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German Use of Tornisters in combat in 1918


Nikita Katzen
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Hello all!

I have recently been wondering how and what German Tornister rucksacks were packed with in 1918? As they seem to be missing the greatcoat, zeltbahn, and the mess tin, but they still seem to be quite full.

If anyone can help, that'd be greatly appreicated!

Cheers, 
Nikita

image_2021-09-19_231348.png

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From Handbook of The German Army in War - April 1918 - General Staff - IWM

1 pair "slacks"

1 forage cap

2 shirts

1 pair socks

2 handkerchiefs

1 rice bag

1 housewife

1 pair drawers

1pair lace shoes

1 set boot brushes

1 grease tin

1 copper tin

1 salt tin

Although I should think that they put in the tornister whatever they considered necessary for the task that they were about to undertake or be involved in.

Edited by squirrel
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Great question and answer. Tornisters are one of the more affordable kit to collect from both wars. I was tempted to purchase a ww2 example but never followed up.

I too wondered what was carried in them.

Why were they called "apes" and were they covered in real pony fur?

Dave

Edited by depaor01
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Good evening,


these men are certainly "Sturmtruppen".
assault group with a "minenwerfer" in support :

476341476_image_2021-09-19_231348.png.e843b809c2b8bf3dd0548f2e1c15b016-Copie.png.5da64642e2300f19a61a05406ec52873.png

regards

michel

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9 hours ago, squirrel said:

From Handbook of The German Army in War - April 1918 - General Staff - IWM

1 pair "slacks"

1 forage cap

2 shirts

1 pair socks

2 handkerchiefs

1 rice bag

1 housewife

1 pair drawers

1pair lace shoes

1 set boot brushes

1 grease tin

1 copper tin

1 salt tin

Although I should think that they put in the tornister whatever they considered necessary for the task that they were about to undertake or be involved in.

Thank you very much for this!

Cheers,
Nikita

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On 19/09/2021 at 14:22, squirrel said:

From Handbook of The German Army in War - April 1918 - General Staff - IWM

1 grease tin

1 copper tin

1 salt tin

 

1 x copper tin???

I cannot even guess as to the contents or purpose.

Regards,

JMB

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That's what it says in the book but I suspect it might be "coffee tin".

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A shilling to a pfennig that you are correct!

Regards,

JMB

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21 hours ago, JMB1943 said:

1 x copper tin???

I cannot even guess as to the contents or purpose.

Regards,

JMB

I've just checked my copy and yes it says Copper Tin. Might it be a simple personal field stove? The German word for coffee is hardly likely to be mistranslated.

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Hmmm,.........Kupfer or Kaffee?

You would think that those two words would be readily distinguishable.

Regards,

JMB

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40 minutes ago, JWK said:

?

 

069A6087-ADFD-4FE4-9541-73A5E9F28BA7.jpegHousewife/Sewing kit. 

Edited by GWF1967
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During WW1 there were different types of "back-bags" in use in the German army: Tornister, Ersatztornister (aka Rucksacktornister) and Rucksäcke.

Tornister M 1895, M1907 and M1907/13 were all made of fur, however during the war the Kalbslederfelle could be substituted by Kaninchen (rabbit), Rehkitz (fawn) or Hund (dog). As a trialversion there were also a limited number of those with sealfur. The other parts/inside-frame of the Tornister were made of wood. Later the parts except the cover and inside-frame were made of canvas or paper, some parts of artificial leather. There were numerous changes during the wr which cannot all b listed here. I refer to Kraus, Feldgraue Uniformierung.... vol. 1.

Ersatztornister were made of canvas (inside sometimes tinframe), so were Rucksäcke that were distributed to many troops except infantry.

Apart from that there were special Tornister and Rucksäcke for specialized branches of the army like Pioniere or Gebirgstruppen, freiw. Kriegkrankenhilfe.

With regard to contents: There were (among other things) two tin cans of coffee, hymn-book, saltbag, pulswarmer, veggie-can, meat-can, shoes, shoe-brush, tent parts, etc. etc.

GreyC

1) Canvas Ersatztornister

2) Fur Tornister

 

xxTornister gepackt.jpg

xxPutzstunde  21061914.jpg

Edited by GreyC
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Grey,

Thanks for posting that; it looks like "coffee" takes it over "copper".

My O level German had not included the word "tornister", so I wondered if the word was derived from a Herr Tornist (possible designer).

An on-line search for "tornist" revealed only the Estonian word related to a "cliff".

Searching "tornister" gave the German backpack, and this site,

https://www.ir63.org/packtornister.html

which not only listed the contents, as did you, to include 2 x tin of coffee, but also showed how to pack it.

So, I think that "kaffee" clearly has it over "kupfer".

Regards,

JMB

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Intriguing to know what a "pulswarmer" might be...a sort of small stove for cooking perhaps.

Presumably veggie-can, meat-can, mess tins or tins of rations? 

Edited by squirrel
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10 minutes ago, squirrel said:

pulswarmer"

Wristlet.

GreyC

PS: veggie-can, meat-can, mess tins or tins of rations? 

Yes.

Edited by GreyC
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There is also a photo taken around Pilckem in 1917, if I find it, showing a dead German near a trench, with a tornister but without zeltbahn and greatcoat, only the tornister. Probably used as an assault backpack?

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