The Minute Book
Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Active Militia; Rations (1868)
Topic: Army Rations

Active Militia; Rations (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, Major T.C. Scoble, 37th Battalion (Haldimand Rifles), C.V.M., 1868

The daily ration of a volunteer should consist, as nearly as possible, of the following articles, viz.

  • Bread, one pound and a half;
  • Fresh meat, one pound;
  • Butter, two ounces;
  • Coffee, one-third of an ounce;
  • Tea, one-sixth of an ounce;
  • Sugar, two ounces;
  • Rice, two ounces;
  • Milk, half-a-pint;
  • Potatoes, two pounds and a sufficiency of vegetables for soup.

The rations must be examined by the "orderly officer" every morning, who will report to the commanding officer if the same or any part thereof be not according to contract, and the commanding officer will forthwith appoint a board who will have power to condemn all or any part of them if found not according to contract, and a similar quantity in their stead will be purchased at the expense of the contractor; a proviso to this effect should be made in all the local contracts.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Japanese Army Ration, 1942
Topic: Army Rations

Japanese Army Ration, 1942

US War Department, Military Intelligence Service; Intelligence Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 1, September 1942

1.     General

Each soldier in the Japanese Army is responsible for his own cooking while in the combat area. As a general rule, however, the men of a squad do their cooking together. No stove or other heating apparatus is carried. Enough food is often cooked in the morning to last throughout the day. Sometimes the Japanese have only rice and salt to eat. Sugar is considered a luxury. It must be obtained in the general area where the operations take place.

2.     Emergency Five-Day Ration

Each soldier usually carries enough food to last him for five days in the field; infiltration groups may carry more. At times the Japanese kill and cook dogs, goats, and other small animals to add to their emergency rations. The five-day emergency ration includes:

a.     Half a pound of hard candy.

b.     Can of tea.

c.     Package of compact food.

d.     Vitamin pills.

e.     Package of hardtack.

f.     Small sack of rice.

3.     Other Types of Emergency Rations

In Burma the Japanese used two types of emergency rations. One was known as the "A" scale and the other as the "B" scale. Each soldier carried rations for three days on the "A" scale and for one day on the "B" scale. Neither of the rations was to be eaten except on orders of the commanding officer when the unit was separated from its supply column. Each ration under the "A" scale consisted of about 1 pound and 3 ounces of rice (enough for two meals) and one small can of mixed beef and vegetables. The soldier usually cooked the rice in a small bucket which he carried for this purpose. The "B" scale ration consisted of three paper bags of hard biscuits (enough for three meals).

4.     Field Rations

These generally are of two types, "normal" and "special." The soldier always carries the special ration, and is issued the normal ration at mealtimes.

a.     Special Type

A single ration includes the following:

  • 20.46 ounces of rice (probably polished);
  • 8.113 ounces of biscuit;
  • 5.3 ounces of canned meat (or 2.1 ounces of dried meat);
  • 4.23 ounces of dried vegetables;
  • 1.09 ounces of dried plums, and small quantities of salt, sugar, and sometimes a can of beer made from rice.

b.     Normal Type

A single ration of this type includes the following:

  • 23.3 ounces of rice;
  • 7.4 ounces of barley;
  • 7.4 ounces of raw meat;
  • 21.16 ounces of vegetables;
  • 2.1 ounces of pickles and small quantities of flavoring, salt, and sugar.

5.     Vitamins

The Japanese are using vitamins to supplement their rations to an unknown extent. Some of the vitamin tablets are known to consist mainly of vitamins A and D.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 24 March 2016

Tropical Diet
Topic: Army Rations

Tropical Diet

Tasty New Diet for Troops Based in Tropical Areas

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 18 October 1962

Canberra.—The Australian army had discovered a way of feeding troops based in the tropics with good, edible and interesting meals and at the same time reducing the soldiers' load.

Cooked, minced, dried, compressed with 500 lb. pressure per square inch at freezing point and some months later, soaked in water—that is the pattern of food preparation for the tropical soldier of the future.

An army spokesman said today that work carried out at the army food research station in Tasmania had shown that meat processed in this way retained nutritional value—and still tasted like meat.

Still Wary

Many soldiers from the Second World War are still wary of any food marked "dehydrated," but the days of potatoes that taste like flour and peas resembling buckshot are gone for ever.

In most cases the difference between the taste of fresh food and that processed at the army research station are no more than the minor variations in different women's cooking.

The process for vegetables involves immersing them in hot water or steam to make organic life inactive, a dip in sulphite to aid rapid drying, and compression.

Before compression, the vegetables are held at a high temperature for a short period to obtain an even distribution of moisture.

Meat is cut into pieces about the size of a man's fist, placed on wire racks and cooked in steam ovens for 40 to 50 minutes, It is then cooled and minced.


The minced meat is placed in a dehydrator and the juice collected during cooking is reduced to a syrup. The syrup is then blended with the partly dried meat.

Drying continues at a slower rate until the moisture content is less than 5 per cent. This is followed by compression into small blocks.

Some months later, a small patrol operating many miles from its base soaks these blocks in hot water before cooking.

Under a tropical sun, the meal tastes like the food served by the catering corps back home in Australia, and the soldier is receiving the nourishment he needs.

A major advantage, according to the rank and file, is that the soldier's load has been lightened considerably and reduced in bulk.

The bulk reduction ratio between fresh and processed cabbage is 11 to 1.

A one-ounce block of cabbage occupies about 1 cubic inch of space, but when reconstituted it is five or six ounces of "fresh" cabbage—sufficient for one man.

Vitamin Loss

The army spokesman said there were some losses of mineral and vitamin during processing, but generally they were not as great as the losses incurred during canning.

Meanwhile the army is continuing work on finding the means of reducing these losses or making them good by addition at a later stage.

Work is also being directed to widening the variety of foods that can be reduced to these lightweight packs—making it possible for the digger to enjoy a diet similar to that he has known all his life, even though he may be miles from the nearest army cook house.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Iron Ration (1933)
Topic: Army Rations

Iron Ration Up to Date

The Glasgow Herald, 26 July 1933

I understand that the new type of iron ration which is the subject of investigation by the Army medical authorities as an alternative to bully-beef and biscuits is to be issued experimentally to troops during the present training season in order to test it under field service conditions. One of the main objects of the proposed change has already been explained as the desire to lighten the soldier's load, and in the ration to be tried this has been achieved to the extent of over 1 ½ pounds. Made up into a solid slab and resembling a block of chocolate, the substitute for bully and biscuits is a scientifically prepared product of which the biggest proportion, 29 per cent., is pea flour. Cocoa butter and sugar each represent 25 per cent., and cocoa powder and sugar each 10 per cent., while the remaining one percent. is oil of lemon.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 29 February 2016

Of Subsisting Troops (Saxe)
Topic: Army Rations

Of Subsisting Troops

Reveries, or Memoirs, Concerning the Art of War, by Maurice Count de Saxe, Marshal-General of the Armies of France (Translated from the French, MDCCLIX)

The practice of troops messing together contributes much to good order, oeconomy, and health debauchery and gaming are thereby prevented, and the soldier is, at the same time, very well maintained. This institution, however, is not without its inconveniences; because a man harasses himself after a march in search of wood, water, &c.; is tempted to maraud; is perpetually dirty, and ill dressed; spoils his clothes by the carriage from one camp to another of all the necessary utensils for his mess; and likewise impairs his health by the extraordinary fatigues which unavoidably attend it. Yet these inconveniences are not without a remedy; for the troops being, according to my disposition, divided into centuries, a sutler, provided with four carts drawn each by two oxen, should be appointed to every one, and furnished with a pot large enough to hold a sufficient quantity of soup for the whole century, of which every man should receive his proportion in a wooden porringer, together with some boiled meat at noon, and roasted in the evening; and officers should attend, to see that they be not imposed upon, or have cause to complain. The profit allowed to be made by these sutlers, should arise from the sale of liquors, cheese, tobacco, and the skins of the cattle which they kill; and which they are also to maintain with the herbage and provisions that will be always found in the neighbourhood of the army.

