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Question for all you guys who ate C-rations? Who designed the P-38 can opener? Got to be one of mankinds greatest inventions . The can opener not the C-rations.
 

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If you take the time to google it there are a ton of sites with info, specs and where to buy, never found a name for the designer.
 

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Gave away my last P-38 to a young soldier in my section when I retired almost 10 years ago. Sure wish I had kept it. As bad as C-Rations were--they were much better than the first MRE packaged meals. The old dark brown colored packs were pretty bad. I was sent to West Germany in 1984 and I got to eat Cs for a few years until they ran out.
 

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I've got one around here someplace I kept from a box of C rations when I was on active duty; MREs hadn't been invented yet. I had it my key-chain for years after I got out, came in handy occasionally, then tucked it away someplace. For some reason it is smaller in size than ones I've seen being sold in surplus stores, etc. Not sure who designed that particular P-38 for the C-rats, but know Lockheed did the P-38 my father flew in the Pacific during WWII... :biggrin:
 

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Question for all you guys who ate C-rations? Who designed the P-38 can opener? Got to be one of mankinds greatest inventions . The can opener not the C-rations.
I've got a couple still in the paper around here somewhere - I just saw them the other day.

I still keep the same one on my keychain that I carried with my dog tags 30+ years ago.

Never knew, probably never cared, who designed the darn things, probably should have, never really thought about it I guess ... I mean they were opening tin cans in Europe with knives almost as soon as tin cans were invented. I think my Grandfather once told me that they were invented right around the time he (the U.S.) shipped off for WWII. I had one he gave me for a long time but lost it somewhere along the way in life. A P38 is just a small knife on a pivot point that naturally pulls itself forward through the can as it cuts thanks to it's crescent shaped blade.

I know the older P38s are made from much better steel than the new ones. The new ones bend too easily. The old ones you could almost cut through a tank with one.
 

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Gave away my last P-38 to a young soldier in my section when I retired almost 10 years ago. Sure wish I had kept it. As bad a C-Rations were--they were much better than the first MRE packaged meals. The old dark brown colored packs were pretty bad. At least I was sent to West Germany in 1984 and I got to eat Cs for a few years until they ran out.
Yeah, we had sort of gotten used to MREs at Bragg by '82 or so - had only had them since '81 maybe, if that early. Then we ship off to Italy in '83 and bam, right back to Cs. (My favorite was turkey roll). But by '85 we had MREs in Vicenza and by the time I got back to Bragg Cs were a thing of the past - long forgotten.

BTW, MREs are made right here in SC at SOPAKCO.
 

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All kinds. Enamored of their mechanisms!
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When I was at a YMCA camp around 1963 on a long hot hike we ate 'c' rations. I remember the peanut butter was like nearly cured concrete. Then I saw the date on the can - 1945. AC
 

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Yes, Ray, we called them "John Waynes", the other folks called them P-38s. Like you, I got to like "Cs" when I could mix them up and get creative with them. The first MREs we saw, Force Recon was issued a bunch and told that they wouldn't get any more C-rats. They read the instructions on those old experimental MREs (1966 time frame) and found out they had to boil water to add to them. Not wanting to build fires where they went, those MREs became trade goods for C-rats. Those were the days.
 

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small 38s are the good ones. The big ones are cheap soft copies
 
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The secret use of the cans of peanut butter was to heat water for your coffee. Scoop half the peanut butter out, squirt in some liquid government issued mosquito repellant, light. It burnt hot to heat coffee water, or the can of steak and potatos. Shenandoah
 
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When I got back to the world, one of the things I tookmwith me is P-38s. One is on my keycahin today.

A year ago I saw a teenage street girl beating a can of beans on the sidewalk, trying to get it open.

I asked if I could see her can (yeah there is a joke in there) Opened it in 10 seconds.

Her and her street kid friends went to wallymart the next day and bought some.
 

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Mine is on a grenade pull ring in my Svea stove. The pin fell off a long time ago. I liked a mixture of C's and the dehydrated LRRP's. If you took everything out of the LRRP bag, added water to the meal and rolled the top down, put that in the big brown bag it came in and rolled that down, then put it in your blouse your web gear would hold it on your side under your armpit. It wouldn't fall out if you kept your web belt buckled and the suspenders kept it from sliding around to the front or back. When you got where you were going you had a meal that wasn't hot but wasn't cold either. It was body temperature.
 

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The ones we had in the Australian rat packs were a bit longer than the P-38 and incorporated a spoon end on then . Out of the army in 78 and still using the same one now to open cans . Even my kids use them .
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the feedback. I learned a few things and read some good stories. I still keep a P-38 on my key ring. I often take a can of soup or pork and beans to work and use the P-38 tp open the can . One co worker has since bought one of the new ones that is longer and has the spoon on the end.
 

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Still have my first one I got back in basic in 80 keep it on my key chain also have a couple others laying around. I loved the c-rations never did get used to the MRE's haven't had any of the newer ones though
 

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Still got mine on the key ring I made in the army over 50 years ago. A grenade pull ring braded on a pair of GI boot laces. The P-38 is marked U.S speaker. I was a jeep driver, the M151, later called the Mutt. I could put two c-ration cans on the engine next to the valve cover and they would be nice and hot when time to eat.
 
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