The Minute Book
Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Subsistence; Canadian Militia (1904)
Topic: Army Rations

Subsistence; Canadian Militia (1904)

Regulations and Orders for the Militia of Canada, 1904

When on active service or in camps of instruction, officers and men will receive the following rations daily:—

  • 1 ¼ lb. bread or 1 lb. biscuit.
  • 1 lb. meat.
  • 3 oz. bacon.
  • 1 lb. potatoes.
  • 2 oz. flour or 2 oz. beans.
  • 3 oz. jam or 3 oz. dried apples.
  • 2 oz. butter or 2 oz. cheese.
  • 1 oz. split peas.
  • 2 oz. white sugar.
  • ½ oz. salt.
  • ½ oz. coffee.
  • ¼ oz. tea.
  • 1/36 oz. pepper.
  • ½ oz. vegetables, evaporated.
  • ½ oz. onions.
  • Forage for horses.
  • Fuel—wood.

The daily ration of meat is to be increased to one pound and a half, for such days as the men are marching or doing hard work.

When fresh meat is not available, salted or dried meat as can best be obtained will be issued instead.

If bread or biscuit is not available, an equivalent in weight of wheat flour or oat or corn meal, may be issued instead of the ration of bread or biscuit.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 3 May 2017

5-in-1 Ration
Topic: Army Rations

The ration is not palatable when eaten cold.

5-in-1 Ration

Command Report - HQ 8th US Army (EUSAK); Sec II: Supporting Documents; Book 21: Quartermaster, April 1951

The 5-in-1 ration is generally unacceptable for the following reasons:

1.     Because of their tactical deployment, troops cannot assemble to eat.

2.     Equal distribution of the ration is quite difficult under combat conditions.

3.     Food must frequently be prepared in the mess gear, which is undesirable because washing facilities are not available to the individual soldier in contact with the enemy.

4.     Transportation of the 5-in-1 presents a problem since the individual must carry his own food in combat.

5.     There is a large percentage of waste because of the size of the food containers.

6.     The ration is not palatable when eaten cold.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Historical US Amy Rations
Topic: Army Rations

Historical US Amy Rations

The Soldier and His Food, prepared by The Women's Interest Section, War Department, Bureau of Public Relations, 1942

The story of the development of the Army mess presents a pageant of foods, all the way from hardtack to French dressing.

Revolutionary War

On November 4, 1775, the day after creating the office of General, and electing George Washington to fill that post, the Continental Congress passed a resolution: "That there be one Commissary General of Stores and Provisions."

The ration consisted of:

  • 1 pound beef, or 3/4 pound pork, or 1 pound salt fish per day.
  • 1 pound bread or flour per day.
  • 3 pints peas or beans per week.
  • 1 pint milk per day.
  • 1/2 pint rice or 1 pint Indian Meal per week.
  • 1 quart spruce beer or cider per day, or 9 gallons molasses per 100 men per week.
  • 3 pounds candles per 100 men per week, for guards.
  • 8 pounds hard soap per 100 men per week.

A legislative history, printed in 1877, from which this report is taken, points out that the reference to milk was interesting, for it was not available that first winter and from then on was not mentioned in the ration for over 100 years.

In 1799 the liquor was discontinued, but the Commander in Chief of the Army or the Commanding Officer of any detachment was authorized to issue to the troops "from time to time, rum, whiske”y, or other ardent spirits (not to exceed 1/2 gill per man per day except on extraordinary occasions)."

In those "good old days", the soldier was issued his ration uncooked each day. It was to be prepared by himself, later, over die glowing embers of the camp fire.

War of 1812

1812 brought a slight change in the ration allowance.

  • Per man per day:
    • 1 1/4 pounds beef or 3/4% pound pork.
    • 18 ounces bread or flour.
    • 1 gill rum, whiskey, or brandy.
  • Per 100 rations:
    • 2 quarts salt.
    • 4 quarts vinegar.
    • 4 pounds soap.
    • 1 1/2 pounds candles.


In a southern climate the ruling became "Give molasses in lieu of whiskey and beer, and add to the ration l/2 pint of peas, beans, or rice per day." Orders were given to cultivate garden vegetables at permanent posts. The Secretary of War, J. C. Calhoun, made a long speech about Army feeding. He felt the food should be improved in both quantity and quality and urged that spirits be dispensed with.

A quaint nutrition note was issued: "Pickles, on account of the vegetable acid, are both a pleasant and healthy stimulant to the stomach."

War between the States

There were three rations in effect during this period, all substantially the same, with a decrease in this commodity balancing an increase in that one.

