The Minute Book
Monday, 31 August 2015

US Army Rations, 1913
Topic: Army Rations

US Army Rations, 1913

Field Service Regulations, United States Army, 1913

The Army Regulations prescribe the following rations, the commander determining the kind appropriate for the service to be performed, except that the use of the haversack ration is enjoined for troops operating beyond the advance depots:

  • Garrison ration. — For troops in garrison and permanent camps; also for use in time of war except for troops beyond the advance depots.
  • Haversack ration. — For troops beyond the advance depots.
  • Filipino ration. — For Philippine Scouts.
  • Emergency ration. — For troops in active campaign for use in cases of emergency.

Haversack Ration

or canned meat16
Hard bread16
Coffee, roasted and ground1.12

Emergency Ration.

The emergency ration is a preparation of food compressed into cakes and packed in sealed tin. It is furnished in addition to the regular ration, but is not opened except by order of an officer or in extremity, nor used when regular rations are obtainable.

In addition to the regular rations, commanders, may authorize the issue, within limits prescribed in Army Regulations, of certain articles, such as soap, candles, and matches.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Japanese Paratroop Rations, 1944
Topic: Army Rations

Japanese Paratroop Rations, 1944

Japanese Patachute Troops, Special Series, No. 32, MID 461, [US] Military Intelligence Division, 1 July 1945

Sources do not often distinguish between Japanese Army and Navy paratroop rations. It is believed that the Japanese initially planned an ordinary 3-day ration to be carried in the haversack of each paratrooper. These rations provided an adequate diet and consisted of 2 ¼ pounds of rice, two tins of canned fish, two tins of canned meat, and 1 ounce of tea, Chocolate is also known to have been carried by some paratroopers; while glucose sweets, cigarettes, minor medical supplies (iodine, bandages, etc.), and a flask of rum were carried by parachutists in the Netherlands East Indies.

Regulations issued as late as August 1944, however, provide that a 2-day ration is to be carried by each paratrooper during descent. It is reasonable to assume that ration components are similar te the earlier issue.

In addition, paratroopers were to carry "iron" rations. These were in wafer form, consisting of ground rice and wheat with some sesame. To supplement the wafer, paratroopers were fed extract of mussel flesh, dried plums, preserved ginger, crushed bean meal, and mori (made of dried seaweed which contains alkaline substance, soda, and iodine). One meal weighed 200 grams (7 ounces). The Japanese claim that these rations, by test, have withstood the climatic conditions of Malaya, the East Indies, the Philippine Islands, China, Manchuria, and Siberia.

Japanese parachutists dropped in Hunan Province of China in the summer of 1944 were reported to have carried a small bamboo box containing about 1.36 pounds of white "flour." This specially-prepared flour, when mixed with either hot or cold water, changes to a sweet paste which is used as a staple food. One 1.36-pound unit of "flour" provided sufficient food for one man for a period of 1 week.

For water, each paratrooper probably still carries the regular canteen. It is reported "water sausages" also have been used. These appear to be a water-filled length of a tough cellophane-like substance tied into short lengths. These are bitten into as needed and the contents drunk. In use, they are supposed to be carried either in pockets or slung around the neck. Small tubular filters, presumably for drinking water from untested sources, may also be carried.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 16 August 2015

Topic: Army Rations


The Army Blue Book, The US Army Yearbook (Editor; Tom Compere), Volume 1, 1961

Washington, 3 Oct 1959

A ten-year survey of soldier preferences on some 400 food items in the military feeding system, published by the Quartermaster Food and Container Institute for the Armed Forces, revealed the following likes and dislikes of 30,000 enlisted men.

LIKED FOODS: Fresh milk, hot rolls, hot biscuits, strawberry shortcake, grilled steak, ice cream, ice cream sundaes, fried chicken, french fried potatoes, and roast turkey.

LEAST LIKED FOODS: Mashed turnips, broccoli, baked hubbard squash, fried parsnips, creamed asparagus, cabbage baked with cheese, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, ice coffee, cauliflower with cheese sauce, and candied parsnips.

The soldiers' food preferences will exert a growing influence on the type and quantities of certain foods purchased by the Quartermaster Corps, the Department of the Army Announced.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 8 August 2015

CPLA Rations
Topic: Army Rations

Rations and Water; Chinese People's Liberation Army


Handbook of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Defence Intelligence Agency, November 1984


The CPLA issues three kinds of rations: the standard ration, the combat ration, and the emergency ration.

The Standard Ration consists of rice, flour, pork, fish, eggs, soybeans, vegetables, edible oil, and salt., sugar, and other condiments. The individual soldier is issued 4 to 6 kilograms of food per day. Most of the fish, pork, and vegetables are produced locally by individual units for their consumption.

The Combat Ration consists of dried rice, dried fried wheat, or a baked mixture of soybeans, corn, millet, and koaliang (Chinese surghum) to which water is added before eating. Prior to a major operation, each soldier is issued the equivalent of from 5 to 7 days rations.

The Emergency Ration is a compressed, rectangular biscuit made of flour, salt, and oil. Each soldier carries about 12 of these biscuits in addition to his combat ration.

Under simulated or actual combat conditions, companies, battalions, and regiments each store the equivalent of 7 days' supply, and armies from 2 to 4 weeks' supply. Rations are delivered from division to regiment, and from regiment to battalion and company, or directly to forward positions. During troop movements in peacetime, rations are often purchased from local communes.


The Chinese possess the equipment to supply fresh water in the field as well as the capability to test and treat contaminated local water supplies. Water supply is the responsibility of the engineer section of a given unit; water purification is the responsibility of the medical section.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 8 August 2015 12:24 AM EDT
Saturday, 1 August 2015

Ration Tips
Topic: Army Rations

Ration Tips

Army Talks, Vol. III, No. 1, 13 January 1945

Here's a "B" rations tip that claims to make powdered eggs taste like other than powdered eggs. Take the egg powder and add a little water and milk, plus baking powder if you can get any. Grind up your scrap meat and add onions, either dehydrated or regular. Cook in patties like pancakes. The onions kill the eggs, the eggs kill the onions and the meat gives body.

When two men are eating "K" rations, take the cheese from the dinner box and the meat from the supper box. Slice both in half and put the cheese an top of the Meat. Put a quarter inch of water. in a mess kit, plop the patties in, clamp lid down, and steam until water has boiled for sevens) minutes. The cheese melts down over the meat, making hot cheeseburgers; and the wafer becomes a delicious broth.

US Army Rations; World War II

US Army Soldier Systems Center and Horel Foods; Associated Press article, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 28 Apr 2002

The government fed 8 million personnel with 1 billion individual rations. The "Ration, Combat, Individual," or "C" ration — weighing 7 pounds — was first used with 11 different meat and vegetables components and bread, sugar and coffee, but the ration is mostly remembered for its beans because five of the 11 entrees contained beans. It was designed to provide several meals. The "B" Ration was developed to feed 100 soldiers. The raion included Spam, partlly accounting for maker Hormel Foods' shipment of 100 million pounds of Spam overseas by April 1945. The "K" ration, weighing 2 ½ pounds, was developed for paratroopers, provuding a days' worth of food that could be carried in a pocket.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 25 July 2015

Commando Rations 1942
Topic: Army Rations

Commando Rations 1942

British Commandos, Special Series, No. 1, Military Intelligence Service, War Department, Washington, August 1942


A special ration, designed to give a man enough sustenance to enable him to operate under rigorous conditions, was developed at the Advanced Infantry Assault School by an officer who had had considerable experience in mountain operations in all climates. The ration was simple and light in weight; it was designed for individual cooking, and was easily handled in the field. A U.S. observer subsisted on this ration and reported that it proved to be sufficient for the period for which it was designed and that it was reasonably palatable.

