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"Tropical" or not?

Article about: Over on WAF there is a thread concerning the wood impregnated coconut "Tropical" canteen. These canteens are almost always described as "Tropical" and some even describe

  1. #1
    Johnnie
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    Default "Tropical" or not?

    Over on WAF there is a thread concerning the wood impregnated coconut "Tropical" canteen. These canteens are almost always described as "Tropical" and some even describe them as DAK. (Africa Korps)
    Personally, I have yet to see any documented evidence that these canteens were ever issued to German troops in North Afrika, or that they were even deliberately developed as a "Tropical" item.
    I think that much of the field gear we describe as "Tropical" because it is made of webbing actually was not deliberately made for tropical use. They were made to conserve on leather, for the same reason ankle boots were manufactured.
    As far as coconut canteens go, I have one post war made that is identical to wartime, and by the same manufacturer that is dated 1966. The leather straps have snaps and the wartime style cup is unmarked. It came in a group of German government surplus I got in Germany back in the 80's and was eveidently policece issue. I believe that these coconut "Tropical " canteens were nothing more than a variance of manufacture designed to save on materials, and had nothing to do with specific tropical issue.
    Any opinions or input?



    Cheers,

    Johnnie
    Last edited by Johnnie; 07-15-2008 at 08:05 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: "Tropical" or not?

    My understanding was that they did make true tropical gear for North Africa, but this was early in the war. I'm thinking the switch due to rationing, came in the later half.

    I wonder, after the fall of the Afrikakorps, they were stuck with tons of surplus "Tropical" stock back in Europe? (they were after all planning to take on all of Africa eventually) Might be the connection between the two.

    neil

  4. #3
    Johnnie
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    Default Re: "Tropical" or not?

    From what I see there were two simultaneous ongoing issues. They did indeed manufature webbing for tropical use and issue it as such. We have documentaion that evidently supports that. But I think there was a desire to eventually completely move from leather to webbing as the British did to save leather for foot gear and other items that really required leather.
    As for the "coconut" canteen, I do not believe it was designed specifically as a tropical item. I'm thinking it was simply one manufacturers product improvement. Any one else?

    Johnnie

  5. #4

    Default Re: "Tropical" or not?

    Hi Johnnie, I would agree with your take on the subject.

    Cheers, Ade.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: "Tropical" or not?

    I agree - to a point.
    Heer webbed equipment was manufactured in 1940 specifically for the North African campaign and issued as such. This webbing is olive/green, whereas the 1941 tan webbing (that we all know and love) is more generic and was seen in the Russian theatre as well as Med. (The webbing colour varied due to manufacturer supplies initially).
    On the subject of the composite fibre canteen, these were issued and used in North Africa, as witnessed by surviving members of the (true) DAK, and 1941 dated examples that I have seen or still have. Period photos will emerge to lay this point to rest at some point. I do believe however that this pattern canteen was manufactured for all areas of operation, not just the Med'.
    Mark.

  7. #6

    Default Re: "Tropical" or not?

    Quote by Johnnie View Post
    From what I see there were two simultaneous ongoing issues. They did indeed manufature webbing for tropical use and issue it as such. We have documentaion that evidently supports that. But I think there was a desire to eventually completely move from leather to webbing as the British did to save leather for foot gear and other items that really required leather.
    As for the "coconut" canteen, I do not believe it was designed specifically as a tropical item. I'm thinking it was simply one manufacturers product improvement. Any one else?

    Johnnie
    Johnnie, I agree with your assesment...BILL-
    "As long as there are brave men and warriors the halls of Valhalla will never be silent or empty"

    In memory of my father William T. Grist December 26, 1920--September 10, 2009..
    901st. Ordnance H.A.M. North Africa, Italy, Southern France....ETO
    Also in memory of my mother Jane Kidd Grist Feb. 22, 1920-- September 27, 2009... WWll War bride May 1942...

  8. #7
    ?

    Default Re: "Tropical" or not?

    As I can say, the Wolchow front is full of the "Tropical" canteens, and I found them by myself in Narva front too. They was fifty/fifty there.
    Regards,
    Dimas

    my Skype: warrelics

  9. #8
    ?

    Default Re: "Tropical" or not?

    FYI,
    Hamburg Tropical Institute.
    1 Oct. 1900-Present (Google)

    I've found this Institute mentioned on a couple of other forums including this one. Sounds like they specialize mostly in medicine, but I've heard reference to research on "tropical equipment" during WW-II.

    neil

  10. #9

    Default Re: "Tropical" or not?

    Also webbing gear was found to be more practical as it wore better than leather in tropical (damp) as well as dried out faster.

    Jaeger

  11. #10
    ?

    Default Re: "Tropical" or not?

    Quote by neil View Post
    FYI,
    Hamburg Tropical Institute.
    1 Oct. 1900-Present (Google)

    I've found this Institute mentioned on a couple of other forums including this one. Sounds like they specialize mostly in medicine, but I've heard reference to research on "tropical equipment" during WW-II.

    neil
    ...Which was a section of the University of Hamburg. Today most design tasks would be handled by private firms, whereas at that period the specialized knowledge necassary was thought to be found in the academic arena.
    Considering the design team tasked with the assignment came up with the worlds first canvas/leather boot combination, and a webbing field kit that outclasses it's leather predesessor, I think they did just fine.
    Mark.

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