The other day I was rummaging through the bunker, and noticed that I have a pile of old West German, THW gear, that I haven't shown on the blog. So with that in mind, I figured I'd start with the basic field kit. So here it goes.
Let's start with the classic Mess Kit. We'll take a look at the other parts of the grouping in upcoming posts.
This particular mess kit is in new and unissued condition. It is dated 1988, which is just before East and West Germany re-unified in 1989.
This style of mess kit is nearly identical to the original, WW2, M31 German mess kits, but there are a couple of distinct differences. The first is the style of bail lugs and the height. The post-war kits are about 1/4 inch taller than the WW2 version. Other than that, it's the same kit the WW2 troops were carrying.
Originally the THW, or German Federal Agency For Technical Relief as it is called in English, issued out a bread bag, canteen, mess kit, and silverware set that every trooper carried into the field. These days, standard, pre-packaged, field rations are issued out. These new rations do not require the use of mess ware like this, so these old style kits are no longer issued.
This kit stamped PSL 88 on each component. PSL are the initials of the manufacturer, and 88 is for the year, 1988.
The initials PSL indicate that the manufacturer is:
Paul Schulze & Co., of Lübeck, West Germany.
The entire mess kit is strapped together with a black leather belt. This belt was issued with this kit and is stamped BUND PSL. BUND indicates this is official federal issue, and PSL is the manufacturer. These belts are virtually identical to the WW2 versions.
The mess kit has the bottom "pot", an inner "bowl", and the top "cup".
The "cup" can be used on its own, or used as a lid for the pot. The handle of the "cup" can be used to lift and hold the bowl.
Traditionally these mess kits would be strapped to the outer loops of the bread bag.
In my opinion these old German mess kits never go out of style. They are highly sought after by both collectors and "bushcrafters" alike. I myself, collect them, and use them!
Let's take a closer look at this beautiful kit.