To carry this into execution, may at first appear a matter of some difficulty; but very little application will be necessary to render it both practicable, and of general use. Soldiers, when they were to go on parties, might carry as much roasted meat as would serve them for one or two days, without any manner of incumbrance. The quantity of wood, water, and kettles, which is now required to make soup for an hundred men, is more than would be sufficient for a thousand in the way I propose and the soup, at the fame time, be composed of much better ingredients: besides, the soldiers would thus avoid all unwholesome things which produce disorders, such as hog's flesh, unripe fruit, &c.; and the officers would only have occasion to attend their meals, at which one at least should be always present, to take care that they had justice done them. On forced marches, or at such times when the baggage could not be brought up, the cattle upon the spot should be distributed amongst the troops, and wooden spits made to roast their flesh; which is an expedient accompanied with no embarrassment whatsoever, and lasts only for a few days. But let us compare our method with this, and we shall soon find which is the most preferable. It is in use amongst the Turks, who are by that means at all times well nourished, insomuch that their bodies, after an engagement, are very distinguishable from those of the Germans, which are pale and meagre. There is also another advantage resulting from it in certain cases; that of managing the soldier's purse, by furnishing him with his pay, and at the fame time selling him his provisions; for instance, when contributions are to be raised in countries abounding in cattle, like Poland and Germany, that the inhabitants may be able to furnish what is required, one half must be taken in provisions, the other in money, and the former fold to the troops. Thus the soldier's pay makes a perpetual circulation, and. there will likewise remain an overplus of both money and provisions. It is moreover of great service in the consumption of such magazines as you have been obliged to make; for by fending your troops to subsist upon them, the loss to the state will be much diminished, and no umbrage, at the same time, given to the men.

Bread should never be given to soldiers in the field, but they should be accustomed to biscuit; because it is a composition that will keep without spoiling five years or more in the magazines. It is very wholesome, and a soldier can carry a sufficient quantity of it for even or eight days without any inconvenience. We need only apply to such officers as have served amongst the Venetians, to be informed of the general use, as well as convenience of it. The Muscovite kind, called soukari, is the best, because it does not crumble : it is made in a square form, of the size of a small filbert; and, as it takes up but little room, will not require such numbers of waggons to convey it from place to place as are necessary for bread. The purveyors indeed very industriously propagate the opinion, that bread is better for a soldier: but that is altogether false, and proceeds only from a selfish regard to their own interest; for they do not more than half-bake it, and blend all forts of unwholesome ingredients; which, with the quantity of water contained in it, renders the weight and size double. Add to this, their train of bakers, servants, waggons, and horses, upon all which they make a large profit : they are also a great incumbrance to an army ; must be always furnished with quarters, mills, and detachments to guard them. In short, it is inconceivable how much a general is perplexed with the frauds they commit, the embarrassments they create, the diseases they occasion by the badness of their bread, and the extraordinary trouble they give to the troops. The erecting of ovens is a circumstance which, in general, discovers so much of your intentions to the enemy, that it is needless to fay any more about it. If I undertook to prove every thing which I advance by fact, I should not be able to dismiss this subject so soon; but, upon the whole, I am convinced, that a great many misfortunes have proceeded only from this evil, which have been falsely ascribed to other causes.

It would be proper sometimes to with-hold even biscuit from the men, and give them corn in its stead, which, after having first bruised, and made into paste, they must learn to bake upon iron plates. Marshal Turenne, in his memoirs, makes some mention of this custom ; and I have heard it observed by other great commanders, that they sometimes refused their troops bread, even when they had abundance of it, in order to inure and reconcile them to the want of it. I have made campaigns of eighteen months length with troops that were, during the whole time, without it, and yet never discovered the least dissatisfaction. I have also made several others with such as were accustomed to it, and who were so far from being able to submit to the want of it, that the intermission of it for only a day was attended with the greatest inconveniences; a circumstance that rendered every enterprise in which expedition was required, impracticable.

In regard to flesh-meat, there is hardly a possibility of being reduced to a want of it; for cattle can keep up with an army very well, and cost nothing in conveyance; and if we grant that an ox weighs 500 pounds, and that every man is to be allowed but half a pound, one ox per day will maintain a thousand men, and fifty will consequently be sufficient for 50,000: suppose then that a campaign lasts 200 days, the number of oxen required will amount to no more than 10,000, which will follow the army, and find pasture sufficient to support them in all places. They should be assembled in different herds, or repositories, and successively advanced as occasion may require.

I cannot omit taking notice here of a custom established amongst the Romans, by means of which they prevented the diseases and mortality that armies are subject to from the change of climates; and to which also a part of that amazing success which attended them ought to be attributed. The German armies lost above a third upon their arrival in Italy and Hungary. In the year 1718, we entered the camp of Belgrade with 55,000 men: it stands upon an eminence; the air is wholesome; the water good, and we had plenty of all necessaries: nevertheless, on the day of battle, which was the 18th of August, we could muster only 22,000 under arms; the rest being either dead, or incapable of acting. I could produce many instances of this kind, which have happened amongst other nations, and can be only imputed to the change of climate. The use of vinegar was the grand secret by which the Romans preserved their armies; for as soon as that was wanting amongst them, they became as much subject to diseases as we are at present. This is a fact that few perhaps have attended to, but which is notwithstanding of very great importance to all commanders, who have a regard for their troops, and any ambition to conquer their enemies. In regard to the manner of using it, the Romans distributed it by order amongst the men, every one receiving a sufficient quantity to serve him for several days, and pouring a few drops of it into the water which he drank. To trace the cause of so salutary an effect, is what I leave to the adepts in physic, contenting myself with having related a simple fact, the reality of which is unquestionable.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 19 January 2016

NWMP Ration Scale (1900)
Topic: Army Rations

NWMP Ration Scale (1900)

From the Orders-in-Council documents archives on line by Library and Archives Canada, we find this memorandum on the ration scale for the North West Mounted Police which was submitted for the approval of the Governor General.

On a memorandum dated 4th August 1900, from the Right Honorable the President of the Privy Council, recommending that the scale of rations for the North West Mounted Police, approved by an Order-in-Council dated 29th Nov 1893, be cancelled and the following substituted therefore, to take effect from the 1st November, 1900:—

  • Beef – 1 lb., 8 oz.
  • or Bacon or Corned Beef – 1 lb.
  • Flour or Biscuit – 1 lb., 4 oz.
  • or Bread – 1 lb., 8 oz.
  • Butter – 2 oz.
  • Apples or other dried fruit – 2 oz.
  • or Jam or Syrup – 2 oz.
  • Potatoes – 1 lb.
  • or Beans – 4 oz.
  • Evaporated vegetables – 2 oz.
  • or Canned vegetables (tomatoes, peas, or corn) – 2 oz.
  • Coffee – ½ oz.
  • Tea – ½ oz.
  • Pepper – 1/36 oz.
  • Salt
  • Rice or Barley – 1 oz.
  • Sugar – 4 oz.
  • Oatmeal – 2 oz.

Lime juice and vinegar to be issued when and in such quantities as may be recommended by the Surgeon.

Small detachments on patrol or outpost duty may, in the discretion of the Commissioner, be allowed an extra issue, not exceeding 25% of the regular ration.

Commissioned Officers, and such married Non-Commissioned Officers as are specially authorized by the Minister, may draw two rations.

The Committee submit the same for your Excellency's approval.

(signed)Wilfred Laurier

The memorandum was counter-signed in approval on 27 August, 1900, by the Deputy Governor General.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 14 January 2016

US Army Emergency Ration (1906)
Topic: Army Rations

The US Army Emergency Ration (1906)

Test of the Ration of the Army

Emergency Food for This Summer's Marches
One Day's Supply Weighs a Pound and a Quarter

Nashua Telegraph, Nashua, New Hampshire, 28 July 1906

With a view to having the officers and men of the army know exactly what they are eating and why, 86 officers from Fort Leavenworth and from Fort Riley went to Kansas City, where in one of the big packing houses they saw the manufacture of the army emergency rations from beginning to end.

The emergency ration, used only in cases of extremity and dire need, is one of the most important things with which the commissary department of the army has to deal. The present ration is one of the best in the world, and its existing form is the result of many years of investigation, experimentation and observation in war times by American officers with the armies of other countries. The result is satisfactory and the little life saving cans of food, weighing only a pound and a quarter, have enough nourishment in them to keep a man in his normal physical condition for a day.

