US Army WW2 Field Rations
Posted 06 July 2009 - 03:46 PM
Even in combat we were fed decent food.
C Rations consisted of 12 oz Olive Drab colored cans of, Corned beef hash, Hot Dog slices and beans, Stew and biscuits, powdered coffee, four Cigarettes. And Gum.
Later on we started to get, Spaghetti and meat balls, and potted meat.
K Rations were a Pack of waxed cardboard box in which there was a small block of cheese,and crackers. more potted meat, chocolate bar, gum and cigarettes , powdered lemonade powder .. No one complained.
Field kitchens gave us fresh coffee, powdered eggs, spam, and dehydrated vegetables, fresh white bread ans sometime a piece of cake.
To heat our C rations we were issued a can of Sterno. It looked like melted wax???? But It did the job.
- brndirt1 and marc780 like this
Posted 06 July 2009 - 05:03 PM
He said he liked it fine if the toast was un-burned and warm, and the "cream sauce" wasn't drowned in saltiness. Since his family (on his Dad's cousins side) resides in Vermont, and runs a maple syrup business, he couldn't stand the "syrup" they had for pancakes. It is where I got into the habit of using either granulated sugar, or Karo syrup on my flapjacks as well. Something about "almost maple" that just misses the target when compared to the real thing.
Posted 06 July 2009 - 06:59 PM
One thing that we had going for us was captured chickens and eggs. One time before the Battle of the Bulge, one GI in my outfit shot a cow.. He said he thought it was a deer.. Thatwas the best deer meat we ever ate.. Even our Battalion Commander told us that it was delicious.
Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:10 PM
Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:20 PM
Why was the "emergency use" US ration ("D") a 600 calorie Chocolate bar?
Light weight, ease of manufacture, and ease of distribution. It wasn't "JUST" a Chocolate bar either.
The D Ration
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.
Army Rations-Historical Background D Ration
It was (apparently) misused far too often to have spawned many "fond memories" in the troops who had to rely on it for calories.
Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:44 PM
Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:46 PM
Portability and good shelf life were important aspects of it and it sure beat the heck out anything our enemies and some of our allies could offer. Every autobiography of a Red Army soldier I have read mentions hunger and the search for food as a regular part of their existance. I am sure that they would have loved to have had access to such a food, given their lack of steady diet.
Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:47 PM
My good friend is in the U.S. army, and before he left for Kuwait two weeks ago, he gave me a whole duffle bag full of MRE's... He never really thought too much of them, but I always thought they were pretty tasty. They have everything you need in there... heating source, dressings, salt & pepper, tobasco, dessert, utensils, etc. the list goes on. I'm sure you guys already knew this, but if you didn't know, now you know. Beef stew was my fave!
Most of the MRE I have eaten were pretty good, but I could see how it would be easy to grow weary of them quickly, in the absence of fresh food. They are easy to carry around and prepare.
Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:53 PM
I see your point as well... He couldn't wait to get off base and get back home to make a home cooked meal. Especially before he left, his true passion is cooking so you can imagine the possibilities. We got all the friends and family together for a cook out beyond belief. I would have done the same thing. Grilled steaks, marinated chicken, appetizers galore, all fresh ingredients that drove your nose crazy!!
Posted 06 July 2009 - 09:11 PM
The problem, imho, with chocolate as an emergency ration is its relative lack of protein. The fats are useful, but after a heavy exertion a high fat/protein food would seem more suitable.
Each of those MRE's cost the government something like $7.95.
Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:35 AM
One time before the Battle of the Bulge, one GI in my outfit shot a cow.. He said he thought it was a deer.. Thatwas the best deer meat we ever ate.. Even our Battalion Commander told us that it was delicious.
Best deer meat!!! Very funny!!:rofl: Thanks! I needed that!
Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:55 AM
I actually have an original D ration that I had picked up at a local gunshow for $10 bucks. Its still wrapped and still has it's wax coating. It says on the label that it "Can be dissolved by crumbling into a cup of boiling water if desired as a beverage." (Hot Cocoa) Its interesting enough. It probably survived the war because no one wanted to eat it.
Here are some pics:
Posted 07 July 2009 - 05:15 AM
Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:01 AM
I had a C-Ration can of beans and franks-that was issued to our guys during Nam. I remember the canning date on the can-1917! These cans of food were still good all these years. I ate it and to me it tasted just fine and slightly waxy-but fine none the less. I've tried a few different MRE as well-such as the Omelet and the Spaghetti and Meatballs-and I thought the pasta was smarvelous but the eggs needed some improvement-which I guess was where the tiny bottle of hot Tobasco sauce came in handy.
Wolfy, usually at gunshows-you can get MREs for around $5 bucks per.
Posted 07 July 2009 - 11:02 AM
It was not long before the National guard and the Red Cross arrived. They were great. We had hot meals delivered. ice,bottled water ETC. We were also issued MRE's. As much as we needed. I ate a couple just to try them out.. They were pretty good. But we really had no need for them. Due to no electricity people emptied their freezers and gave food away before it spoiled. There were Grills burning everywhere BBQ meat which was offered to anyone., It sure beat MRE's.
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