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garm1and
12-12-2013, 06:40 AM
Everyone knows that the Americans developed the famous K- Rations. While not the best tasting, they provided a sufficient amount of calories and were portable and convenient. What did the other forces use?
6856

navyson
12-12-2013, 05:54 PM
There was a real interesting thread on this subject a while back when I first joined. I'll see if I can find it and post the link.

Chunky
12-14-2013, 09:20 AM
Here's one I came across:

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=12&cad=rja&ved=0CHYQFjAL&url=http%3A%2F%2F17thdivision.tripod.com%2Fid38.ht ml&ei=x3SsUt3xI8Gihgf_y4GgCw&usg=AFQjCNECORxchukWtg7GDsiiL0Vivu3RuQ

Nickdfresh
12-14-2013, 02:57 PM
There's quite a bit on Wiki regarding the American rations, which of course were "enjoyed" by everybody. :mrgreen: But it seems that it was difficult to produce what are essentially emergency rations (such as the K-rats, C-rats, D-rats, Campos, etc.) that are going to be palatable for more than a few meals and no one ever solved that problem. I think capturing enemy rations was somewhat considered a delicacy until one got tired of them too...

garm1and
12-14-2013, 06:22 PM
Thanks Chunky, it was very helpful.:)

tankgeezer
12-14-2013, 06:39 PM
Enjoyment is a very subjective term when it comes to military box rats of any kind. There were times when an actual Rat would have seemed an upgrade. Other times, it wasn't half bad. Ham&eggs were a favorite, beans&Franks, spaghetti &meatballs very good too. The Pork slices in spiced juices were awful at best, we called em' tire patches.The Peanut butter was suitable for dent filling, and tuck pointing. These were all about 20+ yrs. in storage at the time, leftovers from the time of Korea. (Its an odd thought to consider when eating food older than you are) One particularly disturbing item were the bulk packed Hot Dogs, sealed in one Gallon cans, square from long storage, but still holding on to a faint taste of Vinegar. Not so bad if mingled with other more flavorful things (or at least Beer) but not very tasty by themselves. But on a very cold, very dark Fulda Gap night, it was still pretty good to have. All of which gave rise to the line, Cooky ! the food is greasy, smells bad, tasted bad, and why can't we have more?!

leccy
12-15-2013, 06:35 AM
Other nations rations were always a bonus when we could beg, borrow, swap or just steal to supplement our own.

You would be hard pressed to find a Brit squaddie through the 70's-90's at least without his own supplementary rations (with at least the universal hide all curry powder).

Iirc this site was pretty good at listing items

http://reprorations.com/Britain%20WW2/WW2-Britain.htm

Some more info, some just dug into sections of the sites (Charlottes Attic items are a bone of contention especially with Italians it would seem).

http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-food/ww2-rat-pax.htm

http://17thdivision.tripod.com/id18.html

http://www.qmfound.com/history_of_rations.htm

http://www.qmfound.com/history_of_rations.htm

http://www.mreinfo.com/international/great-britain/british-24-hour-ration-packs.html

http://www.usarmymodels.com/ARTICLES/Rations/10in1rations.html

http://www.schifferbooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_book_info&products_id=4428
http://www.helion.co.uk/battlefield-rations-the-food-given-to-the-british-soldier-for-marching-and-fighting-1900-2011.html

For the Germans

http://www.dererstezug.com/German_Rations_at_the_Front.htm
http://www.dererstezug.com/IronRation.htm
http://www.dererstezug.com/germanration.htm
http://reprorations.com/Germany%20WW2/WW2-Germany.htm

Japanese

http://17thdivision.tripod.com/charlottesaxisattic/id20.html

Italian

http://17thdivision.tripod.com/charlottesaxisattic/id26.html

http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showthread.php?t=256570

http://www.comandosupremo.com/forums/topic/1868-italian-rations/page__p__66955__hl__rations__fromsearch__1#entry66 955

http://miles.forumcommunity.net/?t=9343356

Rising Sun*
12-15-2013, 07:35 AM
Some more info, some just dug into sections of the sites (Charlottes Attic items are a bone of contention especially with Italians it would seem).

http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-food/ww2-rat-pax.htm



I think the re-enactors got some of it wrong in re-creating Australian ration items.

The can opener at the bottom looks like a long after WWII version with a spoon at the end opposite the opener, being a FRED (Field Ration Eating Device, or F***ing Ridiculous Eating Device).

