A short history of the stove, as read from The Quartermaster Corps: Organization, Supply, and Services Volume I 1953
Other cooking outfits for small groups of men operating away from organizational mess facilities were developed by the QMC. Among these was the 20-man cooking outfit, initially “developed on the auspices of Major Clements of the Storage and Distribution Division and later taken over and modified by the Special Forces Section of the Research and Development Branch. Designed to be used particularly by antiaircraft and searchlight detachments, it was recommended for standardization by the QMCTC on 15 September 1942. The outfit consisted of two gasoline stoves of the two-burner type; two metal cases, one for each stove, which could be used as a cooking vessel and a frying pan; a set of nested cooking vessels including two coffee pots; and miscellaneous utensils, such as can openers, paring knives, and a ladle. The complete outfit weighed about fifty pounds and was packed in a canvas carrying bag.
This 20-man cooking outfit was criticized in test reports because food, unless closely watched by the cook, burned easily. An intensely hot, localized flame was furnished by the burners, which were the same as those used in the M-1941 one-burner stoves. In addition, the frequent clogging of generators posed amaintenance problem. Within a year a considerable number of modifications had been made to overcome these difficulties as well as to redesign the components of the outfit.
Because of the inadequacy of the 20-man cooking outfit, a project had been initiated about March 1943 to develop a more satisfactory item. In the months following a considerable amount of research was accomplished, resulting in the development of the small detachment cooking outfit to prove hot meals for 20 to 30 men. Standardized at first on a basis of limited procurement, the new outfit proved superior in tests to the 20-man cooking unit. As a consequence, in the summer of 1944 the QMCTC recommended its standardization and the reclassification of the 20-man cooking outfit as substitute standard.