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George Eller
06-04-2006, 06:57 PM
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US Army Rations - World War II

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US Army Handbook 1939-1945, George Forty, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1995, p 117
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US Army Handbook 1939-1945, George Forty, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1995, p 118
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US Army Handbook 1939-1945, George Forty, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1995, p 119
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The US Army In World War II, Mark R. Henry, Osprey Publishing, 2001, p 23
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The US Army In World War II, Mark R. Henry, Osprey Publishing, 2001, p 24
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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
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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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Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 253
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B-Ration - The 10-in-1 Ration
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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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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
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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
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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 14-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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http://img288.imageshack.us/img288/2557/rationmountain6mr.jpg
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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http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/1306/rationaircrewjan456jd.jpg
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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http://img480.imageshack.us/img480/8963/mauldin040cy.jpg
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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http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/6360/krationcigarettes9th.jpg
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http://img270.imageshack.us/img270/7223/xcigarettes4ox.jpg
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http://img288.imageshack.us/img288/4764/mauldin036oc.jpg
Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 59
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http://img480.imageshack.us/img480/8642/mauldin125sb.jpg
Bill Mauldin's Army, Bill Mauldin, Presidio Press, 1983, p 297
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http://img288.imageshack.us/img288/5155/mauldin134yl.jpg
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

Panzerknacker
06-07-2006, 04:15 PM
Nice post, I became hungry George.

By the way I think that the U.S ration was by far the best of the War.

George Eller
06-07-2006, 08:47 PM
Nice post, I became hungry George.

By the way I think that the U.S ration was by far the best of the War.
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Thanks Panzerknacker,

I would have to agree. Although of the branches of service the US Navy probably ate the best (see second page below marked with red cross).

As an added note, I don't understand why so many American servicemen found mutton to be objectionable. I personally find it quite tasty.

The Pacific War Encyclopedia, James F. Dunnigan & Albert A. Nofi, Checkmark Books, 1998, pp 230-232

http://img70.imageshack.us/img70/9130/navyrations012ja.jpg

http://img70.imageshack.us/img70/8926/navyrations023zt.jpg

http://img415.imageshack.us/img415/8601/navyrations037sm.jpg

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Panzerknacker
06-07-2006, 08:59 PM
Sailors always eat better than soldiers...hehe, I have hear this from my dad who served in the Argentine Navy in the early 1960 , but I dont pay much attention, if you think about is obvious.

But the way, honestly I dont think that it was a good idea the large amount of cigarretes that the U.S army rations carried with it.

George Eller
06-07-2006, 09:22 PM
Sailors always eat better than soldiers...hehe, I have hear this from my dad who served in the Arghentine Navy in the early 1960 , but I dont pay much attention, if you think about is obvious.

But the way, honestly I dont think that it was a good idea the large amount of cigarretes that the U.S army rations carried with it.
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:D

Well, I think it was part of the times in which they lived. People just smoked more in those days (and probably drank more). Smoking just didn't have the stigma attached to it that we know in our time. I knew a veteran of the 99th Inf Div and the Battle of the Bulge who eventually died from an emphysema related illness which he had developed as a result of heavy smoking. Not a good habit.

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Panzerknacker
06-07-2006, 09:29 PM
Yeah I know, unfortunately when you give cigarettes in this heavy stressing enviroment like incidentally is the war, you create tobacco adicts for life.

Aniway I see this practice in modern armies until 1980s. :roll:

Nickdfresh
06-14-2006, 10:15 PM
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:D

Well, I think it was part of the times in which they lived. People just smoked more in those days (and probably drank more). Smoking just didn't have the stigma attached to it that we know in our time. I knew a veteran of the 99th Inf Div and the Battle of the Bulge who eventually died from an emphysema related illness which he had developed as a result of heavy smoking. Not a good habit.

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Excellent info in this thread as usual George... In fact, I was just thinking about a former NCOIC I had in the Army that enlisted in time to be amongst the last generation that was issued C-rats (the early 80's). He told me he had C-rats in his closet that he had thrown in after grabbing some excess after a field exercise ended. He ended up eating them several years after he originally stowed them when he ran out of food in his apartment, and after the first generation of MREs replaced them. He told me years after that the C-rats were clearly superior to the MREs we had. But as with the case of C-rats, MREs were gradually improved via "combat experience" and "field trials" after the first Gulf War to the point where they were far better than the first generation...

I was told (perhaps incorrectly) in Junior High Health class that by my bald, egocentric teacher, that the smoking craze in the United States began in earnest after WWI, when cigarettes were first issued to US personnel thanks to the generosity and benevolence of the US tobacco industry...

George Eller
06-15-2006, 01:37 PM
Excellent info in this thread as usual George... In fact, I was just thinking about a former NCOIC I had in the Army that enlisted in time to be amongst the last generation that was issued C-rats (the early 80's). He told me he had C-rats in his closet that he had thrown in after grabbing some excess after a field exercise ended. He ended up eating them several years after he originally stowed them when he ran out of food in his apartment, and after the first generation of MREs replaced them. He told me years after that the C-rats were clearly superior to the MREs we had. But as with the case of C-rats, MREs were gradually improved via "combat experience" and "field trials" after the first Gulf War to the point where they were far better than the first generation...

I was told (perhaps incorrectly) in Junior High Health class that by my bald, egocentric teacher, that the smoking craze in the United States began in earnest after WWI, when cigarettes were first issued to US personnel thanks to the generosity and benevolence of the US tobacco industry...
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Thanks Nick :)

That's a funny story about the C-Rations. As you say, C-Rations and MRE's were gradually improved. Also, from time to time new items were/are field tested - some items adopted and improved - others dropped.

I think it's possible that the smoking craze may have began in earnest after WWI as your old teacher postulated. I think that women ("flappers") began smoking more too during the 1920's. I seem to remember reading or seeing that the flapper fashion was inspired by the styles of French prostitutes during WWI. French fries also became popular here in the U.S. following the First World War. The American Doughboys couldn't get enough of them while serving in France (saw this on a documentary on the Food Network on cable TV).

I'm not an expert on nutrition, but I seem to remember that tobacco was used as a source for the vitamin "niacin" (nicotinic acid) which is added to certain food items like bread. If I'm not mistaken niacin helps to prevent the disease rickets (a disease causing softening of the bones). So while smoking tobacco may be bad for your health, the tobacco plant itself is still useful as a source of niacin.

It's great to hear from you.

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George Eller
06-15-2006, 11:17 PM
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I'm not an expert on nutrition, but I seem to remember that tobacco was used as a source for the vitamin "niacin" (nicotinic acid) which is added to certain food items like bread. If I'm not mistaken niacin helps to prevent the disease rickets (a disease causing softening of the bones). So while smoking tobacco may be bad for your health, the tobacco plant itself is still useful as a source of niacin.
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I will have to correct myself. Niacin (Nicotinic acid or Vitamin B3) helps in the prevention of Pellagra (not rickets). Also, although niacin (nicotinic acid) can be produced from tobacco it should not be confused with nicotine (which is a poisonous substance).

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