Basically, the ration consisted of beef, flour, dry beans, green coffee, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Yeast powder and black pepper were the outstanding additions. Soap and candles were still included. The history of Army feeding recalls that during the Civil War rations were "not always available" and that frequently the soldier had to live by foraging upon the surrounding country.

Spanish-American War

The significant change in this ration was the disappearance of the much disliked hard tack.

World War I

At the time the United States entered the World War, the Army was using a Garrison ration established in 1913. This was used in the continental United States throughout the war, except that in 1918 two articles (sweet potatoes and corn meal) were added to the list of substitute articles

  • Beef – 20 oz.
  • Flour – 18 oz.
  • Baking powder – .08 oz.
  • Beans, dry – 2.4 oz.
  • Potatoes, fresh – 20 oz.
  • Prunes – 1.28 oz.
  • Syrup – .32 oz.
  • Coffee, R. & G – 1.12 oz.
  • Sugar – 3.2 oz.
  • Milk, evaporated – .5oz.
  • Vinegar gill – .16 oz.
  • Salt – .64 oz.
  • Pepper, black – .04 oz.
  • Cinnamon, ground – .014 oz.
  • Butter – 0.5 oz.
  • Lard – .64 oz.
  • Flavoring extract, lemon – .014 oz.
  • Soap – .64 oz.
  • Candle – .24 oz.

The Army’s food bill for 1917-18 was $727,092,430.44. The daily cost of feeding a soldier was 26 cents.

Today’s soldier eats 48 cents worth of food a day. Today’s soldier gains, on the average, from 6 to 10 pounds during the first few months of camp life. Today’s soldier is the best fed soldier in the world and in history.

But today’s soldier, like every soldier in history and in the world, loves to get a cake from home.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 24 March 2017

"On Its Stomach"
Topic: Army Rations

"On Its Stomach"

The Fighting Force of an Army
Australian's Ration Allowance
Food in Depot Camps

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 24 March 1918

Whatever the Australian troops may be called upon to undergo in the nature of hard rations in the field, when they are in the depot and standing camps in Australia they have abundant and excellent food. Their ration is more liberal than that of almost any army in the fighting fields today, or amongst the forces of the mobilised central powers. Bully beef and biscuits, jam, biscuits and bully beef, jam, alternated, disguised with a dash of vegetables, was the ration at Anzac. It was a good ration, too, for any army fighting and moving every day, and with an abundant water supply available. But it was monotonous diet for such a campaign as Gallipoli, and unhealthy as well when the water supply was so strictly limited. Casting aside the condiments, and the little extras that came to hand, this was the staple food of the Australian army in the field. Compare it with the 1 ¼ lb. bread (or 1 lb. biscuit), and 1 1/2 lb. meat (or 1 lb. fresh or salt fish), 1 lb. potatoes and 8 oz. mixed vegetables that the troops at the camps throughout the Commonwealth have as the basis of their daily meals. Flour, rice and curry powder are a weekly ration, which helps the cooks to give variety to a breakfast, lunch or dinner. An army fights on its stomach; it builds up reserve in physique, muscle and toughened sinew by long hours of drilling, marching, exposure to the elements; it lives and prospers on the rations that are provided after a day of vigorous training and campaigning.

They trained us in the desert, fed us like fighting cocks, taunted us and flung us against the Turks; no wonder we thrashed them, was the summing up of a soldier from the battle field of Lone Pine. The scene at the feeding centre at a typical standing camp is interesting.

Behind the rows of tents a Royal Park were five blackened chimneys sticking like stems out of white painted brick works. The first four letters of the alphabet were blackened on the white walls, one for each company of a battalion, and an H.Q. for headquarters and the cooks. A red-roofed shed covered five rows of fire trenches, and a cook house and a picturesque garden of flowers surrounded the whole. That was the cooks' lines of a battalion. There are three at Royal Park.

Sergeant Cook here. very straight, very tall. And very burned, the head cook, the chef, as he is familiarly called, stepped out from a group of six men who were bending over a row of steaming dixies. What's for dinner?

