Winter, 1993. Fort Carson, CO. In the field. In a GP Small tent set up as company CP. The most high-tech, advanced army in the world. My mission?

Get a load of coal.

The M1941 “potbelly” stove was a handy piece of equipment. It could be configured to burn either diesel, wood, or coal. Setting up a diesel burner was a hassle. Burning coal was easy. So on main post, there was a big old pile of coal. Units going to the field would send a Humvee by the dump, and shovel a couple hundred pounds of coal on board. 


It’s a crappy pic, but that’s an M1941 potbelly stove.

Coal was a pain to get ignited (soaking a few pieces in diesel helped), but once the stove was going, it warmed a tent very nicely. But every other day or so, you had to let the stove go cold, and knock the heck out of the stovepipes to get the soot out.

One stove per GP Small, two per GP Medium.

Somehow we acquired a GP Small tent for each of our Bradleys. Finding a spot to store the tent on board was a challenge. Finding a spot to store the stove was almost impossible. But with temperatures routinely reaching sub-zero, we found a way.

We also later had some M1950 Yukon stoves. Ours were oil-burners. We never did use them in Colorado. I’d used them earlier in Germany. I kind of liked them better.


M1950 Yukon stove

I imagine there are still some of these stoves in use somewhere. But I’ve also seen that the Army is adopting more high tech stoves, at much higher prices.

7 thoughts on “Stoves”

  1. In the first photo, what is the aluminum can with the conical top in the background? It looks like a cryogenic sperm storage can for artificial insemination in cattle. I live in rural WI, and a high school class mate is the local American Breeders Society representative, so I have seen those. I just can’t figure out what the US Army would use one for.

    1. The pic is from a surplus store. It’s a really really bad pic. I believe it’s part of the gas burner unit, but I can’t quite tell.

      Pretty sure it’s not for sperm.

    2. Pretty sure I can’t click that link at work, Scott.

      Also, wow, Badgers have some pretty filthy minds and hobbies.

  2. I had some soldiers learn the hard way not to put the C ration can of spaghetti down inside the stove to heat up. Had a knucklhead do that in a GP medium heating tent on a MG range at Graf in JAN 83…5 minutes later can exploded. We rushed into the tent and guys were coming out and smoek was billowing. 5 guys stood around the remnants of the stove looking bloody (we were all wearing overwhite camo suits). It was spaghetti sauce.
    These guys were from A Company…one of the Cohort companies and they were a real problem outfit. PSG had a little one way counseling with said troop.

  3. When I was a Scouter back in the 80s my district owned a GP medium and an M1941. One stove did quite well in our GP medium. We normally burned wood in ours and it didn’t produce near the soot as coal. Diesel would be smoky stuff too.

    Whats the can on top of the stove for? The activities committee Chairman and his cohort in crime (they were both characters) had fabricated their own spark arrester that went in line above the damper and worked pretty well. There were no holes from floating embers on the tent roof. I’m guessing that may be someone’s idea of a spark arrester.

    Anywayz, we were the envy of the other districts in the Middle Tenn Council at Jamboree. We usually had ours in late October and it was getting chilly then, and we always had a sizable number of visitors from other districts.

    1. And you can brew some great Scoutmaster coffee on top of one of those….usually the other reason for visitors!

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