The idea of the ration is not merely to ward off starvation until relief can be procured, but to provide food to be used only in case of necessity without impairment to vigor and health. Under existing army regulations there is a three days' supply at every post, and three days out of the year, usually when soldiers are on practice marches, they subsist on this emergency ration.

During the practice marches which will take place this summer the emergency ration will have a further test says the New York Sun. Practically all of the soldiers of the country will take part in these marches, traveling to and from the practice camps on foot or horseback, a distance of 400 or 500 miles.

It is the aim of those now in charge of the commissary department of the army to have the emergency rations cared for with as much regard to avoiding waste as is the ammunition given out to the men. The ration is intended to be a life saving device, not in the sense that it will prevent starvation, but with the idea that having it on hand in time of battle will give strength and power to the soldiers, in the event that the food supply has run short, and make movement possible which would be out of the question without more food.

For this reason the soldier to whom the ration is given is cautioned, both through orders and by directions printed on the ration can, to take care of it and not to open the can unless he has orders to do so, or in an extremity. If a soldier loses a rations its money value is taken from his pay. This tends to impress on the enlisted men the necessity of keeping the little tin can until it is absolutely essential that he dispose of its contents.

The emergency ration now used by the army, adopted after many months of research in 1901, and altered only slightly since, is packed in a hermetically sealed lacquered can, 6 ¾ inches long, with an oval base about 1 ¾ x 2 7/8 inches.

In the bottom of this can, which weighs 20 ½ ounces, there is a cake of chocolate. Next comes a cake of bread and meat, then another cake of chocolate, another or bread and meat, one more of chocolate, and bread and meat again, with salt and pepper on top.

Each cake is wrapped in foil or paper. A tape is wrapped around the contents, so that they may be withdrawn easily.

On the outside of the box are the instructions to use only by order of an officer or in extremity and directions for preparing the food. The emergency rations go into the field in boxes of 50.

The bread component of the bread and meat cake is prepared by taking cooked wheat, kiln dried, with outer hull of bran removed, parching it and grinding it into a coarse powder. The wheat is then cooked in steam until it can be crushed in the hand and then goes into the kiln to be dried again.

It is parched once more, this time to a palatable state, without grit. After being parched there is not more than 5 percent moisture.

The meat component is of fresh, lean beef, free from visible fat and sinew, which is ground in a meat grinder. It is then freed of its moisture be evaporation until it is dry, care being taken that the heat never becomes great enough to cook the meat to the slightest degree.

While in this state the meat is practically dry, it has less than 5 percent of its moisture in it. The product thus produced is reduced to a powder and carefully sifted.

To produce the bread and meat cake which forms the most important portion of the ration, 16 parts by weight of the meat flour, 32 parts of the bread component and one part of common salt are thoroughly mixed together in such a manner and in sufficiently small quantities as to insure a perfectly homogeneous product.

This is then compressed into the cakes weighing four ounces each, not more than one and three-fourths inches thick and conforming to the shape of the ration can. Each cake is wrapped in paper.

The cakes of chocolate in the ration, weighing one and one-third ounces and consisting of equal parts pure chocolate and pure sugar, are regarded as highly important. They were introduced by Major-General John F. Weston, former commissary general of the army. General Weston found that the chocolate was a great stimulant and of much value for the purpose of the emergency ration. Accordingly it was incorporated in the contents of the can.

The final portion of the ration is the seasoning, which is in a pasteboard box or small envelope in the top of the can. There is three-fourths of an ounce of salt and a gram of black pepper.

The directions printed on the outside of the can explain many things which can be done with the contents:

Bread and meat component may be eaten dry, or stirred into cold water, or one cake may be boiled five minutes or longer in three pints of water and resulting soup, seasoned to taste, or one cake may be boiled in one pint of water, making thick porridge, to be eaten hot or cold; when cold may be sliced and fried is bacon or other fat is available.

It took years for the army to reach the conclusions which resulted in the adoption of the present form of emergency ration, and it is now believed that every end desired has been reached. The experiments have been very extensive.

In 1901 there was a board appointed to investigate the subject, and the existing emergency ration is the result of the report of that board. The board made practical tests on the enlisted men of the army.

Fifty-six men were selected for the duty, and for five days they lived on nothing but the emergency ration. They were examined physically and weighed before the five days began and at the end of the period of experimentation.

There was only slight change in weights and none of the men suffered. A few gained in weight, and all declared that they had not felt pangs of hunger at any time. Before the next experiment the men were told that if at any time they felt that they were suffering ill effects from the use of the ration they would get the regular fare. None asked for it.

Before adopting the ration the army had reports from every country maintaining a large army. During the recent war in Manchuria the Russian had no such things as an emergency ration. The Japanese emergency ration was composed of either 14 ounces of dried rice, or one pound and 14 ounces of hard bread, five ounces of canned meat and a little salt. Upon this ration the Japanese have no trouble keeping their strength and vigor.

The English emergency ration is composed of four ounces of concentrated beef and five ounces of cocoa paste. The German iron ration, so-called because of the can in which it is packed, consists of nine ounces of biscuit, seven ounces of preserved meat or bacon, seven-eighths of an ounce of coffee and an equal amount of salt. The total weight of the ration is one pound and ten ounces.

The French emergency ration is comparatively vary heavy, weighing nearly three pounds. It has 33 ounces of bread, about nine ounces of preserved meat and five and a half ounces of groceries including rice, legumes, salt, sugar and coffee.

The iron ration of Switzerland, which is carried in active service, consists of 500 grams of biscuit, or 550 grams of flour, or 750 grams of dessicated bread; 250 grams of smoked, canned or dried meat; 15 grams of salt and 20 grams of sugar. Fresh or canned vegetables may be substituted in this ration for the meat component.

In the Austrian army, in all cases of emergency the following portion of the reserve portion of the regular ration is used: 400 grams of bread, 200 grams of Fleischgemuse (meat vegetables), 25 grams of green coffee and an equal amount of sugar. Coffee tablets are sometimes substituted for the coffee and sugar.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 5 January 2016

More and Better Food for Army Overseas
Topic: Army Rations

Private Maurice Richard (right), Canadian Provost Corps, talking with students of the Khaki University of Canada, who ride in a jeep driven by Lance-Bombardier R.S. Hughes, Leavesden, England, 15 April 1946. Photographer: Sgt. Karen M. Hermiston. Location: Leavesden, England. Date: April 15, 1946. MIKAN Number: 3518851. (Faces of the Second World War, Library and Archives Canada)

More and Better Food for Army Overseas

Ottawa Citizen, 24 November 1946

After six long years of unimaginative army rations, Canadian troops overseas are going to get more and better food.

Major-General Hugh Young, quartermaster-general of the Canadian Army, said today that shipments of special food have already been arranged and very soon troops in Europe will have added to their menus food which they have long dreamed about and longed for.

Fruit Juices

Included in the new rations will be fruit juices, orange, tomato, and apple. There will be a completely new assortment of vegetables, never present in wartime messes, including tinned corn, corn on the cob, peas, beans, and also tinned fruit, peaches, pears, and apples.

General Young said that all through the active fighting the Canadian Army followed along on the British ration system, but now for reasons of morale it was deemed essential that Canadian troops get food with more of a Canadian character to it.

With all the new trimmings that will make meal time overseas more Canadian than it ever has been during the war, the army will still get its never-ending supply of bully beef, however. Only change so far made in the meat supply for the Canadian troops is that a large shipment of first class Canadian tinned salmon has been obtained. Canadian and British troops alike do receive a fresh meat ration overseas.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 28 December 2015

Royal Canadian Navy Knows How to Cook!
Topic: Army Rations

Royal Canadian Navy Knows How to Cook!

Ottawa Citizen, 21 May 1955

A request from a woman in North Rugby, England, proves that navy food is very definitely not forgotten. The memory, apparently pleasant, still lingers after 11 years.

Recently in the mail of the commanding officer, HMCS Niobe, Canadian naval headquarters in the United Kingdom, was a request for the recipe of "a type of flapjack and sauce" served in a wartime ship of the RCN.

The writer of the letter, Mrs. D. Emmony, stated that her husband, a Royal Marine, served in the Canadian auxiliary cruiser Prince David during 1944 and was served with the pancakes ‘and sauce" every morning for breakfast.

