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Lancer44
05-29-2006, 09:50 PM
In our discussions we concentrate on equipment, weapons and sometimes uniforms. There is not much information about food of different armies.
Of course when soldiers had stew or soup from field kitchens it's hard to distinguish it and topic is not very exciting. :)

But what about emergency rations?
I want to tell you something about Australian rations. They were issued to US soldiers in 1943 in New Guinea. Famous "Bully Beef" and hard biscuits were hated by soldiers. Bully beef made in Argentina in +40 C temperatures was melted and could be poured from the tin...
Anyway, soldiers of many nations survived on those rations.

http://img280.imageshack.us/img280/8464/rationa9pt.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
1 Tin of Corned Beef (better known as 'Bully Beef' to friend and foe alike

2 Packs of Arnott's Plain Biscuits (These are military biscuits and not fancies)--Hard on the teeth but oh-so-filling! Sealed inside cello bags, inside the buff. Early war wrapper reminiscent of WW1 ANZAC fame. (3 ounces each)

1 Tin of Tuna in the buff-labeled "Diamond Brand" tin. Fish was a vital component to rations for men in the desert, to receive plenty of protein in a not-so filling package, while delivering a bit more salt to the diet in order to encourage drinking of water.

3 packs of WEET BIX, Australia's favourite high-nutrition Cereal/biscuit. These can be eaten dry as a snack, or boiled with water and sugar, or, better yet, eaten in Milk (hot or cold) as an energy breakfast. Standard Aussie issue wrapper from the time period covers one serving each of these sealed inside an inner cello pouch.

1 Roll of Steam Rollers Mints in the buff war-time wrapper. These are actual Australian Steam Rollers as issued to troops, and will pleasantly surprise you folks if you don't care for the British or German mints that eat your lips off. These are mild and tasty, and were one of the favourites with all troops in the theatre, even inspiring some German mint makers to work on more pleasant mint varieties when some rolls made it back from the front!

1 pack of Indian "Sun" brand matches, which were both issued and sold through NAAFI outlets. They were cheap, plentiful and somewhat waterproof, and come in gastly hand-assembled and labeled wood and paper boxes.

1 Australian 3-in-1 pocket tin opener in its 1940 dated envelope. This opener will open cans, lift up caps, and serve as a spoon. The design is so clever, it is still in service today!

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/1456/rationb1ek.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
1 Tin of Service Blend Tea in the reclosable 3.1 ounce package. Lid is pry-up style, tea is atrocious, and label is standard Aussie Mil. This is where the mate who is good at making Billie tea can shine. (Yes, you use a tin (biscuit or otherwise) with a handle to make the tea in. After brewing it up, you swing it around to settle the leaves...This requires practice, mate!)

2 Packs of Arnott's Sweet Biscuits (These are military biscuits and not fancies)--Quite tasty with a spot of tea or coffee, or even as an energy snack inside your GP ammo pouch. Sealed inside cello bags, inside the buff and labeled wrapper. (4.5 ounces each)

1 Tin of sweetened condensed Milk in the compo ration wrapper. Brew up a mess of tea to share with your mates, or bribe the Gurkhas with this sweetened treat!

1 pack of "Hard Sweets". Similar to British Boiled Sweets, these red, green, orange, yellow and white "lollies" are intended as supplemental rations and energy food, and were a standard item found inside the pocket of most of any Commonwealth troopers. 2 cello packs of one ounce each inside the marked outer package as issued with daily rations and flight rations.

http://img112.imageshack.us/img112/6831/arnotts16bx.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Arnotts biscuits often send by families in parcels - look at note on the tin.

http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/2100/arnotts21js.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/6752/rationcanada1oo.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Canadian Emergency ration.

http://img211.imageshack.us/img211/3262/emergency19rl.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Australian Emergency ration

http://img151.imageshack.us/img151/5423/lifeboatpack6dq.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
American Life Boat Pack

http://img105.imageshack.us/img105/6969/firsthamburgersinoz4zo.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Hamburgers were not known in Australia before WWII. :)
Here you can see the first burgers in Oz eaten by Australians and Americans.
And pay special attention to the price list...

Do you have any info about food of other armies?

Cheers,

Lancer44

Kroat369.
05-30-2006, 08:36 AM
here is some scho-ka-kolas of the wehrmacht
http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f284/flick1941/jagd/schokakola_5341.jpg

arhob1
06-02-2006, 05:18 PM
Lancer44 - Interesting stuff thanks!

Do you know why the "Emergency" rations state on the lid that their consumption must be reported immediately? Why is this? What do they do to you!?

Lancer44
06-02-2006, 07:18 PM
Lancer44 - Interesting stuff thanks!

Do you know why the "Emergency" rations state on the lid that their consumption must be reported immediately? Why is this? What do they do to you!?

In every army of the world soldiers have temptations to eat emergency rations or sell them to civilians - mostly for alcohol.
Emergency ration for infantry, carried by foot sloggers is their commander asset. He knows that his soldiers can survive in the field 48 hours without any food supplies.
Obviously if they eat emergency rations before real emergency arise, they want survive. :)
Hence order to report consumption. As I know it it was not treated as serious offence, ration was replenished and penalty for offender usually additional guard duty.

Cheers

Lancer44

Cuts
06-03-2006, 02:58 AM
Lancer, was that your own article in the first post of the thread ?


By the way, Fred is on the verge of retirement !
It's the end of civilisation as we know it !

Lancer44
06-03-2006, 08:04 AM
Lancer, was that your own article in the first post of the thread ?


By the way, Fred is on the verge of retirement !
It's the end of civilisation as we know it !

Hi Cuts,

It is not entirely my article... I searched Net for such things.
Than I made sure that photos are not copywrighted.
Any problems with this thread? I just wanted to revive this Forum.

Salute,

Lancer44

2nd of foot
06-03-2006, 08:32 AM
Lancer44 - Interesting stuff thanks!

Do you know why the "Emergency" rations state on the lid that their consumption must be reported immediately? Why is this? What do they do to you!?

Probably so that it can be replaced. Which rations are you talking about.

Having eaten modern aircrew emergence ration, it would have to be an emergence for me to eat them again.

This would depend on the army. The Brits had central cooking and the cqms would ferry the meals forward to the platoons for last light and first light. This caused problems in the summer as last light is very quickly followed be first light. But the concept was for the troops to have hot meals and a snack for lunch, bread and jam/cheese and tea. Btu having hot food in the troops was considered very important to moral and the effectiveness to troops in the British army. On the other hand the US had C rations, which the troops had to heat and so would tend to eat cold even in bad weather. This was a particular problem in the Hurtgen forest. In “How to make War” it relegates that brits troops could spend over 300 day in the line without too many problems were as the US was about 260 before they were exhausted and had to be rotated. This was not a problem for the US as they had lots of troops available and could squander them. The brits on the other hand were re-rolling AA regiments to form infantry by late 44.

Even today it is a no no to eat cold food in the field and only when it may compromise your location to cook.

On D-Day brits had very good self-heating cans of soup issued to the assaulting troops.

Lancer44
06-03-2006, 08:45 AM
Lancer44 - Interesting stuff thanks!

Do you know why the "Emergency" rations state on the lid that their consumption must be reported immediately? Why is this? What do they do to you!?

Probably so that it can be replaced. Which rations are you talking about.

Having eaten modern aircrew emergence ration, it would have to be an emergence for me to eat them again.

This would depend on the army. The Brits had central cooking and the cqms would ferry the meals forward to the platoons for last light and first light. This caused problems in the summer as last light is very quickly followed be first light. But the concept was for the troops to have hot meals and a snack for lunch, bread and jam/cheese and tea. Btu having hot food in the troops was considered very important to moral and the effectiveness to troops in the British army. On the other hand the US had C rations, which the troops had to heat and so would tend to eat cold even in bad weather. This was a particular problem in the Hurtgen forest. In “How to make War” it relegates that brits troops could spend over 300 day in the line without too many problems were as the US was about 260 before they were exhausted and had to be rotated. This was not a problem for the US as they had lots of troops available and could squander them. The brits on the other hand were re-rolling AA regiments to form infantry by late 44.

