Camping Implements of the French Infantry

At the start of the war, the soldiers’ meals were prepared the traditional way, with each infantry squad responsible for collecting its allotted rations and cooking over an open fire. It fell to the men of the squad to carry their own cooking implements, referred to collectively as the ustensiles de campement (“camping implements”). Even when the French army began gradually in 1915 to change over to using mobile field-kitchens for food preparation, the squad cooking implements continued to be used as the means of transporting the meals and rations from the kitchens up to the forward positions. As such, these continued to be a ubiquitous item until the end of the war.

Each soldier was issued at least one of the following:

    1. Sac à distribution ("Distribution Sack")
    2. Seau en toile ("Canvas bucket")
    3. Gamelle de campement ("Camp Mess-Kit")
    4. Marmite de campement 'Bouthéon' ("Camp Stew-Pot")
    5. Moulin à café, 'Klepper' M1896 ("Coffee Grinder")
    6. Lanterne de campement 'Montjardet' M1910 ("Camping Lantern") - corporals only

151 4
1. Sac à distribution
2. Seau en toile
3. Gamelle de campement
4. Marmite de campement
5. Moulin à café, 'Klepper' M1896
6. Lanterne de campement 'Montjardet' M1910

Distribution Within a Squad, 1914-1918

Type of Implement Number Per Squad
Gamelle de campement, "plat-à-quatre"
("Camp mess-kit", a.k.a. "dish-for-four")
Marmite de campement, Bouthéon ("bouteillon")
("Camp stew-pot," referred to as the Bouthéon, a.k.a. "bottle")
Seau en toile, "vache à eau"
("Canvas bucket," a.k.a. "cow bucket")
Sac à distribution
("Distribution bag")
Lanterne de campement, modèle Montjardet 1910
("Camping lantern," Montjardet M1910)
Also, various civilian models used.
1 for the corporal
Moulin à café, modèle Klepper 1896
("Coffee grinder," Klepper M1896)
Also, various civilian models used.
1 for two squads

For information on how each camping implement was carried on the soldier's pack, see the Knapsack page.

For information on how rations were carried up to the front lines, see the Transportation of Rations page.

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