Typical Ration.—

A typical ration follows:

Daily Requirements

Pemmican (dried meat, 60% lean, 40% fat)ounces3
Dried fruitounces5
Margarine or butterounces1/2
Tea or coffee (compressed)ounces1/4
Sugar (lump)ounces1 1/2
Total weightounces25 1/2

Diet Sheet

Dried fruitounces1
Midday Meal:
Dried fruitounces2
Evening Meal:
Dried fruitounces2
Margarine or butterounces1
Tea or coffeeounces1

Rations were carried in their packs by the soldiers. Food was prepared in mess tins, individually.

The soldiers were encouraged to use dandelion shoots, grass nettles, and other herbs in conjunction with pemmican and oatmeal for making a stew. Those herbs in the stew contributed to vitamin C. While the standard Army ration was used during the training, the concentrated ration was substituted during tactical operations because of its small bulk and light weight. It was impressed on the students that the ration was sufficient to maintain them in satisfactory physical condition during these short operations, and to enable them to perform their assigned duties without undue hunger and fatigue.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 17 July 2015

British and German Rations; 1914 & 1916
Topic: Army Rations

British and German Rations; 1914 & 1916

The World War One Sourcebook, Philip J. Haythornthwaite, Arms and Armour Press, 1992

British Daily Ration, 1914:

1 ¼ lb fresh or frozen meat, or 1 lb preserved or salt meat; 1 ¼ lb bread, or 1 lb biscuit or flour; 4 oz. bacon; 3 oz. cheese; 5/8 oz. tea; 4 oz. jam; 3 oz. sugar; ½ oz salt; 1/36 oz. pepper; 1/20 oz. mustard; 8 oz. fresh or 2 oz. dried vegetables; 1/10 gill lime juice if fresh vegetables not issued;* ½ gill rum;* not exceeding 2 oz. tobacco per week. (* at discretion of commanding general.)

The following substitutions were permitted if necessary: 4 oz. oatmeal or rice instead of 4 oz. bread or biscuit; 1/30 oz. choclate instead of 1/6 oz. tea; 1 pint porter instead of 1 ration spirit; 4 oz. dried fruit instead of 4 oz. jam; 4 oz. butter, lard or margarine, or ½ gill oil, instead of 4 oz. bacon.

British Daily Ration, India:

1 lb fresh meat; 1 lb bread; 3 oz. bacon; 1 lb potatoes; 1 oz. tea; 2 ½ oz. sugar; ½ oz salt; 1/36 oz. pepper.

British daily ration, Indian troops:

¼ lb fresh meat; 1/8 lb potatoes; 1/3 oz. tea; ½ oz salt; 1 ½ lb atta; 4 oz. dhall; 2 oz. ghee; 1/6 oz. chillies; 1/6 oz turmeric; 1/3 oz. ginger; 1/6 oz. garlic; 1 oz. gur.

British Iron Ration, carried in the field:

1 lb. preserved meat; 12 oz. biscuit; 5/8 oz. tea; 2 oz. sugar; ½ oz. salt; 3 oz. cheese; 1 oz. meat extract (2 cubes.)

elipsis graphic

German Daily Ration, 1914

(measured in grams; ounce equivalent in parentheses)

750g (26 ½ oz) bread, or 500g (17 ½ oz) field biscuit, or 400g (14 oz.) egg biscuit; 375g (13 oz.) fresh or frozen meat, or 200g (7 oz) preserved meat; 1,500g (53 oz.) potatoes, or 125-250g (4 ½-9 oz.) vegetables, or 60g (2 oz.) dried vegetables, or 600g (21 oz.) mixed potatoes and dried vegetables; 25g (9/10 oz.) coffee, or 3g (1/10 oz.) tea; 20g (7/10 oz.) sugar; 25g (9/10 oz.) salt; two cigars and two cigarettes or 1 oz. pipe tobacco, or 9/10 oz. plug tobacco, or 1/5 oz. snuff; at discretion of commanding officer: 0.17 pint spirits, 0.44 pint wine, 0.88 pint beer. The meat ration was reduced progressively during the war, and one meatless day per week was introduced from June 1916; by the end of that year it was 250g (8 3/4 oz.) fresh meat or 150g (5 ¼ oz.) preserved, or 200g (7 oz) fresh meat for support and training personnel. At the same time the sugar ration was only 17g (6/10 oz.)

German Iron Ration:

250g (8.8 oz) biscuit; 200g (7 oz.) preserved meat or 170g (6 oz.) bacon; 150g (5.3 oz.) preserved vegetables; 25g (9/10 oz.) coffee; 25g (9/10 oz.) salt.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 13 June 2015

Supplies Required for One Day (1914)
Topic: Army Rations

The Infantry Battalion (1914)

Supplies Required for One Day

(Annex E); Field Service Manual, 1914; Infantry Battalion (Expeditionary Force)

The following table, which is inserted for purpose of easy reference, shows the detail of supplies which would be required by a battalion for one day:—

Detail. Battalion Headquarters. M.G. Section One Company Battalion.
Establishmentpersonnel 81182271,007
Biscuits (lbs.)81182271,007
Bread (in lieu of biscuits) (lbs.)101 1/422 1/2283 3/41,258 3/4
Bacon (lbs.)1/44 1/256 3/4251 3/4
Cheese (lbs.)15 5/163 6/1642 9/16188 13/16
 Mustard (lbs.)4/161/1611.5/163 5/16
 Tea (lbs.)3 5/163/48 14/1639 6/16
 Sugar (lbs.)15 3/163 6/1642 9/16188 13/16
 Salt (lbs.)1 1/21/2 ozs.7 1/1631 1/2
 Pepper2 ozs1/2 oz.7/16 lb.1 3/4 lbs.
Jam (lbs.)21557252
 Fresh (in lieu of preserved) (lbs.) 1/422 1/2283 3/41,258 3/4
 preserved (lbs.) 81182271,007
Oats (lbs.)3726060672
 Fresh (a) (lbs.)40 1/29113 1/2503 1/2
 Or dried (lbs.)10 2/162 1/428 6/16125 14/16
Lime Juice (b) † (pts.)21/2 5 1/225
Rum (c) † (pts.)10 2 1/4 28 1/4126
Tobacco (c) † (lbs.)1 7/16 5 ozs.4 7/16 lbs.18 lbs.

‡Excludes A.S.C. drivers and horses of the train.

(a) To be issued when available, but not to be carried in regimental transport when troops are marching daily.

(b) Lime juice is issued when fresh vegetables are not supplied, or at the discretion of the G.O.C. on recommendation of the medical officer.

(c) Issued at the discretion of the G.O.C. on recommendation of the medical officer.

† Not carried normally in supply columns of A.S.C. trains.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 13 June 2015 9:35 AM EDT
Saturday, 16 May 2015

Feeding Soldiers on the Firing Line
Topic: Army Rations

Feeding Soldiers on the Firing Line

I heard an officer just back from a week's riot in London, where he had lived at the Savoy and Romano's, exclaim with undoubted sincerity, as his batman set the familiar trench dish before him once more: "Good old bully beef! It tastes like real food after the fussy stuff back in civilization.

