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.
Below are some pictures of the medic’s canteen for comparison. There are distinct differences between the artillery canteen and the medic’s canteen.
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:
And now the 1915 and 1917 patterns:
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.