No GNW (or “Peter goes South”)

Oh yeah, a war with Denmark could make Karl XII order the construction of Göta Kanal in order to have a transport route that could circumvent the Sound. OTL he ordered Cristopher Polhem to start construction in 1718, but the whole project floundered due to a lack of resources and money and focus as the King died and was not resumed until 1810.

Thanks for pointing this out: never heard about it. But it seems that it was quite limited in its capacity (less than 3 meters deep). Wouldn’t it be cheaper to arrange for the 1855 solution? After all, everybody including the Perfidious Albion will benefit. Except for the Denmark, of course.
Something to do once the palaces are done.
You have the right assessment of the priorities. 😂
 
His influence in Britain may be substantial but so are the British “national interests” (aka, being able to keep building the ships) and reluctance to get involved in a major war immediately after the WoSS. A war in which the worst thing that may happen to the opponent is a delay in the palaces’ construction. Well, actually, at least Prussia and Hanover, if such a war occurs, may end up actively contributing to such a construction (I have no clue about finances of the Hanover but have a very clear idea about at least one Prussian contribution).
Yes, OTL he never managed to get Parliament to approve a declaration of war against Sweden, so he sent the Royal Navy to escort British merchant ships breaking the Swedish blockade of the Baltic ports, hoping to provoke the Swedes to engage the British ships so that he would get a causus belli. The Swedes rather wisely decided to not engage.

He might not have influence enough to actually make Britain go to war or use his British resources to aid his Hannovrian ones, but he can probably work to sour the relationship between Sweden and the British and Dutch (making sure the Swedish troops get little supplies, and so on).
 
Thanks for pointing this out: never heard about it. But it seems that it was quite limited in its capacity (less than 3 meters deep). Wouldn’t it be cheaper to arrange for the 1855 solution? After all, everybody including the Perfidious Albion will benefit. Except for the Denmark, of course.

You have the right assessment of the priorities. 😂
I'm sure Karl would love a more extensive project to be his magnus opus. The differences in technology are close to nil. As for the losses for Denmark, the canal OTL never became much of an alternative route for goods going through the Sound, but it did become a very, very important artery of infrastructure for early Swedish industrialism, moving British coal and Swedish iron.

The OTL 1718 project used some Russian prisoners of war, who were described as hard and eager workers as long as they were fed and treated well. The OTL 1810 project used a lot of alotted soldiers who did manual labour instead of their drill. I don't think Karl will be wanting his soldiers to do manual labour instead of drill, but military engineers and officers may very well be set to supervise the work, and local peasants may work on the project in lieu of land rent (taxes). And of course, any prisoners taken from the Hannovrians, Danes and Prussians, should war break out.
 
Yes, OTL he never managed to get Parliament to approve a declaration of war against Sweden, so he sent the Royal Navy to escort British merchant ships breaking the Swedish blockade of the Baltic ports, hoping to provoke the Swedes to engage the British ships so that he would get a causus belli. The Swedes rather wisely decided to not engage.
IIRC, at some point he shifted his position after he got Bremen and Verden and assumed the anti-Russian stance with approximately the same result: the British squadron (IIRC, under the same command as when it was anti-Swedish) was present in the Baltics but did pretty much nothing besides pure demonstration.

In this TL situation is even worse for George. In OTL Britain wanted restoration of the Baltic trade in which Sweden still was considered a main player and Peter an impediment to the speedy peace. Here Elector of Hanover is trying to disrupt the British trade with both major suppliers of the strategic goods and all this because he wants two pieces of real estate which are absolutely irrelevant to the British interests. I’m not sure if this generate too much of a public support.


He might not have influence enough to actually make Britain go to war or use his British resources to aid his Hannovrian ones, but he can probably work to sour the relationship between Sweden and the British and Dutch (making sure the Swedish troops get little supplies, and so on).
But Sweden already withdrawing from the coalition: Charles is not prolongating a lease of his troops into 1710 and is explicitly blaming the Dutch. Taking into an account a sorry state in which the Netherlands found themselves at the end of the WoSS, the Dutch simply can’t afford to lose two major trade partners so they’ll try to make the amends.
 