Tracing Begins

Tracing action began with the forwarding of Mrs. Emmony's request to the officer-in-charge, HMC Supply School, on the West Coast, with a copy to the Naval Secretary, Ottawa. An accompanying comment explained that the recipe for pancakes contained in the RCN Recipe Manual had not been sent "since undoubtedly Mrs. Emmony desires to provide for the needs on an ordinary household rather than a hundred hungry sailors."

By coincidence, the man who was the senior cook in the Prince David in 1944, CPO William Allan Stockley, of Esquimalt, B.C., was senior cookery instructor and divisional chief petty officer in the cookery school on the West Coast when her letter arrived. His recipe for griddle cakes was sent to Mrs. Emmony, along with that of an alternative sauce in the evnt that Canadian maple syrup is not obtainable in the United Kingdom.

CPO Stockley hopes his private formula will fulfil the request of the Englishwoman and satisfy the appetite of her ex-Royal Marine husband. His batter will make 16 four-inch hot cakes.

Superlative Hot Cakes

Flour, 2 egg whites, 2 egg yolks, 1 ½ cups fresh milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter or shortening, 3 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon sugar.

Sift flour, then measure 2 cups. Combine all dry ingredients, blend well. Separate eggs, add yolks only to milk and beat lightly. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until they form peaks but still maintain moist appearance.

Now add milk and egg yolk mixture to dry ingredients, when thoroughly blended add melted shortening or butter. Last fold in, do not beat, the egg whites. Hot cakes should not be tirned on the griddle until holes appear and remain on the uncooked side.

Maple Syrup

Probably the "sauce" referred to in Mrs. Emmony's letter.

The best syrup to use would be a Canadian Maple Syrup, in the event that this is unobtainable in the U.K. the following recipes are enclosed.

Heat 1 cup of golden syrup and add Maple flavoring to taste or boil together for 2 minutes; 1 cup water, 2 cups brown sugar. Add a few drops of maple flavouring to taste. Servce hot.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 25 December 2015

Topic: Army Rations


"Blasts from the Trumpet," The Quebec Saturday Budget, 13 September 1902

As all who have anything to do with the British army are aware, Tommy Atkins is very fond of sweets, and it is not surprising to learn, therefore, from Mr. Brodrick, that no less a quantity than 34,582,762 lbs, of jam were consumed by the army during the recent war in South Africa. The bulk of this jam was manufactured in the United Kingdom, the rest going from the Colonies. Some one with a taste for figures has computed that in the year 1900 alone thirty train loads of jam, and 300 tins to a load, were sent to the front, and that the army in South Africa consumed more than half its own weight of jam in that time. Despite this enormous consumption of jam in the time of war, it is learned from Mr. Brodrick that it is not to be issued as a ration in peace. One cannot help thinking that this is a mistake. After all is said and done, jam is not an expensive luxury, and it is an indulgence that might well be granted the private soldier at a time when there is so much talk about the best method of inducing men to join the army.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 2 November 2015

Rations at the Beginning of the 19th Century
Topic: Army Rations

Rations at the Beginning of the 19th Century

Inside the Regiment; The Officers and Men of the 30th Regiment During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Carole Divall, 2011

Not only was the soldier clothed by the army; he could also rely on being fed by the army, except under the most severe campaigning conditions or when the commissariat failed. These two difficulties came together during the final days of the retreat from Burgos when the supplies took the wrong route. No wonder men of the third and fourth divisions resorted to shooting pigs while others scrambled for acorns as their only hope of sustenance. Nor was this an isolated incident. The commissary attached to the third division during the Waterloo campaign also failed in his duty. As a result, on Wellington's order, 'Mr Deputy Assistant Commissary General Spencer [was] removed from the Commissariat for quitting the 3d Division to which he was attached, without leave during the important operations recently carrying on.'

The official daily ration was one and a half pounds of bread, a pound of meat (half a pound if it was pork), a quarter of a pint of pease, an ounce of butter or cheese, and an ounce of rice. Since not all of these were always available, considerable variations in this restricted diet are recorded. In addition, some battalions encouraged officers to supply their men with vegetables. Bread and meat were the most predictable items, but although the quantity remained the same the quality varied greatly. There were many horror stories of adulterated food, particularly bread. As for meat, a pound might be more bone than flesh.

Inspecting generals in the two-battalion period often commented approvingly on the quality of the meat supplied. In November 1813, while the second battalion was stationed in Jersey, it was reported that 'The meat and bread are furnished by contract, of a good quality', while sixth months later, in Flanders, the men's messing is well attended to, & the meat and bread issued is generally good.' In Vaumorel's inspection at Cannanore, we read that 'The men's messing [is] strictly attended to, and good as the supplies on the Malabar Coast will possibly admit of.'

On campaign, the meat was likely to be on the hoof until shortly before it found its way into the men's camp kettles, or alternatively it might be salted. As in so many aspects of military life which related to the comfort of the soldier, the French organised things rather better for their conscript army, so it is no wonder that the chance to eat what the French had left behind in the course of a hurried departure was eagerly accepted. This was the good fortune of the 2/30th along with the 2/94th, when they crossed the river into Sabugal in 1811, and broke into the recently vacated castle.

The daily drink allowance was five pints of small beer, which on campaign would be converted into whatever happened to be the local drink. The Portuguese wondered at the British soldiers' capacity for drinking the rough red wine which they themselves were reluctant to touch; while in India the native arrack was the cause of much indiscipline. There is evidence to suggest that some soldiers would willingly have starved themselves in order to have more money for drink, but for the system of messing which put men into groups who cooked and shared the food in rotation. This made it impossible for the individual soldier to forgo his food Furthermore, the officer of the day, as part of his duties, was required to inspect kettles at the hour appointed for cooking, while supervising messing arrangements was one of the general duties of all company officers.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 10 October 2015 7:08 PM EDT
Monday, 19 October 2015

Testing Army Rations (1900)
Topic: Army Rations

Testing Army Rations (1900)

The Emergency Ones to be Put on Trial by War Department

The Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 5 November 1900

Fort Reno, Okla., Nov. 4.—The board of officers detailed by the war department to find, if possible, an emergency ration that will meet all the requirements of troops engaged in active warfare while away from their base of supplies and in a hostile country where provisions are scarce, left here yesterday with a detachment of twenty-five men from Troop A, Eighth Cavalry, for experimental purposes. The men will observe the same routine as if they were engaged in an active campaign against an enemy. The members of the board are Capt. W. Fountain, Eighth Cavalry, and Capt. S.W. Foster, Fifth Cavalry. Captain and Assistant Surgeon J.D. Poindexter, stationed at Fort Reno, accompanied the expedition. A single ration is supposed to contain enough food to sustain a man a day, and in its package weighs slightly more than a pound.

The board has two emergency rations, with which it will experiment. The first is a ration prepared by the board after an examination and analysis of the food preparations used in nearly all European armies. The board's observations and conclusions are embodied in the ration, which was manufactured under its supervision.

The second is a ration produced by a company at Passaic, N.J. the New Jersey ration consists of tea in place of chocolate and a combination of meat and breadstuffs compactly arranged.

The board's own ration consists of two cakes of pure sweet chocolate, three cakes of a combination of meat and breadstuffs in compressed form, and a small quantity of salt and pepper for seasoning.

Capt. Fountain, who is president of the board, said of the experiment: "Our expedition will leave Fort Reno just as if it had been called suddenly away from its base of supplies to fight an enemy in an unknown and hostile country. The routine of daily life will approximate as closely as possible the conditions of actual warfare. Five regular field rations and five of the board's emergency rations will be issued to each man at the start. For two days the men will live on the regular army ration. On the third day this field ration will be abandoned and the men put on the emergency ration, which will be their only food for five days. The test will be as rigorous as possible, so far as food is concerned. The results will form the basis of the board's report to the war department.

"At the end of the seventh day we will reach Fort Sill. The men will still have a three days' supply of regular field rations which will be enough to carry them back to Fort Reno."

elipsis graphic

New Army Ration

Ingrediants Secret, but Believed to Include beef, Wheat, Salt and Chocolate.

