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A can opener also known as a tin opener is a device used to open metal cans. The P-38 can opener is a small can opener issued in the canned field rations of the United States Armed Forces from World War II to the 1980s. Originally designed for and distributed in the K-ration, it was later included in the C-ration. It is smaller and lighter to carry then a standard can opener. The device can be easily attached to a keyring or dog tag chain using the small punched hole. The can opener is keychain-sized (about 1.5 inches, 38mm, in length) and consists of a short metal blade that serves as a handle (and also a screwdriver to the resourceful), with a small, hinged metal tooth that folds out to pierce the can lid. A notch just under the hinge point keeps the opener hooked around the rim of the can as the device is "walked" around to cut the lid out. A larger version called the P-51 is somewhat easier to operate. The most likely origin of the name is much more pedestrian; the P-38 is 38 mm (1.5 in) long. This explanation also holds for the P-51, which measures 51 mm (2.0 in) in length.
The P38 can opener is a small folding blade used to open canned rations (such as K-rations or C-rations) amongst many other uses. List of P38 uses by the pentagon: 1. Can opener, 2. Seam ripper, 3. Screwdriver, 4. Clean fingernails, 5. Cut fishing line, 6. Open paint cans, 7. Window scraper, 8. Scrape around floor corners, 9. Digging, 10. Clean out groove on tupperware lids, 11. Reach in and clean out small cracks, 12. Scrape around edge of boots, 13. Bottle opener, 14. Gut fish (in the field), 15. Scale fish (in the field), 16. Test for 'doneness' when baking on a camp fire, 17. Prying items, 18. Strip wire, 19. Scrape pans in the field, 20. Lift key on flip top cans, 21. Chisel, 22. Barter, 23. Marking tool, 24. Deflating tires, 25. Clean sole of boot/shoe, 26. Pick teeth, 27. Measurement, 28. Striking flint, 29. Stirring coffee, 30. Puncturing plastic coating, 31. Knocking on doors, 32. Morse code, 33. Box cutter, 34. Opening letters, 35. Write emergency messages, 36. Scratch an itch, 37. Save as a souvenir, 38. Rip off rank for on-the-spot promotions, 39. Bee sting removal tool (scrape off wit blade).
A can opener is also referred to as a churchkey, church key, tin opener, P-38, P38, P-51, or P51.
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