Now it had been obvious to the senses that the ration was roast meat and onions. As a matter of fact it was a more elaborate meal than one would suspect, consisting of either baked potatoes and roast leg of lamb, or boiled mashed potatoes and boiled mutton and tea. The cook explained:

But different from the old camping days, sir, when the militiamen went to Semour and those places. Better'n we had in South Africa in any of the camps I was in. No man need complain, there is enough for all, though to speak plainly we could do with a bit more meat when the camp is a bit empty; but when there is a full battalion, a thousand odd men, then it is alright and a bit to spare. No, no waste, except it might be very occasional when a squad of a hundred or so are sent off up country , and they don't bother to carry their ration, trusting to luck to get it on the journey. It doesn't happen often. Got to watch some of the lads that they don't go and take a double ration on me. Like to try the soup? We use up a bit of the rice that is part of the ration and onion and the stock we get from last night's boiled meat. Good as meat as you would wish to get anywhere; they have sent us along a number of ewes, more's the pity, for after the drought they fattened them up and they brought good prices. Yes, I was in a line regiment is South Africa, and then cook, and when I can back went on to a station. Yes, ought to be used to cooking for numbers. Best way to see that the men appreciate what they get is to have a cook at the bins. The chaps who contracted for the waste for his pigs don't get much out of it; seldom quarter filled. Only time as when the time is too short to peel the potatoes—no use leaving them in their jackets—men too hungry to peel them I suppose. And the sergeant cook, smiling, commences to lift the lids of the huge cauldrons of stews and sizzling potatoes.

Time was, not five years ago, when it was only after the greatest effort that the cooks could be induced to dig their fire trenches narrow enough just to rest a dixie—that very handy cooking utensil of the army—on, or go to the trouble of constructing an Aldershot oven. To-day the fire trenches are bricked to the required width, the draught being created by the chimney stack at the end. The cooks, anxious at all times to economize labor, have found that the large-sized rubbish bins (there was something very familiar about these cauldrons) make the finest cookers, boiling or roasting enough meat for over 100 men. It saves in this way the labor of polishing the dixies bright again after every meal. They are ready piled, handy to be used for distributing the ration and tea into the tents.

A shower of sparks is flung in the air from a fire that is burning under an ordinary square iron tank. Here it is possible at all times day and night for hot water to be obtained; no restriction is placed on the troops for getting what they require for washing or bathing purposes.

It is all a little too luxurious for a camp! Between the comfort of a home and the hardships of the firing line lies a huge gulf. Such small luxuries as these help to bridge it; the spirit and the fighting power of the army depends on its stomach. Exactly to-day every Australian officer and soldier while in camp has for his scale of ration:—

  • 1 ¼ lb. bread or 1 lb. biscuit.
  • 1 ½ lb. fresh meat or 1 lb. fresh or salt fish.
  • 1/3rd oz. coffee.
  • 1/32nd oz. pepper.
  • 8 ox. mixed vegetable or 2 oz. cheese.
  • 1 lb. potatoes.
  • 3 oz. sugar.
  • ¼ oz. salt.
  • ½ oz. tea.
  • ¼ lb. jam.

Weekly he has ½ lb. flour and the same of rice, and 1 oz. curry powder. In the hands of trained cooks it is a ration calculated to strengthen the stomach to fight, to 'stick it' to the bitter end, in every true Australian.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 20 March 2017

Victualling Aboard Transports (1859)
Topic: Army Rations

Victualling Aboard Transports (1859)

Scheme for the Daily Victualling of the Officers, Soldiers, Women and Children, embarked on board Transports and Troop Ships

Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, Adjutant General's Office, Horse Guards, 1st December 1859

SpeciesOfficers and SoldiersWomenunder 10 years of age
Sugaroz. 1 3/47/8
Fresh Meatlb.1/31/21/4

But when fresh meat and vegetables are not issued, there shall be issued in lieu thereof, viz.:—

 SpeciesOfficers and SoldiersWomenChildren under 10 years of age
Every alternate day.Salt Porklb.3/41/21/4
Alternately on the same day when Salt Pork and peas are not issued.Salt Beeflb.3/41/21/4
Preserved Meatlb.1/23/83/16
Preserved Potatooz.2 2/321
Rice (or (1/2 of each)

And weekly, whether fresh, or salt, or preserved meat be issued,—

 SpeciesOfficers and SoldiersWomenChildren under 10 years of age
Not exceedingOatmealpint1/61/81/16

N.B.—The oatmeal and vinegar are intended for occasional use.

Suet and raisins, or suet and currants, shall be substituted for one-fourth part of the proportion of flour—one half of the said fourth part in suet, and the other half in raisins or currants, at the following rates, viz.—

  • Half a pound of suet to be considered equal to 1 lb. of flour, and
  • One pound of raisins, or Half a pound of currants, to be considered equal to 1 lb. of flour.

In long voyages the allowance of water to be three imperial quarts per man a day.