Fieldmarshal wants to enjoy life
41. Fieldmarshal wants to enjoy life

-“Is it true that you are one of the richest girls in the area?”
-“I’m the richest one
-“This is nice to know”
Support your local sherif

Enjoying peace and prosperity was not an exclusive prerogative of the monarchs. Fieldmarshal Sheremetev, widowed in 1703, wanted to exploit opportunities of the peaceful life as well and he started with marrying in 1710 Anne Petrovna Naryshkina, nee Saltykova [1]. The marriage celebrations lasted for 3 days with Peter personally playing master of the ceremony, Tsarevich Alexey (who in a new imperial arrangement had been styled “Grand Duke”) with his wife and pretty much everybody else who mattered being present.
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Not that Sheremetev himself suffered from a short pedigree but this marriage made him a relative to both branches of the Romanov (Tsaritsa Praskovua, widow of Ivan V, was from Saltykov family), not to mention a link to one more top aristocratic family, Prozorovsy (mother of Anne Petrovna was from that family).

What was of an additional importance, was the fact that Anne Petrovna was one of the richest brides in Russia. Together with fieldmarshal’s own considerable wealth, this made him (with a possible exception of Menshikov [2], the richest private person in Russia with ownership of approximately 150,000 serfs. A minor but nice detail was the fact that a rather small estate in Kuskovo village on the outskirts of Moscow was neighboring with a much greater estate of his wife, which allowed Boris Petrovich to create a huge palace & park complex there taking a space of 230 hectares.

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On one side the palace was facing a regular park and on the other side there was a canal 300 meters long with a cascade fountain.
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Besides the main palace there were numerous pavilions, a conservatory, 17 ponds with the expensive fish), a zoo and a hunting lodge. On the serious occasions more than 30,000 guests had been gathering there.
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Pavilion “Hermitage” was built specifically for the noble guests who did not want to be bothered by the presence of the servants: access to the second floor was only by “elevator” and the food was delivered the same way.
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In comparison, the city residence was a relatively modest affair in which he did not spent too much time but when he was there, he was holding “an open table”: any “decently looking” person could come in and join the dinner.

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Of course, this was all nice and enjoyable but, with a ruler like Peter, one could not fully relax and enjoy life for too long. As soon as, in Peter’s opinion, fieldmarshal got enough time to relax after the war, get married and order construction of the Kuskovo palace, he was called back to the duty and made Chairman of the Military Collegium [3] with a task to bring all Russian army up to the level of the troops he commanded during the last two wars and to think about the possible improvements which may be useful if the need arises to face the “European” opponents. All Russian officers fighting as the volunteers on both sides of the ongoing WoSS had been recalled home and put to task to compose the comprehensive reports regarding their experience with the stress upon the Prussian and Austrian armies.

Few “noble tourists” and “merchants” soon had been on their way to the Koenigsberg, Mecklenburg and Saxony (via Berlin) with the orders to collect as much intelligence as possible and to buy the available maps (sometging, which any traveler may need). Naum Senyavin got an order to send two small from the Baltic squadron to Amsterdam and back on some preposterous errand.


________________
[1] Actually, this happened in 1713 and, as far as the wealth and estate are involved, it is “borrowed” from the marriage of his son. But why bother with an absolutely unremarkable personage who was just a son of his father.
[2] Menshikov’s wealth is a tricky issue even if it was regularly assessed by the audits launched with a purpose to find out how much did he steal on a specific occasion. Most probably, he was the wealthiest person in Russia due to the extensive “involvement” in various commercial enterprises but as a land/serfs owner he was nowhere close.
[3] Minister of War
 
So a nice wedding and Peter preparing for upcoming conflict after Charles's letter. I imagine that Peter is eager to prove his mantle against proper European powers.
 
So a nice wedding and Peter preparing for upcoming conflict after Charles's letter. I imagine that Peter is eager to prove his mantle against proper European powers.
Nope. It is not about the childish eagerness of proving something irrelevant or any such silliness: he has other things to do but, if the war is coming, and he can do nothing to prevent it, it is better not to fit a historic pattern “Russians are always making the long and careful preparations to the war to find themselves unprepared when it happens” 😂

If the enemies start a war ignoring him as a factor, preparedness means an ability to kick at least one of them so hard and fast that the coalition is falling apart and a war may be ending ASAP instead of being a prolonged exhausting affair which other powers may have a time and wish to join.
 