Even today it is a no no to eat cold food in the field and only when it may compromise your location to cook.

On D-Day brits had very good self-heating cans of soup issued to the assaulting troops.

Hi 2nd of foot,

From my father I heard that soldiers in the field, (Italy1944), much prefered US R-rations than British R-rations.

And personally I dont't think either Brits or Yanks are capable to create
any good soup...

Cheers,

Lancer44

2nd of foot
06-03-2006, 08:59 AM
As to preference you are probably right. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. As most of the brit stuff was corn beef you could understand why. In 14th army Slim had over 14 different ration scales. That is different typres of food for different troops. Hindu no beef, Muslim no pork, Buddhist veg only, brits no foreign muck and so on.

The point is that the brits would cook (re-heat) the food before eating it whilst the US troops had a habit of eating it from the tin cold.

Cuts
06-03-2006, 04:55 PM
Lancer, was that your own article in the first post of the thread ?


By the way, Fred is on the verge of retirement !
It's the end of civilisation as we know it !

Hi Cuts,

It is not entirely my article... I searched Net for such things.
Than I made sure that photos are not copywrighted.
Any problems with this thread? I just wanted to revive this Forum.

Salute,

Lancer44

No mate, nothing wrong with the thread at all, I find it very interesting.
I was just wondering if it was your own article on Digger History.

Lancer44
06-03-2006, 10:31 PM
No mate, nothing wrong with the thread at all, I find it very interesting.
I was just wondering if it was your own article on Digger History.

Currently I'm writing large article about PTSD for Militaria XX Century in Poland. When they publish it I will translate some parts and publish on this forum.

A bit more about US Army food:

http://img107.imageshack.us/img107/7721/krationsearly3ge.gif (http://imageshack.us)
K-rations were the most popular among US and Allied troops.
The Quartermaster Corps purchased its first million K-Rations in May 1942. In the peak year, 1944, they procured more than 105 million. Contrary to several long-standing myths, there is no special significance attached to the letter "K." It was simply picked to make it phonetically distinguishable from C- and D-Rations.

Although other related items appear in its ancestral background the actual prototype of the K ration was a pocket ration for paratroopers developed by the SR&DL at the request of the Air Corps early in the war. Two original samples (one with pemmican biscuits, a peanut bar, raisins, and bouillon paste; the other with pemmican biscuits, a small D bar, a meat preparation, and beverage (powder) evolved into the one-package breakfast-dinner-supper combination used first by paratroopers.

The three-meal combination contained such common units as pemmican biscuits and gum. In addition, the breakfast unit furnished malted milk tablets, canned veal loaf, soluble coffee, and sugar; the dinner package had dextrose tablets, canned ham spread, and bouillon cubes; and for the supper unit there were the D bar chocolate, sausage, lemon powder, ant sugar. The Army quickly noted the success of the new ration with the paratroops and in 1942 the item was adopted for all-service use as Field Ration, Type K. The instantaneous success of the ration with attendant popular publicity, was a source of amazement to the developers.

Success was not a deterrent to continued research. Many change were effected in the components and packaging of the K ration during the seven revisions of the ration before the final World War II specification was published. During that period the variety of biscuits was increased, newer and more acceptable meat products were introduced, malted milk tablets and D bars gave way to a variety of confections, additional beverage components were provided in improved packages, and cigarettes, matches, salt tablets, toilet paper and spoons were ultimately included as accessory items.

The cartons containing the individual meals also were subject to many changes. The first cartons were coated both inside and out with a thermoplastic compound. Later they were wax-coated on the outside only, wrapped in waxed paper, then coated with' a commercial product made from "unmilled crepe rubber and blended waxes," specified not to melt at 135 degrees nor "crack, chip, or otherwise become separated" from the surface of the carton at minus 20 degrees below zero. Other types of packages were tested, including a "thread opening fiber bodied can with metal ends." The wax-impregnated materials prevailed, however, and the ultimate requirements were for the familiar wax-coated inner carton placed in a second carton labeled and colored to indicate whether its content was breakfast, dinner, or supper.

As finally specified, the breakfast packet contained a canned meat product, biscuits, a compressed cereal bar, soluble coffee, a fruit bar, gum, sugar tablets, four cigarettes, water-purification tablets, a can opener, toilet paper, and a wooden spoon. The dinner carton had a canned cheese product, biscuits, a candy bar, gum, a variety of beverage powders, granulated sugar, salt tablets, cigarettes, and matches, a can opener and spoon. The supper packet included a canned meat product, biscuits, bouillon powder, confections and gum, soluble coffee, granulated sugar, cigarettes, can opener, and spoon. The biscuits, beverages, sugar, fruit bar, confections, gum, and spoon were packaged in a laminated cellophane bag while the canned meat and cheese product were put in a chipboard sleeve-type box. The two units were assembled and sealed in a waxed carton inclosed in the nonwaxed outer carton labeled with the K ration design and color. Twelve complete rations were packed in a fiberboard box which was overpacked in a nailed wood box for oversea shipment.

The first million K rations were ordered in May 1942 and were followed by increasing millions. In 1944, the peak year of production, more than 105 million rations were procured. Toward the end of the war, the usefulness of the K ration was coming to an end as a result of the emergence of a superior C ration. In postwar 1946, an Army Food Conference recommended that the K be discontinued and in 1948 the ration was declared obsolete by the Quartermaster Corps Technical Committee. It was then recommended that depot stocks be disposed of by utilization in the civilian feeding program overseas.

Like other unpopular items, misuse was a contributing factor to the waning popularity of the K ration. Although designed to be used for a period of two or three days only, the ration occasionally subsisted troops for weeks on end. There were times when this application was unavoidable; there were also occasions when the K was employed because it was easiest to issue. Continued use reduced the acceptability and diminished the value of the ration

http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/2830/rations5in17jw.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img488.imageshack.us/img488/804/rations5in18003iw.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
The Ration, Small Detachment, 5-in-1, was designed for use by small groups of military personnel to prepare hot meals with basic cooking facilities, or where larger groups may be divided into units of 5 to 10 for feeding purposes. The initial thinking was its usefullnes for armored vehicle crews in combat, gun crews widely separated from battery HQ kitchens, or for troops traveling by rail without kitchen cars. The first version of the 5-in-1 was issued in 1942, early in World War II, along with the 10 in 1. The 5-in-1 saw action successfully in North Africa and was produced in volume during 1943.

http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/6589/rationsmountain19436rt.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

At severe altitudes solid foods are undesirable, but sweets, fruits, and soups are well tolerated. After experimentation at the Quartermaster's Chicago Subsistence Research Laboratory, the Mountain Ration was developed for use by "Alpine Troops", the 10th Mountain Division and the First Special Service Force (FSSF) in particular. The ration contained 4,800 calories and items of adequate roughage capable of slow digestion. The Mountain Ration came in four varieties, packed in fiber cartons, each containing the rations of four men for three meals (one day). Three menus included Carter's spread (a butter substitute), soluble coffee, dry milk, biscuits, hard candy, cereal (three varieties), dehydrated cheese, D ration bars, fruit bars, gum, lemon-juice powder, dehydrated soup, salt, sugar, tea, cigarettes, and toilet paper, and other components as in the photo above. The emphasis was on high caloric value in small packages, and ease of eating and digestion in mountain conditions.

D-Day special rations: The Quartermaster Corps furnished a special high energy-content ration to keep invasion troops at peak energy before the landings. This was based on the B ration, with high energy foods substituted for low energy foods. Such foods included grapefruit juice, tomato juice, canned milk, roast beef, corned beef hash, coffee, tea, coca, canned peas, canned tomatoes, jams, string beans, sliced pineapple, potatoes, canned peaches, fruit cocktail, sugar, and corn. It was very difficult to maintain supplies of rations for the masses of troops as they moved from inland bases toward the embarkation points, transitioning from A rations (mess hall) to field and assault rations in the process.

For the crucial first day of combat, three K rations and three D rations were issued as the "emergency ration".

http://img464.imageshack.us/img464/9261/rationd5bp.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/5443/rationsd8007da.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Ration D - chocolate bar anyone can try today buying Hershey's Bar in a corner shop.