Don't know about the tuna tin. All I ever heard from WWII veterans was that the meat source was bully beef, which for Americans to understand was a sort of Spam that was solid in very cold weather and a sweating, slimy meat jelly in very hot weather. Yum!

leccy
12-15-2013, 07:43 AM
I think the re-enactors got some of it wrong in re-creating Australian ration items.

The can opener at the bottom looks like a long after WWII version with a spoon at the end opposite the opener, being a FRED (Field Ration Eating Device, or F***ing Ridiculous Eating Device).

Don't know about the tuna tin. All I ever heard from WWII veterans was that the meat source was bully beef, which for Americans to understand was a sort of Spam that was solid in very cold weather and a sweating, slimy meat jelly in very hot weather. Yum!

Corned dog (corned beef) and pink death (luncheon meat/spam) along with babies heads (Steak and Kidney pud) were staples for us through the 80's and 90's before going to boil in the bag stuff.

Corned dog mixed with mash potato (consistancy and taste of wallpaper paste) some curry added and fit for a king after a week in the field.

Always amazed us that our cooks could produce better food on a No 1 burner (flamethrower you put in a trench) in a field kitchen using compo and fresh mixed than they could in a fully equipped kitchen in camp.

Maybe the proximity of a lot of very hungry, armed and dangerous blokes with no naafi or local eatery for additional skoff was an incentive.

Rising Sun*
12-15-2013, 07:54 AM
Corned dog (corned beef) and pink death (luncheon meat/spam) ...

Commercial version here was Camp Pie. In Camp and Luncheon versions of cereal fillers held together by fat with miniscule traces of something passing for meat.
http://vivatvintage.tumblr.com/post/8796208190/the-tasty-tom-piper-twins-luncheon-beef-loaf-and

A hot summer Scout camp around 1961 put me off both for life.

Rising Sun*
12-15-2013, 08:12 AM
Always amazed us that our cooks could produce better food on a No 1 burner (flamethrower you put in a trench) in a field kitchen using compo and fresh mixed than they could in a fully equipped kitchen in camp.

Maybe the proximity of a lot of very hungry, armed and dangerous blokes with no naafi or local eatery for additional skoff was an incentive.

My father was a reserve officer in the 1950s/1960s who had the good fortune to have in his artillery unit a conscript who was a son of one of the few families which ran what became some of the best restaurants in my state. Probably angling for a better life during a fortnight camp, the conscript told my father and his brother officers that if they gave him a small amount of money he would go into town and buy ingredients so he could cook them magnificent dishes. They did, and he did.

Unlike my most heroic military experience as a mildly hungry grunt with a petrol fuelled field stove which misfired and was blowing impressive flames upwards and outwards as the cooks ran away to avoid the feared explosion, which threatened to deprive me of breakfast. I turned off the fuel cock, and all was well.

Nickdfresh
12-15-2013, 09:34 AM
In my limited field time, I was in around the second generation of MRE's. They then maybe went to the third gen right after the First Gulf War in which the changed some of the menu items and introduced more variety and commercial candy bars (I once ate a pack of M&M's several years past the expiration date and they were fine :mrgreen: ) The only thing I hated was the wieners, which seemed to be coated with a disturbing gelatin substance. However, when we finally got the hot packs of the smokeless green thingy to boil water, almost everything was tolerable provided one had the requisite tiny bottle of Tabasco sauce also introduced after the Gulf War. :mrgreen: In short, MRE's are pretty good if eaten when warmed, the biggest issue was consuming them cold on night ops...

To add to this, I met a couple of old timers that pined for the old C-rats (MCI's technically). But I think the improved MRE's put that to rest....

garm1and
12-15-2013, 05:18 PM
Thanks Leccy and Rising Sun. LOTS of good info.

Chunky
12-16-2013, 09:21 AM
In today's Paper: Private Michael Ryan, Northumberland Fusilier's, Extract from his diary in 1940, "Bardia eastern Libya, where he had to wait in "Hell Pass", he wrote, "The rations were putrid bully and biscuits every day, and whatever we looted from the Italians, and salty water to drink.

garm1and
12-16-2013, 09:09 PM
That sounds awful! :(
In today's Paper: Private Michael Ryan, Northumberland Fusilier's, Extract from his diary in 1940, "Bardia eastern Libya, where he had to wait in "Hell Pass", he wrote, "The rations were putrid bully and biscuits every day, and whatever we looted from the Italians, and salty water to drink.