While peace lasts
42. While peace lasts
Of course, building the palaces was fun but this was not the only fun. Of course, the subjects must be happy and proud that they are being ruled by the sovereign who have the majestic residences [1] but they should be even happier if a monarch created something tangible presumably for their benefit (not necessarily a personal benefit but in general). Time of the public toilets was not there, yet, so the second best things were the canals. The great minds tend to think alike so both of them hit the idea independently [2], which probably implies that the idea was great as well: if there was only a single creat mind involved, this could be a fluke but with two you have a solid statistics. 😜

Charles launched his Göta Canal [3] was a part of a waterway 390 km (240 mi) long, linking a number of lakes and rivers to provide a route from Gothenburg (Göteborg) on the west coast to Söderköping on the Baltic Sea via the Trollhätte kanal and Göta älv river, through the large lakes Vänern and Vättern. Of course, it could not accommodate the big warships but it was OK for the smaller merchant ships fitting into 30 x 7 x 2.8 meters measurements. [4]

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While the construction projects had been going on, Charles enjoyed his role of “father of the nation”, traveling with a minimal entourage or alone across the country, suddenly appearing to check performance of the state officials, inspecting the troops, awarding a watchman who refused to let him into a town after the gates had been closed for a night and doing some other things greatly increasing his personal popularity. Most of the soldiers and officers who returned from the last war brought with them some nice “extras” obtained in Poland and had been eagerly telling the stories about this glorious war and their great king providing Charles with a semi-divine status. The only entertainment his subjects were missing so far was the royal wedding and he was considering a suitable candidate….

On his side, Peter launched an ambitious program which involved 3 systems connecting the Volga River to the Baltic Sea. Of course, he did not have resources for all of them so only one of them, Vyshny Volochyok Waterway, had been started (the left-most on the schema below) and two others remained on a research stage during his life time.

The waterway from Lake Ilmen upstream the Msta and the Tsna Rivers, followed by a portage to the Tvertsa and downstream to the Volga River existed from the medieval times. The name of Vyshny Volochyok is derived from Russian: волок, which means portage. On January 12, 1703 Peter signed a decree which ordered a canal to be built instead of the portage. Prince Matvey Gagarin was appointed the supervisor of the construction, and Adriaan Houter, a Dutch water engineer from Amsterdam, was hired to perform the construction and, as was a typical case with most of the state-run projects, things went wrong and kept going in that direction [5] until Peter found a private entrepreneur, Mikhail Serdyukov, who volunteered to fix the problems. Construction and supervision had been transferred to him and he completely reconstructed canals and locks and created a number of the reservoirs allowing to maintain a reasonably high water level. Needless to say that the job was done faster and cheaper than under the state supervision. By 1716 up to 4000 ships were annually using the canal.


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Serdyukov got a concession for 50 years. He was under the obligation to provide the maintenance and repairs at his own expense but with a free timber provided by the state. He got a right to establish a toll (5 kopecks for each 2 meters of the ship’s length), to build the mills along a waterway and (attention, this is very important 😜) to have a priority on “otkup” [6] of the drinking establishments along the route. Taking into an account that we are talking about Russia, this was better than a gold mine.

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And, while on a subject of the canals, Peter’s recent “acquisition”, von Munnich, presented him with a plan for a much needed one to bypass the Ladoga Lake and expressed willingness to start implementation right now.


So, both Peter and Charles had been busy doing something useful while most of the European countries had been busy fighting the WoSS. The exports had been booming and while the Netherlands clearly were on decline as the Europe's greatest trader, the growing British imports had been more than compensating for the shrinking Dutch activities [7]. The last thing either of them needed was to get a new war on their hands. Which, following the principle “Si vis pacem, para bellum”, meant that they had to get prepared for one….