Britton B. Cooke, in The Toronto Globe
Fort Frances Times, 27 January, 1916

Anyone returning from the front finds innumerable questions leaping at him from the lips of his friends who have not been there. Soldiers still in training in Canada want to know such things as whether the Sam Brown or the Web equipment is used at the front. Civilians who follow the war summaries closely want to be told just how many men there are behind our lines, and how the wire entanglements are laid out, and what is wrong or isn't wrong with the Ross rifle. Youngsters want to know what a shell looks like when it is bursting under one's nose, or some question equally difficult to answer, and young women inquire as to the whereabouts of "A" Regiment or "B" Regiment, or such-and-such an artillery brigade. But older women, when all the others have fired their questions and been disappointed in their answers, have just one question to ask. They wait, as a rule, until no-one else seems to be within ear-shot, and then ask: "Have you enough to eat? Have they plenty to eat? What should one send them to eat? What sort of horrid plum pudding will they give my Tom, do you suppose? — Oh, dear me, are you sure they're not hungry? Or if they want anything to eat — between meals? Or if they should get hungry in the night—or—?"

Men Are Well Fed

If all questions sprang from such deep, kindly affection and if they could all be answered as happily as these, the war itself would soon be over. The men at the front are so well fed that their families will have to improve the standard of living when they come home—most of them at all events. They may be wet very often—though conditions this winter are much better than last winter—and they may miss the dire operation of carving the turkey at home and satisfying the hysterical appetites of small persons with round eyes close down near the table cloth, but the army in France and Flanders uses the same calendar as the people at home do, and attached the same importance to the 25th of December as others. In London when I left in October there were hundreds of women in the indirect employ of the War Office commissariat making special puddings for Christmas in the trenches. This same Christmas dawn that sets the birds chattering under the eaves of Canadian houses and sets the hardy songsters of northern France fluttering out from under the thatches on French and Belgium straw stacks behind our lines saw military cooks, like domestic cooks, making special preparations for the day.

A Top-Hole Day

"Christmas!" exclaimed one of those always merry young subalterns that occur every here and there among the men, something like the almonds in the cake. "Why, last Christmas was just about as jolly a Christmas as I ever had. We had a top-hole day." He was English, of course. "And except that—well, one didn't have one's folks with one—except fopr that it was a bully sort of a day. We were in a pretty bad country just then, not nearly so good as this, and the roofs of the dug-outs leaked because we hadn't got onto the corrugated iron stunts for a roof. But we had a feast, and some games—and potted at a few Boches in between whiles.

You never can believe all these subalterns tell you, especially if they have only got one "pip" instead of two on their cuffs. For the difference between one "pip" and two is more than just the difference between a first and second lieutenant. It is the difference between responsible and irresponsible authority. In this case, however, the truth was not deeply disguised. There may be homesickness buried under nonsense, but at least there is a meal of meals on the day when nobody is supposed to lack happiness.

Getting Food to the Front

The getting of the food to the men on the firing line is the only real difficulty of this branch of the service. Last night if one had been in some high place looking down over the line of battle one might have seen little parties being formed at regular intervals along the line of trenches. Each party, lined up first with its back to the rear wall of the trench, numbered in subdued tones, and then marched off under the command of a non-commissioned officer or a subaltern toward the rear. One might, in one's imagination at all events, have seen those hundreds of little parties stealing back through hundreds of long, tortuous communications trenches, emerging finally from behind a bit of cover—a hedge or a low hill or ruined building—on the road leading back toward brigade headquarters. Shells dropped in this vicinity occasionally, because the enemy probably knows it is a very important part of our line of supply; rifle bullets go whinging by every now and then, or a machine gun from the German side is spraying the vicinity. Here the ration party connects with the detail that has brought the food supply from the local depot. With quick movements the load is taken up by the front line party, and they drop back into the trench with beef and pork, bread and potatoes, salt, and all the odds and ends of provisions. As one party returns so hundred all along the front have been returning. Some have had a casualty or two. Some even more than that. But the food gets back ultimately, and is parcelled out, platoon by platoon, bay by bay. There will be no cooking done now at night, but bye-and-bye, when the light begins to show over the German parapet across the way and the sentries stand down for the day, you may imagine you see countless small spirals of smoke curling up from the trenches and the jewel-like glow of countless small fires perched precariously in home-made braziers at various points along the trench wall. Over each fire hangs a smoke-blackened, crescent-shaped saucepan (the mess tin), and in the quiet glow of the brazier you may make out the face of the man who is tending it. He probably has a long spoon or a jack-knife or a real fork wherewith he gravely stirs the contents of the tin. The smoke from the brazier licks up around the sides of the saucepan occasionally and takes a sort of taste of the contents, leaving its flavor therein. But what is a bit of smoke in a trench stew? If you are not careful the spoon or other weapon with which you stir the mess may become a bit gummy and encrusted with the deposits of many stirrings, but the flavor, even then, is excellent. I heard an officer just back from a week's riot in London, where he had lived at the Savoy and Romano's, exclaim with undoubted sincerity, as his batman set the familiar trench dish before him once more: "Good old bully beef! It tastes like real food after the fussy stuff back in civilization. I pretty nearly asked for it on the steamer train coming from Victoria Station."

Daytime is Resting Time

Except when an advance is being prepared, or is expected from the other side of No Man's Land, daytime is the resting time of the men, or if they have had enough sleep, it affords then unlimited scope for the practice of mending, shaving, cleaning one's rifle, or cooking. From Stand-down at dawn till Stand-to at dusk there is always somebody cooking something in the trenches. It is not only a pastime, but it is a subject for infinite research work. In one trench I heard of a man, a six-footer with a beard, who in other days used to do plumbing in Toronto, who had become so immersed, not to say buried, in the mysteries of cookery that his dishes, albeit limited in number, were in great demand. He had learned to make a sort of chop suey seasoned with a strange herb discovered in what used to be Anton's (Antoine's) farm.

That concerns the feeding of the men in the trenches. They are their own cooks for only a limited number of days while living in the front line. When, however, they get their relief and are sent back first to the reserve line and then go to the billets, they are served by real cooks from real kitchens and have a chance to wash the grime off their hands if they want to. Also there is more water to drink than in the front line, where there is a drinking supply fairly convenient and under cover. But the problem of feeding the biggest family in the world, except the Russian Czar's family of fighting men, is not solved merelkyu by the ration parties and the stew-tenders either in the trenches or in billets.

Some Sunday in London take a twenty-four bus down Oxford street past the Bank and down Commercial road to, say, the East India Docks. While all the rest of London is warming itself at its grate fires or sipping tea, down here a beef boat from Uruguay or the Argentine is working her way into the still waters of the dock, through the narrow gate that cuts off the open River Thames, with its constant rise and fall, from the docks proper. There are already seven other ships in the dock, not counting insignificant little trawlers and wind-jammers. These seven black-painted liners are all unloading food: wheat, cheese and butter from Canada; mutton from New Zealand; canned eggs from China; pork from the Netherlands. Watch the newcomer as she is warped round a nasty cement corner of the entrance channel into the basin and then towards her berth. In a few minutes her hatches, like those of the other seven, are broached. The stevedores swarm into her holds and the donkey engines start whining and grumbling under the gravely moving derrick arms. Presently, what was an empty dock-section is heaped high with the cargo and a string of "goods vans" is toting it away. Follow it to a Government cold-storage place. Thence it emerges presently in wooden cases and is teamed to another dock, where sundry small steam trawlers lie waiting for errands to do. Their errand is now to take that beef, with probably a couple of military automobiles and a few thousand rounds of eighteen pounder shells, across the Channel to France. Watch the trawler as she quits her dock and gets out into the Thames, down past the old wooden wall of England, where she lies in the river, past the lightship at the Noro and the rows upon rows of nets and mines, and nets again, till she is in the open Channel. See what that is that circles her and her sister ships, protecting them against submarines. See them arrive at a French port that looks exactly like Quebec from the upriver side, and see the cargo land on French soil.

