Original French WWI Model 1877 Canteen in Horizon Blue with Shoulder Strap - Bidon
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a "horizon blue" canvas covered Model 1877 French 2-liter canteen, complete the original cover and full length leather shoulder strap. Amazingly, the cork stopper is present. Overall condition of the canteen and cover is very good. The leather carry strap is complete and supple. We've only had a very few of these canteens, as they are rare and hard to find. Ready to display!
The Bidon (Can) is either a 2-liter or 1-liter canteen, covered with horizon blue or later khaki wool cloth. Both types had two spouts, a large and small, that were stopped with either wood or cork which was secured to the canteen itself with string. Often two bidons were worn; in the assault, one bottle typically contained wine (pinard) mixed with water, the other coffee and tafia spirit. Many Americans chose to carry a french canteen due to their capacity.
At the start of WWI the Metropolitian troops were using the 1 Litre Modèle 1877 Bidon, which was covered in dark blue cloth while those forces in North Africa were using the 2 Litre Modèle 1877 Bidon which was also covered in a dark blue cloth. The French military had thought that 1 liter was enough water to carry while on campaign as they could get re-supplied with water easily but as the war went into trench warfare re-supply became an issue and getting water to the front became difficult so then by 1915 ALL French forces started to get issued the 2 liter version.
Covers came in many different colors and variations depending on the years they used, in 1914 dark blue was the norm; 1915 dark blue was still popular but as they were starting to go to a new horizion blue uniform, this color of cloth was also started to be used on the bidon themselves but other colors were also used with the ersatz type uniforms that were being used during this period such as brown courderoy, blue-gray or dark blue-gray. Colonial troops were starting to get their moutarde (khaki) uniforms during this period so covers were made in this color. Now during this period it was not uncommon for the bidons to be painted in a variety of colors listed above as well. In 1916 things started to become more uniform, horizion blue for metropolitan and moutarde for colonial troops, so covers were made in these cloth and issued which went all the way to the end of the war in 1918.
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