, and boil in a little more water together with some sugar, citric acid, and, if possible, apple slices, until done, and slowly stew it.

Green corn (maize). Take immature corn cobs that have the beginnings of kernels, remove the leaves and cook in a little water, until the kernels can easily be punctured with a fork. Before eating, spread with fresh butter, eat with Salzkartoffeln or Pellkartoffeln.

Carrots. Wash 2 kg of carrots, peel and slice into centimeter thick slices. Steam like green beans. When done, add some finely chopped parsley and carrot greens (carrot greens are very rich in vitamins!).

Sauerkraut. Mix 1 to 1-1/2 kg Sauerkraut, unwashed, together with a lot of coriander and diced onion, and steam as with green beans. Good with sausages, legume porridge, fatty meat. Sauerkraut is healthiest mixed with coriander and eaten raw.

Spinach. Remove wilted leaves and roots from 3 kg of spinach, wash very well, allow to drip dry, quickly cook with a little water until the leaves wilt. Chop on a board as finely as possible (when possible, run through a meat grinder). Boil until done with a little water, chopped onions and some salt. When it is done, add a handful of finely chopped, raw spinach leaves. Good with meat and all kinds of egg dishes.

Turnips and rutabagas. Wash 2 kg of turnips, peel and chop, place on the fire with water and a little salt and cook until soft (cooking time about 2 hours). Good with fatty meat.

All vegetables are described here as pure vegetable dishes. With the exception of spinach, all of the vegetables can be cooked together with potatoes. The weight of the vegetables is then reduced by the weight of the potatoes. Except for the longer cook time of turnips, the raw potatoes can be started at the same time as other vegetables. With turnips you should add the potatoes after about 1-1/2 hours of cooking time. Also, meat can be cooked together with the vegetables and potatoes, as a stew; in this case, follow the instructions as with green beans (see above).

Recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” Part 1

Recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” Part 1

“Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” by Gerhard Bönicke was a book of tips for life in the field that was published by the Wehrmacht for distribution to soldiers in 1943. There is a section in this book with simple recipes that soldiers could prepare themselves, using available ingredients, even using leftover field kitchen meals. Many of the measurements are given in “drinking cups” which is ideal for field cooking, when no scale or measuring cup is available. The recipes are meant for 4 people and a lot of them are really ideal for reenactment field cooking. They also provide useful cultural information.

The recipes in the book will be posted here in four parts as follows:

Part 1: Soups and egg dishes
Part 2: Vegetable and potato dishes
Part 3: Fish, meat dishes and sauces
Part 4: Salads, miscellaneous, sweet dishes and drinks

Part 1 follows.

Simple recipes, each for 4 people.

Comparative measures and weights:

1 drinking cup = about 16 tablespoons = ¼ liter

1 drinking cup of flour: about 125 g
of rice: about 220 g
of barley: about 200 g
of sago: about 200 g
of groats: about 180 g
of semolina: about 160 g
of sugar: about 200 g

1 level teaspoon of butter: about 20 g
of flour: about 10 g
of sugar: about 20 g
of salt: about 10g

Soups

Bean soup (also pea or lentil soup). 500 g legumes (3 drinking cups full), soak the day before in 2 liters of water without adding soda bicarbonate, on the next day boil until soft, add roasted diced onions, bacon, or bread, thicken with flour or roux (see below). Good with beef, pork, or mutton, excellent with smoked meat or sausage.

Vegetable soup. Leftovers of vegetable dishes (4-5 drinking cups full), or twice as much washed, diced carrots, green beans, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, red beets, leeks etc. First boil in a little water until soft, then add enough water to make 3 liters of soup, add lots of herbs (parsley, savory, lovage, celery and onion greens), chopped onions and a little garlic, add salt, bouillon cubes, meat extract, etc., to taste. When everything is cooked, add 4 tablespoons of rye or wheat flour (or 3 tablespoons of potato flour) stirred into some cold water, or a roux (see below), to thicken. If you don’t have flour, you can grate 3-4 medium sized raw potatoes into the soup.