That load of bully beef is all but lost sight of in a great mound of stuff on the wharf. It lies there for many hours till finally a gang of workers clears it away and it resumes its journey by rail to a certain inland point. Here the long motor transports pick it up along with other goods, and it is distributed between several divisional depots. Its motor journey may last two days. When German Taubes appear overhead the convoy keep sunder the shade of the trees at the side of the road as much as possible. At night the long caravans lie hidden under avenues of trees if possible, and by day go on, closer and closer to the front. Occasionally, when an enemy airman has been able to spy the convoy and give the range, the convoy is shelled. It may lose some of its bully beef. There may be casualties, but the service has to be kept up across areas where the enemy has concentrated fire enough to daunt less courageous men. Yet in the midst of dangers the routine is still preserved. The officer in charge of the column collects written acknowledgements of the receipt of so much bully beef, so much pork, so much flour, and so on, from each depot. These in turn keep similar records.

In the stock of the commissariat there are not many dainties. Marmalade is about the best of them in ordinary times. But even that rule is abated as it gets toward Christmas. It is safe to say that there was probably more plum pudding in the British trenches in France this year than in all of Canada put together. And if in the list of extras which the military post brought the men there was nothing for certain men without friends of family back home, they would find themselves made partners in the things the more fortunate men received. For that is another point about the trenches; one man's wealth is for the moment every man's wealth. A ten-pound plum cake received by one man would probably yeild him just one fair-sized slice. The rest would be distributed in less than ten minutes.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 12 February 2015

Canadian Army Field Rations
Topic: Army Rations

Combat Ration Program

Excerpted from Food and beverage consumption of Canadian Forces soldiers in an operational setting: Is their nutrient intake adequate?; Pamela Hatton, School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGiII University, Montreal, September 2005

CR    Combat ration
CRP    Combat Ration Program
DRI    Dietary Reference Intakes
IMP    Individual Meal Pack
LMC    Light Meal Combat

Canadian combat rations are shelf-stable foods designed and developed to meet military members' physical and dietary requirements, while incorporating Canadian cultural food preferences as well as common preferences of the military members. As a primary alternative to a freshly prepared meal, combat rations are used when it is not feasible or practical to serve fresh rations. Specific training or exercise purposes, rapid-response emergency situations and when over-riding practical considerations preclude the use of fresh food necessitate using combat rations. Combat rations are designed for healthy Canadians who do not require special therapeutic dietary needs and are not subject to food allergies, food intolerance or food sensitivity. The meal components offer common foods based on Canadian eating patterns (DND 2002).

The food components of the Combat Ration Program include Individual Meal Packs, Light Meal Combat, arctic and tropical supplements and survival packets. The Individual Meal Pack (IMP) is shelf-stable for three years and identified by meal (breakfast, lunch and supper). The intent of the IMP is to provide a nutritionally adequate diet, including sufficient energy and other nutrients for up to 30 days without supplementation with fresh rations. Ali components of the IMP are prepared or require limited food preparation or reconstitution. The retort pouch packaging of the main entrée allows eating the contents unheated or heated in boiling water or by body heat. Eating the entire three meals per day provides between 3600 to 4100 kcal. Macronutrient composition ranges between 35-65 g of protein, 188-282 g of carbohydrate and 18 to 62 g of fat per complete meal (DND 2002).

The Light Meal Combat (LMC) component supplements IMPs when arduous activity or severe weather conditions warrant extra energy intake. The LMCs can also substitute for IMPs for a maximum of 48 hours when the situation precludes carrying, preparing or disposing of IMP components. The LMC menus range between 1300 to 1471 kcal with 25 to 33 g of protein, 25 to 39 g of fat and 213 to 256 g of carbohydrate per package (DND 2002).

In extreme climatic conditions, the arctic supplement or the (tropical) ration supplement can provide additional nutrients, energy and fluids (DND 13/1272002). The starch jelly composition of the basic survival packet provides emergency sustenance for two days. The air survival food ration consists of the basic survival food packet and hot beverages for a period of three days. The Maritime survival ration includes two jelly food packets and a fresh water ration providing emergency sustenance for five days (DND 2002).

elipsis graphic

Recommendations for adequacy

The nutrient density of IMPs needs to be increased, to ensure that all dietary reference intakes (DRI) can be met. Too often, foods contributing significant nutrients are not necessarily identified as high nutrient sources as seen in the "top ten foods" table (Table 8). By offering the IMPs and LMCs together, the total nutrient profile of the combat rations improves with potential energy at ~5500 kcal, fibre at 36 g and potassium at ~5000 mg. As seen with the extent of discarded or "stripped" foods before going to the field, simply increasing the quantity of menu offerings does not translate to consuming enough food. Individuals choose what they think they need and do not necessarily make appropriate choices. As a result, a majority (78%) of Exercise Narwhal subjects did not meet the target amount of ~580 g carbohydrate/day for military manoeuvres (Jacobs, Anderberg et al. 1983; Jacobs, van Loon et al. 1989). The reality of soldiers discarding or "stripping" rations needs addressing. Since many potential nutrients are thrown out, such as the rarely consumed potatoes, rice and puddings, these nutrients need replacing with foods that soldiers will eat under operational requirements.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 27 January 2015

24-Hour Invasion Ration
Topic: Army Rations

Lots to Chew in 24-Hour Invasion Ration

The Maple Leaf; 13 May 1944
By Ross Munro, The Canadian Press

With the Canadian Army Invasion Forces—Canadian and British Assault troops in the invasion of Western Europe will carry with them special 24-hour ration packs of concentrated food.

Each man will carry a ration box which fits into his mess tin. It will be the first time Canadian and British soldiers had such a compact pack.

The new pack's contents include:—

  • 10 biscuits,
  • two seeped OXO blocks,
  • a powdered compound of tea, sugar and milk pressed into small blocks which makes a good brew of tea,
  • a block of meat which looks like pemmican,
  • three slabs of chocolate,
  • boiled candy,
  • chewing gum,
  • salt,
  • six meat extract tablets, and
  • four lumps of sugar.

Instructions in a cardboard box give suggested menus for breakfast and supper and tell the men how to prepare the food. A simple, compact canned hear cooker is carried by each soldier.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 12 January 2015 6:31 PM EST
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Rations in the South African War
Topic: Army Rations

The Army Service Corps in South Africa. See full image.

Rations in the South African War

Maj.-Gen. John Frederick Charles Fuller,
(1 Sep 1878 – 10 Feb 1966)

The Last of the Gentlemen's Wars; A Subaltern's Journal of the War in South Africa 1899-1902, Major-General J.F.C. Fuller, Mcmxxxvii

The Boer, his language and his dwelling did not, however, much concern us; for outside hunting down the enemy in the field and bringing in his womenfolk to the concentration camps established during the second half of the war, we seldom met him or occupied his house. From start to finish the war was a tented one, and wherever we went our tents went with us. We did not live in luxury as we did during the World War, and though food was seldom scarce it was exceedingly simple, the staple diet being ration biscuit (which looks like a small dog biscuit and is nearly as hard as a slab of concrete), bully beef, tinned stew and alum-settled dam water. Sometimes we had tomato jam, raspberry-flavoured, which came from Natal; sometimes tinned butter, fresh meat and bread, and at rare intervals tinned mutton or tinned ham. What we should have done without canned foods it is hard to imagine, and as the war lengthened out, more and more varieties made their appearance. I remember tinned eggs and bacon, tinned camp pie, tinned apple pudding, tinned slabs of bacon (good for greasing boots), besides the normal tinned foods which are to be bought at every store.