Ration C:
http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/7314/cration2iy.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

I hope you enjoyed this thread.

Lancer44

George Eller
06-04-2006, 05:54 PM
Lancer 44, You beat me to it. :evil: What I have posted below was my own research. Sorry - but it looks like by coincidence some of the information is identical to yours. Please excuse me for any duplication.

US Army Rations - World War II

http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/5364/ration017dv.jpg
US Army Handbook 1939-1945, George Forty, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1995, p 117
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http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/7099/ration020zf.jpg
US Army Handbook 1939-1945, George Forty, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1995, p 118
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http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/9104/ration032hj.jpg
US Army Handbook 1939-1945, George Forty, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1995, p 119
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http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/3699/ration043ct.jpg
The US Army In World War II, Mark R. Henry, Osprey Publishing, 2001, p 23
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http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/1852/ration052rf.jpg
The US Army In World War II, Mark R. Henry, Osprey Publishing, 2001, p 24
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http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/1013/ration065iu.jpg
The US Army In World War II, Mark R. Henry, Osprey Publishing, 2001, p 25
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Operational Rations in World War II
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

As a result of these developments, the Army entered World War II with two established special-purpose rations-Field Ration D and Field Ration C. Ration D was used throughout the war as the Army's emergency ration and as a supplement to other rations. The C ration went through an evolution which ultimately produced an outstanding ration for the purpose it was designed to meet-a daily food which the soldier could carry and use when he was cut off from regular food supply sources.

The use of these rations after 1941 revealed their inability to meet all the many feeding problems imposed by new combat conditions. Therefore, a succession of rations, individual food packets, and ration supplements was developed and came into use before the war's end. The haste attached to the initial wartime ration development indicated that the country was no better prepared to cope with the food problem in 1941 than with other problems of war supply. The early trial-and-error method was proof, too, that haste made waste. Nevertheless the food program ultimately evolved for the American soldier was firmly based on the premise-"that all troops . . . be fed the best food available in the best and most appetizing form within the realm of reasonable possibility particularly . . . troops in combat." For the citizen soldier, for the most part accustomed to good food in civilian life, "what do we eat" became as important, if not more so, than "when do we eat." In addition to providing an acceptable answer to this query, ration developers had to pay equal attention to military utilization, to stability and storage requirements, to nutritional values, to demands for shipping space, and to the necessity of going beyond commercial practices to protect packaged foods on the long journey from American factories to theaters of action. Add factors of warborn shortages of material and the continued necessity for providing adequate interim substitutes and the magnitude of the ration-development problem in World War II becomes evident.

Despite obstacles, many varied and excellent rations, packets, and supplements were developed and supplied to the World War II soldier. In volume, approximately one billion special rations, costing about 675 millions of dollars, were procured between 1941 and 1945 (see table 1).

The list includes such individual rations as the lightweight K ration, the emergency D ration, and the food-for-a-day C ration. Need of rations in specific climates produced the mountain, jungle, and desert rations. Packets produced for subsistence requirements in flight were an aircrew lunch, a parachute-emergency packet, and an in-flight combat meal. At-sea survival called for lifeboat and liferaft rations and pointed to the desirability of all-purpose survival foods. Supplements were designed to augment other rations:

namely, the aid-station and hospital beverage packs that provided beverages for casualties at advance medical posts, and the kitchen spice pack for use by mobile kitchens. At the end of the war, the assault packet, intended to provide a quick-energy snack before combat, was in production.


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B-Ration - The 5-in-1 Ration
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

World War historians, who had no reason to foresee that the title would re-emerge to designate the postwar group ration, classified the 5-in-1 with the jungle and mountain rations, described its "short life," and ultimately considered that it, too, had passed into obsolescence. Of the three, the 5-in-1 was the only ration that was strictly a development of the SR&DL. As introduced early in 1942, it was intended to provide a specialized ration for motorized combat groups operating in desert areas. The goal of this development was a ration that would be convenient to issue and could be prepared by small groups of men with a minimum of cooking equipment and skill. Another objective was to furnish sufficient food to take care of five men for one day. The first specification for a 5-in-1 ration proposed a unit of three menus, each consisting basically of B ration components such as Army spread, vegetables, meat combinations, evaporated milk, fruit juice, fruits, dehydrated soups, cereal, and beverages as well as such common items as biscuits, hard candy, salt, sugar, and toilet paper. These items were packed as a group, with noncanned components placed in a separate carton overpacked in a larger carton with the canned products. Menus were inclosed in the carton as a guide in the selection of meals. Extensive procurement based on these requirements ended in 1943 when the 10-in-1 was introduced. Use of 5-in-1 stocks continued throughout the war, however, and the ration was still winning praise when hostilities ended. The specification remained in effect and later became the basis for the postwar revision under which the 5-in-1 nomenclature was reestablished.
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http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/7599/bration5in1b5nt.jpg
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http://img288.imageshack.us/img288/8752/mauldin104aw.jpg
Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 253
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B-Ration - The 10-in-1 Ration
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

Although the possibility of packing the B ration in units of ten was suggested early in the war, progress on such an arrangement did not begin until 1943 when the Mountain, Jungle, and 5-in-1 rations were discontinued. The success of the British "compo" or 14-in-1 ration during the North African campaign in 1942 and the movement to classify field rations into four categories added other reasons for the interest in a 10-in-1 ration. A guide to its rapid development was furnished in the following 1943 definition:

A small-group field ration [shall be] composed of components of the standard field ration type B (modified to reduce bulk and weight) packed in basic packages of five complete rations each. . . . The inner and outer packages are to be proof against water, vapor, moisture, and chemical agents. They are to be of such shape and dimensions as to be suitable for either animal-pack or man-carry, and sufficiently sturdy as to material and construction to withstand normal handling and transportation in motor vehicles, on pack animals or by man carry.

Specification requirements were quickly published and the ration was standardized as the replacement for the other group rations. Although superseding the 5-in-1, the 10-in-l was essentially two 5-in-1's packed in one unit. Within such a combination, it was possible to offer a greater variety of components. This was effected by increasing the number of "menus" to five in comparison to the three-menu arrangement of the 5-in-1. In ensuing war years, several revisions were made to the original specification but the basic plan of five menus, each containing sufficient food for ten men for one day, remained unaltered. Within the daily plan, complete group meals were specified for breakfast and supper while a "partial dinner unit was provided for the luncheon meal.

A typical menu included such canned items as butter spread, soluble coffee, pudding, meat units, jam, evaporated milk, and vegetables as well as biscuits, cereal, beverages, candy, salt, and sugar. Accessory items were cigarettes, matches, can opener, toilet paper, soap, towels, and water-purification tablets. The partial dinner unit was inclosed in a cellophane bag-in-carton for easy distribution to the individual soldier for his noontime meal. Within the unit were biscuits, a confection, beverage powder, sugar, gum, and a can opener. These items were provided on the theory that an individual "snack" was sufficient for midday meals when there would be neither time nor opportunity to prepare the ration for group feeding.

The similarity of the partial unit to the K ration was a chief reason for the proposed revision of the 10-in-1 in 1945. It was planned to eliminate the unit and to assemble the entire ration on the basis of three group meals rather than two group meals and one individual luncheon package. Although it was recognized that the over-all weight of the ration would be increased thereby, it was felt that the added weight would be offset by the increased acceptability and nutritional value which a greater variety of components would provide. The end of the war prevented realization of such a plan in the 10-in-1.

Over 300 million rations, costing about 85 cents each, were procured under the 10-in-1 title from mid-1943 to the war's close. No other group ration was procured during that period. Hence, in actuality as well as nomenclature, "Ration, 10-in-1" was the final small-group ration of World War II.
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http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/3676/bration10in18cx.jpg
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C Ration
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

The other Army ration available when the country entered World War II, Field Ration, Type C, as a ration of meat and bread components, had the prewar characteristics of the 1918 "reserve ration" but had a better balance than its predecessor, good keeping qualities, and sturdy packaging. Its disadvantages were that it was troublesome to carry and that its manufacture posed difficult production problems. These difficulties provided the incentive for the improvements which produced today's individual "combat" or C ration. The ultimate form in which this ration emerged from the war, however, came only as hostilities were ending and before wide distribution could be made.