The Evening News, San Jose, Cal., 12 March 1901

As a result of an exhaustive test, conducted under actual conditions of military service, and emergency ration has been obtained for the United States army superior to that used by the troops of any other nation.

That is the opinion of the board of officers designated to prepare a ration and examine others submitted and test them in comparison.

The ration which developed the greatest merit was adopted for trial by the board after the most careful consideration of the several elements comprising it. The board examined and celebrated the iron ration of Germany and the emergency ration of Great Britain. The one, in the opinion of Captain Fountain, would be eaten by men only on the verge of starvation. The other weighs more than two pounds and is consequently almost as heavy as the regular ration of the American army.

The ration of the board was tested for five days, and an equally long trial was given to two rations submitted by private persons.

The components of the ration prepared by the board have not been made public, but it is believed to contain powdered beef, parched wheat, salt and chocolate.

With a detachment of 25 men, physically fit, of Troop A, Eighth Cavalry, Captains Fountain and Foster left Fort Reno early in November and for three days lived on the regular army ration. Then officers and men started on the emergency ration test. The men were required to march 20 miles each day and perform the usual routine incident upon field service. At the expiration of the five days officers and men were weighed. The average loss of weight sustained was found to be about two pounds, and the men returned to their post in good physical condition.

Another detachment of 25 men of Troop A went out two days later under command of Captains Fountain and Foster, After three days' use of the regular army ration the test of the second emergency ration began. Cases of dysentery occurred. The test of the third emergency ration, under the same conditions, gave the same results.

In order that there might be no question as to the value of the first ration, detachments of 25 men from Fort Reno and 25 men from Fort Sill left these two posts and arranged to meet at a point equally distant under various conditions of service. They seemed to relish it and suffered no diminution of vigor.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 15 October 2015

Feeding an Army When in Field
Topic: Army Rations

Feeding an Army When in Field

Emergency Ration Carried into Action by Every English Soldier

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash., 8 November, 1914

The Manchester (Eng.) Guardian says: The English Soldier, when he goes into action, carries with him an emergency ration (known in the service as the 'iron' ration). Which is securely packed in a canvas receptacle on the man's equipment.

elipsis graphic

The new chain of supply gives between one and two days 'iron' rations in the haversack, half a day's ration in the cook's wagon, and one ration and grocery in the train or supply column, making a total of two and a half to three and a half days' rations with the field units, as against five and a half days' supply under the old system.

elipsis graphic

Opened Only in Emergency

The present 'emergency ration' for use on active service consists of chocolate, with added plasmon or other suitable milk proteid. The food is wrapped in vegetable parchment paper, and packed in tins, each containing sic and a half ounces. This ration is not to be opened except by order of an officer or in extremity. It is calculated to maintain strength for 36 hours, if eaten or drunk in small quantities at a time. To prepare the beverage the scrapings of a ration are boiled in a half pint of water. The 'iron' ration is made up of one pound of preserved meat, 12 ounces of biscuit, five-eights ounce of tea, two ounces of sugar, one-half ounce of salt, three ounces of cheese and two cubes (one ounce) of meat extract.

The traveling kitchen has for years been tried and approved in the French, Russian and German armies, and is now being used by each of these armies in the field. The English field kitchen is a two-horse limbered vehicle. It cooks for 250 men, allowing 10 quarts of hot food for every 12 men. The rear part of the wagon contains a fire and four cooking pots in addition to a hot water boiler. Groceries, too, are carried. The only drawback to these cooking carts is that they materially increase the length of the baggage columns, and as an army corps with its baggage takes up 17 miles of road this is a serious objection. But the traveling kitchens have proved their value. They enable a soldier to have a hot meal on reaching his bivouac.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 11 October 2015

Australian Army "Body Heat" Rations (1979)
Topic: Army Rations

Australian Army "Body Heat" Rations (1979)

Body heat 'cooks' latest Army rations.
When Australia's Army is on the move, and a man wants a meal, all he has to do is stick it up his jumper — literally.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 July 1979
By Tony Blackie

It's the Army's revolutionary new way of dealing with rations.

The soldiers draws out of his ration pack a foil container of freeze-dried food, adds water and puts the container next to his skin.

The meal is cooked by his body warmth, and the soldier is soon dining on steak and onions, lamb and vegetable curry, roast sliced pork or savoury steak.

The freeze-dried haute cuisine was developed by the Armed Forces Food Science Establishment in Tasmania.

The establishment has perfected methods of keeping processed foods fresh for up to two years. Although this has obvious commercial applications, manufacturers have steered away from the idea.

At present, commercially produced foods have a life of about nine months or less.

The director of the research establishment, Dr. Ross Richards, says the foods produced by his staff have many advantages over the consumer products — for example taste, quick preparation, weight and increased nutritional value.

Last week, the Sun-Herald joined the chow queue to taste some of the delights which keep our ever-vigilant protectors strong and alert.

After opening a pack of dehydrated beef and beans we sat with several officers. Although it was two and a half years old, the meal was a resounding success.

The ration pack also contains a pack of freeze-dried rice, which when constituted was enough to feed several people; several packs of tea and coffee; a pack of sweet and sour pork; shortbread biscuits; chocolate; instant milk; chewing gum and a range of other goodies all designed for one day's survival.

An old digger who saw the pack was horrified.

"They've got to pot those blokes have," he sneered, "We used to get a tin of bully beef and a few biscuits and that's all. The army is spoilt these days."

Dr. Richards says the food provided in the ration packs is carefully weighted to ensure each soldier on patrol carries enough food to last the manoeuvre.

"We have a semi commercial freeze-drying operation and the freeze-dried food is packed into aluminium containers," Dr. Richards said.

In the past, the Australian armed forces imported all ration pack water from England in tins, but the establishment has now produced a throw-away plastic water container which the British are now interested in.

But what about the taste of all these foods?

"We have rigorous tests on the food. We go out with army manoeuvres and eat with the soldiers and question them on the food," Dr. Richards said.

"All the staff at Scotsdale eat the food we produce. No one can point the bone at us."

The establishment is now working on other projects including miniature tubes of butter concentrate and specially reduced and dehydrated meals which can be packed in tiny containers.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 2 October 2015

Rations at Kiska; 1943
Topic: Army Rations

Rations at Kiska; 1943

Canadian Army HQ Report; The Canadian Participation in the Kiska Operations

U.S. rations used by the Canadian troops during the Kiska expedition were of the following types, "D", "K", "C", "5 in 1", "B" and "A". Listed in their order of degree from emergency to normal issue their respective composition is shown below.

"D" Ration

3 bars concentrated sweetened chocolate (600 cal. each).

"K" Ration


  • 4 oz. potted ham and egg
  • 1 pkg. 3 K-l biscuits
  • 1 pkg. 4 K-2 biscuits (sweetened)
  • 1 pkg. coffee
  • 3 cubes sugar
  • 1 pkg. "Charm" candies
  • 1 fruit bar


  • 4 oz. cheese
  • 1 pkg. 1 K-l biscuits
  • 1 pkg. 4 K-2 biscuits
  • 1 pkg. lemonade powder
  • 3 cubes sugar
  • 2 oz. dextrose tablets
  • 1 stick chewing gum
  • 4 cigarettes


  • 3 3/4 oz. pork and veal loaf
  • 10 gm. bouillon powder
  • 1 pkg. 3 K-1 biscuits
  • 1 pkg. 4 K-2 biscuits
  • 2 oz. "D" Ration chocolate
  • 1 stick chewing gum
  • 4 cigarettes

Each meal packed in flat cardboard box in waterproof paper.

"C" Ration

A day's ration consisted of 3 tins of "B"-unit and 3 tins of "M"-unit. A meal consisted of one tin of each unit. Sterno heaters or heat tabs were issued for use with "C" rations.


  • Bread ration (biscuits)
  • Beverage - cocoa, coffee or lemonade
  • 3 pieces of sugar
  • candy or chocolate


Meat and vegetable stew
Meat and vegetable hash
Meat and vegetable with beans

"5 in 1" Ration

A cardboard carton containing 28 lbs. of prepared "B" ration, issued to feed five men for one day, (not one man for five days). Strictly an emergency ration, all food being packed in cans. This ration was used to a limited extent towards the end of the first week on Kiska as a welcome relief from "C" rations.