___________
[1] Just imagine a situation when a subject of a monarch X tells to a subject of a monarch Y that his king has a palace with 200 rooms and gets in response: “and our king lives in a hovel”….
[2] It is like the law of Lomonosov-Lavoisier: both of them (admittedly, with the interval of 25 years) came to the same conclusion that if something (for example, money) disappears in one place, it will sooner or later appear in some other place.
[3] My sincere gratitude to @von Adler who, by telling about this canal, saved me the need to start a new war right now: I had an idea to go into a detailed description of the aristocratic banquets but found that I simply can’t comprehend (forget about translate) meaning of most of the dishes’ names (among the few that are reasonably clear are cheeks of a herring, few thousands per portion). Which was leaving me with a choice between the royal weddings (subject that I don’t like at all), Peter and/or Charles converting into Buddhism or a new war.
[4] Not important for Sweden but potentially useful for the Russian-British trade.
[5] Due to the fluctuations of the water levels on the rivers and absence of the regulating reservoirs, system was getting too shallow for a serious traffic and then for any traffic.
[6] State license for which a receiver paid certain sum.
[7] As I understand, the WoSS was a major hit on the Dutch economy but the main reason for them getting into it was an old paranoia “the French are coming” which was caused by the Dutch own policies. Was it worth it?
 
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It wouldn't be alternatehistory.com without canals.

(even though these exist OTL)
Yes, but in ATL you can have them done properly. 😉

And, as I said, your heroes have to be doing something and the choices are quite limited: war, marriage(s), massive construction, moderate social changes and … canals.

Of course, there is a popular genre of a “mind transplant”: a garbage collector is being hit by a truck and when he opens his eyes he finds out that whatever passes for his mental capacities is transplanted into a body of a king, heir to the throne or, in the worse case scenario, a duke ny the God’s Grace. After which (or even before this) the readers are being informed that, in a time free from the garbage collecting, he managed to get the deep knowledge in the areas of metallurgy, military technology, chemistry, medicine, martial arts (including “historic” fencing skills), history, economic and pretty much everything else about which an author ever heard. Of course, he does not start with building a nuclear reactor in a dungeon of his castle/palace (this usually happens in the later books of the series) but AK47 seems as a good start. If the hero lands somewhere in the late XVIII-early XIX, it is even better because the professional scientists are already available and he can always call them and order to invent an internal combustion engine, machine gun or a really productive moonshine equipment ….. and in the end he must invade the Perfidious Albion (don’t know why).

So, it is either all of the above or the canals. 😂
 
Of course, he does not start with building a nuclear reactor in a dungeon of his castle/palace (this usually happens in the later books of the series) but AK47 seems as a good start. If the hero lands somewhere in the late XVIII-early XIX, it is even better because the professional scientists are already available and he can always call them and order to invent an internal combustion engine, machine gun or a really productive moonshine equipment ….. and in the end he must invade the Perfidious Albion (don’t know why).

So, it is either all of the above or the canals. 😂
And if one ends up in 1941, I believe the standard operating procedure is to get in touch with Stalin and give him a list of people who must be executed ASAP, that being the most effective to solve any and all social and political problems. The invasion of England then happens by 1944 at the latest.
 
And if one ends up in 1941, I believe the standard operating procedure is to get in touch with Stalin and give him a list of people who must be executed ASAP, that being the most effective to solve any and all social and political problems. The invasion of England then happens by 1944 at the latest.
Can’t deny a high probability of all of the above but can’t tell for sure, either: never even tried to read fantasies dedicated to that period. Stopped somewhere on alt-Nicky/Michael/<whoever> - it seems that winning the RJW (timing permitting) is one of the laws of the genre, especially combined with some kind of screwing the Perfidious Albion. The main problem (for me) with all that garbage is not even the action itself (after all, who really cares about Britain 😂) but a complete absence of any literary merits.
 
Opinion is needed ASAP!!!!!
I really need the opinions on the subject and preferably ASAP (before I started a new war 😜 ).

This is an issue of the field kitchens.

If you look at wiki (this ultimate source of wisdom and misinformation), you find “Karl Rudolf Fissler of Idar-Oberstein invented a mobile field kitchen in 1892”. Well, not exactly “invented” because in the Russian Imperial Army various models had been tested since 1866 and few regiments had them during the war of 1877-78. In Austrian army the first model had been tested in 1868 after which it was sent for the further testing to the army. In France the 1st (post-Napoleonic) testing was done in 1872 and in 1889 the numerous models had been presented on the Paris International Exhibition. Below are the models used in the war of 1877-78.
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Needless to say that all these dates are definitely not the “birth dates” because the field kitchens had been known in Napoleonic times and Davout ordered 60 of them for his 1st Corps for the campaign of 1812 [1], which means that they should be known even before that time.