A major problem of the C ration concerned its meat components. Procurement was at first of necessity confined to items which could be produced in volume, and variety in consequence was of secondary importance. Hence, the early waves of criticism from the field were aimed at the monotonous meat diet offered by the first C ration. Troops not only encountered repetitious meat-and-hash combinations but also met them on returning to central messes where they were served duplicates of these combinations in B rations.

It was little wonder that there was much early denunciation of the C ration.

Despite constant effort, attempts to increase the component variety, and hence ration acceptance, were not easily or quickly successful. New or substitute items could be introduced only after productive ability had been coordinated with laboratory research. Early improvements embraced a better selection of confection items, inclusion of cigarettes in the B unit of the ration, and modifications required by wartime advances in packaging technology.

Until early 1944, separate specifications were used for the so-called B or bread unit of the ration and for related components. In June of that year, the component specifications were consolidated into one specification which abandoned the title "U.S. Army Field Ration C" and adopted the nomenclature "Ration, Type C, Assembly, Packaging and Packing." 36 Under its terms the ration consisted of three cans of B units, three cans of M or meat units, and one accessory pack. Six combinations of components or menu arrangements were specified to provide variety to the ration. Six B units were listed, two each for breakfast, dinner, and supper. B unit components, varied in accordance with a grouping which would fit the meal, included biscuits, compressed and premixed cereal, candy-coated peanuts or raisins, soluble coffee, sugar, lemon- or orange-juice powder, hard candies, jam, cocoa beverage powder, and caramels. The accessory packet included nine "good-commercial-quality" cigarettes, halazone water-purification tablets, book matches, toilet paper, chewing gum, and an opener for the meat cans. The varieties of canned meats were meat and beans; meat-and-vegetable stew; meat and spaghetti; ham, egg, and potato; meat and noodles; pork and rice; frankfurters and beans; pork and beans; ham and lima beans; and chicken and vegetables. The unpopular meat-and-vegetable hash and English-style stew-which were the first additions to the original three-were abandoned because of poor acceptance.

The final wartime version of the specification was published in April and amended in July 1945. 37 It contained still more improvements resulting from field tests and combat experiences. Hard candy and candy-coated peanuts and raisins were deleted from the B units because of poor keeping quality, and a fudge disc and cookie sandwich were substituted. Salt tablets to alleviate heat exhaustion were added to the accessory pack. The ultimate revision also substituted sugar tablets for the granulated type, increased the variety of beverage powders, and added a compressed cocoa disc to the list of B components. At the request of The Surgeon General, halazone tablets were deleted from the accessory pack. Beef stew was a new canned meat component. The accessory pack was divided into two packets, first named the "long" and the "short" pack and later, the "accessory pack" and the "cigarette pack." Gum, toilet paper, can opener, granulated salt, salt tablets, and wood spoons were included in the "long" pack.38 The cigarette pack consisted of three units of three or one unit of nine cigarettes, and matches.

Due to the natural lag between development and supply and the extensive stockpiling of "old" C rations, this "new" version was not procured in sufficient time to win in wartime the praise that later became attached to "Ration, Combat, C-2." The criticisms of monotony and unacceptability, though often made for reasons attributable to misuse and overuse rather than to ration content, held true as far as the World War II user of C rations was concerned.
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12 oz Early War
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15 oz Early War
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Mid-War
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1943
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1945
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 251
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D Ration
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

Specifications governing the composition of the D ration were only slightly changed during the entire life of the ration. The ingredients were chocolate, sugar, dry milk, cacao fat, oat flour, and flavoring-a mixture providing 600 calories per bar. Some changes in packaging requirements were necessitated by material shortages and by suggestions for improvement. In 1944, when emphasis was given to use of the bar as a supplement to other rations, a half-size or two-ounce bar was introduced to provide a smaller unit.

The D ration was procured in quantity almost from its inception. The 600,000 rations purchased in 1941 were followed by 117,800,000 rations in 1942. By then, the volume on hand was so great that the rations were stockpiled overseas and none procured in 1943. A final procurement of 52 million rations was made in 1944.

Misuse of the D ration as a combat food led to its unpopularity and replacement before the end of the war by the C and K rations. In 1945, it was classified as "limited-standard" and recommendations followed that the governing specification be cancelled.32

Utilization of the oversea stockpile of D rations was of concern to The Quartermaster General early in 1945 when he requested that the Laboratory study the possibility of using excess D bars in some acceptable food product for Army or civilian feeding.33 The Laboratory asked candy manufacturers for recommendations regarding such utilization and also queried them on their ability to absorb some of the bars.34 Industry offered no suggestions and naturally was reluctant to take over the rations on hand. The oat flour in the chocolate and the cost of stripping the wrappers from the bars were understandable reasons for this reluctance. It was suggested that excess bars be unwrapped by prisoners-of-war, packed in containers, and shipped to plants for reprocessing into a chocolate confection that could be used for emergency feeding of civilians in war areas.35

A salient omission in the development of the ration had been the lack of a program to inform the user of the purpose of the bar. There was in consequence little effort to confine the D ration to its proper place as an emergency food. While it admirably met the requirements for an emergency pack as to weight and space, was nutritionally adequate, and had good storage and keeping qualities, it was not a popular item. Misuse of it added to this unpopularity. The D bar nevertheless had been the ration that led the way to the intensive research conducted in Army subsistence during the war.
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K Ration
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

The K ration was the Laboratory's answer to the demand for an individual, easy-to-carry ration that could be used in assault and combat operations. It was noted for compactness and superior packaging and was acknowledged as the ration that provided the greatest variety of nutritionally balanced components within the smallest space.

Although other related items appear in its ancestral background the actual prototype of the K ration was a pocket ration for paratroopers developed by the SR and DL at the request of the Air Force early in the war. Two original samples (one with pemmican biscuits, a peanut bar, raisins, and bouillon paste; the other with pemmican biscuits, a small D bar, a meat preparation, and beverage (powder) evolved into the one-package breakfast-dinner-supper combination used first by paratroopers. The three-meal combination contained such common units as pemmican biscuits and gum. In addition, the breakfast unit furnished malted milk tablets, canned veal loaf, soluble coffee, and sugar; the dinner package had dextrose tablets, canned ham spread, and bouillon cubes; and for the supper unit there were the D bar chocolate, sausage, lemon powder, ant sugar. The Army quickly noted the success of the new ration with the paratroops and in 1942 the item was adopted for all-service use as Field Ration, Type K. The instantaneous success of the ration with attendant popular publicity, was a source of amazement to the developers.

Success was not a deterrent to continued research. Many change were effected in the components and packaging of the K ration during the seven revisions of the ration before the final World War II specification was published. During that period the variety of biscuits was increased, newer and more acceptable meat products were introduced, malted milk tablets and D bars gave way to a variety of confections, additional beverage components were provided in improved packages, and cigarettes, matches, salt tablets, toilet paper and spoons were ultimately included as accessory items.

The cartons containing the individual meals also were subject to many changes. The first cartons were coated both inside and out with a thermoplastic compound. Later they were wax-coated on the outside only, wrapped in waxed paper, then coated with' a commercial product made from "unmilled crepe rubber and blended waxes," specified not to melt at 135 degrees nor "crack, chip, or otherwise become separated" from the surface of the carton at minus 20 degrees below zero. Other types of packages were tested, including a "thread opening fiber bodied can with metal ends." The wax-impregnated materials prevailed, however, and the ultimate requirements were for the familiar wax-coated inner carton placed in a second carton labeled and colored to indicate whether its content was breakfast, dinner, or supper.