zacsplat
01-22-2014, 03:10 AM
I have been in communication with a normandy veteran chef, his take on rations were that most stuff was dehydrated, cabbage potato, egg etc,,,. he also said that the bully beef he was issued was left over stock from ww1 and that applied for most of the war, whilst based in caen or perhaps it was Bayeux his recipe for tea was as follows, tea for 100 men..............., 20 minutes to do so. Boil water, plenty of tea, but no sugar.....solution pour 3 lbs of raspberry jam into large tea container...No one complained. No milk , cows dead, in short everything else was beg borrow or steal, this veteran moved from Normandy in 44 through into Belgium, Holland and finished his war in berlin in 45

zacsplat
01-22-2014, 03:17 AM
Sorry, I meant to add im currently putting together a pinterest board on the history of food in the forces, here is a link to it, its only in its early stages but will grow over this coming year http://www.pinterest.com/burgundyhighway/the-army-chef-acc/

JR*
01-22-2014, 04:30 AM
Up to the Napoleonic Wars at any rate, the tradition was for invading armies (or, in some cases, home-based armies) was to loot their way to lunch wherever they could. When Bonaparte said that an army "marched on its stomach", what he really meant was that for preference, it marched on other peoples' stomachs; the ability of his armies to function in the course of invading somewhere was dependent on their ability to "requisition" just about anything useful (especially edible) from the unfortunate local civilian population. In periods of occupation, this was substituted by taxation; occupied populations were expected to pay for the army occupying them. Meanwhile, French profiteers grew rich, and were granted Napoleonic titles of nobility for their trouble. No wonder that the attractions of France's "Liberty Tree" waned rapidly once planted in an occupied territory. After 1815, the increasing complexity of military operations, not to mention political considerations, progressively reduced the reliance of armies on simple looting. Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
01-22-2014, 07:30 AM
Up to the Napoleonic Wars at any rate, the tradition was for invading armies (or, in some cases, home-based armies) was to loot their way to lunch wherever they could.

The Japanese in WWII set their rations in the advance phase of the Pacific War on the basis that local supply, whether by purchase or confiscation, would supplement issued rations to a growing extent after landing.

This caused significant problems in Papua New Guinea where the paucity of local supplies, combined with the greater problem of failures in Japanese supply lines, resulted in hungry and by the end of the Kokoda Campaign sometimes pitifully starving and sick Japanese raiding native gardens and antagonising the natives, who potentially were the porters the Japanese needed to supplement their foot (foot, not food - it was all by foot) supply train.

Conversely, the Japanese in their defensive phase from 1943 onwards proved adept at creating and living off their own vegetable gardens and crops in the SWPA, albeit at or below subsistence level in many cases as their own supply lines failed as the Allies gained control of the seas. This wasn't mirrored by the Allies, not least because they had much better shipping, although the Australians created supply gardens on the main transport route from Adelaide to Darwin in country previously regarded as unsuitable for such agriculture. The Japanese also exploited local sources of food in other ways such as, IIRC, having trawlers at Rabaul to supply their base.

JR*
01-22-2014, 10:14 AM
Interesting points about the Japanese, Rising Sun. It would appear very imprudent of the Japanese to have relied on food supplies obtainable locally in Papua-New Guinea, where a large part of the rural population lived from subsistence/marginal agricultural activities, supplemented in many cases by hunter-gathering. There is also the point that the sort of food appreciated in Papua differed greatly from the usual Japanese diet - no inconsiderable problem. Still, this does show that the old plan of marching on someone else's stomach was not entirely dead, even in WW2.

Failure to obtain enough local edible plunder could be a war-losing factor. In the 1812 campaign, a factor of primary importance in the French defeat was that when Napoleon's army retreated from Moscow, it was forced by the wily Kutuzov to pass back over the route devastated by the Russians and (of course) by the French themselves in the course of the French advance, while Kutuzov's own army (preserved at Borodino, and subsequently reinforced) maneuvered over the relatively untouched territory that the French would have preferred as their exit route. The result was that the unfortunate French starved as well as froze, so that the cream of Napoleon's soldiery died of privation. Recent archaeological excavation of Grande Armee mass graves dug when the French had actually cleared Russian territory have shown that French soldiers were still dying in droves of the after-effects of cold and hunger endured in Russia. Best regards, JR.

zacsplat
01-22-2014, 12:22 PM
Found this snippit in another email from the same Normandy vet, it does refer to 24hr ration packs , so I guess they must have existed even in 1944, I am trying to find out the contents, hopefully will hear back from him soon, hers a cut and paste ,,,,,,,,,,,,,, The following day more marching and arrived at a large field, surrounded by barbed wire with a large group of other soldiers with 1 large water truck in the middle, for 2 weeks, lots of fatigues, did no cooking. (I cannot find out what they ate only that they had 2 X 24 hour packs that were not to be opened

