Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bugarian Canteens, WW2 or Early Post War, Aluminum with Wool Covers

Here is an interesting trio of old canteens that I recently picked up  to add to the canteen and mess kit collection.

These canteens are from the old Bulgarian Army.  They date either to the WW2, or early Cold War era.  There is not much information about Bulgarian equipment available, so most of my dating comes from bits I've picked up from old photos and from assessing the general patina and condition of the items.

One of these canteens has the clamped-on belt clip, and the other two are just plain necked, with no clip.

I believe that the canteens without clips were carried in a harness assembly with shoulder strap.  The clipped version, connected directly to the belt.

WW2 Bulgarian Officer with his canteen clipped to the belt.

All three of the canteens have new, replacement canteen covers made of wool (or they are mint condition, WW2 era).  The wool is coarse, and the color shades vary between them.

The metal eyelets are poorly installed and crimped, and tend to pull free of the cloth when the laces are tightened.  This leads me to believe that all of the covers are post-war made (quality was much poorer during the post-war communist era).

Two of the canteens are bright, new, and appear unused and un-issued.  The third one is a bit more interesting.

This third canteen is well used, and shows considerable wear on the outer metal surface.  In fact, there are a couple of initials scratched into it and some penciled marks and stars!

The  patina and markings on this used canteen make me think that it was carried for quite some time without a cover.  I have no way to confirm this, but that would make sense.

The overall quality of the aluminum bottles is very poor.  The threads on the necks are coarse and do not fit well with the threads in the caps.  These do not look like they were made to a very high quality specification.  Possibly made at the end of WW2 or during the "poor times" during post-war, Communist Bulgaria.

There's not much else to say about these canteens.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves.


Unknown said...

That last one does have some character to it. Always curious to the history of milsurp kit and the poor lads who had to use the gear and then somehow have it in pristine order for the dreaded regular inspections!
Enjoy your work, thanks for posting!

Unknown said...

Love the commentary I will have to check back your humor is addictive. And yes I have to agree the canteen does look a bit "doctored" I totally agree with you. Enjoyed the pictures too!! thanks, Suzy