"B" Ration

A complete bulk ration consisting solely of dried, dehydrated or canned foods. Menu No. 2 intended for Frigid or Cold areas, contained some 125 articles of diet. The "B" Ration was the standard issue during the stay at Kiska, except when it was supplemented from time to time by the arrival of a ship with "A" rations of fresh meat, vegetables and eggs. The full list of "B" ration items is given in "U.S. Issue Chart based on No.2 Expeditionary Force Menu showing quantities required of each component for 10,000 rations. Revised 9/28/42."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Japanese Army Rations, 1944
Topic: Army Rations

Japanese Army Rations, 1944

Soldier's Guide to the Japanese Army, Military Intelligence Service, November 1944

…when the Japanese soldier gets nothing to eat he becomes just as hungry and dejected as any other soldier.

There has been much misunderstanding of the food situation in the Japanese Army. Myths have sprung up concerning the ability of the Japanese soldier to subsist on extremely small quantities of food, and it has been popularly believed that he eats little save rice while in the field.

As a matter of fact, when the Japanese soldier gets nothing to eat he becomes just as hungry and dejected as any other soldier. He likes adequate meals at regular times and appreciates variety. Inadequate rations bring their full quota of complaints and exercise a depressing influence on individual and unit morale in the Japanese Army. One Japanese soldier plaintively records in his diary, "If I eat tonight, I may not be able to eat tomorrow. It is indeed a painful experience to be hungry. At the present time all officers, even though there is such a scarcity of food, eat relatively well. The condition is one in which the majority starves." Another complains about the monotony of the rations: "The never-changing soup for the morning meal. Only two meals today—army biscuits to gnaw at in the morning and miso soup with watermelon in the evening. Also had some salt beef."

The Japanese field ration is adequate and reasonably tasty; most of its components, after proper inspection, can be eaten by Allied troops. Rice is the stable part of the ration, comparable with bread or biscuit in other armies. Naturally, the Japanese soldier would no more be satisfied with a ration consisting exclusively of rice than an Allied soldier would with bread alone.

The rice, which is cooked dry to the consistency of a sticky mass to facilitate eating with chopsticks, may be either the polished or unpolished variety.

Ordinarily the polished type is used, since it can be kept in the cooked state longer. To ward off beri beri some barley may be mixed with the rice, but this mixture is not overly popular. Instead, the rice usually is cooked with a few pickled plums which not only afford protection against beri beri but also act as a laxative to counteract the constipating effect of rice. To make the rice more palatable, it prdinarily is seasoned with soy-bean sauce or the equivalent powder known as miso. Both the sauce (shoyu) and the miso are prepared from soy-bean seeds, to which malt and salt are added. The resultant products have a flavor similar to Worcestershire sauce and are much like the soy sauce found in all U.S. Chinese restaurants.

Other favored foods are pickled radishes; dried, tinned, or pickled octopus, which would be roughly comparable.with canned-salmon or herring in other armies; dried bread (hard-baked wheaten cakes), and vegetables. Preserved foods include dried and compressed fish—salmon or bonito which must be soaked and salted to make it palatable; pickled plums, compressed barley or rice- cakes, canned oranges and tangerines, and powdered tea leaves. Dehydrated vegetables, especially beans, peas, cabbage, horse-radish; slices of ginger; salted plum cake; canned beef; canned cooked whale meat; confections, and vitamin tablets often are included in ration issues. The ration is not standardized and ordinarily varies from 2 1/2 to 4 pounds per day for the standard field ration. The ration is calculated in two forms, the normal (fresh) and the special (preserved), depending upon the availability of fresh foods. Quantities also are graduated according to three categories of issues: the basic or full issue distributed when transport is adequate; the issue when transport is difficult; and the third and least quantity, issued when transport is very difficult.

There are two emergency rations. The "A" ration consists of about 1 pound 13 ounces of rice, 5 ounces of canned fish or meat, and a little miso and sugar. The "B" ration consists of "hard tack". This comprises three muslin bags of small oval biscuits; each bag contains a half-pound biscuit for one meal. This ration may only be eaten on orders of an officer. A compressed ration is also available for emergency use. It is made up of a cellophane packet containing cooked rice, pickled plums, dried fish, salt, and sugar.

An iron ration is issued only to parachutists. Weighing half a pound, this ration consists of wafer-like biscuits made of ground rice and flavored with sesame seed, and an extract made from mussel flesh, dried plums, preserved ginger, crushed soy beans, and mori (a form of dried seaweed).

An emergency air-crew ration found in New Guinea contained 20 ounces of unpolished rice, puffed wheat; biscuits, dried fish, two small bottles of concentrated wine (35 percent alcohol), candy, large salt tablets, and a water-purifier kit. The entire kit was packed in five transparent water-proof bags. On Bougainville a "Polished Rice Combination Case" was found which contained 40 portions, mostly rice, loose-packed in an air-tight tin case enclosed in a wooden crate. This, in addition to the rice, contained miso paste, vitamin-B concentrate, vitamin A and D tablets, powdered tea (vitamin C), fuel, and matches. These ingredients were packed in 3-ounce cans, with one can intended apparently for every two portions of rice.

Every opportunity is utilized to augment the normal ration issue. Fishing, gardening, and purchases from natives frequently afford welcome additions to the daily diet as well as variety. Foraging, both organized and unorganized, also is resorted to if the country is sufficiently well stocked to make such enterprise profitable. The Japanese soldier is very fond of confections, and these he may secure in the "Comfort Bags" sent by relatives and friends at home.

The transport of rations naturally varies with the terrain, the nature of the military operations, the availability of local food sources, and other factors. In New Guinea emergency rations sufficient for 12 days were carried by a battalion of 700. Each man carried a three-day supply of "fresh" food and a four-day supply of "preserved", with the reminder, aggregating 2.98 tons, carried in the battalion train. In another instance an infantry regiment carried rations for ten days, with four days calculated on an emergency basis. But the Japanese have made matches with only a five-day supply. Packaging was quite inferior in the early days of the war, and much canned and dehydrated food was lost as a result of this deficiency. Considerable improvement has been noted, however, in recent operations.

Army Ration Scales

Ration ItemNormal or Fresh ScaleSpecial or Preserved Scale
[Figures are ounces except where otherwise indicated]
Rice, or rice and barley28 
Compressed rice 20
Fresh meat or fish7.4 
Canned meat or fish 5.3
vegetables 4.2
plum 1.6
Shoyu (saure)1.7 
Powdered miso 1.1
Bean paste2.6 
Total4 lb.2 lb. 2 oz.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 17 September 2015

US Army Ration 1830s
Topic: Army Rations

US Army Ration 1830s

A Short History of the US Army Noncommissioned Officer, L.R. Arms

Daily rations during the 1830's included:—

  • beef (1 ¼ lbs) or pork (¾ lbs);
  • flour or bread (18 ounces);
  • whiskey, rum, or other liquor (¼ pint);
  • vinegar (4 quarts per 100 men);
  • soap (4 lbs per 100 men);
  • salt (two quarts per 100 men); and
  • candles (1 ½ lbs per 100 men).

The liquor ration was eliminated in 1832 and replaced with four pounds of coffee and eight pounds of sugar per 100 men.

The lack of vegetables in the daily ration often proved disastrous at frontier posts. During the winter months scurvy struck posts and the only relief was to trade local Indians whiskey for vegetables. This trade, though illegal, saved more than one post from the ravages of scurvy. When coffee replaced whiskey, the Army had little to trade to attain the needed vegetables, as Indians would rarely trade vegetables for coffee. (For prevention of scurvy, beans were introduced into the daily ration in the 1840's.)

Post gardens provided another source of nutrition outside the daily rations. In an effort to lower the cost of sustaining an Army, gardens were used to grow vegetables. Enlisted men planted, hoed, and watered the gardens as fatigue duty. At other posts, in addition to gardens, herds of cattle were maintained. Many commanders and enlisted men disapproved of such duty, regarding it as unmilitary.

