Everybody has had a Swiss Army Knife at one time or another, that handy-dandy combo tool that’s a knife, a saw, a screwdriver and can opener. Hardly a fearsome weapon, but darned useful. Not only that, it’s got your basic personal grooming kit; a scissor, nail file, tooth pick and tweezers. Best of all, though, is the corkscrew. You have to figure there’s a reason why the Swiss have been neutral in every war, and the wine opener that is standard issue to every Swiss soldier is a telling clue.
The Swiss Army also has an official Swiss Army cigarette lighter so Swiss soldiers can light up a smoke while enjoying their wine. True to the Swiss Army credo, the cigarette lighter has another use, doubling as a compass, to let the Swiss soldiers know where they are if they’ve used their corkscrew a little too much. Here is a peek at some other unique Swiss Army equipment:
Swiss Army Combo Rifle and Umbrella: A soldier’s life is often a rugged one, living out in the elements in all weather and terrain. When your army never fights any wars, what’s the harm in mating your weapon to reality? A dry soldier is a happy soldier.
Swiss Army Tank/Jacuzzi Spa: 30 tons of steel and chrome, the Swiss Army Tank is the home-away-from-home for her crew. That’s why the Swiss have included a Jacuzzi hot tub with massage jets in their “battle” tanks. It’s right next to the kitchen and behind the sauna.
Swiss Army Machine Gun/Pasta Maker: Swiss Army officers figure that their boys aren’t going to be mowing down enemy combatants with their machine guns anytime soon, so they have incorporated a do-it-yourself pasta maker for soldiers homesick for Mama’s cooking. Rigatoni, ziti, shells, angel hair, lasagna or linguine, there’s no pasta the Swiss Army Machine Gun cannot make!
Swiss Army Helmet/Fondue Pot: The Swiss love their cheese, and a soldier on bivouac is no different. Slip out the helmet liner and the helmet is a teflon-lined fondue pot, the perfect complement to a mellow bottle of wine. Ideal for preparing a spicy bouillabaisse or boiling pasta as well.
Swiss Army Rocket Launcher/Leaf blower: Swiss people by their nature are sticklers for neatness and order, and soldiers by their training, especially Swiss soldiers, are absolutely manic about it. With no wars to fight ever, officers of the Swiss Army have to keep their men busy somehow, and all those shoulder-mounted rocket launchers that will never be fired in anger ought to be used for something. Swiss Army bases are the neatest and most beautifully landscaped military facilities in the world.
Swiss Army Jeep/Lawn Mower: See Above.
Swiss Army Fighter Jet/Crop Duster: It was decided early in its developmental stages that the 4F Conciliator would be a different sort of fighter jet, one that does combat with enemies of the nation’s crops, pesky weevils and weeds. With it’s speed and maneuverability, entire Alpine valleys can be dusted in no time, leaving Swiss pilots plenty of time to patrol their airspace for imaginary enemies and still be back in time to enjoy a good bottle of wine.
Swiss Army Skis: Unlike every other piece of Swiss Army gear, there’s no second use for them, nor are they any different from regular skis, but Switzerland is pretty much entirely Alps, so not skiing is a Swiss person’s idea of a vacation. Unfortunately, the only place to be stationed if you are in the Swiss Army is Switzerland, so the Swiss make a big deal about being the best skiing army anywhere. Other armies agree, since no one can recall any conquering armies laying waste to nations on skis, but no one has the heart to tell the Swiss.