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1942 Field Desk Find


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I was given this 1942 field desk by a friend of mine after this morning's high power match. I mostly collect field gear and uniforms, so a bulky camp item like this desk is something new for me.

 

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The desk shows honest wear consistent with its age. My friend's father acquired this many years ago when the Washington National Guard museum liquidated some of its collection. He used it for years to store paperwork, then passed it to my friend, who kept it in his backyard tool shed and didn't really touch it beyond that. IIRC the WA National Guard saw action in New Guinea and the Philippines, so it's possible this field desk could've made the journey along with them. Speculation aside, I don't have any written provenance.

 

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The leather handles on the side are still very supple and strong. The inside smells musty but that's about it. The Bakelite drawer rings are fragile but completely intact.

 

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The desk was made by Oshkosh Trunks & Luggage on 12 December 1942. I had no idea that government stock numbers existed this early... I thought FSN's were exclusively a postwar thing. Despite being 75 years old, this field desk exhibits amazing craftsmanship. All the rivets are where they should be, and every wood panel fits where it should.

 

Anyways... What were its original contents? What would this have been used for? Is there a proper name for this field desk?

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” —Winston Churchill

 

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: if you f**k with me, I’ll kill you all.” —General James Mattis

 

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According to the Quartermaster Supply Catalog QM 3-4 dated 1945, you have a Chest, Record, Fiber Stock No. 26-C-2834.

 

Some examples have brass drawer pulls.

 

Yes, the military assigned stock numbers to all it's items during WW2.

 

Typically the contents were as follows:

 

Top Drawer

Current council book and allied voucher file

Company property book and allied voucher file

Clothing & equipment records

Retained clothing requisitions & individual clothing slips

Blank forms, books, manuals, regulations and other important directives that are needed in the field (excess may be placed in lower compartments)

 

Left Section

Target record card - individual target records

5 year file section (5 sections by year of following)

Council books

Sick reports

Morning reports

etc

 

Top Right Section (actually both top & bottom right sections)

Morning reports

Company orders

Extracts from service records

etc - filed in fromt of alphabetical cards (6"X9")

 

Top Right Section contains letters "A" through "M" cards - Bottom Right Section contains letters "N" through "Z" cards

Dwayne

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Wow! Thanks for the extremely thorough response, Quartermaster.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” —Winston Churchill

 

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: if you f**k with me, I’ll kill you all.” —General James Mattis

 

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I wouldn't exactly call it a "Field Desk" but a "Records Chest". The field desk was a cube, while the depth of a records chest is not as deep as a field desk. I have a "records chest" that i called a field desk until a friend who specializes in these kind of things corrected me. Just a useless bit of info.

Coltie ;)

Campaigner/Progressive WWII Living History and Reenacting

 

 

 

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I wouldn't exactly call it a "Field Desk" but a "Records Chest". The field desk was a cube, while the depth of a records chest is not as deep as a field desk. I have a "records chest" that i called a field desk until a friend who specializes in these kind of things corrected me. Just a useless bit of info.

Coltie ;)

 

Hardly useless. Now I know exactly what I have.

 

I don't collect paperwork, but at the very least I have a place to stick my loose WWII canteens.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” —Winston Churchill

 

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: if you f**k with me, I’ll kill you all.” —General James Mattis

 

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I have the same one. I use mine for a field kitchen in my GP Small tent and keep silverware in th drawer, plates in the left vertical space and bowls and napkins and such in the 2 horizontal spaces. Works perfectly!

David Turman

Semper Fi !

"Not as Lean, not as Mean, but still a Marine!"

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