The Australian Army issues its men with small folding stoves like many other nations. These use solid fuel tablets and open out to give a space on the top for a mess tin or mug to be placed so that water can be boiled and rations heated. The design of these stoves can be traced back to the German Esbit stoves of World War Two. To use them all that is needed is a sheltered spot and to clear any flammable undergrowth away. The stove is unfolded and one or two tablets placed on the ‘hearth’ before being lit:
The Australian version is made of white stamped metal and folds up to fit easily in one of the pockets on the front of a water bottle pouch:
The stove can be opened up and used either way up depending on the surface. If the ground is rough the serrated side is pushed into the ground to hold it steady as in the picture above. If the ground is flat like a piece of concrete, the stove can be placed the other way up for maximum stability:
The discoloured patch shows where this stove has been used on a number of occasions. Once the tablets are alight and giving off heat the mess tin or mug can be placed on top. It is quite common to put a packet of rations in the cup of water so that you heat both the food and some water to make a drink with at the same time:
In this image it can be seen that the cadet has, unusually, placed the fuel under the stove on the ground rather than on it- one would hope that he has carefully removed any dry vegetation nearby to prevent fires and accidents!