As finally specified, the breakfast packet contained a canned meat product, biscuits, a compressed cereal bar, soluble coffee, a fruit bar, gum, sugar tablets, four cigarettes, water-purification tablets, a can opener, toilet paper, and a wooden spoon. The dinner carton had a canned cheese product, biscuits, a candy bar, gum, a variety of beverage powders, granulated sugar, salt tablets, cigarettes, and matches, a can opener and spoon. The supper packet included a canned meat product, biscuits, bouillon powder, confections and gum, soluble coffee, granulated sugar, cigarettes, can opener, and spoon. The biscuits, beverages, sugar, fruit bar, confections, gum, and spoon were packaged in a laminated cellophane bag while the canned meat and cheese product were put in a chipboard sleeve-type box. The two units were assembled and sealed in a waxed carton inclosed in the nonwaxed outer carton labeled with the K ration design and color. Twelve complete rations were packed in a fiberboard box which was overpacked in a nailed wood box for oversea shipment.

K Ration Breakfast K Ration Dinner K Ration Supper

The first million K rations were ordered in May 1942 and were followed by increasing millions. In 1944, the peak year of production, more than 105 million rations were procured. Toward the end of the war, the usefulness of the K ration was coming to an end as a result of the emergence of a superior C ration. In postwar 1946, an Army Food Conference recommended that the K be discontinued and in 1948 the ration was declared obsolete by the Quartermaster Corps Technical Committee. It was then recommended that depot stocks be disposed of by utilization in the civilian feeding program overseas.

Like other unpopular items, misuse was a contributing factor to the waning popularity of the K ration. Although designed to be used for a period of two or three days only, the ration occasionally subsisted troops for weeks on end. There were times when this application was unavoidable; there were also occasions when the K was employed because it was easiest to issue. Continued use reduced the acceptability and diminished the value of the ration.
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Merrill's Marauders, Alan Baker, Ballantine Books, 1972, pp 34-35
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War in the Pacific - Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay, Bernard C. Nalty, Salamander Books, 1991, pp 246-247
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War in the Pacific - Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay, Bernard C. Nalty, Salamander Books, 1991, pp 246
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War in the Pacific - Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay, Bernard C. Nalty, Salamander Books, 1991, p 247
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 252
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Late War
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Reproduction
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Late War
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Coffee pack
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 119

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Cracker pack
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Fruit Bar
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Chewing Gum
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Sugar
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Toilet Paper
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Can Key
Book Matches "Easy to pick up - VD"
Toilet Paper "The Waldorf"
Cigarettes "Chesterfield 4-Pack"
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Cigarettes
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 137
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Kitchen Spice Pack
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

Three packaged assemblies of kitchen and hospital food items were designed in World War II as supplementary subsistence items. A Kitchen Spice Pack, containing an assortment of spices, flavorings, condiments, and miscellaneous food items, was unit-packaged to provide more appetizing B rations at mess centers. The Hospital and Aid-Station supplements provided suitable nourishment for patients in field medical installations and hospitals. The need for the supplements was indicated early in the war when existing subsistence items were adapted to fill the needs for which the supplements were later designed. Development, however, followed a slow course and formal requirements were not definitely established until late in the war.

The failure of the bulk-issue plan to supply field kitchens with the right spices at the right time led to development of a special "condiment pack." The requirements for such a kitchen spice pack, based on the components of the Field Menu, were submitted by the Subsistence Laboratory early in 1944. The pack was to supply a condiment unit of spices and flavorings sufficient for 1,000 rations (100 men for 10 days). Since the components were predetermined, laboratory interest was chiefly directed toward packaging and packing requirements. Procurement furnished the experience for further improvement in the selection of components for readjusting the quantities and proportions employed, and for improving the component containers. The supplement gained procurement momentum in 1945 and was well received. Attention to continued development halted when the buying program was suspended.

Although the specification had been approved, the supplement was in an unclassified status at the war's end. The spice pack was officially baptized as "Ration Supplement, Spice Pack, Kitchen," in the 1948 change to Army Regulation 30-2210
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Kitchen Spice Pack
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 20
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 249
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Aid-Station Beverage Pack
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

The aid-station beverage-pack supplement was designed for application at forward-area aid-stations as supportive subsistence for battle casualties and exhaustion cases. Interest of the Laboratory in the initial development concerned the assembly and packaging of components designated by The Surgeon General. Components included coffee, tea, cocoa beverage powder, evaporated milk, and sugar. Accessory items included plastic sippers, a can opener, and toilet paper. As ultimately developed, the supplement provided ingredients for the preparation of 290 twelve-ounce drinks.

A forerunner of the supplement was the B-C (Battle-Casualty or Bouillon-Cigarette ration) kit containing cigarettes, bouillon cubes, and matches. The packaging of the B~C was assigned to the Laboratory in 1944. Field experience revealed that the kit was inadequate as far as providing desired hot drinks and it was recommended that a new pack, containing coffee, cocoa, sugar, bouillon, and paper cups, form the basis for a new specification. Approximately 9,000 cases of the aid-station pack were procured before the end of 1945.

The ration was standardized for issue to ground battalion aid stations in 1944 and ever since then has maintained a "standard item" classification. Postwar interest in the ration was casual although it must be noted that a Marine Corps research report, completed just as the war ended, indicated that the aid station had potential peacetime use. The report agreed that the pack did "not represent an essential item during peacetime," but suggested applications in maneuvers, by airplane crews and rescue craft, and for parachute supply to isolated units.
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Aid-Station Beverage Pack - May 1945
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 24
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 336
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Hospital Supplement
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

The hospital supplement was developed to provide easily digestible foods such as beverages, soups, and fruits to patients being treated at evacuation and base hospitals. Early in the war, a hospital ration was packed at the Cumberland quartermaster Depot to supply items for that purpose. Because of faulty packing of the items, the Subsistence Laboratory developed a better package in 1943 which contained the following items:

1 No.10 can of fruit

2 46-ounce cans of orange juice

20 14½-ounce cans of evaporated milk

1 2-lb. tin of coffee

1 5-lb. package of dehydrated soup

1 5-lb. bag of sugar

Procurement on the original requirements exceeded 87,000 cases in 1943 and 1944.

A 1944 revision recognized the pack as a "supplement" and made extensive additions and changes in the basic components. The new version substituted soluble coffee for the roasted and ground variety, powdered milk for evaporated milk, and condensed soups for dehydrated soups. Other components were premixed cereal, cocoa beverage powder, malted milk tablets, tea, and tomato juice. Added accessory items included toilet paper, plastic sippers, and paper towels. The complete supplement was packed in suitable wood boxes for shipment. Requirements for 175,000 cases of the "new" ration were filled before the war ended.
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Hospital Supplement
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 311
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The Mountain Ration
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

In the history of rations, it was nowhere better demonstrated than in small-group rations that there should be clear-cut lines of central authority for evaluation of needs before ration development was begun. This was evident during the early days of World War II when three small-group rations made an almost simultaneous debut because diversified groups sought special rations for unusual but not clearly defined military purposes. Eventually, the three were replaced by one ration with characteristics common to all. Although the consolidation was preceded by confusion, loss, and delay, the initial threefold development had the important result of entrenching the Quartermaster Corps Research and Development Laboratory as the central agency responsible for ration development. It was the Laboratory product that emerged as the ultimate World War II group ration. The original trio were the Mountain, Jungle, and 5-in-1 rations; their common successor was called "ration, 10-in-1." The activation of mountain troops in 1941 led to a demand for a ration suitable for use in cold, high-altitude climates. The Laboratory was asked to provide a ration that would not exceed 40 ounces in weight, be easy to cook at high altitudes, stress compact packaging, contain 4,800 calories and items of adequate roughage capable of slow digestion. The resultant specification in November 1942 proposed that the mountain ration consist of food for four men for one day. The basic components of three menus making up the ration included Carter's spread (a butter substitute), soluble coffee, dry milk, biscuits, hard candy, cereal (three varieties), dehydrated cheese, D ration bars, fruit bars, gum, lemon-juice powder, dehydrated soup, salt, sugar, tea, cigarettes, and toilet paper. Menu 1 offered variety with luncheon meat and dehydrated baked beans; menu 2 added corned beef and dehydrated potatoes; and pork sausage meat and precooked rice were included in menu 3. The components were assembled in a solid fiber carton labeled "U. S. Army Mountain Ration." Three cartons, one of each menu, were over-packed in a similarly labeled outer carton.
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Mountain Ration
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The Aircrew Lunch
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

The need of special rations for the Air Force originated in the important role the AAF played in the transportation, combat, and bombing phases of World War II. Although many types of rations were indicated as required by the varied activities of aircraft and air crews throughout the world, AAF and Quartermaster Corps research groups reduced those needs to four basic situations:

For pilots in single-seater or combat planes.

