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.