Barley soup. 250 g barley (1-1/2 drinking cups full), soak overnight in 2 liters of water, boil until done the next day. Add salt, soup seasoning, herbs to taste, dice 4 medium onions, roast them and add to the soup. Good with all kinds of leftover meat.

Semolina soup. Slowly add 100 g semolina (½ canteen cup full) to 2 liters whole or skim milk or water, stirring constantly, until a thick porridge is formed. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, and either add salt or soup seasoning and chopped herbs to taste, or sweeten with sugar. If the latter, good with raw or stewed fruits (see below).

Rolled oats soup. Bring to a boil 2 liters of milk or water (or a mix), add 1 drinking cup of rolled oats bit by bit, constantly stirring, allow to boil 5 minutes while stirring. Season to taste with salt or sugar.
Potato soup. Mash 12 medium sized, boiled potatoes (or use a corresponding quantity of mashed potatoes), put on heat with 2 liters of water and stir until smooth, salt to taste and add soup seasoning as available. On a frying pan, roast bacon and 8 medium sized diced onions, and add to soup. Good with smoked meat, sausages, sausage slices, or any kind of leftover meat.

Flour soup. Bring 2 liters of milk or water to a boil. Stir 6 heaping teaspoons of rye or wheat flour into some cold water, and add to the boiling milk or water. Bring to a boil, season or sweeten to taste, and just before serving, add some fresh butter.

Noodle soup. Add 4-6 canteen cups of pasta (ribbon noodles or spiral pasta) to 2 liters boiling water, and cook until soft. Add salt, soup seasoning, chopped herbs, chopped onions to taste, allow to continue to soak 10 minutes in a warm place. Good with all kinds of leftover meat. Excellent with beef.

Egg dishes

Egg cake (pancake, omelet). Stir together 2-4 eggs with 250 grams of flour (2 drinking cups full), add 2 drinking cups full of whole or skim milk. Mix together well, and add salt or sugar to taste. Heat butter, lard, margarine or oil in a pan, pour ¼ of the batter into the pan and cook on low flame until golden brown on both sides. Then use the rest of the batter to make three more egg cakes in the same manner. Good with a filling of marmalade or stewed fruit or, if seasoned with salt, with roasted diced bacon and onions, or with leftover meat.

Hard-boiled eggs. Place eggs in cold water, allow to boil at least 10 minutes and then peel in cold water. Good on bread (cut into slices) or finely crumbled, mixed with butter or margarine and blended with chives, as a spread on bread.

Scrambled eggs. Stir 4 eggs together with 4 tablespoons of flour and 2 drinking cups full of whole or skim milk. Add finely chopped chives and parsley, add salt, and cook in a pan with some oil, stirring frequently, until light golden brown. Good with diced ham, as a side dish for fried potatoes and vegetables.

Schmarren. Stir together 150 grams wheat flour (¾ of a drinking cup full) with 2 to 4 egg yolks, 1 drinking cup full of whole or skim milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a little salt. Beat the egg whites into a foam and add to the other ingredients, and mix well. In a large frying pan, heat butter, lard, margarine or oil, and pour the batter into the hot fat. Cook for 3 minutes, flip it over, cook 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sugar.

Fried eggs (ox eyes). Heat fat in the pan and break 4 to 8 eggs into it. Cook until egg white is solid. Good with spinach and fried potatoes.

Soft-boiled eggs. Put eggs in cold water, bring to a boil and cook 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the size of the eggs. Peel like hard-boiled eggs.

Reenactment display – Verpflegungstross

Reenactment display – Verpflegungstross

Author: Markus Brunner

This post is meant to illustrate some things that I believe were common, that are functional, attainable, and scalable.

Below I have included some pictures of a reenactment display I put together, with some items I have collected for this purpose. The scenario being recreated here, is that of the Verpflegungstroß of an Infanterie-Kompanie establishing an Ausgabestelle for the platoons to rotate through before heading out to their forward positions.