For bail-out (parachute) emergency purposes.

For crews and passengers in large planes equipped with heating devices for cooking.

For survivors in crash landings

This determination of ration requirements resulted in a series of special-ration specifications in 1943 and 1944 covering "Lunch, Aircrew" "Lunch, Combat, AAF," and "Ration, Parachute, Emergency, respectively designed for pilots in pursuit planes, for crews on long-range missions, and for emergency parachute landings. Other rations designed for emergency flight conditions were the "Ration, Lifeboat, Airborne," and "Ration, Liferaft." In addition to these rations, the Air Force employed other standard Army rations during the war. The 10-in-1, C, and K rations were used, in that order, in unorganized ground functions where regular messing facilities were not available. The K ration was carried on planes for use in forced landings and ditchings; individual kits containing K rations or D bars were used in bailouts; and improvisations of C and K rations were employed by search and rescue parties.

In the early days of the war, candies, fruits, and other snacks were carried by pilots, crewmen, and passengers as self-supplied inflight food items. In 1943, the popularity of the candies led to the development of an "American" candy supplement used by United States fliers in Great Britain. Such supplements contained gum, fruit bars, D bars, and hard candy, all packaged for easy opening. This supplement was the basis of the Air Forces Pocket Lunch (a confection-type ration procured in 1943) and a successor Aircrew Lunch which made its debut in September 1944.

The Aircrew Lunch contained a selection of small loose candies, candy bars, and gum packaged in a two-compartment box with sliding sleeve. In one compartment were the loose candies-chocolate drops, pancoated cream centers, fondant creams, gum drops, jelly and licorice drops, and pancoated peanuts; the opposite compartment contained a vanilla and a fudge bar and gum. Easy one-hand manipulation of the red-and-blue package permitted the items to drop out of the selected compartment. Eighty of the packages were put in a five-gallon can for shipment and distribution. The lunch retained its standing throughout the war and postwar periods. The development of the item during the Korean Emergency-when it was renamed "Food Packet, Individual, Fighter Pilot" is discussed later in this monograph.
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Aircrew Lunch
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Summary
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

The Combat ration (later called the C ration) and the emergency D bar were developmental enterprises of the Laboratory during the 1936-41 period. An important end product in that period was the establishment of a definition of a "ration" and a subsequent classification dividing all "field" rations into four groups: Field Rations A, B, C, and D. Field Ration A, a counterpart to the garrison ration, provided fresh food for central messing purposes in nongarrison areas. Field Ration B was similar to the A ration except that canned items replaced the fresh foods. Field Ration C was defined as a complete food-for-a-day packaged ration to be carried and utilized by the individual soldier. An emergency bar to sustain life when other sources of food supply failed was Field Ration D.

This four-fold concept of field rations, particularly as applied to the packaged C and D, underwent considerable revision as a result of feeding requirements imposed by World War II. The progress of air transportation and the growth and use of mechanized equipment made for rapidly changing fronts in the many and diversified types of terrain and climate attendant on global conflict. These factors provided abundant reasons for the special packaged rations which were needed to accompany the soldier moving faster and further than his regular source of food supply. Ultimately, such "rations" were defined under three categories: rations, food packets, and ration supplements. These general categories were further broken down in line with varying individual and group utilization, survival-feeding conditions, and special requirements of other services, particularly the Air Force.

The combat or C ration emerged as the preeminent individual ration of World War II, completely superseding a K ration which also had been introduced and extensively procured for combat purposes. A series of early-war group rations was eventually combined into one ration called the 10-in-1. Throughout the war the D bar was procured in volume as the emergency ration. Survival-type rations included airborne lifeboat and liferaft rations. The Aircrew Lunch, the AAF Combat Lunch, and the Bail-Out and Parachute Emergency rations were created primarily for the Air Force. Supplements to the feeding program included a spice kit for use by organized kitchens and two beverage-type packs designed to provide nourishing foods to wounded evacuees at aid stations and field hospitals. An assault lunch was a late-war development to provide the soldier with quick-energy snacks and morale accessories prior to anticipated combat.

The procurement of a billion special rations in World War II was a reflection of the need, the development, and the use of packaged operational rations between 1941 and 1945. The key organization in the development was the Quartermaster Food and Container Institute. It earned the recognition given by its designated assignment-to provide the research and development and to prepare the specifications for foods, rations, and food containers required by the Armed Forces. Within that assignment, the cardinal principles governing special Army rations were established, i.e., that they be nutritionally adequate, remain stable under conditions of storage and use, be geared to the productive ability of industry, and, above all, be acceptable for consumption by the eventual user-the combat soldier.
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 101
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Cigarettes
http://www.wclynx.com/burntofferings/packskrations.html

During the Second World War the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps issued K-rations to paratroops, tank units, rangers, air forces, or wherever space was a factor. Each of the three daily K-ration meals contained a small packet of four cigarettes. Camel, Chesterfield, and Lucky Strike were popular brands with the troops, but all of the major and several of the minor cigarette manufacturers had contracts with the government.

In late January 1945 Colonel Henry Mucci and 120 soldiers from his 6th Ranger Battalion carried a two day supply of K-rations when they marched 30 miles behind enemy lines. Their mission was to rescue the 513 American POW's held in the Cabanatuan Prison Camp on the Philippine island of Luzon. These rangers, plus the 80 Filipino guerrillas who accompanied them, also ate the rice balls wrapped in banana leaves that were gifts from the women living in the villages that they marched through. The Rangers also carried Hershey milk-chocolate bars that were to be given to the rescued former POW's. The Cabanatuan prisoners were the US soldiers, sailors, and marines who had been ordered to surrender the island fortress of Corregidor, or who had survived the 1942 Bataan Death March.
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 59
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 297
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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 342
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SEE ALSO:

Army Operational Rations - Historical Background
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm

Operational Rations in World War II (U.S.)
http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm#Operational %20Rations%20in%20World%20War%20II

U.S. Army Field Rations
http://www.usarmymodels.com/ARTICLES/Rations/krations.html

U.S. Army Field Rations
http://www.olive-drab.com/od_rations_ck.php

WORLD WAR TWO RATION TECHNOLOGIES
Feeding the World War Two U.S. Living History Enthusiast and Re-enactor
http://www.ww2rationtechnologies.com/Krations.html

WORLD WAR II RATION HISTORY (U.S.)
http://www.ww2rationtechnologies.com/History.html

Ancel Keys
Commissioned by the government in World War II to study human performance during nutritional deficiency states, he developed the emergency K-ration that was used extensively by U.S. military troops in the war and afterward.
http://www.epi.umn.edu/about/history/ancelkeys.shtm

U.S. Army Field Rations K
http://www.marauder.org/krations.htm

HistoricReproduction.com
Reproduction K Ration
http://www.historicreproductions.com/cat_rations1.htm

Changes in Eating Habits
During the war rationing at home and K-rations abroad changed the eating habits of Americans and changed the business of farming.
http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/life_24.html

SMOKE'EM IF YOU GOT'EM
1941---1945
http://www.wclynx.com/burntofferings/packskrations.html
During the Second World War the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps issued K-rations to paratroops, tank units, rangers, air forces, or wherever space was a factor. Each of the three daily K-ration meals contained a small packet of four cigarettes. Camel, Chesterfield, and Lucky Strike were popular brands with the troops, but all of the major and several of the minor cigarette manufacturers had contracts with the government.

World War II Supply Room
Cigarette Packs
http://www.wwiisupply.com/smokes.html

Old Reliable - Breakfast K ration
http://oldreliable9_47.tripod.com/breakfastration.html

Lancer44
06-04-2006, 10:28 PM
Hi George Eller, :D

Sorry for "beating you". Your post is very informative.
I tried to shorten massive info. So now it is sort of our common effort. :)

I'll try to post something about German tucker now.