Considered by many to be more military, and assisting in supplementing the daily ration, hunting proved popular on the frontier. One commander went so far as to declare that the Army would save a great deal of money and train its troops if soldiers were organized into hunting parties, instead of spending endless hours on fatigue duty.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 15 September 2015

British Operational Rations
Topic: Army Rations

British Operational Rations

Excerpted from Operational Ration Packs of the British Armed Forces, Defence Food Services (DFS) Defence Equipment and Support, Bristol

24 Hour Operational Ration Pack (ORP)

The 24 Hr GP [General Purpose ration] is currently available in one of 20 menus. These menus are mixed 10 to a box, with box A containing menus 1-10, and box B menus 11-20. These are then mixed on the pallet with an equal number of box A and B. In this way the maximum number of menus is made available to the end user. Menus are changed frequently to ensure maximum choice to the end user and to prevent menu fatigue. The 24 Hr rations have a number of variants that are designed to meet the religious and cultural requirements of the modern, diverse nature of the British Military. All of these variants are based on the standard 24 Hr GP, and are suitable for consumption by everyone. They are designed for the British Serviceman and woman. Seen side by side, the variants would be very difficult to tell apart from the GP. They are based on the same macro and micro nutrient requirements and go through the same FSP process. The variants have 10 menus per outer carton and are comprised of Vegetarian, Halal, Sikh/Hindu and Kosher.

10 Man ORP

The 10 Man ORP is designed primarily for use by military chefs in a field kitchen, with one box (10 rations) feeding 10 men for one day. This ration is used once any warfighting phase has passed and when the tactical situation allows the deployment of a field kitchen. They are also suitable for use by the novice or “hobby chef”. The components should be used according to the instructions on each packet/sachet/tin. Various guides exist to enable the chef to make the most from the contents of the box, flexibility in use being the key to the production of a variety of tasty meals. Each box of 10 rations is designed to enable a two course breakfast, lunch and three course dinner to be made, as well as various drinks, both hot and cold. In use, the pouches, cans etc should be heated until piping hot, opened, and the contents within 90 minutes and disposed of if not used within this time. In the absence of adequate refrigeration, care should be taken not to store the components in direct sunlight, and especially when opened.

Currently there are 5 main menus and although there are no specific ethnic varieties available, there are sufficient vegetarian components within the menus to produce a vegetarian option if required. Each box comes with a range of basic raw materials, a chef's pack containing flour, yeast, spices and other condiments etc and a number of hot and cold drink choices.

24 Hour Jungle Ration

The 24 Hour Jungle ration is based on the standard 24 Hr ration with additional supplements and a Flameless Ration Heater (FRH). The Jungle ration is designed for use by the SF and other specialist units and is not usually available for general consumption. Currently it provides a minimum of 4,500 kcal per day.

Cold Climate Ration

The Cold Climate Ration (CCR) is a specialist and lightweight, high calorie 24 Hr ration designed for use by troops above the snow line or in the high Arctic. It comprises mainly dehydrated main meals with a range of snacks designed to be eaten on the go. The CCR ration provides a minimum of 5,500 Kcals per ration and currently 8 menu choices are available, mixed per outer.

12 Hour ORP

The 12 Hr ORP is a lightweight ration designed for patrolling for durations from 4 – 12 hours. It comes complete with a FRH thus dispensing with the requirement for an additional heating source. In addition to a main meal in a retort pouch, it also contains a number of snack items and drink powders, but NO hot beverage items. Due to its utility in fulfilling a number of requirements, e.g. for drivers, remote guard posts etc, and its ambient shelf stable nature, it is available to any unit worldwide where this type of operational ration is required. It is also useful in meeting a nutrition gap where the daily energy expenditure is expected to be in excess of 6,000 Kcals, e.g. arduous training.

The 12 Hr ration provides a minimum of 2,000 Kcals per ration and currently 10 menu choices are available including one vegetarian.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 11 September 2015

German Army; Rations in Winter (1943)
Topic: Army Rations

German Army; Rations in Winter (1943)

German Winter Warfare, Military Intelligence Division, Washington, December 1943


All commanders and all units concerned with rations should always be conscious of the fact that they have the very responsible task of keeping their troops healthy. In the winter the troops should receive warm food and hot drinks more often than in summer. Hot soups should be served frequently with breakfast and supper. Always have hot water ready for preparing warm drinks. The colder the weather, the more fat should be included in the food. Food, especially cold cuts, must not be served if its temperature is under 50 degrees F. Cold easily causes deterioration or reduction of nutritive value; therefore, special attention should be given to the transportation, storage, and care of food which is susceptible to cold.

Alcoholic drinks should be issued only at night in bivouacs. Rumn should not be given unless it is mixed with hot drinks, such as tea. If liquors like cognac and vodka are issued, care must be taken that some soldiers do not receive more than their regular share either as a gift from other soldiers or by trading.

If it is anticipated that serving from field kitchens will not be possible, powdered coffee, tea, and other rations should be issued in advance to enable the soldiers to prepare their own hot drinks and hot food. To prevent overloading the men, however, only essential rations should be issued. Otherwise they will throw away whatever seems to be superfluous at that moment. Every man must know how to cook and should be given opportunities to practice cooking. Patrols and raiding parties should receive rations which are light and do not occupy much space.

Field Rations In Extreme Weather

In extremely cold weather, the following rations are especially suitable for the field kitchen: frozen and canned meat; hard salami; bacon; smoked meat; fresh vegetables, including beans and peas; spaghetti; macaroni; noodles; frozen potatoes; and frozen vegetables. Food which has a high water content should not be taken along.

Hot drinks should be issued. If the soldier cannot be fed from the field kitchen, he should be issued the following provisions:

(1)     Bread ready for consumption and with some sort of spread on it. The men should wrap it in paper if possible and carry it in their pockets to protect it against the cold.
(2)     Cracked wheat bread.
(3)     Dried and baked fruits.
(4)     Candies.
(5)     Chocolates.

Drinks carried in the canteen will stay warm to some extent only if the canteen is well wrapped and then placed inside the bread bag or pack. If the canteen is carried outside on the bread bag, the contents will soon freeze. Never permit soldiers to eat snow to quench their thirst, or to drink cold water on an empty stomach. Snow water should be drunk only after it has been boiled. (Caution!)

Emergency Rations

WVhen on reconnaissance or isolated sentry duty, a soldier is often forced to be economical with his food. The following suggestions on how to make provisions last are based on Russian recommendations for emergency foods for guerrillas, stragglers, etc.

a.     Frozen Meats

The simplest way to keep meat in winter is to let it freeze. Before being boiled or fried, it should be thawed over the range. If quick cooking is necessary, cut the frozen meat into little pieces and place them on the lid of the mess kit, after adding fat and a little salt. Keep the meat over the fire until a sample is at least tolerably tasty. During the thaw period, thawed meat will easily spoil. To prevent this, cut the meat into thin slices, dry them on a piece of sheet iron over a stove, and sprinkle them with salt. Meat thus cured will keep reasonably long.

b.     Raw Fish

Cut the frozen fish into thin flakes, or, preferably, scrape the fish with a knife instead of cutting it, so that thin shavings are formed. If need be, it can be consumed without cooking.

c.     Food from the Woods

The red bilberry grows in pine woods beneath the snow. Cranberries are found in mossy bogs. Fir cones and pine cones, when held over a fire, will open and yield nourishing seeds. Yellow tree moss is poisonous. Other tree mosses, especially Iceland moss (steel gray), become edible after several hours of cooking. The rushes which grow on the banks of rivers and lakes have root ends which can be eaten when boiled or baked. Wild apples or bitter fruits, like those of the mountain ash, become sweet after freezing.

d.     Sawdust Flour

Flour rations can be stretched by adding sawdust flour, made preferably from the pine tree, but birch bark may also be used. For this purpose, carefully cut the outer layer of the bark from a young tree. Make two ring-shaped incisions in the inner layer of bark, about a yard apart, and vertical cuts between them. Then carefully lift off segments of the inner bark with a sharp knife, cut them into small pieces, and boil them, changing the water several times to eliminate the taste of tar. Next, dry the pieces until they are not quite brittle. Finally, mash and pulverize the pieces in the hand.

