Thursday, June 28, 2018

Bundesgrenzschutz Butter Dish for Mess Kit and Field Rations, BGS Butterdose, Scho-Ka-Kola

Today we'll be building on the previous four blog postings, and add another piece of field mess gear, the classic German butter dish.

This particular dish was issued by the West German Border Police, better known as the BGS, or Bundesgrenzschutz.  Even though this dish is marked as BGS issue, it is the same type that would have been issued out to the other federal service branches and the civil defense agencies like the THW.

These dishes are made from a very hard plastic that resembles the older style of Bakelite.  They were intended to hold the butter ration or lard ration that was issued out to the German troops when they deployed to the field.

This dish is not marked with a date, so it may have been made anytime between the 1950's and 1980's.  Most likely though, it is an older dish from the late 1950's - 1960's. It is however, marked with "BGS" on the bottom, indicating it was issued to the Bundesgrenzschutz.

This same style of butter dish was issued out to the WW2 German troops, however there is a distinct difference between the war time dishes, and the post-war dishes.  The war time dishes have fewer lid threads and it only takes about a quarter turn to unscrew the lid.  The post-war dishes take 2-3 turns to remove the lid.  Regardless of the markings, the lid threads determine the age!

I find quite interesting that a tin of Scho-Ka-Kola chocolates fits perfectly inside the butter dish.  In fact it fits so perfectly, the lid screws completely down and the tin does not rattle!  Coincidence?  For now, this BGS butter dish will serve as a Scho-Ka-Kola tin holder!

Scho-Ka-Kola is a uniquely German style of "energy chocolate".  It is basically dark chocolate fortified with extra caffeine.  It was first made in 1935, and was issued to the WW2 German soldiers, sailors and aviators throughout the war.  After the war it remained popular, and is still manufactured and sold today.  You can read more about it here:

Here's a link to one of my old blog postings about my "replica Scho-Ka-Kola tin I made:

Let's take a look at this unique butter dish, and the Scho-Ka-Kola.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

West German Bund Issue, Esbit Stove, Bundeswehr, Bundesgrenzschutz, THW Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk

Today we'll take a look at a West German, Federal issued, Esbit Stove.

These little folding stoves were issued out to nearly every field trooper in the West German Army (Bundeswehr), Border Police (Bundesgrenzschutz), and all of the disaster relief agencies like the THW (Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk).

This particular stove is a post-war issued stove and is marked BUND, indicating it is West German Federal Government issued stove.  It also has the federal stock number stamped into it. 

These stoves were sold in the same configuration, without BUND or stock number, to civilians.

The Esbit stove was invented in 1936 and is designed to fit in a pocket or bread bag.  They burn solid fuel tablets made of hexamethylenetetramine.  These tablets ignite easy, and burn clean (no smoke), with a nearly invisible flame, for approximately 15 minutes per tablet.  The tablets were normally carried inside the stove when not in use.

The Esbit stoves were widely issued throughout WW2 to German troops and Civil Defense workers.  In fact, they can still be purchased today and are very popular with the ultralight hiking crowd. 

This particular stove has been used, and the fuel tablet residue is still cooked onto the inner tray.

To use the stove, the split top is opened up, forming both a pot stand and two legs for the stove.  

When the tablet has finished burning and the stove cools, it is folded up and tucked back into the bread bag.  Fast, clean, and easy.  

I have a couple of them and keep them with my German mess kits and bread bags.  If you have the kit, you need the stove!

Let's take a closer look.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk, THW, Brotbeutel, West German THW Bread Bag, Deuter Augsburg, 1988, German Federal Agency For Technical Relief

Today we'll be taking a look at the THW Bread Bag that was issued along with the canteen and mess kit, that were showcased in the previous two postings.

This bread bag is dated 1988 and was made by the famous bag and pack company Deuter, in Augsburg Germany.

This bread bag is one of the last versions of the "old" German bread bags that have been issued since the 1930's.  Unfortunately, these bags are no longer issued out to the "troops".  With the advent of self-contained field rations, or as we call them, MRE's (meal ready to eat), there is no need for a bag to carry the bits and pieces needed to cook up a meal in the field.  Sad days indeed..........

The bag is colored in THW gray (Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk), and was issued along with the mess kit and canteen featured in the previous two postings.  You can jump over to those posting with these links, or just scroll through the previous blog postings.

Along with the canteen and mess kit, the bread bag would also have been issued with a small, folding Esbit stove, a butter dish, and a set of silverware.

The bread bag can be carried with the detachable strap, or it can be fastened directly to the D-rings on a belt or jacket, using the two button tabs.  The center hook supports the bag when it is buttoned to a belt.

Let's take a look at this bread bag.