Cheers,

Lancer44

George Eller
06-04-2006, 11:14 PM
Hi George Eller, :D

Sorry for "beating you". Your post is very informative.
I tried to shorten massive info. So now it is sort of our common effort. :)

I'll try to post something about German tucker now.

Cheers,

Lancer44
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Hi Lancer44,

I look forward to your post on German rations :D

BTW - Interesting topic you started for this thread.

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Lancer44
06-07-2006, 01:38 AM
Hi folks,

A bit about German iron ration and food as promised:
This is an article of Doug Nash with info sourced in:

German Rations and Subsistence Items, Volume II. U.S. Army Quartermaster Food and Container Institute, May 1947, p. 2 and 20
- Der Feldverpflegungsbeamte (The Field Food Service Official), by Dr. Hoehne, Food Service Advisor to the German Army High Command, ( Berlin : Verlag Bernard und Gräfe) 1 August 1939 .
- Heeres-Dienstvorschrift 86/1 - Vorschrift für die Verpflegung der Wehrmacht bei besonderem Einsatz: Einsatz-Wehrmachtverpflegungsvorschrift. (Berlin: Reichsdruckerei, 20 June 1940).

While on campaign, German soldiers during World War Two were served hot meals once a day from their company or battalion field kitchens. Ideally, while the troops were marching from one mission to another, the unit’s kitchen personnel (which included the mess sergeant or Feldkochunteroffizier and his cook’s assistants or Küchenbullen) would start the fires in the mess wagon trailer or Gulaschkanone early, so hot water for tea or coffee could be served out, especially during cold weather. Normally, Landsers would be issued their bread ration for the day (Kriegsbrot, a dark, multi-grain bread), and would draw cheese (Käse), jelly or preserves (marmalade) and perhaps hard sausage (Dauerwurst) for their morning meal. The hot coals in the Gulaschkanone would be kept going all day to cook stew or Eintopf for the mid-day meal, normally the largest meal of the day. The evening meal would look much like that of the morning, using the remainder of the bread issue, with perhaps the addition of instant soup or Wehrmachts-Suppekonserve).

When the tactical situation prohibited the bringing up of hot food for 24 hours or more (which occurred frequently), commanders could authorize soldiers to consume their iron or half-iron rations (eiserne Portionen or halb-eiserne Portionen).* The iron or half-iron ration, which consisted of canned meat and packaged crackers, was similar to the American Army’s K-Ration, though it was packed more simply and lacked many of the sundry items (such as cigarettes, chewing gum and instant coffee) that G.I.s were accustomed to. This ration was carried in the bag on the Landser’s assault pack (Beutel zum Gefechtsgepäck) and was normally placed inside the Zwiebackbeutel. The full Wehrmacht iron ration consisted of 300 grams of hard crackers (Zwieback, Hartkeks or Knäckebrot), 200 grams of preserved meat (Fleischkonserve), 150 grams of preserved or dehydrated vegetables (Gemüse) or pea sausage (Erbsenwurst), 25 grams of artificial substitute coffee (Kaffe-Ersatz), and 25 grams of salt (Salz). The halb-eiserne Portion carried by Landser in their Gefechstgepäck consisted of the canned meat and crackers only.

In Dr. Hoehne's Der Feldverpflegungsbeamte (The Field Food Service Official) published in 1939, a book which serves as the cook’s version of the Reibert’s manual, the rules governing the use of iron rations are covered in Chapter VII, Section C, Paragraph 3. It stated that "Whenever supplies and local procurement are not available, troops must utilize their iron rations…To prepare for cases such as these, two iron rations will be kept on hand for men and one ration of fodder for the horses. Regarding the two iron rations, the reduced ration (i.e., the halb-eisernes Portion) will be carried by each man. It consists of Zweiback and canned meat and is intended to be consumed in the case that rations cannot be provided by the field kitchen.”

The “full” iron ration (with canned vegetables, salt, coffee, etc.) was stored in the field kitchen wagon or on the truck carrying the field stove. In addition to the components of the halb-eiserne Portion, there was also Wehrmachts-Suppe, or condensed soup, and coffee, which allowed the cooks to issue warm liquids as a supplement. These items were used only in the case where food supplies from the issue point [note: at regiment or battalion level] to the company field kitchens could not make it through. Also, prior to beginning a tactical march or a movement to contact, troops were issued an additional day's issue of iron rations if sufficient numbers were available.

Supervision of this allotment and the iron rations was the duty of the food service officer or Feldverpflegungsoffizier. At battalion level this duty was normally carried out by the Stabsintendant, who also served as the battalion’s logistical officer. The iron ration was to be always carried by the troops, who were supposed maintain the rations in perfect condition. These items were only allowed to be consumed when the normal ration could not be issued and could only be eaten upon the expressed order of the troop commanding officer, i.e., the company commander. No doubt, many a hungry Landser received several days of close arrest for eating his iron ration without permission.

What did the eiserne Portion look and taste like? While few examples of the canned meat are known to have survived the war and the lean postwar years that followed, we do have some detailed descriptions left by the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps, which conducted exhaustive tests on German rations from 1945 to 1947. The report, published in May 1947, reviewed everything in the German soldier’s diet literally from soup to nuts and compared them to similar U.S. ration and subsistence items. Fortunately, the reviewers conducted tests of canned meat products and the various types of crackers issued on a routine basis as part of the iron ration.

For example, the standard meat portion of the iron ration came packed in a can that measured 3 inches high by 2 ⅝ inches wide. Weighing between 190 and 200 grams net, the can was normally packed with various pork or beef products, including the German version of Spam (Schinkenwurst) or corned beef hash (Labkaus). The use of horsemeat was also common at the time. Size had to be kept to a minimum in order for the can to fit inside the A Frame bag on the assault pack. The cans were usually not labeled, since they were issued directly from the box or crate, which would have had a descriptive paper label glued to the outside. The few markings that seemed to have been used were stenciled directly on the lids of the cans, consisting of codes such as “66 W 445” or “WEHRN – 18 T H 850 7 – 10 – 43”. Certainly nothing to indicate what exactly was inside the can! The can itself was normally unpainted tin though some were known to have been coated with a thin layer of varnish to inhibit rust.

How did the meat portion of the ration taste? According to the U.S. Army laboratory’s taste testers, the canned pork “was excellent in both appearance and flavor…packed solidly, with just enough fat to fill the spaces completely.” The canned beef, which came in a similar-sized can, was “of excellent appearance and palatability…the quality was comparable to that of good American beef. The flavor would have been improved by the addition of salt.” Once the order had been given to consume the meat ration, the Landser would have opened his can using a privately purchased can opener of with the tip of his bayonet if nothing else was available. If he had one in his possession, and if security conditions permitted, he might also have heated it using his Esbit stove. The contents of the meat ration could easily be consumed in one sitting, leaving the hungry Landser with the bread portion of the ration to tide him over for the rest of the day or until normal issuing of rations was resumed.

The cracker portion of the iron ration offered a bit more variety, though its taste apparently left something to be desired. Depending upon what was available from Germany ’s food service industry, the Landser could have received 300 grams of Hartkeks, Knäckebrot, Zwieback, or plain crackers. They could have been issued individually or pre-packed in paper or cardboard boxes. Again, it would have had to fit inside the A frame bag or inside the bread bag or Brotbeutel. Knäckebrot, or crisp bread, was similar to the Swedish crisp bread available at any modern deli. It came packed four to a carton, with each piece measuring 5 ⅜ inches by 4 ½ inches by ¼ inches thick. According to the taste testers, it “was somewhat darker in color than the similar American product. It was hard and brittle, with a strong rye taste.” The package contained “only 13 calories per cubic inch, while the average U.S. K Ration biscuit had almost 3 times as many calories…from a palatability standpoint, the American soldier would not have liked the whole rye taste.”

Original photo of Knackebrot :
http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2251/ironration17tv.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Compare it with photo of modern reproduction for re-enactors:
http://img91.imageshack.us/img91/4672/knackebrot3rk.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Quite different! They had probably many variants of wrappers.

On this site you can have a look more reproductions.
http://reprorations.com/WW2-Germany.htm

Let's search how much they differ from originals.
Do you have any photos?

