The Other P-38

It is Sunday and we are in the middle of celebrating Memorial Day so I thought since I am a history geek I would write about World War Two……

During that war there were couple P-38’s of distinction……

First, the P-38 Lightening from Lockheed…….

It was billed as a “Pursuit” plane….in today’s lingo that would be a fighter/bomber……and during the war it was a go to plane in the European as well as Pacific theaters.

Second P-38 comes from Germany……

It was a pistol from the Walther Guns company and issued during World War Two….

Finally, the P-38 that I am referring to is the piece of equipment that every soldier knew how to operate from WW2 to Vietnam……


Some us old farts still have one of them in our mementos……

Far down on the list of important inventions essential to victory in World War II is a modest gadget built of stamped metal called the GI Pocket Can Opener—commonly known as the P-38—which was used by American troops in the field to sever the lids off combat rations. Despite its small stature and relative obscurity, many consider it to be the most perfect tool ever developed by the U.S. Army.

Simple in design, efficient in use, and diverse in application, the P-38 was an ideal complement to the canned meat and bread components contained in C-Rations, a staple of military feeding for more than four decades. The little two-piece hinged device constructed of hardened steel never seemed to break, never lost its edge, and its rugged versatility always provided a quick solution in situations other than its original intent. Soldiers regarded the P-38 as their personal, government-issued Jack-of-all-trades.

“When we had C-Rations, the P-38 was your access to food, making it the hierarchy of needs,” retired Army Colonel Paul Baerman told the Army Times. “Then soldiers discovered it was an extremely simple, lightweight, multipurpose tool. I think in warfare the simpler something is and the easier access it has, the more you’re going to use it. The P-38 had all of those things going for it.”

This is a piece of history that is slowly being lost to innovation but deserves its place in the memories of our troops.

Have a good Sunday……be well be safe…..chuq


4 thoughts on “The Other P-38

  1. Ha! My dad had one of these. He was never in any kind of armed forces as far as I know. No idea when and where he got it, but it was an amazing tool.

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