So the question is: how realistic would be their appearance in the early XVIII? There are two main aspects of the issue:
1. Technological. Surviving French model circa 1812 is using copper kettles. The later models - tinned iron: it seems that the process was known at least since 1620s and there was a considerable production in Britain and Saxony so this should not be a secret and later in Russia tinning of the kettles was one of the popular gipsies’ professions so the technology should be simple enough. But maybe I’m missing something?

2. Military practicality. AFAIK, at that time the main stress in a soldier’s diet was on bread and a “5 marches” military model involved construction of the field bakeries within 5-9 days march from the troops. Obviously, the field kitchen can’t bake bread but, for example, in the Russian army a standard ration of that time was 2 pounds of bread, 1 pound of meat, soup (on a meat base) and porridge, a lot of things to eat besides the bread and there always had been hardtacks in use. We do know that Charles XII did not stop for baking the fresh bread and that Napoleon’s soldiers had been carrying few days worth of the hardtack with them so, if the soldiers have enough of other things to eat the fresh bread may (not too fresh if it was baked few day marches away) not be too critical. Now, for the “classic” Western warfare of that period the issue was not critical because it was heavily based upon the complicated maneuvers on a limited space but an ability to prepare food on a march, thus extending the distances covered daily, would be important for the less “sophisticated” and more aggressive style of a warfare [2].

So, would this be fantastic to a degree which hurts everybody’s sense of a realistic alt-reality or does it look reasonably plausible? Can’t start a descent war without deciding on this issue. 😂

[When it comes to the Little Silly War, I’d surely like to have this gadget to backup unexpected blitz but if not, then not]



__________
[1] As much as I dislike Davout personally, the fact remains: he was the most responsible corps commander in Nappy’s army.
[2] Basically, it can be the nice old living off the land model but the soldiers do not have to wait for the hot food being cooked after the daily march: they may have it 2-3 times per day during the short stops for the rest.
 
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From what I can find, they had portable ovens in de Medieval times so +1 on the fact they existed. Even the info on Chuckwagons I can find confirms the existence for many generations of field kitchens.

So the tech is there, the concept is there. Now the you need incentive to build something standardised and part of military thinking. Maybe a explorer in Siberia tells about the difference it made to the right logistic genius? Or someone who just conquered the Ukriane + Crimea and didn't mess up 😜😉 realises all the difference such a capability would have made and sees the benefit for not having to commandeer te local capabilities?

I could certainly see it happen. So to me, plausible and certainly not ASB.
 

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From what I can find, they had portable ovens in de Medieval times so +1 on the fact they existed. Even the info on Chuckwagons I can find confirms the existence for many generations of field kitchens.
Thanks. So the “historic precedents” are there and it is just a matter of a specific implementation and advantages which they may provide for a specific type of a warfare.

So the tech is there, the concept is there. Now the you need incentive to build something standardised and part of military thinking. Maybe a explorer in Siberia tells about the difference it made to the right logistic genius? Or someone who just conquered the Ukriane + Crimea and didn't mess up 😜😉 realises all the difference such a capability would have made and sees the benefit for not having to commandeer te local capabilities?

Well, Siberia aside, campaigning in the Danube Principalities surely can provide some food for the thoughts: it did involve the long and fast marches and an opportunity to build a proper camp on a daily basis definitely was not there and was not necessarily an opportunity to find enough of wood after the end of a daily march. And idea of the field ovens seems really interesting even if, judging by the pictures, they were not for baking on the march, just in camp. BTW, I suspect that the “classic” armies of the XVIII may have something if the kind rather than making the brick baking ovens every few days (besides everything else they would need to carry with them a lot of bricks).
I could certainly see it happen. So to me, plausible and certainly not ASB.
Thanks.
 