Cheers,

Lancer44

George Eller
06-08-2006, 11:45 AM
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Very interesting post on German rations Lancer 44. Strange that their canned rations were not labelled individually - just on the boxes. What surprise awaits in can number 3.

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One comment on American K-Rations:

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K-rations were the most popular among US and Allied troops.
The Quartermaster Corps purchased its first million K-Rations in May 1942. In the peak year, 1944, they procured more than 105 million. Contrary to several long-standing myths, there is no special significance attached to the letter "K." It was simply picked to make it phonetically distinguishable from C- and D-Rations.

Lancer44

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I wonder though if there is a connection between "K" and the name "Keys" as in Dr. Ancel Keys.

K rations were developed by Dr. Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota, and the Subsistence Research Laboratory.

Dr. Ancel Keys - Commissioned by the government in World War II to study human performance during nutritional deficiency states, he developed the emergency K-ration that was used extensively by U.S. military troops in the war and afterward.
http://www.epi.umn.edu/about/history/ancelkeys.shtm

Just a thought.

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Lancer44
06-08-2006, 09:19 PM
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Very interesting post on German rations Lancer 44. Strange that their canned rations were not labelled individually - just on the boxes. What surprise awaits in can number 3.



One comment on American K-Rations:

I wonder though if there is a connection between "K" and the name "Keys" as in Dr. Ancel Keys.

K rations were developed by Dr. Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota, and the Subsistence Research Laboratory.

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1. Their cans had code on the top. Quartermasters, cooks and clever soldiers had the code list. Stupid soldiers had a "food roulette". :D

Sorry for off topic, but I experienced something like that when I had been sailing. Our pantry was flooded and all labels washed off.
It is strange when you want a nice warming stew and in can you find pieces of peach in syrup... :cry:

2. Dr. Keys could be behind the mystery of K letter. But it is very hard to proof.

And now something interesting for you - German K rations!
Anyone who'll find what was inside will now know why Germans lost the war. There is no existing German K-Ration in the world...
They ate everything.


The German Army "K-Ration"article by Eric Tobey from Feldpost
Sources:
- Manual on German Military Forces (TM-E 30-451) U.S. Government Printing Office 1945
- The collections of: Eric Tobey and Clifford Ciotti
- Brussels Army Musuem

The well-known American K-Ration impressed the German Army. Unlike their own time-tested Eiserne Portion (iron ration: a two-part reserve foodsupply consisting of hardtack and canned meat), the K-Ration supplied a more varied menu and provided more stimulants like sugar and nicotine. It also appealed to the German proclivity towards efficiency: light in weight, pre-measured, pre-packaged. One box, one meal.
Late in World War II, the Wehrmacht began to issue its own "K-Ration". They came in two types: the Nahkampfpäckchen and the Großkampfpäckchen. In this article we will illustrate and describe in detail two such boxed rations which we were able to examine. It is not known which of the two types listed above this particular ration actually is.

http://img218.imageshack.us/img218/88/rationbox24be.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
The first illustration shows what the boxes themselves look like. It is a cream-colored thin cardboard, with the label Nur Für Frontkämpfer in Infanterieverband (only for front-line combat troops in infantry units) printed in red. Overall dimensions are roughly 5-1/8" x 4-1/2" x 1-1/2", and the box is designed with an unusual flap-and-slot closure.
http://img57.imageshack.us/img57/8760/drawing10cj.gif (http://imageshack.us)
The box appears to have been made by a cigarette manufacturer because the internal stiffening frame is made of cardboard which was previously printed with the logo of another cigarette maker: Waldorf Astoria, "Echt Orient" (Genuine Orient). Perhaps that is who assembled the ration as a whole.
Neither of the two boxes examined still retain all of their original contents, but the sum of the remaining contents between the two probably represents the original contents of one complete ration. One example contains a fruit bar, a pack of cigarettes, and a roll of candy. The other contains a pack of cigarettes and a small box of what appears to be biscuits. According to the US Manual on German Military Forces (TM-E 30-451): "They include (referring to the Nahkampfpäckchen and Großkampfpäckchen) chocolate bars, fruit bars, candies, cigarettes, and possibly biscuits." Knowing this, we can assume we have examples of a complete set of contents between the two boxes examined.
There is one fruit bar extant in one of the boxes, and this box exhibits stains which originated from another, similar bar which sat on top of it. One bar is almost exactly half as thick as the box is deep, so we can assume that two bars were originally packed in the box.
http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/5973/drawing22lm.gif (http://imageshack.us)
The fruit bar is wrapped in a waxy paper and packaged in a box which measures about 1-3/8" x 5-3/8" x 5/8". The label is printed in red. On one side of the box is a label followed by an ink stamp: Hergestellt:, and then stamped: Aug. 1944. On the opposite side is another label: Netto Frischgewicht ca. 80g. The fruit bar itself now looks like a thick piece of beef jerky, but originally it must have appeared as a solid, semi-dry bar of about the same dimensions as the package. It was made by Wilhelm Felsche in Leipzig.
http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/139/drawing31do.gif (http://imageshack.us)
The roll of candy has a oval cross-section of about 1" x 3/4", and is 2-1/8" long. The candies themselves look like caramel and melt quickly on warm days (due to this unfortunate trait, which almost ruined the box and the rest of the contents, the actual candy had since been removed and only the wrappers saved.). There were 5 candies in the package and they were wrapped in a waxy paper with the company logo printed on it and this in turn was slid into a tube-like paper label. The wrapper bears the official "Reichsgesundheits Gutmarke". the Reich's Health Seal. I suppose this meant that the stuff was supposed to be good for you. The candy was made by Schokoladewerke K.G. Lobositz.
The full name of the candy on the label is "Deli Dropse". The label is printed in red and blue, and the wax paper inner wrapper is white with blue printing. The wrapper has a repeated pattern consisting of the "V" logo (which is printed in a diffuse red in the label), the name of the candy, "Dropse Deli", and the words "K.G. Lobositz" and "Deli Schokoladenwerk."
http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2125/drawing48as.gif (http://imageshack.us)
The cigarettes are identical in both boxes examined. The rather small packs are about 2-1/16" x 2-9/16" x 7/16", and were made by Sulima in Dresden. The pack contains six cigarettes, wrapped in a tin foil envelope. The box is printed in red and black. Like many German cigarettes of the time period, the pack is decorated with a middle eastern motif with stars, half moons, and a Arabian style building.
Some would find it rather amusing that the only thing in the ration meant to be burnt was made in Dresden (the city was heavily bombed in Feb. 1945 during operation THUNDERCLAP).
The biscuits are also wrapped in waxy paper and packaged in a small cardboard box, but the printed contents cannot be read because of staining which undoubtedly originated from either the fruit bar of candy which was originally placed in this ration. the biscuits themselves look like oversized versions of the all-natural "stone ground, whole wheat" crackers that you can buy in the store. Although the contents are rather crumbly, there appears to be 6 biscuits in the box. The biscuit box measures about 2-1/16" x 2-9/16" x 1-7/16".
Based on the remaining contents and their relative size compared to the box, we can postulate that the original contents were as follows:
2 fruit bars (or one fruit bar and one chocolate bar of the same dimensions)
1 box of biscuits
3 or 4 boxes of cigarettes
2 or 3 rolls of candy

Enjoy,

Lancer44

George Eller
06-09-2006, 12:38 AM
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Very interesting post on German rations Lancer 44. Strange that their canned rations were not labelled individually - just on the boxes. What surprise awaits in can number 3.
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1. Their cans had code on the top. Quartermasters, cooks and clever soldiers had the code list. Stupid soldiers had a "food roulette". :D

Sorry for off topic, but I experienced something like that when I had been sailing. Our pantry was flooded and all labels washed off.
It is strange when you want a nice warming stew and in can you find pieces of peach in syrup... :cry:

Lancer44

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Ah, but would it not be simpler to just print the ingredients on the top of the can as on American rations.


http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/7599/bration5in1b5nt.jpg

http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/4600/krationitemshameggs7sy.jpg

http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/7176/cration051945menu19bg.jpg

http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/8013/krationitems014iw.jpg

By the way - interesting article on German K-Rations. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

:D

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