The flimsy, officially known as the Petrol, Oil and Water can, was a World War II petrol container used by the British Army. They held 4 imperial gallons (18 l; 4.8 US gal) of fuel, which allowed them to be moved by a single person.
The flimsy was well known for leaking; when used in the North African Campaign, some flimsies leaked 20%, and in some cases over 50% of the fuel they carried over a journey. One quartermaster reported that his 70,000 imperial gallons (320,000 l; 84,000 US gal) of fuel had been reduced to just 30,000 over the journey - and was informed that even this was a "good effort".
The problem with the containers was the crimped or soldered seams, which easily split during transportation, especially over the rocky desert terrain in North Africa. Containers were stacked on top of each other during shipping, and the upper layers crushed those below, resulting in fuel flowing freely in the bilges, with the resulting poisoning and fire risks.
The favoured use by soldiers for the flimsy was as a small stove which could be used to heat meals and tea for the crews. A soldier would cut the flimsy in half, fill the bottom half with petrol-soaked sand and balance the other half on top, filled with water. This was known as a Benghazi Boiler or Benghazi Burner, after the embattled town of Benghazi.
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