This afternoon I received a shipment of 3 Swedish Military mess kits with wind screens and Svea alcohol stoves. I have been looking for one of these kits for quite some time and when I found a source of "used, good condition" mess kit - stove sets at a screaming low price, I just had to order up a few! I was happily surprised when I unpacked the box and discovered that the mess kit - stoves were actually in brand new, unissued condition! I've been doing a bit of research on these kits in anticipation of their arrival, so no more delay, lets get on with the "lesson".......
These kits are officially designated as M/40 AL by the Swedish Military. They were first issued in 1940, and were used up until quite recently when the Swedish Military started to dismantle and downsize. The "AL" designation is for the aluminum version of the mess tin, like the ones I have. During WW2, when aluminum was needed for the defense effort, the tins were made out of stainless steel and were given the designation of M/40 FR. The "FR" is for stainless steel. In 1944, the mess kits began production in aluminum, with the designation M40/44. The mess tins I have are aluminum, with stainless steel bail, handle and attaching hardware. These mess tins and stoves are all dated in the 1960's and have the official "Three Crowns" stamps of the Swedish Military.
You can read more about the Stainless steel M40 and M40/44 mess kits and a comparison of the stainless steel and aluminum versions on my blog pages located here:
I also turned up a copy of the pages in the official Swedish Military manual that describes these tins and their use:
I put one of these mess tin - stove sets on my scale and came up with an "official weight", without fuel or leather strap. The weight of the set up is 2 lbs, 1.5 ounces. Not light, but quite manageable for such a heavy duty and versatile set up. The stored-nested kit is about 7 inches tall, 7 1/2 inches wide and 4 3/4 inches deep.
The alcohol burners are made of brass with a gasketed screw cap and are made by Svea. Trangia also made this same model of alcohol burner for these kits. A small plastic alcohol fuel bottle comes with the burner as well. The wind screens are made of painted steel with two fold-down pan supports inside.
All of these parts are designed to nest and fit together, forming a compact kit for field use. There is a slot in the handle for threading a leather strap so that the kit can be buckled securely together. I happened to have a number of new-unissued, Czechoslovakian leather straps on hand from the 1980's that work perfectly for this!
Here's how these stove and mess tin kits are designed to be used.......... the alcohol burner is lit and then the wind screen is placed over the burner (there is a hole in the windscreen base to allow this). The cup can be used as a small pan or it can be used as a lid for the lower pot portion of the tin. The handle of the cup-lid has two folding "D" rings that enable it to be lifted with the aid of a stick when it gets too hot to touch. There is a hook on the bail so that the tin can be suspended over a fire as well. According to an account that I read that was written by a Swedish Army veteran, the mess tin - stove kits were carried inside the pack in more recent years, and were buckled to the outside of the pack during the WW2 years. He said that the burners were seldom used, but always carried in the field. Food was normally cooked in a field kitchen. When going through a chow line, the hot food was placed in the cup, and the lower pot was hooked on the soldiers belt with the hook so that bread and silverware could be carried in it. He said that the nickname for these mess tin's were "Snuskburken", which translated means something like "filthy jar", due to the reputation these tins had when they were not cleaned regularly!
Oct. 10, 2011: UPDATE...... Be sure to check out my other blog entries regarding these great little stoves. I have entries addressing, fuels, set up, espresso pot modification, simmer rings, etc. You can also search my blog using "Swedish M/40" to find more blog pages:
Here are few of the newer pages:
swedish-m40-mess-kit-svea-alcohol-stove fuel & burning tips
I can't wait to get these little burners out and fire them up and see how they work! Stay tuned......... Here's the photos of this great Swedish camp set:
Here are a few shots showing a few of the various dates and maker stampings:
Let's finish this posting up with some shots of these mess tin -stoves in use:
|WW2 Swedish Infantry with Mess Tin - Stoves strapped on backpacks.|
|Modern Swedish troops using the Mess Tin - Stoves in the field.|
|Mess Tins on a tent wood stove.|