Of all the canned foods the one I disliked the most was the 'Knock-me-down' tinned stew. It was a mess of stewed meat and vegetables with an unmistakable twang. When turned out on a plate or a piece of newspaper it was the nearest approach to a dog's vomit that can be imagined. It had the further unpleasant habit of exploding directly a tin opener was applied to its container; and to make certain of not being gassed, an old hand would always examine his tin before piercing it. Should it show the slightest sign of a bulge it was as well to leave it alone, for by this one knew that it was in a truculent mood.

The only official drinks were raw rum and raw lime juice, the latter so sour and bitter that it had to be administered on parade, otherwise the men threw it away.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 8 December 2014

Feeding an Army 1903
Topic: Army Rations

The standard vehicle for the movement of ammunition, engineer stores, food, and fodder was the General Service Waggon.

Feeding an Army

The problem in the Manoeuvres at Aldershot
South African Lessons
Soldier Learned Quite a Lot in His Years of Actual Experience of Living in the Field

The Gazette, Montreal, 17 October, 1903
(Special Correspondent, London Telegraph)

There is an impression among some people that a British soldier can carry enough food with him to last a week; but, unfortunately, no ground exists for the belief, despite the progress which has been made in the art of compressing nourishment, both solid and liquid, into a minimum of space. Apart from the questions of strategy, tactics, and the individual training of the soldier to the conditions of field service, the army manoeuvres are expected to tFeeding an Army 1903each some valuable lessons regarding the supply of necessaries and transport, two considerations which enter so largely into every problem of war. It is a true saying that a "soldier marches upon his stomach," and his fighting power depends upon the prompt arrival of bread and meat, as well as ammunition, from his base of supply. A portion may travel by train, but the regimental transport by road is the service upon which he must usually rely when operating in an enemy's country. In the case of the First Army Corps, which has just taken the field, the base of supply is Aldershot, to which a force of nearly 20,000 men must now look for the supply of their daily wants, and it will be the duty of the Army Service Corps to see that every unit of that force is provisioned, no matter to what part of the manoeuvre area of 1,600 square miles the soldiers may be called or driven by the fortunes of war. It is possible in real war to "feed your troops on the country" or to billet them upon the population; but in this September campaign, Tommy Atkins must rely upon his friends at Aldershot and some miles of wagon transport.

The manoeuvre ration is fairly liberal. It consists of five big biscuits and 2 1/2 ounces of Canadian cheese, carried in the haversack. In addition to bread and meat of excellent quality, sent from Aldershot, the soldier is allowed the following quantities per day.—Tea, 1/3 ounce; coffee, 1/3 ounce; sugar, 2 ounces; pepper, 1/32 ounce; salt, 1/2 ounce; condensed milk (1 tin to 20 men), 4/5 ounce; jam, 4 ounces; or if procurable, potatoes or other fresh vegetables, 8 ounces; bacon or German sausage (breakfast), 4 ounces.

Daily Fuel Allowance

To cook the foregoing an allowance of two pounds of fuel wood per man is made daily, or on the alternative one pound of coal, with one pound of kindling wood to every twenty pounds of coal. No less than 240,000 rations, consisting of the above items, were ordered for the manoeuvres of the First Army Corps alone, based on the assumption that provisions for twelve days was to be made for 20,000 men. It is estimated that a large proportion of the sum of £200,000 which the manoeuvres of the two army corps are supposed to entail will be expenses on these supplies, and a still larger sum will be swallowed up by transport to the fighting line. There will be a considerable excess of rations packed up at Aldershot and ready for travel which will not be required, seeing that Sir John French's force is less than 20,000, and that the men will be back in barracks within ten days at the most. Apart from the expense of surplus packing, however, no loss will be sustained, and the authorities will recoup themselves for Tommy's grocery bill by the somewhat drastic measure of deducting 3 1/2 d per day from his wage!

Meat and bread for the soldier are issued from the butchers and bakers of the Army Service Corps at Aldershot, but the remaining items are supplied by civilian contractors. The latter commenced work some weeks ago in two small tents at the base, whence they removed as stores accumulated to a spacious drill hall. I had the advantage of seeing and tasting the groceries, and can guarantee that the samples were excellent. They were packed in brown paper parcels suitable for messes of five, ten, twenty, and fifty men, and these parcels were encased in strong wooden boxes, which will bear the jolting of the regimental waggon. Some boxes contained only 250 parcels, and other as many as 1,000, according to the requirements of the unit for which they are intended. Messrs. R. Dickenson & Co., the army contractors, describe the bacon as smoked rolled shoulders, and the cheese as best Canadian, while the jam has been specially prepared in scaled tins. Each cheese weighs 80 pounds, and, like bacon, biscuit, and jam, is distributed to the troops not in parcels, but "in bulk," according to requirements. A man-of-war's-man with such a daily ration would deem himself lapped in luxury, but the sailor is taken in hand by his country much earlier than the soldier, and consequently is trained to a diet when at sea which would rather stagger Mr. Atkins. In one respect, however, the bluejacket fares better; he has a daily allowance of one-eighth of a pint of rum, mixed with two-thirds of water. The soldier, except on active service, enjoys no such concession, though his is allowed to buy during the manoeuvres as much as two pints of beer per day.

The rations having been prepared, we come to the task of forwarding and distributing them. For this work the Army Service Corps, one of the few departments which emerged with credit from the war enquiry, has made special preparations. The troops under Sir John French left Aldershot with two days' supplies carried in the transport waggons, and later the "supply park," or magazine, left for the front with a reserve.

The Beginning of Manoeuvres

With the commencement of the manoeuvres the supply proceeds under army corps arrangements and comes under the direct orders of the general officer commanding. The "supply park"—a square formed of waggons—is the distributing centre for the troops, and is kept replenished by other waggons, which proceed either to and from the base at Aldershot or to the nearest railways station, where bread and meat, dispatched in special train by London and Southwestern railway, are received daily. In addition to the rations for the troops, supplies of ammunition for the guns and forage for the horses, distributed over a very large and scattered area, must be maintained every day, a feat which accounts for the employment of a small army of civilian drivers and a large number of subsidized horses. The maximum load of the general service waggon is 2,600 pounds and two horses will generally suffice. In South Africa our supply waggons often carried 7,000 pounds weight of goods, drawn by thirty or more oxen, and the pace barely exceeded two miles per hour. The waggons of the First Army Corps, travelling over the high roads of the middle southern counties with no dongas and rough country to interrupt their progress, do much better.

It must be confessed that the South African experience developed for making the soldier's capacity for making the most of his raw materials. The meat from Aldershot may be cooked, as usual, with the primitive appliances of a "field kitchen" and fire trench, but the bully-beef and biscuit exact more careful treatment. Mr. Atkins can improve both. He has a mess tin which serves alternately as a saucepan, frying pan, and teapot. The bully-beef is made quite tasty for a hungry soldier when stewed with a few vegetables, which can be found throughout the manoeuvring area, and the biscuits when boiled with the condensed milk and sugar take the place of pudding. Experiments are to be made with a new patent oven, of which great things are expected, also with a water sterilizer apparatus, which is to be tried for the first time. In South Africa the field service ovens often lost their way, but the soldier found that a large anthill when scooped hollow and an aperture made for draught, answered as well. I have eaten bread made of two parts flour and one of bran, cooked in such ingenious fashion, by the British soldier, which I prefer to the regimental biscuit, as more tasty and digestive. The regimental biscuit, to speak frankly, is often a tooth-destroying, temper-provoking diet, which may be tolerated on active service, but should only form the emergency diet at manoeuvre times. I have not tasted the biscuit of the First Army Corps, but am told it is vastly superior to that with which South African campaigners are familiar.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 26 October 2014

Rations Show Effect of Scientific Study (1941)
Topic: Army Rations

Unidentified airwomen preparing food in the test kitchen, No.1 Nutritional Laboratory, R.C.A.F., Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 3 April 1944. Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Date: April 3, 1944. Photographer: Unknown. Mikan Number: 3583196 Visit the virtual exhibition Faces of War.