Such non-commissioned officers and men who do not desire to receive a ration of spirits, and who signify the same to the commanding officer immediately on embarkation, may receive, in lieu of it, either a double allowance of sugar, chocolate, and tea, or, if they prefer it, liquor-money at one penny per day for the period of the voyage.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 5 March 2017

His Food and Drink (India, 1859)
Topic: Army Rations

His Food and Drink (India, 1859)

The British Soldier in India, Fred. J. Mouat, M.D., F.R.C.S., Surgeon, H.M.'s Bengal Army, 1859

Fighting needs a full stomach, and the training in peace should always be subservient to the purposes of war, as mentioned above.

Most Europeans in the tropics, in easy circumstances, consume more animal food and stimulant beverages than is good for them. The soldier in particular, except in the field, eats too much meat, drinks more of strong liquors than his system can dispose of with impunity, and takes too little exercise to ward off the effects of his stimulant dietary. The result is that he attains the condition of a Strasburg goose, of which disease and death are the penalty.

Mr. Macnamara in India, and Mr. Gant in England, have shown that the results of the over-feeding of men and cattle are nearly identical. The excess of carbon is not consumed, and being deposited in the form of fat in the liver, kidneys, heart, and muscular tissue, proves rapidly destructive.

In 1853 the rations of the European soldiery in India were fixed at:—

  • Bread, 1 pound
  • Meat, 1 pound
  • Vegetables, 1 pound
  • Rice, 4 ounces
  • Sugar, 2 1/2 ounces
  • Coffee, 1 3/7 ounces
  • Or Tea, 0 5/7 ounces
  • Salt, 1 ounce
  • Firewood, 3 pounds.

The meat is usually beef. Mutton is given twice a week when procurable, and to it the soldier himself adds bazaar pork.

The daily allowance of food thus consumed is more than double the amount issued in the Royal Navy, where the greater part of the life of the individual is spent in the open air, and where he is constantly compelled to undergo an amount of physical exertion unknown to the soldier, except in war.

It would prove much more injurious than it does at present, if the quality were equal to the quantity.

The following, according to Mr. Macnamara, was the ordinary routine life of a soldier of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers at Dinapore:—

"After sleeping through the night in the very hot close air of the barracks, he rises at gun-fire and goes to parade, after which he employs himself in cleaning his accoutrements till breakfast time—8 o'clock. This meal over, he lies down and sleeps till dinner time, and after dinner he generally retires to his bed again, and sleeps more or less till 5 o'clock, the temperature of the barrack being frequently as high as 104° F. at that period of the day. About 5 o'clock he has to prepare himself for parade ; this over, he saunters about till 9 1/2, and then turns in for the night."

To discuss the nature of the nutritive principles contained in food, the due balance between the carboniferous and nitrogenous elements, or any other of the mysteries of dietetics which science is gradually unfolding, is foreign to my purpose.

Those interested in the matter, in its relations to troops,will find much very valuable information regarding it in the report of Mr. Sidney Herbert's Commission, and in the paper of Dr. Chevers.

It is sufficient for my purpose to state that the quantity of meat in the hot weather and rains should be diminished, and that of vegetables increased. The latter can, at all times and seasons, within the cost of the existing dietary, be accomplished with the aid of the desiccated and compressed vegetables now produced and exported in large quantities. The best and most wholesome of them is the dried potato. In the winter the regimental garden could and should furnish all that is needed.

Pork, unless educated in a regimental farm, or better brought up than in the bazaar, should be absolutely prohibited. Fish, in the vicinity of the large rivers, and on the sea-coast, might occasionally, with benefit, be substituted for meat, especially in the hot season.

But, above all, it should be well and properly cooked by the men themselves. The practicability of military cooking was established by the late Monsieur Soyer, as recorded in his culinary campaign. It was popular among the men in the Crimea, and would become so everywhere, if proper attention were paid to it.

Mr. Gubbins, in his graphic account of the siege of Lucknow, mentions incidentally, that when the cook boys levanted, the men of the 32nd had to cook for themselves. They were awkward at first, but soon acquired the requisite skill, and were well satisfied with their performances.

The idleness of the barrack-room, and the necessity of furnishing more occupation for the soldiers in garrison, are alone sufficient reasons for compelling them to cook for themselves in time of peace.

The necessity in the field is still greater, as cooks and followers of all kinds are multiplied to a most injurious extent in India, and are, besides, liable to make themselves scarce when most wanted.

A beginning in the right direction has been made in the Medical Staff Corps, in which professional cooks are regularly entertained. One or two enlisted in every regiment, would soon leaven the mass.

