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German Uniforms and Equipment

Mess Tin M31 (Kochgeschirr Modell 1931)


The Mess Tin M31 was a kidney shaped cooking pot with a total capacity of 1.7 litres
It consisted of 2 parts: the pot with the wire handle, and a cover with steel handle.





The model 31 is almost identical to the Reichswehr model 1910
which had a larger capacity of more then 2 litres





Left the Mess Kit model 1910

They exist in either Aluminium (this example) or enamelled

Mess kits of this kind were pruduced until 1940 and can be seen used by german troops throughout world war 2

These kind of mess kits also were used by political organisations





Here the manufacturer can be see which is

Ritter Aluminium





Here the same manufacturer can be seen but now a letter code is used

HRE which stand for Heinrich Ritter Esslingen

also the date of manufacture (1934) can be seen



This 3 letter code (capital letters) is not to be confused with the 3 letter codes (small letters) which were used from 1941




A nice feature of this particular model was that the fork and spoon comnination fitted exactly in the mess kit.

This feature was not present on all early mess kits

Also this feature is not encountered on the 31 Model




Here a detail picture of how the rear side of the spoon/fork attaches to the mess tin




And a detail picture of the front


Model 31 :

The total height of the M31 mess kit is 15 cm.
The height of the pot is 13,9 cm., while the cover is 4,4 cm.






On the left, a 38 dated mess kit is shown 
with the leather A-frame mess kit strap.





On the left, the front side of the mess kit.






And the back side.






Top view.

Clearly visible the kidney shaped form.

Also visible are the loops for the mess tin strap.







The opened mess kit.

As can be seen here, the mess kit is made of aluminium. 

This is one of the reasons the paint wore off very quickly, and often completely blank ones are encountered.

The handle on this early model is also made of aluminium. On later models however, it is made of steel.

Also visible are the markings which indicated 0,5 liter.
Ofcourse these markings are also visible on the inside of the mess kit


Below: the cover handle was designed that is would stay at an angle of 90 degrees when turned upside down.








Side view of the mess kit

Often the maker mark can be seen on the riveted aluminium tab for the wire handle.






Detail of the aluminium tab for the wire handle.

Maker mark MKL 38 can be seen here.






Detail of the aluminium cover handle.

The maker mark MKL 38 also can be seen here.




Method of wear

When worn on the breadbag, leather straps were used.

The mess tin straps are different from the normal equipment straps (which are aprox. 53 cm. in length).

Below three straps are shown:

On top, the normal equipment strap (Mantelriemen) for unmounted personnel.

In the middle, an equipment strap (dated 1941) which is 58 cm. and does fit the mess kit.

Below that, a long strap (67 cm.), with three loops, which is often encountered on A-frames.
Sometimes these are referred to as mess kit straps, although no further information can be found on these.








Left, the method of wearing the mess kit on the 
bread bag is shown.




As with the canteen, the mess kit strap runs throught
the D-ring and the leather tab of the bread bag.




When carried along in the M1934 / M1939 back packs (Tornister)
a special designed cover was used.






The canvas cover for the mess tin





Top view of the mess tin inside the cover





Opened cover which shows the leather belt and aluminium closure stud.

The leather tri-angle is reinforcement.





Detail of the WaA (Waffen Amt) stamp inside of the cover


Late war variants

Some late war variants, like the following 1943 example, are fully made of enamelled steel.






Left, a late war 1943 dated example.

Note the difference on the metal hooks which 
holds the wire handle.





Here the inside is shown.

Clearly visible the red enamel paint.

Also note that the 0,5 liter indications are no longer present.


Below another enamelled example





A fully black enamelled 1944 example marked WJ 44




The inside also is completely black.

Also the 0,5 litre indications are no longer there


Here a detail of the handle which shows the maker mark WJ 44

Note: the place of the stamp is different from normal mess tins



While not very logical, here a very late war example dated 45 which is still made of aluminium.

Also a small insert made of aluminium is shown.





Left , the MN 45 aluminium mess kit

The same type of metal hooks to hold the wire handle as on the steel example are used.




On the left the three parts of the mess kit




The maker mark MN with the date 45



Created, maintained and Copyright 2004 / 2011, Tom (remove SPAM from email adress)

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