U.S. military canteen covers are marked at the factory to indicate U.S. property, manufacturer and other information. The exact information marked varies depending on the time period, model, and other factors, as explained further on this page.
M1910 cover with manufacturer and date marked under flap. Photo: eBay seller e9snipe.
All U.S. military canteens have markings on the canteen body itself and on the cover (as well as the cup and any other accessories.) For the M1910 cotton canvas cover, through WWII, "U.S." is typically marked on the front in black plus year and manufacturer identification on the bottom, back, or under a flap (eq, photo left.) There was little standardization of the extent of information or location of the canteen cover markings.
Marine Corps issue carriers were marked with "USMC" (not "U.S.") marked under a flap or on the front. The letters DQP with a date of manufacture indicate the cover was made at the Quartermaster Depot in Philadelphis where much of the USMC individual equipment was made from 1912 through WW II.
After WW II, it became less common for the Marine Corps to have canteen covers manufactured with USMC markings. A contract in 1952 has been identified but its not known if there were any other USMC-specific marked covers after that date. Standardization across the U.S. armed services meant that items of basic equipment, including canteens, were shared as much as possible between the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and other services.
By the 1950s, markings expanded and became more standardized, including nomenclature and stock number (eg, Covers, Canteen, Dismounted M1910 74-C-300) along with the manufacturer. Starting with the M1956 carrier, the full nomenclature, FSN, and other information were uniformly stencilled on the lower back, under the webbing patch (eg, Cover, Water, Canteen, M-1956 / FSN 8465-577-4926 / Contract No. / Date). This practice was continued with the later nylon canteen carriers(see inset photo, right).
In addition to the formal markings, it was very common for soldiers to mark their name or service number on equipment, to stencil unit information, or other identification, as in the top photo on this page.
It was also very common (sometimes required) for soldiers to mark their name or service number on equipment, or to stencil unit information, or other identification on the cover. Sometimes unit markings in color were painted on the ocver or former markings were painted over in OD.
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