Field Oven Mesopotamia Postcard

Army cooks are experts at creating improvised ovens in the field to allow them to bake bread, cook stews and make other hot food without needing horse or motor drawn cookers. These improvised ovens are made form any materials available to them including rubble from destroyed buildings, tin cans scavenged from rations or even simple mud from local rivers. Today we have a postcard showing an improvised oven in Mesopotamia in World War One:

This oven seems to have been made from a steel barrel or corrugated iron of some sort, covered with clay to keep the heat in. A couple of shelves allow the cooks to make use of the different temperatures at different levels within the oven to cook different things, whilst the firebox is beneath. The cooks have painted a slogan ‘Roots’s Field Oven The “Mesepot Tank”:

In the background a variety of dixies, ladles and other cooking implements can be seen on hand to help prepare food:

One comment

  1. ‘Field expediency’ at it’s finest, and more routine than rare.
    I found a bunch of old manuals online from WW1 and 2 showing how to make field ovens and bake bread in them, along with the issued portable cooking systems, and promptly lost a couple of days reading them 😉 fascinating stuff, seeing what was and how it could still be used if necessary.
    Today however, there’d be an immediate investigation as to why the food had ever been touched by human hands or spent ten seconds outside of a sterilized stainless steel kitchen…
    Politicians would rather soldiers go hungry than eat from something they made themselves.
    True, disease and other illnesses historically caused many more deaths and debilitations than wounds in battle, but cooking the food consistently helps a lot with that and Napoloen was right, an Army DOES march on it’s stomach.

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