Meantime lots of shelling over the top of them from our artillery and naval guns. At the end of 2 weeks moved to the outskirts of Bayeux with 8 other cooks to support Royal Engineers in 30 Corp while they waited to move forward. By this time he was cooking and drawing rations for30 men and officers.

garm1and
01-22-2014, 04:30 PM
Thanks JR, Zacsplat, and Rising Sun. Those were helpful responses. :D

Rising Sun*
01-22-2014, 04:47 PM
Interesting points about the Japanese, Rising Sun. It would appear very imprudent of the Japanese to have relied on food supplies obtainable locally in Papua-New Guinea, where a large part of the rural population lived from subsistence/marginal agricultural activities, supplemented in many cases by hunter-gathering. There is also the point that the sort of food appreciated in Papua differed greatly from the usual Japanese diet - no inconsiderable problem. Still, this does show that the old plan of marching on someone else's stomach was not entirely dead, even in WW2.

JR, I don't know to what extent the Papua New Guinea Japanese force expected to obtain local food. Its food problems probably came much more from the Kokoda campaign taking much longer than expected. In the Japanese advance phase this required an ever extending supply chain by foot over hard and mountainous country, while the supply chain for the retreating Australians shortened as they came closer to their base in Port Moresby. By the time the Japanese were in sight of Port Moresby they were seriously short of food. As they retreated they became desperate for food and raided native gardens and in a few cases resorted to cannibalism of captured or dead Australians, although it is thought that in some cases there might have been a ritual element to this in eating the enemy (liver seems to have been the relevant organ), as apparently practised by the odious Colonel Tsujii and some other Japanese in various places in Asia and the Pacific . By the time the Japanese had bunkered down in their beachheads at Gona, Buna and Sanananda towards the end of the Australian advance and during the reduction of those beachheads, their food situation was desperate and there were instances of Japanese eating their own dead. Quite some time ago I read a translation of a Japanese soldier's diary where he records his qualms about eating his comrade versus the need for survival. R. v Dudley & Stephens on land. The Japanese food problems were compounded during their retreat and garrison phases by Allied attacks on Japanese shipping, which reduced further the available supplies.

The problem with carrying supplies by foot is that as the supply line lengthens the carrier requires more supplies to sustain himself on his journey out and return, so he carries progressively less. I can't recall exact figures, but I seem to recall that at one stage the Australian supply line required something like four porters carrying food just to support themselves and the fifth one carrying supplies for the front.

Although they got some local support, Japanese brutality towards the natives and raids on their gardens meant that the Japanese couldn't rely on native porters as much as the Australians could, so the Japanese had to divert a greater proportion of their own troops to supply functions.

Australia hasn't distinguished itself by gratitude towards the native porters and other natives who assisted our forces during WWII, preferring to go for form over substance. http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/lifestyle/article/-/5521214/fuzzy-wuzzy-angels-the-forgotten-heroes/
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-07-24/fuzzy-wuzzy-recognition-too-little-too-late/1365372

The Japanese weren't alone in raiding native gardens as the Australians did it on occasion during the Australian retreat phase, but on a much more modest and less brutal scale.

Reliance on local supplies was much more a feature of the Japanese Malayan and Philippines campaigns. The Malayan campaign went almost perfectly for the Japanese, but General Homma stalled in the Philippines at a crucial stage during the American and Filipino retreat. Homma was accused by other Japanese military leaders of lacking aggression, but at that point a large part of his problem was that he had outrun his lines of supply and couldn't get sufficient food for his troops. Providence intervened, in the form of large food dumps stupidly left intact by MacArthur in the line of the Japanese advance, which enabled Homma to feed his troops.

In contrast, the Australian practice during the Australian retreat phase in Papua New Guinea was to deny abandoned food supplies to the enemy by destroying or fouling them, notably when the supply base at Myola was abandoned. When the Japanese retreated some of them were so desperate for food that they consumed fouled Australian rations abandoned by the Australians during their retreat phase.

As far as I'm aware the Japanese had no or negligible air supply capacity while, apart from the clear area at the Australian supply dump supplied by air drop at Myola, the dense jungle made air supply largely impracticable for both sides for much of their respective advance and retreat phases over the Kokoda Track.