Thursday, September 03, 2009

Double boiler set up in the military field range

I recently answered a question from a former Pennsylvania National Guard soldier about his U.S. Army surplus M59 field range.

Tom currently uses the M2A gasoline burner inside the field range cabinet to heat a large pressure cooker while canning food (pictured to left).

"I have been using this set up for canning," said Tom on the Royal Tine camp cooks forum. The benefit is "no heat and little mess in the kitchen."

Tom would like to use the large 10- and 15-gallon stockpots to make "gallons of tomato sauce at one time." He asked Royal Tine readers how to use the double boiler.

The answer to Tom's dilemma comes from the April 1996 edition of the Army Field Manual 10-23: "When you need a double boiler, put 21 liters (22 quarts) of water in the 60-quart pot. Place the pot in the cradle. Put a 40-quart pot in the 60-quart pot and then cover the 40-quart pot."

A double boiler is used to cook delicate sauces, soups and chocolate dishes that easily burn under direct heat.

Although the cook can buy specially manufactured double boilers, any two pots can be used as long as they nest together. In the field range, the 10-gallon pot is designed to nest inside the 15-gallon pot. .

Water level is poured into the larger pot to just under the bottom of the smaller or upper pot. Boiling water shouldn't touch the smaller pot.A tight-fitting upper pot prevents steam from escaping

The two stockpots were part of the standard outfit with the field range. Modern equipment has since replaced the M59 in U.S. military field kitchens.

Note: I'll post a picture of the military double boiler as soon as I can acquire one.


  1. You made my day with your description of the use of the double boiler, 10 and 15 gal pots.

    It sure saves gathering wood to stoke a fire and cook my laulaus, Hawaiian steamed food.

    The 2 1/8 gal gas tank can cook for hours once the water starts boiling.

    If you got any way to use the top roaster for saving us time and energy. We appreciate any cooking tips with this stove because we recently picked one up.

    Many thanks.

  2. I used to get about 20 of those stoves going every night when I was in Saudi for Desert Storm/Shield. Sometimes they were pretty finicky getting them going. They sure generated some heat though!!