Standard Canadian Army Rations Show Effect of Scientific Study (1941)

Maj.-Gen. E.J.C. Schmidlin, Quartermaster-General

Edward James Carson Schmidlin, born in Brantford, Ontario, in August 1884. Attended Royal Military College, Kingston, where he won the Sword of Honour and the Governor-General's Gold medal.

On graduation from RMC, received a commission in the Royal Engineers as a Second Lieutenant and promoted to Lieutenent in 1908. Schmidlin was appointed to a commission in the canadoan Permanent Force as a Lieutenant iin the Canadian Enigneers in 1910.

In Nov, 1914, Schmidlin was appointed Adjutant of the 2nd Cdn. Div Engineers at the rank of Captain. He arrived in France in Sep, 1915, and served in that appointment until July, 1917, having received the Military Cross in the 1917 New Year's Honours List. In July, 1917, he was appointed to command No. 12 Fiedl Company, C.E., he ended the war as Commanding officer of the 8th battalion, C.E.

Between the wars Schmidlin continued to serve with the Canadian Engineers. Appointed professor of miltary engineering, Jul 1919; professor of enginering Oct 1921; senior professor and professor of engineering, Sep 1926; director of engineering services at NDHQ, Jan 1934; ann appointed acting quartermaster-general, Apr, 1940. Schmidlin was named quartermaster-general, with the rank of Major-General in July 1940.

Montreal Gazette, 2 July 1941

Ottawa, July 1.—(CP)—Feeding the Canadian soldier has become a scientific business and rule of thumb methods were abandoned years ago, national Defence headquarters said yesterday.

Maj-Gen E.J.C. Schmidlin, Quartermaster-General, said that when the present war started the old ration scale used in Canada during the last war was adopted, with certain minor changes. This ration consisted of the standard ration, consisting of 16 commodities per soldier per day, plus certain exchange issues, the issue of these based on weight instead of cost.

"While this ration produced a perfectly wholesome diet, it soon appeared that its variety was too restricted and further, it did not produce quite as balanced a diet as was considered desirable," Maj-Gen Schmidlin said.

"It was decided to review the existing ration, and in order to obtain the most expert Canadian advice available, the National Research Council was invited by the Department of National Defence to form a committee of expert advisors on nutrition, hygiene, household science, agriculture and allied subjects to consider the ration and make recommendations for its amendment, keeping in mind the necessity for not unduly increasing the cost.

"From the meetings of this committee was proposed a ration scale which, with several minor changes and additions in the authorized exchanges, was made effective."

The standard ration has the following:

  • Beef, 14 ounces;
  • bread, white or brown, 14 ounces;
  • bacon, three ounces;
  • cheese, one ounce; rice, two ounces;
  • jam, two ounces;
  • butter, two ounces;
  • evaporated milk, five ounces;
  • tea, one-quarter ounce;
  • coffee, one-third ounce;
  • fresh potatoes, 14 ounces;
  • fresh vegetables, eight ounces;
  • raw apples, five ounces;
  • split peas, one ounce;
  • white sugar, three ounces;
  • salt, one-half ounce;
  • pepper, 1-72 ounce.

That is the standard ration. Alternatives available for beef are mutton, pork and fish. Instead of bread, an alternative issue of 12 ounces of flour plus lard and baking powder may be made.

The standard ration statement provides that 14 ounces of biscuit may be issued in lieu of 14 ounces of bread, but only in sufficient issues to keep an emergency ration on hand with a periodical turnover.

Instead of bacon, eggs or salt pork may be provided, and rolled wheat, cracked wheat, rolled oats, macaroni or tapioca instead of rice. Alternatives for jam are raisins, prunes, corn syrup, molasses, honey and maple syrup. Where available, fresh pasteurized milk may be issued instead of the evaporated product.

The issue of fresh vegetables or canned tomatoes is compulsory twice a week. When raw apples are not obtainable, dried apples, canned apples or canned Pumpkin may be issued.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 4 October 2014

Canadian Army Cooking (1956)
Topic: Army Rations

Canadian Armed Forces recruiting banner image for the Cook trade.

No More Ulcers?

Time was when cooks were recruited from the army's odds and sods. If you were a manic-depressive, looked like a camel on the parade square, and otherwise showed no visible talent for the military life they made you a cook.

Montreal Gazette, 9 July 1956

(Vancouver province) — Canadian army cooks, fabled in song and story, are nowadays rising to the giddy eminence of career men with finishing courses at the British Army cooking school at Caterham, England.

Time was when cooks were recruited from the army's odds and sods. If you were a manic-depressive, looked like a camel on the parade square, and otherwise showed no visible talent for the military life they made you a cook.

Now you must be able to read, and find your way around in English recipe books, which calls for even more concentration than ordinary military manuals. Not that there is any danger of cooks going intellectual. Any incipient tendencies of that sort would be taken care of at Caterham.

There is to be a certain professional polish in the Canadian army cuisine henceforth, no doubt affording such intriguing items as "Boeuf de Bully aux Brisquet" and "Garlina-Anacauna Spaghetti" and stuff like that.

But will the British army standards really reduce the incidence of peptic ulcers in the Canadian army?

Inj the last war Canadian army cooking and the Canadian ration were dismaying, but British army cooking was enough to shatter one's faith in the Empire.

elipsis graphic

The state of Culinary Arts in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) today:

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 22 September 2014

Soldier fed On 31 Cents a Day
Topic: Army Rations

Unidentified airwomen preparing food in the test kitchen, No.1 Nutritional Laboratory, R.C.A.F., Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 3 April 1944. Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Date: April 3, 1944. Photographer: Unknown. Mikan Number: 3583196 Visit the virtual exhibition Faces of War.

Maj.-Gen. E.J.C. Schmidlin, Quartermaster-General

Edward James Carson Schmidlin, born in Brantford, Ontario, in August 1884. Attended Royal Military College, Kingston, where he won the Sword of Honour and the Governor-General's Gold medal.

On graduation from RMC, received a commission in the Royal Engineers as a Second Lieutenant and promoted to Lieutenent in 1908. Schmidlin was appointed to a commission in the canadoan Permanent Force as a Lieutenant iin the Canadian Enigneers in 1910.

In Nov, 1914, Schmidlin was appointed Adjutant of the 2nd Cdn. Div Engineers at the rank of Captain. He arrived in France in Sep, 1915, and served in that appointment until July, 1917, having received the Military Cross in the 1917 New Year's Honours List. In July, 1917, he was appointed to command No. 12 Fiedl Company, C.E., he ended the war as Commanding officer of the 8th battalion, C.E.

Between the wars Schmidlin continued to serve with the Canadian Engineers. Appointed professor of miltary engineering, Jul 1919; professor of enginering Oct 1921; senior professor and professor of engineering, Sep 1926; director of engineering services at NDHQ, Jan 1934; ann appointed acting quartermaster-general, Apr, 1940. Schmidlin was named quartermaster-general, with the rank of Major-General in July 1940.

Canadian Soldier gets Good Food At Cost of Only 31 Cents a Day

Army Cooks Receive Careful Instruction On How to Avoid waste—Nothing That Can Be Used in Cooking Goes Into Garbage Can

Montreal Gazette, 30 Jun 1941

Ottawa, June 29.—(CP)—The Canadian housewife who strives for economical, tasty meals should have a fellow-feeling for the Canadian army cook, for whom avoidance of waste and preparation of good tea and coffee as matters of instruction instead of choice.

