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Two Quart Military Canteens
The standard U.S. military canteen for the individual soldier has long had a capacity of one quart. Most soldiers carried the M1910 aluminum, the 1942 stainless steel canteen or plastic one quart canteen for most of the 20th century. However, operations in hot and/or dry places -- jungle or desert -- required mush more soldier hydration and soldiers carried two or more of the one quart canteens to try to keep up. Several models of two quart canteen have been developed to help with this issue, although were not very widespread in the U.S. military until the wars in Soughwest Asia in the 1990s and after.
Two Quart Jungle Canteen (World War II)
The two quart canteen originated in World War II as the Jungle Canteen. After testing of experimental models by the Armored Force and other units, the Jungle Canteen was manufactured by International Latex Corp. (Dover, DE) from 1943 to 1945. The canteen had a cotton duck cover/carrier, made in three or four variations, with a carry strap or quick release hook. The cover was closed by a top/center single flap with LTD fastener (photo, left). The flap covers the canteen bladder cap. The bladder was translucent plastic with a rigid neck that appears to be Ethocel (amber, like the plastic one quart canteen of WW II). The square two quart bladder tucked into the carrier and was sealed at the top by a black plastic cap (same as all the one quart canteens), held by a chain (photo, right).
Early variants of the Jungle Canteen cover had a wire loop in back that was intended as a quick release connection to an M1910 wire utility belt hook. This arrangement allowed the canteen to be lifted off the belt for a quick drink or refill. In the field, however, this set up was impractical since the canteen could easily be pulled or shaken off and lost. Later variants of the cover had a shoulder strap.
The last specification for the Jungle Canteen was JQD 311A of March 1945,
First Pattern Two Quart Collapsible Canteen (Vietnam War)
In February 1962, the Army Special Forces requested, for Southeast Asia operations, a 2-quart collapsible canteen that did not rattle. During 1963-1964 the Army Quartermaster Research and Engineering Command revived the WW II Jungle Canteen specification (JQD 311A), and made prototypes that replaced the cotton duck with nylon in the carrier, otherwise styled very similar to the WW II version. They were stamped "COVER NYLON FOR COLLAPSIBLE CANTEEN". The removable bladder was similar to the WW II version, made of a newer, heat-sealed clear vinyl plastic with a top-center M1942 black resin plastic cap, held by a chain. The top edge of the bladder included an area of thicker reinforcing plastic around the neck. U.S. was stencilled on one side of the bladder, nomenclature and contract information on the other.
There were many problems with the 2-quart canteen resulting in the development of a revised version of the first pattern. Borrowing from the nylon carrier for the one quart canteen, the revised OG106 nylon 2-quart carrier was redesigned with ALICE clips (as opposed to the shoulder strap), a velcro closure, and an outside pocket for water purification tablets. The bladder was not updated.
The revised First Pattern 2-quart collapsible canteen carrier lacked D-rings for a strap and could only be worn on the belt or at other ALICE attachment point (photo, right). Carrying a full canteen that way took too much room and was generally awkward. This fact, combined with leaks in the heat sealed seams, rendered this canteen unsatisfactory for rugged field utilization in Vietnam or elsewhere.
The Nomenclature, FSNs, and specifications for the First Pattern 2-quart collapsible canteen and carrier are in the following table:
The manufacturer was International Latex Corp. as in World War II, as well as King's Point Industries and possibly other vendors (H.I. Garment Co 1963, Hedwin 1968).
Second Pattern Two Quart Collapsible Canteen (Late Vietnam War and After)
A Second Pattern Two Quart Collapsible Canteen (shown in the photos, left and right, and top photo on this page) had a more substantial plastic bladder (made of ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer, 7x7x3 inches) with a cap in one corner, the same cap as the plastic one quart canteen. A water repellant nylon duck carrier/cover was supplied for this canteen, originally in OG106 and later also in Tan. The carrier had a latch fastener closure in front, and ALICE clips on the reverse side that could be attached to the individual equipment belt or pack. It also had a detachable shoulder strap (sling) that clipped to small D-rings on the upper sides of the carrier. Inside, it had a pile lining. An outside pocket was provided for a bottle of water-purification tablets. The roomy carrier was sometimes used as an auxiliary carrying bag for magazines or other field needs.
Markings included U.S. on the front of the top flap, along with nomenclature, contract and NSN information stencilled on the back. A label with filling instructions was sewn inside the flap.
This model is known as the Canteen, Water, Collapsible, 2 Quart. After the deficiencies of the First Pattern 2-Quart Collapsible Canteen became evident, the Canteen, Water, Collapsible, 2 Quart was approved in December 1965 and funded in 1967. After evaluation of prototypes in Vietnam, the new canteen was standardized 11 October 1968 and was widely fielded in 1969. In 1991, troops serving in the Gulf War were issued this canteen, in both olive green and desert tan for both the canteen body and the carrier. It remained in use into the 21st century when the CamelBak canteen alternative gradually came into general use.
The Nomenclature, NSNs, and specifications for the Canteen, Water, Collapsible, 2 Quart and carrier are in the following table
Recommended Book With 2-Quart Canteen Information
Find More Information on the Internet
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Thanks to Cal Fischer for help with this page based on his research.