BTW, I suspect that the “classic” armies of the XVIII may have something if the kind rather than making the brick baking ovens every few days (besides everything else they would need to carry with them a lot of bricks).
Probably Dutch Ovens of some more than regular size I suppose. Or a lot of them and allocating them per squad.

Anyways, HTH
 
But maybe I’m missing something?
As far as I know, it is very hard to make thin iron that can take heating and cooling repeatedly - it tends to become brittle after that, which is why even modern cast iron pans and pots are very thick. High-quality steel does not have this problem, but is very expensive and labourous to produce in this era. Wrought iron is better, but also labourous to produce. The material needs to be thick, which makes a field stove very heavy.

While there are cart-mounted stoves and ovens, often made of bricks, they are usually used with the normal pots, of copper or thick iron that can be used over campfires as well. The Swedish army used standardised field bakeries made of light brick ovens on top of wooden four-wheeled carts during the Great Northern War OTL.

"Modern" field kitchens tend to be made from parts from stamped sheets of rolled steel, all of which belong to the era of industrialisation (which is also why we see these things coming in numbers in the 1880s and later).

Making a brick and clay field kitchen should be possible - if something breaks, spare "parts" (more bricks and clay) are usually easy to come by. A wrought iron field kitchen would require a skilled smith to repair,
 
As far as I know, it is very hard to make thin iron that can take heating and cooling repeatedly - it tends to become brittle after that, which is why even modern cast iron pans and pots are very thick. High-quality steel does not have this problem, but is very expensive and labourous to produce in this era. Wrought iron is better, but also labourous to produce. The material needs to be thick, which makes a field stove very heavy.

While there are cart-mounted stoves and ovens, often made of bricks, they are usually used with the normal pots, of copper or thick iron that can be used over campfires as well. The Swedish army used standardised field bakeries made of light brick ovens on top of wooden four-wheeled carts during the Great Northern War OTL.

"Modern" field kitchens tend to be made from parts from stamped sheets of rolled steel, all of which belong to the era of industrialisation (which is also why we see these things coming in numbers in the 1880s and later).

Making a brick and clay field kitchen should be possible - if something breaks, spare "parts" (more bricks and clay) are usually easy to come by. A wrought iron field kitchen would require a skilled smith to repair,
I was asking about the tinned iron (one covered with a tin), not the thin iron. The tinned kettles had been seemingly quite common well before the field kitchens were introduced into the armies.

So copper and cast iron are OK and the weight is not too critical: in the worst case scenario 4 horses instead of 2. Not sure if having the skilled smiths with the needed equipment on the army or even division levels are such a big problem: there are plenty of things made out of metal which may need a repair.

Thanks for the input.
 
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I was asking about the tinned iron (one covered with a tin), not the thin iron. The tinned kettles had been seemingly quite common well before the field kitchens were introduced into the armies.

So copper and cast iron are OK and the weight is not too critical: in the worst case scenario 4 horses instead of 2. Not sure if having the skilled smiths with the needed equipment on the army or even division levels are such a big problem: there are plenty of things made out of metal which may need a repair.

Thanks for the input.
Iron has been covered with a thin layer of tin for a long time, but only to prevent rust. It does not change the basic property of the underlying material. Copper was likewise covered to avoid any acidic food from releasing copper oxide, which is highly poisonous.

The small cast iron stove that became popular in the early 1800s in Sweden usually measured 60x60x36cm and weighed in at 140kg and it was intended to cook for a single family. If you want something that is all metal and can cook for a company, it is going to be heavy.
 
Iron has been covered with a thin layer of tin for a long time, but only to prevent rust. It does not change the basic property of the underlying material. Copper was likewise covered to avoid any acidic food from releasing copper oxide, which is highly poisonous.

The small cast iron stove that became popular in the early 1800s in Sweden usually measured 60x60x36cm and weighed in at 140kg and it was intended to cook for a single family. If you want something that is all metal and can cook for a company, it is going to be heavy.
Of course, it is going to be heavy: in OTL these kitchens required 2 horses. But the Janissary had the “company” kettles since they were established and the Cossacks of the Sich had kettles for 200-300 people. In the Russian army the kettles on company level existed since the early 1700s. I already mentioned the field kitchen of Davout’s corps: they were for 250-300 people. So there was nothing prohibitive in the weight.
 
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