National Defence Headquarters said last night that regulations for army cooks come under the control of the quartermaster-general, Maj.-General E.J.C. Schmidlin, and the director of supply and transport, Col. H.O. Lawson. Through these regulations it has been possible to feed the Canadian soldier well for 31 cents a day, compared with an estimated 50 cents a day in the United States and from 24 to 40 cents for Canadian troops in the first Great War.

In comparison with 1914-18, the Canadian soldier's diet has been greatly improved, officers said, but an important fact in keeping costs down has been the specific regulations respecting avoidance of waste.

The army cook has constantly before him instructions such as the following:

  • Potatoes and vegetables are to be prepared only immediately before cooking to prevent waste of food values.
  • All suitable meat bones should be placed in the soup cauldrons or stock pots before being discarded.
  • Fresh fish should not be thawed in water, as food values are lost, use only the heat of the kitchen to thaw.
  • Fats should be saved for cooking purposes, and any surplus is put into containers for salvage sale.
  • Nothing which can be used in cooking, or disposed of by sale, should go into the swill barrel or garbage container.

The army cook is required especially to see that the tea and coffee he serves is good.

The cook must be careful about the cloths used in his work. The regulation provides:

"Ample supplies of dry cloths should be available for use on alternate days. After being dried and boiled, they must be hung in the fresh air dry or wet. This keeps the cloths fresh, and also preserves them."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 6 September 2014

Feeding Canada's Forces (1940)
Topic: Army Rations

Unidentified airwomen preparing food in the test kitchen, No.1 Nutritional Laboratory, R.C.A.F., Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 3 April 1944. Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Date: April 3, 1944. Photographer: Unknown. Mikan Number: 3583196 Visit the virtual exhibition Faces of War.

Feeding Canada's Forces (1940)

Canada's Greatest Housekeeper May Buy Food By Gallon or Ton But Only Accepts Best Quality

Responsibility for the feeding of all armed forces in Canada, which each month consume tons of butter, meats, cereals and jam, belongs to the foodstuffs section of the Munitions and Supply Department, referred to at times as Canada's greatest housekeeper.

Like any group of healthy, hard-working youth, Canada's growing family of soldiers, sailors and flyers works up a big appetite during each day's operations, and comes clamoring for its three husky meals.

Some idea of the gargantuan appetite of the army, navy and air force can be grasped from a supply department statement that 305 tons of butter were purchased to feed Canada's armed forces during the three months ended June 30.

Like any conscientious housekeeper, the Supply Department has its hands full in buying the best quality products and seeing that its boys get well-balanced meals and plenty of pure, wholesome food.

Every product must come up to specifications based on government standards, and supplies are reckoned in tons and gallons instead of pounds and quarts.

Supplies for a larder properly stocked to last one camp for a single month, according to the Supply Department, include 10 tons of corn beef, 49 tons of vegetables, 135 tons of potatoes, three tons of honey, 4 1/2 tons of cracked and rolled wheat, 9 1/2 tons of jam and two tons each of tea and coffee.

The Supply Department has nine buying centers across the Dominion to facilitate its food purchases. Tenders are issued specifying quantities and qualities, delivery dates and points of delivery.

Fish in Variety

For example, the tender forms for fish list a dozen varieties of fresh fish, including halibut, haddock, shad, sole and pickerel as well as fresh fillets and smoked fish. It states the exact form of each type---with or without head and fins, and other culinary details, and concludes by specifying that the quality must meet with the approval of the officer to whom it is delivered.

Milk specifications include exact standards for everything from butter-fat content to pasteurization temperature.

All standard kinds of meat except veal are purchased, as well as canned foods ranging from butter and fruit to soups, boiled dinners and beef stews. Canned foods are largely destined for naval use, and are particularly useful on the smaller craft engaged in defending Canadian shores, the Supply Department said.

Canadian soldiers top off their meals with such items as apples, jam, raisins, corn syrup, prunes, molasses, honey and maple syrup.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Feeding the Troops; Rural vs. City Corps
Topic: Army Rations

Military Minutes

Feeding the Troops; Rural vs. City Corps

By: Major R.E.D. Tape
The Free Press, London, Ont., Saturday, September 5, 1908

The 25th Regiment of St. Thomas goes into camp at Ridgetown to-day for three days' experience in camp life, to gain a smattering of the many duties which cannot be acquired in a drill hall. This is an annual event with the 25th Regiment and strange to say, although such is actually required to carry out the course of training laid down in the little red, the whole expense has to be borne by the regiment itself, even to the cost of transporting the tents and blankets required, from London to Ridgetown, and back again, and of the washing of the blankets. Great encouragement to a city regiment to make itself efficient, isn't it?

Every city regiment should go into camp for a few days every year as a part of its annual drill. A great deal of a soldiers' training cannot be acquired otherwise, and the great lack of knowledge of camp duties and work on the part of city corps was well illustrated at the Quebec tercentenary. Few, if any, of these corps knew how to feed themselves. With the Government ration and an allowance of 35¢ to 75¢ per diem for each man paid by the regiments, they were much worse off than the rural regiments, which had nothing but the same camp ration, simply because rural regiment have twelve days experience in messing every year, while city corps have practically none. In many other ways also the city corps were out-classed by their rural comrades.

This brings to mind a question about which we have heard a great deal during the past month. This is the meeting of the 7th Regiment at Quebec. The regiment employed a caterer and cooks for the occasion, gave him the government ration, which is all that a man can eat, and also 35 cents a day for each man for extra rations. Yet in spite of this we have yet to hear of one man who had a square meal during his week in Quebec. An elaborate daily bill of fare was prepared for the occasion, but was never carried out. The cooking was described as the rankest possible. Only a part of the rations was ever seen by the men, and if the caterer furnished 35 cents worth of extras for each man each day he must have bought them at famine prices. Thirty-seven and a half pounds of jam were drawn every day, yet very few got a glimpse of any of it, and when it was served it was simply a thin red line on a piece of bread. A similar quantity of beans was drawn every day for soup, but no one saw any bean soup. Bacon appeared on two or three occasions, when it was drawn for every day and although 300 lbs. of beef was issued every day the men forgot what roast beef looked like. What wasn't burnt up in the incinerator was dished up as stew. The vegetables met the same fate.

The messing arrangements were also of the worst. Instead of cooking for each company being done separately, and orderlies detailed to wait on the tables, the cooking for the whole regiment was done in one place, and each man of the three hundred or more had to parade at the cook house with his bowl and plate for a squirt of something in one and a shot of something on the other. In fact, everything is described as having been most unsatisfactory, and was the cause of no end of grousing.

The reason is quite plain. The caterer wasn't there for his health. He was after all the filthy lucre he could get, and while those who should have looked after the messing were enjoying themselves in the city he was busy increasing his pile of velvet.

We have yet to hear of any rural corps being stung in this manner, and it is up to the city regiments to learn a little about this particular and most important part of its training.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 27 May 2014

US Army, 1941; "The Ration"
Topic: Army Rations

The two cartoons shown on this page are from the 1945 edition of Bill Mauldin's "Up Front."

US Army, 1941; "The Ration"

FM 21-100: War Department. Basic Field Manual; Soldier's Handbook, July 23, 1941

227.     The Ration.—A ration is the allowance of food for the feeding of one person for one day. Each soldier is authorized to receive one ration each day that he is on the active list of the Army.