Usually sawdust flour is mixed with rye flour in a proportion of 25 to 100 or even 50 to 100. It is stirred into the dough with water added. Sour milk may also be added. The dough is rolled out very thin, and small flat cakes are baked.

e.     Baking Bread in Mess Kit

Bread can be baked in the mess kit in hot ashes. This method is employed only when other bread cannot be obtained. The simplest and quickest way is to use baking powder. The ingredients are two mess-kit covers full of rye or wheat flour (about 540 grams, or 1 pound 3 ounces); one mess-kit cover about half full of cold water; one-half ounce of baking powder; and one-half teaspoon of salt, if it is available. Mix the ingredients slowly, add cold water, and knead the dough until it becomes medium stiff. This dough is shaped into a roll the length of the mess kit. Roll the loaf in flour and place it in the mess kit. Close the mess kit with its cover, and put it under embers and hot ashes, baking the dough for about 1 1/2 hours.

Effect of Cold Weather on Food

The following articles of food will not spoil or at least will not deteriorate materially in extreme cold: bread; meat and meat products of all kinds, including canned meat; canned and fresh fish; fats; dried beans and peas; dried vegetables; dried fruit; macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, and other grain products; rice; coffee; tea; sugar; salt; spices; and dehydrated foods.

Canned vegetables; mixed fruit preserves which have been prepared in water or in their own juice, as well as sauerkraut and beans in cans or barrels; marmalade; and honey freeze easily but generally do not deteriorate. They should not be stored where the temperature is below the freezing point. Milk, fruit juices, mineral waters, wine, beer, and liquor in bottles or barrels should be protected against freezing; otherwise the bottles and barrels may break. Red wine will not keep in cold temperatures. Potatoes become sweet when frozen and their palatability is thereby affected. Both hard and soft cheeses lose flavor, dry out, and crumble after they are thawed out.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 6 September 2015

US Military Rations
Topic: Army Rations

US Military Rations

Excerpted from 2015 Operational Rations Handbook, U.S. Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center, DoD Combat Feeding Directorate

Individual Rations

Meals, Ready–to–Eat (MREs)

The Meal, Ready to Eat is the primary individual ration of the US Armed Forces. The balanced nutrition and low logistical burden of the MRE give America's Warfighters the ability to fight and win in any environment. Meal, Ready–to–Eat, Individual MRE.

Modular Operational Ration Enhancement (MORE)

The Modular Operational Ration Enhancement (MORE) was developed to augment daily operational rations with additional components tailored to particular environments. There are two types of MORE; one targets high altitude and cold weather while the other is intended for hot weather operations.

First Strike Ration® (FSR)

The FSR is a compact, eat–on–the–move assault ration designed for high intensity combat operations. The FSR is substantially lighter and more compact than the Meal, Ready to Eat, enhancing Warfighter consumption, nutritional intake, and mobility.

Meal, Cold Weather/Food Packet, Long Range Patrol (MCW/LRP)

The Meal, Cold Weather (MCW) and the Food Packet, Long Range Patrol (LRP) are designed to meet the unique requirements of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and Army Special Operations Forces (SOF). These specialized forces require appropriate nutritional and operational characteristics for extreme cold environments, as well as a restricted calorie ration with a long shelf life that can be used during initial assault, special operations, and longrange reconnaissance missions.

Group Rations

Unitized Group Ration (UGR)

There are currently 4 rations in the UGR family:

  • The UGR–Heat and Serve consists of precooked, shelf–stable food issued in lightweight polymeric trays.
  • The UGR–M is the primary group ration of the Marine Corps, and contains dehydrated items to meet the Corps' expeditionary requirements.
  • The UGR–A consists of both shelf–stable and perishable components. It delivers the highest–quality, most fresh–like field feeding available anywhere.
  • The unique UGR–Express uses chemical heating technology to provide hot food anywhere on the planet, without the need for specialized field feeding equipment.

UGR–H&S — Unitized Group Ration–Heat & Serve

Aside from the UGR–E, the UGR–H&S is intended to be the first group ration available in theater, often utilized in combination with the MRE for daily feeding. The UGR–H&S can be prepared on field kitchens without refrigeration capability. Like all Unitized Group Rations, the UGR–H&S simplifies the logistics chain by including everything needed to serve a group meal in a single NSN. Each UGR–H&S module contains 50 servings of pre–cooked food, serving utensils, dining packets, trays, and trash bags.

UGR–A — Unitized Group Ration–A

The UGR–A is designed to provide restaurant quality group meals to Warfighters in the field. It is the most highly accepted ration in the UGR family. The UGR–A is the only military operational ration that contains frozen food components. For that reason, it is based on a build–to–order assembly process that requires refrigerated/frozen storage and a field kitchen for preparation.

UGR–A — Short Order

The Unitized Group Ration – A Short Order (UGR–A, Short Order) is designed to provide Warfighters with high quality short order entrées in locations where a dining facility is not available. This creates increased universal acceptance by providing Warfighters with an alternative to the current center of the plate meals.

UGR–M — Unitized Group Ration–M

The UGR–M is used primarily by the Marine Corps. It is designed to meet requirements for providing Marines with high quality group rations that do not require refrigeration and are quick and easy to prepare. All ingredients in the ration are shelf stable, with an emphasis placed on including commercial products in all menus.

UGR–E — Unitized Group Ration–Express

The UGR–E provides a complete meal for 18 Warfighters in remote locations where group field feeding would not otherwise be possible. It is a compact module that does not require cooks or a field kitchen for preparation. With the simple pull of a tab, the UGR–E is ready to serve in 30–45 minutes. One UGR–E module provides all of the items necessary for a complete meal to serve up to 18 Warfighters, including 4 trays of cooked food, drink pouches, snacks/candies, compartmented dining trays, seasoning, disposable eating and serving utensils, condiments, beverages, napkins, wet–naps, and trash bags.

Navy Standard Core Menu (NscM)

The Navy Standard Core Menu (NSCM) is designed to standardize food service throughout the Navy fleet while providing more variety and nutritious choices to Sailors. It meets the diverse tastes of US Navy sailors by offering old favorites like pizza and burgers along with more ethnic choices, like vegetable stir–fry and chicken fajitas. The NSCM facilitates a more streamlined procurement process and ensures consistency in product availability.

Special Purpose Rations

Tube Foods

The purpose of tube food is to feed U2 reconnaissance pilots in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) during missions that may last as long as 12 hours. The high altitude profile of these missions requires pilots to wear full pressure suits and helmets that cannot be removed, making it impossible for them to consume conventional rations. Tube food attaches directly to a feeding tube that extends through a receptacle on the helmet to the inside where the pilot is able to sip the food from the straw–like tube. The Combat Feeding Directorate is the sole supplier of tube foods to the USAF and has unique facilities and food processing equipment to produce a wide variety of these highly specialized, unique products. All tube foods provided to the USAF meet strict requirements for percentages of fat, protein, and carbohydrates while being flavorful and easy to consume and digest. These requirements result in a product that provides sustenance sufficient enough to enable pilots to perform exhausting physical and cognitive duties for periods up to 12 hours.

Meal, Religious, Kosher/Halal

The Meal, Religious, Kosher/Halal is utilized to serve those individuals in the military service who maintain a strict religious diet.

Meal, Religious, Kosher for Passover

The purpose of this ration is to feed those individuals in the military service who maintain a Kosher for Passover diet by providing three meals per day for not more than eight days during their observance of Passover. Like the MRE, it is a totally self–contained meal combined in one single flexible meal bag.

Food Packet, Survival, General Purpose

The Food Packet, Survival, General Purpose is used by the Services to sustain an individual in survival situations, including escape and evasion, under all environmental conditions, and when potable water is limited. Requested by the Air Force, it is typically stored in the survival kit on aircraft and is meant to provide basic sustenance for periods less than five consecutive days.

Food Packet, Survival, Abandon Ship

The Food Packet, Survival, Abandon Ship is used by the Navy to sustain personnel who must abandon ship. It is positioned in lifesaving craft aboard larger ships.

Food Packet, Survival, Aircraft, Life Raft

The Food Packet, Survival, Aircraft, Life Raft is used by the Navy to sustain personnel that survive air crashes at sea. The packet, along with other essential equipment, is supplied in the emergency kits carried aboard naval aircraft.

Ultra High Temperature (UHT) Milk

This item is used by the Armed Forces as a mandatory supplement and/or enhancement for operational ration feeding during operations which either do not have refrigeration capability or have limited capability. It is used in situations that do not permit resupply of perishable foods.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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