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US Army WW2 Field Rations


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#1 Franek

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 03:46 PM

All the time that I spent in the Army during WW2, I never had a complaint about the food. America had the best fed Army in the world.
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.
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#2 brndirt1

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 05:03 PM

That is what I have heard from many vets, my Dad and a couple of uncles as well. They weren't "mad about" the chow, but in honesty they didn't hate it as some others professed. About the only thing Dad disliked was a "kitchen" menu dish, and he mentioned that it was better in some kitchens than others. That was "chipped beef on toast", or SOS in the vernacular.

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.
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#3 Franek

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 06:59 PM

SOS! HA,HA, How well I now remember that,now that you mentioned it.. Maybe it is just that I liked to eat, but I loved chipped Beef on toast.. I still do. Compared to Brit Ration's (Bully Beef) our spam was a delicacy to them. Today Spam is more popular than ever.

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.:P

#4 Wolfy

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:02 PM

Why was the "emergency use" US ration ("D") a 600 calorie Chocolate bar?

#5 Slipdigit

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:10 PM

Were there any of the 10-in-ones or C-rats you didn't like?

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#6 brndirt1

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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.
 
Goto:

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.
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#7 jemimas_special2

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:44 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!

#8 Slipdigit

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:46 PM

I ate a D-rat one time. It was not good. It' age may have had something to do with that.

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.

Best Regards,  
JW :slipdigit:

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#9 Slipdigit

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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.

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JW :slipdigit:

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#10 jemimas_special2

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:53 PM

Slip,

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!!

#11 Wolfy

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 09:11 PM

I think the Germans also used chocolate as their emergency ration. It was not a bar though- it was packaged in a small expensive-looking tin disc.

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.

#12 bigfun

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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.:P


Best deer meat!!! Very funny!!:rofl::rofl: Thanks! I needed that!
Scott :flag_USA_ww2: :flag_netherlands:

#13 ramborob17

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:55 AM

I have been told that the D rations were terrible. A vet I had talked to said that he had a couple pocket fulls when he jumped on D-Day. He just ended up giving them away to civilians or trading them for canned food.

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:
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#14 Franek

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 05:15 AM

For some reason I cannot recall D rations. Maybe by time I arrived in Nov. 1944, they might have been replaced by C&K rations???

#15 C.Evans

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:01 AM

Like Mr. Franek, my Dads favorite meal was SoS. I remember when he used to talk about his time in Europe during the war that they ate a lot of Eggs and SoS before taking off in their B-17s. When I was growing up-we ate that a lot as well as other Army favorites that my Dad could cook up.

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.
Lost are only those, who abandon themselves) Hans-Ulrich Rudel.
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#16 Franek

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 11:02 AM

I have been living in Florida since 1971. A couple of years ago we had Hurricane Charlie hit us dead on.My County was hit hard.. Homes were destroyed along with other major damage.. We had no electric or phones for weeks.
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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