Saturday, December 10, 2011

Robert Mast's World War II U.S. Army field kitchen

Here are two photographs and an article by Robert Mast, a World War II reenactors from Tionesta, Penn. Robert uses the M59 field range outfit in his field kitchen. The M59 was developed after World War II and served military cooks well until it was replaced in the late 1990s. In November I posted a photograph of Roberts immersion heater battery.

The unit that I cook for is Easy Company, 393rd Regiment, 99th Infantry Division. They were instrumental in securing the last bridge over the Rhine for the Allied crossing into German in World War II.

We have had 150 allied and 150 German reenactors for the past three years. You can go to The Bridge at Remagen for information on the event. Everyone has a pretty good time.

I was in during 'Nam 1966-1968. But I was an MP instead of a cook. The MPs and cooks also got along fine. It was like, You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Anyway, I decided to buy some cook gear and try being the company cook. It's a lot of fun and a lot of work.

This past year we had two meals for the guys. We served about 175-200 for supper and about 125 for breakfast. We cooked 200 pounds of chicken leg quarters for supper along with mashed spuds, corn, gravy and brownies. For breakfast we had sausage gravy on toast with eggs.

If you look at the picture, you will see a makeshift oven I made out of an old cooling cabinet, which I modified to a shorter height to match the M-59s. It is located to the left of the "open" sign.

I had a third M2 unit that I used to heat the oven. I baked the chicken in it. It has five shelves, each holding two 13- x 18-inch trays. Of course the potatoes, gravy and corn went into the 10- and 15-gallon pots.

The square roasters held the chicken after it was cooked. Of course the SOS went into the 10-gallon pot and the toast was baked in the homemade oven. Coffee was made in another 10 gallon pot and dipped. Wish I had an insulated urn of 4- to 5-gallon size. Eggs were scrambled in the roaster lid.

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