The Minute Book
Friday, 8 July 2016

Food for an Army (Germany, 1914)
Topic: Army Rations

Food for an Army (Germany, 1914)

German Soldiers Carry "Iron" Ration in Haversack

Hard Black Bread, Meat or Bacon, Onions and Coffee Their Fare Aside From What They Can Forage

The Victoria Daily Advocate, Victoria, Texas, 17 September 1914

The German soldier is eating black bread baked two months ago. It crust is so hard that a bayonet or sabre must be used to break it.

Washington.—Every German soldier carried 27 ounces of hard bread, 21 pounces of preserved meat or bacon, ten and one-half ounces of vegetables, mostly onions, and two and five-eighths ounces of coffee in his haversack when he started for Belgium. Every uhlan or other cavalryman carried just one-third of that amount.

The foot soldiers had enough food for three days and the cavalryman for just one day. The cavalryman is supposed to be able to get back to a base of supplies oftener and easier than a foot soldier. Besides, his work being usually in advance of the foot soldiers the food supplies of the country are not depleted when he appears, and he is expected to help himself.

An army officer on duty with the general staff in Washington says:

"The German soldiers are living on soup and hard bread. If the supply of meat and onions is good the soup is thick. If it is small the soup is thin. The fewer utensils an army carries the better it is fed. Big cauldrons packed with meat and vegetables mean more sustenance than pots and pans and bake ovens. The motive power that would be required to carry frying pans, broiling irons, and baking dishes can be better used in hauling meat, potatoes and onions. Stew every day is better than planked steak and mashed potatoes very other day.

Since 1809 the Prussians have been working on the machine with which the Kaiser is confronting the alliance of great and little powers today. The call the ration weighing four pounds their "iron" ration. It must last three days. Six hundred carloads of food must leave Coblentz, Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle, or whatever for the time being is the commissary depot, daily for the men operating in Belgium, Luxembourg and France, that is the minimum. The chances are that 900 cars are being used for the conveyance of one day's "iron" ration. For ammunition there must be a minimum of 300 cars. For forage and other quartermaster stores there must be a minimum of at least 1,000 cars, although the probabilities are that a much larger number are being used.

If the army is being kept supplied by less than The German soldier is eating black bread baked two months ago. It crust is so hard that a bayonet or sabre must be used to break it.3,500 carloads of material every day the statisticians and others who have worked on the machine and its handling have achieved a great victory. Probably 200 locomotives are in use.

All these things are being used to start the supplies from the great depots at the base or bases to the temporary distributing depots.

The German soldier is eating black bread baked two months ago. It crust is so hard that a bayonet or sabre must be used to break it. Hard baking preserves it and reduces the moisture to be carried to a minimum. As to how the soldiers shall eat it that is his affair.

These estimates as to the number of wagons and animals are based on a campaign ten-day march from the base, or, roughly speaking, from one hundred to on hundred fifty miles from the point to which the railroads bring the food, ammunition, forage and other material.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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