The Canteen/Die Feldflasche, Part 1

This is part of a continuing series on the uniforms and equipment of the Chevauleger. The topic this time concerns the humble canteen or Feldflasche. Interestingly enough, although the canteen had been standard issue for each German soldier prior to 1914, that was not the case for the cavalry for some inexplicable (as of yet) reason. It wasn’t until September 14, 1914 that the issue of canteens to the cavalry was made. Initially, a modified version of the the standard 1907 pattern canteen with a shoulder strap was issued. This was similar to what was issued to the field artillery. Later on, the cavalry was issued with the same model issued to all other branches of the German Army.

Below are views of the artillery canteen, both front and back. Good pictures of cavalrymen wearing the artillery canteen are relatively rare because usually their arms are covering up the canteen so it’s hard to see just what exactly they’ve got on. Also, this pattern canteen is often confused with the later medic’s canteen which is larger and has a cup on it. For more information regarding the artillery canteen, click HERE.

Cavalry Canteen1

Front and back views of the artillery canteen. This is essentially the 1907 infantry canteen with a carry strap added on. Picture courtesy of Johann Sommers.

Below are some pictures of the medic’s canteen for comparison. There are distinct differences between the artillery canteen and the medic’s canteen.

The Medic's canteen.

The Medic’s Canteen.

Medical Canteen3

Medical Canteen2

While the artillery canteen seemed to be the perfect solution to the cavalry’s problem, it was actually only issued for a brief period of time and by the end of 1915, the cavalry was being issued the same canteens as the infantry. Below are some close-up pictures of the prewar 1907 pattern canteen and later 1915 and 1917 pattern wartime models. The 1907 pattern was made of aluminum with a screw-on top. In June 1915, a new pattern was introduced, the 1915 pattern, which was made from steel that was tin plated on both sides. A cork stopper was used rather than a machined screw-top.

First the 1907 pattern:

1907 Pattern

1907 Pattern Canteen

Canteen6

Views of the 1907 pattern canteen.

And now the 1915 and 1917 patterns:

1915_1917 Canteens

Evolution of the Canteen.

Canteen2 - Copy

1915 Pattern Canteen

Finally, in 1916, the 1917 pattern was introduced which was made from tin plated steel that was only plated on the inside while the outside was an enameled coating. Also, the straps were modified so that less leather was used. Finally, to save on steel, experiments were made using glass but the war ended before this could be initiated on a mass scale.

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