Topic: Army Rations
Problem of Meals for Army Important as That of Tactics
Each Soldier Carries His Iron Ration, To Be Used in Emergency
The state must ensure the entire supply for the whole army day by day.
The Milwaukee Journal, 1 November 1914
By the Journal Military Expert
The problems of the commissariat of an army are as important as those of masterly tactics in the field. Napoleon said, "An army travels on its stomach."
The provisions of an army are cared for by one or more administrative departments. Its duty is to procure, take care of and distribute all supplies necessary to keep the troops in health and strength. A certain plan co-operating with the war plan of the general staff must be laid out and the following are the cardinal points to be considered.
1. The resources of the scene of wat and the facility to make use of them.
2. The time of the year and the climate.
3. the nature of the war, if offensive or defensive.
4. The length of the communication lines.
5. The rapidity of the tactical movement of the troops.
6. The nearness of the enemy.
7. The attitude and character of the inhabitants.
State Must Assure Supplies
The state must ensure the entire supply for the whole army day by day. The supplies must come continuously for the full number of men and animals, without regard as to whether one or the other army corps be in need of fresh supplies or not. In this war this problem may become more difficult each day, as provisions, which usually are not contraband, may become contraband of war when destined for the military or naval forces.
The right of armies to take from the enemy's country is indisputable. Military necessity permits the enforcement in an enemy's country of all measures to assist in conducting the war.
The work of the administrative department into three spheres of action:
1. The service performed in the rear of the army, established in the national territory of in the occupied country.
2. The service of the line of communication. Replacement of stores consumed by the army and the transportation, maintenance, quartering of troops, prisoners and wounded and the protection of these lines.
3. The supply of the troops in the field during active operations.
Work in Conjunction
Although entirely separated these three work in conjunction. All lines of communication are under supervision of a general officer. He is assisted by a large staff and a competent force of arms to preserve order along the line of communication, guard the depots of supply and protect the line from attacks by the enemy. Such officer is subordinate to the commander of the troops in the field.
The German soldier is well fed. Every morning he gets a hot breakfast; at noon he gets hot lunch and in the evening a hot supper. These rations are placed in small tin cans, where they remain good for years. These cans are labelled and the contents are good for twenty years. One can contains enough soup for one meal for two men.
For emergency soldiers have the "iron ration." This consists of one box of canned meat, three boxes of coffee, a package of canned vegetables, a package of biscuits and a salt and pepper box.
Also Emergency Rations
The "iron ration" of the British soldier consists of one pound of preserved meat, twelve ounces of biscuit, five-eighths of an ounce of tea, two ounces of sugar, one-half ounce of salt, three ounces of cheese and one ounce of meat extract. Besides this "iron ration," the British soldier also has an "emergency ration." This consists of chocolate with added plasmon or other equally suitable milk proteid.
The food is wrapped in vegetable parchment paper and packed in tins each containing six and one-half ounces. The ration is not to be opened except by order of an officer or in extremity. It is calculated to maintain strength for thirty-six hours, if used in small quantities.
The armies of Germany, Austria, Great Britain, France and Russia have field bakeries and field kitchens, A field bakery has six to twelve ovens with all necessary equipment. The six ovens of a German field bakery can produce 16,000 loaves a day.
The portable field kitchen is adopted by the French, Russian, British, German and Austrian armies. The British field kitchen is a two-horse vehicle. It cooks for 250 men, allowing ten quarts of hot food for every twelve men. The rear part of the wagon contains a fire and four cooking pots in addition to a hot water boiler. Groceries also are carried. In this war, where men have to endure enormous hardships, and where they prefer to sleep rather than wait for food which had to be prepared at the end of a long march, the use of the field kitchen proved very advantageous.
The horses carry their "iron ration," from twelve to fifteen pounds of corn. The other forage is carried in the supply columns.