Sunday, November 17, 2019


While reading George Peto's account on the Battle of Peleliu he mentioned he had two pint canteens or summat.

The language confused me?  Did he have two 16 ounce canteens, or one, single, 1 quart canteen.  And he just preferred to so saw 2-pint instead of 1-quart.

And yesterday that came back to me and made me think.

Which is it.

I thought all canteens from WWII onward were the same shape.  Metal back in WWII, and plastic in Nam, and thinner plastic today.   But the same size and shape.  And can fit in a canteen cup.  Sorta NATO standard by now  (and maybe a 'litre').  Might have even been pretty close to today's shape in WWI.

But I could be wrong.  Maybe the Marines used a smaller version, and just carried two instead of one.  I can see advantages to that.

And I know Marines carried 2 canteens, one on each hip, in some circumstances, was practiced.  Seen many pictures of that in various theaters thoughout time.  But they never let me measure those canteens.

Singles at Guadalcanal, that look like quarts:

And I have never seen an obvious miniaturized version of that.  Gonna chalk it up to Peto just saying Two-Pint instead of Quart.  Until one of you nice people corrects me.


David aka True Blue Sam said...

Study the pictures and you will see that the Marines in the Pacific had the WWI canteens with the metal cap. You see a mix of that and the WWII canteens with a Bakelite cap in the European theater. They are both still good canteens, but the cork gasket is gone by now. They fit the same canteen cups. I carried a Vietnam-era cup (stainless steel) in my forestry work, and a 1944 canteen. My dad went out with me one time and I made coffee on the tailgate and handed it to him in a stainless canteen cup. He commented that he didn't want to burn his mouth. I told him that he got burned using the aluminum cups he had that were WWII era, and stainless doesn't do that to you. He was amazed. The bales are easier to use on the newer ones, too. Not a vet, I just like surplus stuff for field use.

Vlad said...

British English tends to use pint more than quart (the 22 ounce Imperial Pint) so Peto or his parents spoke that way, or fuzzy memory.
An additional source for Peleliu is Marine at War by Russell Davis. I had a paperback in 4th grade and he was a combat intelligence scout at Peleliu and Okinawa. It was written in the 60s so it's a bit sanitized compared to some later books.