This Ausgabestelle (issue point) remains established behind the lines, as a point of centralized issue for food, ammunition, lubricants, and water. It is common that reenactors will use their cars as a “supply point” to obtain more water or other needed supplies. This is a representation of what that imaginary supply point might have looked like, in reality.

In my opinion the soldier can not soldier without things to soldier with.

Step one: Water, Water is very obviously a critical supply that a unit or human being can not live without. Here at this “station” the soldiers can centralize their canteens and refill. Pictured are some common means of carrying water, the 20 liter Einheitskanister, and the 5 liter aluminum drinking water container. The exact purpose of the 5 liter aluminum container is unknown, but they show up in photographs every now and again. A typical enameled funnel of the time helps to avoid spilling such a precious commodity.

Step two: Ammunition. Wehrmacht rifle ammunition was issued in cardboard boxes, unlike most allied forces who issued it in cans. These cardboard boxes were packed into cardboard sleeves of 300 rounds each, and then into a variety of different wooden boxes that changed throughout the war. The most common variations of those are listed below.
Patronenkasten 88
Patronenkasten 88B
Luftdichter Patronenkasten
Luftdichter Patronenkasten B
Patronenkasten 900
Also pictured are some common types of grenades with the associated detonators, fuses, and metal carrying case.

Step 3: Lubricants and fuels. Pictured here are some fairly common cans meant to store oil, or fuels. The commercial product Ballistol for protecting leather and cleaning weapons, some replacement cleaning wicks and some common replacement parts. Also pictured are some examples of German lanterns of the time period.

Step 4: Food. Here are some examples of some crates of food made to Wehrmacht specification. Inside of these boxes are “Schwarzblech” (black tin) cans of meat. On top of this is a common food product “Erbswurst” or pea sausage. This popular food staple was a series of pressed tablets of pea soup that could be prepared into a hearty ham and pea soup, in a mess kit with a cup of water and only a few minutes. Behind the crates you can see larger bags used for larger bulk items such as loaves of bread or vegetables.

Step 5: First aid: Here is a civilian first aid kid which is filled with modern relabeled first aid items to handle basic trauma or boo-boos.

Step 6: Lastly, morale/comfort items. Pictured here is the Feldofen 42 field oven, made by Quint in Trier, with its associated coal shovel, and hooked poker. There are also a few enamelware pots and pans, and a few cooking knives, all of which were common styles in use at that time. A metal box of maintenance supplies for uniforms and equipment, and some other period type German tools and rope round out the display.

Field expedient lamps, from the “Tornister-Lexikon”

Field expedient lamps, from the “Tornister-Lexikon”

Translated from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” by Gerhard Bönicke, Tornisterschrift des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht, 1943.

“The simplest, most expedient light source is a flat bowl (a cup, small food cans or shoe polish tins) filled with rapeseed oil, poppyseed oil, flaxseed oil, peanut oil or olive oil, with a cotton wick hanging in it that is fixed to the edge of the bowl using wire (but without wrapping the wire tightly around the wick).

Candles can be made using absorbent, absolutely dry cotton threads, that are dipped in melted beeswax, stearin, parrafin or ceresin wax, or melted remains of candles, or a mix of these materials, and allowed to cool between each dip, until a candle of sufficient strength is formed. To make an adequately thick wick, if need be, multiple cotton threads can be wound together.


An expedient petroleum lamp can be made out of an empty food can, with the cut-off lid soldered back on, as shown in figure 18.

To refill the can, a penny-sized hole is cut into the lid on one side, that can be closed with a fitting cork or wood plug. To pass the wick through, use part of another food can to make a rectangular sleeve, corresponding to the width and thickness of the wick, about 2 cm high, and solder it to the center of the top of the can, after cutting a corresponding slit in the lid. On the sides of the wick sleeve, solder a few angle-shaped pieces of wire as cylinder supports. For the cylinder, you could use a medicine bottle, with the bottom and neck portion removed. In the absence of a mechanism to advance the wick, you can use pliers or wire hooks to pull the wick out as needed. For a wick, you could quilt together multiple layers of muslin, cotton, flannel or similar.

