A latrine is a communal facility containing one or more (commonly many) toilets which may be simple pit toilets dug in the field or, in the case of the United States Armed Forces (or more specifically, the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force) any toilet including modern flush toilets. The term is derived from the Latin lavatrina meaning bath.
The kind of latrine used at the 4077th MASH changed from episode to episode. In some episodes (particularly those shot on Stage 9) it was a tent with a toilet position for one person. In other episodes, it is a structure made of corrugated metal with two compartments. The location of the latrine was usually opposite the mess tent and next to the shower tent although several episodes show new latrines being dug.
Latrines feature in the plot lines of several M*A*S*H episodes. When Gelbart, Reynolds and Metcalfe interviewed Korean War veterans for anecdotes, they found that latrine jokes were popular at all MASH units but many of the jokes could not be used because they were considered in poor taste on network television.
In Season 1 "Cowboy", Henry is in the tent type latrine when it is blown up by a small charge laid by the chopper pilot John "Cowboy" Hodges. In "Showtime", the Season 1 finale, Frank Burns is in the latrine when Hawkeye has the tent walls collapsed by cutting the ropes. The scene gives us a rare glimpse of the inside of the tent and shows only one position.
In Season 2 "Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde", Hawkeye wants to send the latrine (now of the corrugated iron variety) to North Korea and nearly does so, with General Clayton inside. In Season 3 "The General Flipped at Dawn" Henry tells the visiting General Steele that he has a four-place latrine which the General considered to be a good idea because it encouraged camaraderie. In Season 3 "Bombed", Henry and Father Mulcahy are in the latrine (the corrugated iron version) when it is flattened by a near miss from artillery fire.
In the final episode, the 2 1/2 hour made for TV movie "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" , the camp latrine gets destroyed twice, by an irate Hawkeye and another time by a wounded soldier in a tank.