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Thread: What did the Armies eat?

  1. #1
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    Default What did the Armies eat?

    Everyone knows that the Americans developed the famous K- Rations. While not the best tasting, they provided a sufficient amount of calories and were portable and convenient. What did the other forces use?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

    There was a real interesting thread on this subject a while back when I first joined. I'll see if I can find it and post the link.
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

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

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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

    Thanks Chunky, it was very helpful.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

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

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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

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

    http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-...w2-rat-pax.htm
    I think the re-enactors got some of it wrong in re-creating Australian ration items.

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

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    I think the re-enactors got some of it wrong in re-creating Australian ration items.

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

    Don't know about the tuna tin. All I ever heard from WWII veterans was that the meat source was bully beef, which for Americans to understand was a sort of Spam that was solid in very cold weather and a sweating, slimy meat jelly in very hot weather. Yum!
    Corned dog (corned beef) and pink death (luncheon meat/spam) along with babies heads (Steak and Kidney pud) were staples for us through the 80's and 90's before going to boil in the bag stuff.

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

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

    Maybe the proximity of a lot of very hungry, armed and dangerous blokes with no naafi or local eatery for additional skoff was an incentive.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    Corned dog (corned beef) and pink death (luncheon meat/spam) ...
    Commercial version here was Camp Pie. In Camp and Luncheon versions of cereal fillers held together by fat with miniscule traces of something passing for meat.
    http://vivatvintage.tumblr.com/post/...-beef-loaf-and

    A hot summer Scout camp around 1961 put me off both for life.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

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

    Maybe the proximity of a lot of very hungry, armed and dangerous blokes with no naafi or local eatery for additional skoff was an incentive.
    My father was a reserve officer in the 1950s/1960s who had the good fortune to have in his artillery unit a conscript who was a son of one of the few families which ran what became some of the best restaurants in my state. Probably angling for a better life during a fortnight camp, the conscript told my father and his brother officers that if they gave him a small amount of money he would go into town and buy ingredients so he could cook them magnificent dishes. They did, and he did.

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

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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

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

    To add to this, I met a couple of old timers that pined for the old C-rats (MCI's technically). But I think the improved MRE's put that to rest....
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 12-15-2013 at 11:50 AM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

    Thanks Leccy and Rising Sun. LOTS of good info.

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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

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

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What did the Armies eat?

    That sounds awful!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chunky View Post
    In today's Paper: Private Michael Ryan, Northumberland Fusilier's, Extract from his diary in 1940, "Bardia eastern Libya, where he had to wait in "Hell Pass", he wrote, "The rations were putrid bully and biscuits every day, and whatever we looted from the Italians, and salty water to drink.

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