Another simple lamp is shown in figure 19, made out of a food can, with the lid cleanly cut away.

At the top, the opening of the can is pressed together flat, and soldered. At both of the corners that are formed when the top is pressed together, are pressed in or soldered in rifle cartridge casings, that have had the bottoms removed using wire cutters, and have a wick (rifle cleaning patches) pulled through. For refilling the can, cut a penny-sized hole in the side and close it with a wood plug or cork. Intended for petroleum, diesel oil, fuel oil (not for gasoline or benzene!). The brightness of diesel oil can be improved by adding some table salt. Burning leaded fuels in enclosed spaces is harmful to health!

The next possibility, to make a lamp in the simplest way, is shown in figure 20a.

It requires 2 food cans, of which one is widened, so that it can be put over the other like a cap. In the widened can, 3 holes are cut, into which 3 rifle cartridge casings are pressed, each with the bottom snipped off with wire cutters. As a wick, rifle cleaning patches are again used. Through these three burners, this lamp produces a nearly shadow-free light- however, it uses an extremely high amount of fuel.

The last suggestion, shown in figure 20b, is again made of two food cans, one fit over the other.

Here, a flat sleeve for the wick, made of sheet metal, is soldered on, equipped with a slit for easily repositioning the wick. In the lid is placed a 2 cm thick piece of wood, fitted as tightly as possible, that protects from heat and greatly reduces the danger of explosion.

In place of a needle to reposition the wick, a thin piece of wire can successfully be inserted along with the wick, ideally intertwined with the wick.”

Clothing care tips from the “Tornister-Lexikon”

Clothing care tips from the “Tornister-Lexikon”

A friend and member of my unit told me about this incredible “Tornister-Lexikon” which is a sort of guide filled with tips for living in the field. Recipes, first aid instructions, and advice on how to clean and take care of all kinds of uniforms and gear, how to make things like field expedient stoves and lamps and brooms and mattresses, how to make a wool blanket into a sleeping bag, how to make a fishing pole or set up a field darkroom, simple carpentry and building, buschcraft stuff like building a fire and tying knots and repelling pests… just endless handy tips related to life in the field. This version I got was published by the Wehrmacht in 1943 and was intended to be distributed by soldiers and circulated among them.

This is the Lexikon entry for “Care of clothing.”

” -Clothing that can be boiled should be soaked 12 hours in carbonated water and frequently pressed out, to dissolve soils. Wring it out, and when possible, rinse afterward. 30 minutes before adding wash powder, soften water with soda [sodium carbonate]. Then add wash powder according to the package instructions, and put it on the fire. Bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes and then simmer another 10 minutes. Let it cool a bit, wash it well, hot, lukewarm, cold rinse, wring it out, hang to dry.

-Iron trousers only after thorough beating and brushing to remove stains. Lie trousers flat (seam on seam) on ironing board or a table covered with a wool blanket, put a clean, moist cloth on top and iron with a hot iron using lots of pressure. To fully cool and dry them, hang them in a tensioner. If you don’t have an iron, lie trousers flat under the bed sheets and sleep on them.

-HBT uniform and bread bag are washed in warm water with washing powder, and not wrung out, rather lie them together and press the water out. Hang to dry after thorough cleaning, After drying, grease the leather parts of the bread bag and polish them.

-Do not hang soaked clothes too close to the oven. Spread them out over a frame or the back of a chair, or hang them on a line, 1.5 meters from a fireplace or open fire, or 1 meter from an oven or radiator, to dry.

-Always make repairs using fabric that matches as closely as possible, same with thread. Secure edges of repairs with pins. Using small stitches and proper thread (yarn, thread, silk thread, cotton thread) sew on and iron.

-Do not wash overcoats, field blouses, jackets or pants, rather thoroughly beat them first from the left side, then from the right side, then brush them out well while laid on a level surface.