278.     Kinds of Ration.—There are several different kinds of rations used in the Army of the United States, but the ones in which you will be interested are the following:

a.     The garrison ration is that which the Government prescribes in time of peace for all persons entitled to a ration except under special circumstances when other rations are prescribed. The different items such as meat, fresh vegetables and fruit, beverages, bread, and other articles of food which make up that ration are called "ration components." The number af components and the amount of each required to give a soldier a well-balanced and nourishing daily diet have been carefully determined by food experts. The money value of the ration is figured each month from the wholesale costs of food to the Government, and your organization mess account is credited with the total amount required to feed a1l the men in your unit. The meals served by your organization mess sergeant in time of peace, and while Your organization is in a post, camp, or cantonment, will usually be prepared from the components of the garrison ration. After the mess sergeant has made up his menus he will buy the various articles of food required from the money which the Government has credited to your organization mess account. Some of these items he may buy from the quartermaster commissary. Others he may buy from local markets or farmers, in order to take advantage of certain foods in season or because the commissary may not have them in stock. Any savings which he makes are called "ration savings'' and become part of your unit mess fund, to be expended by your organization commander on extras for the mess on holidays or other special occasions.

b.     The field ration is that prescribed for use in time of war or other emergency. In time of peace it may be used some-times for training purposes. The components are prescribed by the War Department or the commanding general of the field forces. No ration savings are permitted and the components are issued "in kind." This means that instead of your mess sergeant buying the various components of the ration from the quartermaster or in local markets, the quartermaster will issue to him certain items of food sufficient to feed all the members of your organization. There are four kinds of field rations:

(1) Field ration A corresponds as nearly as practicable to the peacetime Garrison ration and contains "perishable" items such as fresh meat and vegetables. It is issued as often as the circumstances will permit.

(2)     Field ration B corresponds as nearly as practicable to field ration A, except that nonperishable or canned products replace the perishable items.

(3)     Field ration C consists of previously cooked or prepared food, packed in sealed cans. and which may be eaten either hot or cold. Each ration consists of three cans of meat and vegetables and three cans of crackers, sugar, and soluble coffee.

(4)     Field ration D consists of three 4-ounce bars of concentrated chocolate.

(5)     Sometimes the field ration may be a combination of types C and D. In this case it will usually consist of two cans of meat and vegetables, two cans of the crackers, sugar, and soluble coffee, and two of the 4-ounce bars of concentrated chocolate.

279.     Our Government spends more money for the food its soldiers than any other nation in the world. A great deal of time is spent on the training of mess sergeants and cooks and you will so discover that your food is better prepared, there is more of it, and it has a greater variety than that of most families in civil life. It is especially selected to build up your body and give you the energy and endurance which will carry you to success on the battlefield. If at first it seems strange to you and you miss the meals with which you are familiar, do not be tempted to eat in neighboring civilian restaurants. You wiIl profit both in your pocket and stomach if you eat all of your meals in your organization mess.

280.     When you go into the field your mess sergeant and cook will accompany you. There is special cooking equipment in your organization which will follow you. On this your foo can be prepared in the same way as it is cooked on the stoves of youe barracks or cantonment. During combat all organization kitchens are usually grouped in sheltered locations in rear where the meals can be prepared without interference by the enemy. Immediately after dark, trucks bring the cooked meals forward so that they can be distributed by carrying parties.

281.     During Campaign.—During a campaign the commanding general of your division or a higher commander may direct that each soldier carry a field ration as part of his field equipment. He may decide to do this because he feel that the condition of the roads or transportation may delay the arrival of the cooked meals and in such a case he wants to be sure that no soldier goes hungry. A ration which is carried by a soldier is called an individual reserve. It will probably be field ration C or D, or a combination of both.

282.     a.     It may Sometimes happen during campaigns that you and one or more of your comrades may be separated from your unit If there is another organization near you, you will always be able to get a meal from it by reporting to its first sergeant or mess sergeant; giving your name and organization and explaining how you happen to be separated from your own unit.

b.     If there is no other organization near, it may then be necessary for you and your comrades to cook your own meals, using your mess mess kits for this purpose and the Iood you have with you. Since you will probably have field ration C with you, this will be very easy. Simply heat one or more of the cans in hot water, and open them. If you, or any of your comrades, have had boy scout training you will probably be able to prepare a very good meal from the ration

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2014 9:12 PM EDT
Monday, 27 January 2014

British Army Rations Test (1909)
Topic: Army Rations

An example of the modern British Army field ration, a significant change from the rations tested in 1909.

British Army Rations (1909)

Changes Probable as the Result of a Recent Test

The Montreal Gazette, 6 November, 1909 (London Standard)

Corned beef, already a common field ration item, would not disappear from soldiers' packs for another 40 or more years.

The result of the army rations test is said to be highly satisfactory from the physiological point of view; but it is more probable that a change will be made in the preserved rations, which do not appear sufficient, either in quality or quantity, for the work expected from the modern fighting man.

The little army of Loyal Lancashires who have been marching fourteen miles a day for a fortnight, in full kit, and camping out, with nothing to sustain them but the service rations, did their last fourteen miles yesterday round the Ludgershall country, finishing at Tidworth Barracks, which they had left two weeks ago. The day was ushered in with a hurricane of rain and wind, but the little band struck tents, packed transport, and, after medical inspection, started out on their tramp with singing and whistling.

Behind them followed an ambulance and a water-cart, the former of which was not utilized, as the men have struck gallantly to the work without inviting medical aid. They were very little over three hours in reaching the parade ground in Tidworth, notwithstanding wind and drenching rain. After relieving themselves of their heavy equipment, they entered the medical inspection room, where they stripped and were subjected to the closest examination possible, to determine, amongst other results, the difference in weight during the fortnight's campaign, the state of the pulse, and the pressure of the blood at the femoral and brachial arteries. The heart was minutely examined with the stethoscope, and the men were exactly weighed, all the details being entered up in the records, together with the men's own opinions as to their physical condition. This examination was carried out by Lieut-Colonel Melville, Professor of Hygiene at the Royal Army Medical College, assisted by Major Beveridge, R.A.M.C., Dr. M.S. Pembrey, M.D., Civilian Member Army Medical Advisory Board; Dr. Haldane, etc.

As the men emerged from the examination room they fell in on parade, and before dismissal they were thanks for the manner in which they had carried out the experimental march, and for the loyalty at all times shown to the exacting regulations under which they had volunteered. Their comrades gave them a lusty cheer as they broke away from the parade.

The report, so far as the condition of the men generally is concerned, may be broadly summarized as follows.

1.     Undue loss of weight caused by absence of butter, cheese, milk, and of sufficient fatty foods.

2.     Neuralgia, caused by "run down" symptoms improperly nourished. Headaches, indigestion, and allied ills, due principally to absence of green vegetables.

As to the existing army food schedule the vegetable ration as it is at present stands is extremely varied, including as it does preserved potatoes, rice, pens, onions, leeks, calavances, dholl, and oatmeal, the issue of which is governed by the climate in which operations are taking place, and the nature of the indigenous vegetables. Most of these articles are issued in lieu of ordinary fresh vegetables, but split peas, oatmeal, etc., are the ration equivalent of flour. Porter can also be issued as a field service ration in the proportion of one pint for each rum ration of half a gill. Tea, which was formerly only ½ oz per man daily, was increased to 5/2 ounces, whilst the quantity (4 oz.) of dried vegetables was reduced by one-half. Of the meat ration is considered too much for the troops, 14 lb. of biscuits can be substituted for an equal amount of meat, and when cheese and bacon are procurable these comestibles can also be issued in lieu of meat.

The whole question of soldiers' messing is being taken up by a special War Office committee, which will meet in a few days and take evidence from both officers and men in regard to the food supplied and the methods of cooking.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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