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Army Field Bake Oven No. 1

Excerpted from the 1916 edition of the Manual for Army Bakers

[Fire trench] [Front and sides] [Oven chambers] [Top and cover]

The field oven, No. 1, is a portable, knockdown type, for continuous baking. It will bake approximately 3,500 pounds of issue bread, 2,000 pounds of field bread, per day if operated continuously. Each of the 12 metal parts of which the oven is constructed, including the stovepipe and hood, is designated by number. This number, cut from sheet metal, is riveted to each separate part. In submitting requisitions for extra parts the number of the part desired should be referred to. The numbers given in the following instructions refer to the several numbered parts of the oven and run from 1A to 12C, inclusive. In addition, there is a canvas cover, No. 13A, to go over the soil on the top of the oven.

Digging the fire trench

Plan for a Brick Foundation and Fire TrenchTo set up the oven -- Level a piece of ground 6 by 8 feet. In the center of the leveled ground dig a clean-cut trench, 8 feet long, 20 inches wide on top, 16 inches wide on the bottom, and 24 inches deep. At the firing end of the trench extend the cut sufficiently to make a convenient fire pit. In the center or at one side of the fire pit dig a hole about 1-foot deep, about large enough to hold a G.I. bucket, for a drainage hole. Place the trench cover, No. 5A, so that the front or closed end will extend about 4 inches over the front end of the trench, the center of the trench cover over the center of trench. The sides of the trench cover should fit the ground closely, in order that the heat and the gas from the fire trench will pass only through the sleeves of the trench cover.

Placing the front and sides of the oven

Brick Fire PitPlace the front end of the oven, No 1A, on the ground in front of the trench cover. Place the sides, Nos. 3A and 4A, engaging the angle irons with those of No 1A, the bottom edges of Nos. 3A and 4A parallel to the trench cover and resting on the level ground. Clamp the front edges of Nos. 3A and 4A to the front end, No. 1A.

Placing the oven chambers

Next place the oven chambers, beginning with the bottom, No 10A, then No. 11B, and then No. 12C. Push the necks of the chambers through the openings in the front end, No. 1A, as far as possible. The front of the chambers are supported by the necks on the front, the rear by flanges which rest on flanges on the sides of the oven.

Field Bake Oven No. 1 Partially Set Up On Brick Fire BoxNext place the rear end, No. 2A, by engaging the angle irons at the bottom with the angle irons of Nos. 3A and 4A. The flanges on the inner side of the rear end, No. 2A, fit under the chambers. If the chambers are set too low place a small clip under the flanges on the sides of Nos. 3A and 4A, to raise the rear end of the chambers. Clamp the covers. As soon as the chambers are placed a man crawls into the pit, and lying on his bake places the flange on the trench cover, No. 5A, over the collar on the bottom of the rear end, No. 2A.

Placing the oven top and cover

Next place the top of the oven, No. 6A, in position, with the flue hole at the right center. Stop up the edges with clay or mud. Next set up the stovepipe, Nos. 7A, 8A, then the hood, No. 9A. Fasten pipe braces to oven.

Field Bake Oven No. 1 Completely Set Up -- Rear ViewNext cover the top of the oven with dirt taken from the trench. The dirt should form a mound about 8 inches deep in the center and 5 inches deep at the edges. Stop up the cracks around the necks of the oven chambers with asbestos tape, or asbestos cement, if available, otherwise with mud or clay.

Build a fire in the trench, and after the dirt on the top of the oven has dried out put on the canvas cover.

Return to Bread Baking in World War I Army


Deitrck, Capt. L.L., ed. Manual for Army Bakers. War Dept. Doc. 563. Washington: GPO, 1916. 123pp. This material is taken from pages 85-7.

October 1999

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