-Darning. Do not sew holes together with thread, rather make close together, parallel stitches across the hole using wool or cotton thread (depending on whether you are repairing fabric or wool socks), then go the other direction, weaving style, with closely spaced darning stitches, without causing the edges to bunch up. Always darn small holes immediately.

-Wash knit items in warm water (not hot!) water with soap, rinse in lukewarm water until the water stays clear. Lay on a clean cloth to dry, hang socks.

-Zeltbahnen and impregnated fabrics are not to be washed, rather cleaned dry (brushing and beating).”
WWII German board games – “Melder Vor!” and “Stosstrupp greift an!”

WWII German board games – “Melder Vor!” and “Stosstrupp greift an!”

“Spiel mit!” (Play along!) was a set of games introduced during WWII and packaged in a small, flat box that was well-suited to being mailed. It was available for anyone to buy, soldiers could have bought it, or people could have bought it and mailed it to soldiers in the field using the military mail system. It was a set of 5 games: chess, checkers, Nine Men’s Morris, and two military-themed games, “Melder vor!” (Messenger forward!) and “Stosstrupp greift an!” (Assault troop attacks!). The game board were packaged together with cardboard and wood or plastic game pieces.

Here are the instructions for the games in “Spiel mit!” The instructions are printed on one double-sided sheet, folded in the middle.

The two military-themed games are played on one double-sided game board, with one game printed on each side. The board is made of lightweight card stock, folded in the middle. These games were intended to be played with the game pieces that came in the box, but they can be played with any kind of small tokens or markers- four different pieces for “Melder vor!” and 25 pieces for “Stosstrupp greift an!” (23 of one type and two of another).

“Melder vor!” is a game for up to four players.

The game is played as follows:

“As game pieces, use 4 different colored pieces. If no die is available, you can use the spintop, which is made complete with a little piece of wood (like a match stick).

Whoever rolls the highest number, begins his trip as messenger. He advances the number of spaces that he rolled. If the player lands on an occupied field, he sends the other player back to the start. For the red spaces, the following rules apply:

Wire entanglement: The messenger remains where he is and his turn is skipped twice.

Blocking fire: The messenger must take cover. He stays where he is, until he has rolled a 6.

Swamp: The messenger goes back to the start.

Fence: The messenger jumps over the fence and advances 6 spaces.

Trench: The messenger is stuck in the trench and his turn is skipped three times.

Intermediate bunker: The messenger takes a break to catch his breath, and his turn is skipped once.

Whoever is the first to reach the bunker in the center, is the winner.”

“Stosstrupp greift an!” is a game for two players.

Translated rules:

Defender = 2 chess pieces
Assault troop = 23 pieces = red underside of the chess pieces

The assault troop occupies the 23 spaces in the foreground with his pieces. The opponent defends his fortified field position and occupies machine gun positions 1 and 2.

The assault troop attacks and moves one piece. In the course of the attack he can only move straight ahead and diagonally, in the direction of the field fortification. The defender can move in any direction. He can take the attacker out of the battle, meaning taking a game piece from him, by jumping over him, when the space behind him is unoccupied. The defender cannot be jumped over and cannot lose a piece. Within the field fortification the attacker may also move his pieces in any direction. The defender must move, if he is forced to by the attacker. The defender is the winner, if he is able to take 15 of the attacker’s pieces out of action. The assault troop is the winner, if he occupies all nine spaces in the field fortification.”

I scanned the original board and edited the graphics to remove the folded crease at center. It is very easy to make a reproduction of this board, and coins, buttons, stones or any kind of small objects can serve as expedient game pieces. To make the game board, print out the files in the links below on 11″ x 17″ paper. I went to a local office supply store and had them print the graphics on their color copier, so the ink is waterproof. Then, glue the prints to either side of a 9 inch square piece of card stock. Trim the card leaving a narrow border around the printed black border on one side or the other, and fold it in half, horizontally, with “Melder vor!” on the outside when it is folded. Here are the .pdf files:

Melder vor!

Stosstrupp greift an!