Kochen im Felde

ESBIT, Der Kocher für den Soldaten


After a period of heavy fighting around several small villages in the Vosges in early October 1944, Grenadier Regiment 1119 from 553. Volksgrenadier Divisions were only at one fourth of there original strength.

A few days before being relieved, the remaining Grenadiers were holding a thinned out defensive line that consisted of one man firing positions in a small forest.

When the first rays of sunlight break through the fog after again a long night, this Grenadier, a Slovac conscript from the Südsteiermark, feels cold and hungry standing in his narrow improved "Russenloch".

A small trench is dug in front to accommodate the long magazine of his MP44, this gives the shooter a lower silhouette. In this manner, the magazine can be used as a monopod.

Because all is quiet, he decides to eat some of his meager rations.
Luckily for him, all members of his Kompanie had been given an Esbit cooker and some boxes of small solid fuel tablets. That enables him to warm up the remainder of the now cold coffee in his canteen, given out yesterday by the Essenträger from the field kitchen.

The mess tin were he pours the coffee in, is an Italian army model from confiscated stocks. These were factory repainted in fieldgrey and used in large numbers by the German army..

Part of his ration are two pieces of Knäckebrot packed in a cellophane bag with the text "Zusatzverplfegung für Frontkämpfer in Infanterieverband" printed on. These were small extra food rations for fighting soldiers such as frontline infantry.

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