The baking of the bread, grinding of the wheat, and the whole preparation of the food of the soldier for consumption, should, as far as possible, be performed in the barracks and by the soldiers themselves. The more independent they are made, and the more intimate their acquaintance with supplying their own wants, the better for them in every point of view. There is no real difficulty in the matter, and the present helplessness and idleness of the soldiery cannot cease too soon for their morals and their manners, their health and their happiness.

There is scarcely a corps without butchers, bakers, tailors, blacksmiths, shoemakers, bricklayers, gardeners, and most other varieties of handicraftsmen, whose knowledge might and ought to be turned to good use. For those regiments in which they are not to be found, they should be specially recruited.

The subject of the soldier's dietary is, in truth, one of the most important matters connected with his well-being and efficiency. It should never, in any circumstances, be subject to his own control, or be liable to fluctuation on account of deductions from his pay, or from the dear or cheap state of the market near which he may be quartered.

In fact, as stated in the terse and clear language of Dr. Balfour's report:—

"That course should be habitually adopted in peace, which will best satisfy the requirements of a careful administration of the public finances, and be the most applicable to a state of war whenever war may break out.

"An army is maintained in peace with a view to the contingency of war, and it should be so organised as to be capable of expansion with the least possible change of method and system on the part of those who administer it. The mass of mankind do nothing well which they have not done long; and every change unnecessarily made at the commencement of war, when such disturbing influences are unavoidable, is the addition of unnecessary error and confusion.

"It appears to us, therefore, that all the arguments for a fixed stoppage and full ration in time of war apply also to a time of peace. In both cases it is the duty and interest of the Government to see that the soldier is provided with such a ration as will keep him in health and efficiency."

The Committee accordingly recommended one uniform rate of stoppage at home and abroad for the entire ration, the Government supplying the whole.

Fighting needs a full stomach, and the training in peace should always be subservient to the purposes of war, as mentioned above.

The diet of the tropics will necessarily differ from that of the Antarctic regions; that of the plains from the stations in the hills. The determination of the local difference should be left to the experienced medical officers in each, care being taken in all cases that the highest attainable standard of health and efficiency is maintained.

The question of strong waters is more difficult to determine. In this desirable direction much has been done by the judicious regulation of canteens; by the sale in them of sound, wholesome, malt liquors at reasonable rates; by the increasing taste for tea and coffee; and by the example of the officers, whose own habits have changed with the general change of society in this respect.

Temperance Societies are opposed to military discipline, and are of little efficacy. The real means of weaning the soldier from his present pernicious indulgence in the fatal habit that kills more than the sun, marsh, and sword combined, is to improve his moral and social condition, to hold out greater inducements to good men to enlist, to encourage marriage and the amenities of an honest man's home in the soldier's barrack, to introduce the practice of industrial occupations, and to furnish the means of such amusements as invigorate the frame without inducing ennui. These are bowls, quoits, cricket, rackets, gymnastics, swimming, and such other out-door amusements as healthy men never tire of, and drunken sots seldom indulge in.

That the men themselves readily take to such pastimes, who can doubt who has been acquainted with them in their own homes, before every moral feeling and healthful excitement has been blunted and blighted by the idleness and vice of the barrack-room as it now is? The practice of issuing rations of rum to young recruits should at once cease. Many a fine lad has been ruined by it.

To pursue this topic further is unnecessary. The magnitude and corroding influence of the vice are self-evident. The statistics of army disease record, with unerring accuracy, its general and fatal prevalence. It has literally realized the prophecy of Milton, that

"Intemperance on the earth shall bring Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew Before thee shall appear."

Of the efficacy, in due time, of the remedial measures suggested above, we entertain not the smallest doubt. The good work has, indeed, already begun, but like all other social changes, to be permanent in its results, its growth must be gradual.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Beef 18 Times in March
Topic: Army Rations

Master Menu Calls For

Beef 18 Times in March—If You're In the Army

St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Florida, 12 March 1944
By Jane Eads

Washington.—(AP)—The boys in the Army are going to get steak for chow on Match 14 …

Steak with brown gravy, mashed potatoes and fried onions.

On Sunday March 12, they'll have a chicken dinner with all the trimmings, including ice cream for dessert.

And on St. Patrick's day:

Breakfast—fresh apples, dry cereal, fresh milk, scrambled eggs, bran muffins, toast, butter, coffee.

Dinner—lamb curry, steamed rice, leafy greens, carrot-raisin salad with sour cream dressing, bread, butter, devil's food cake, coffee.

Supper—roast pork with cream gravy, mashed potatoes, cabbage, relish dish, bread, butter, fruit gelatin, coffee.

That's what the Army's master menu for March, prepared in the officer of the quartermaster general, prescribes for soldiers in this country at least.

Additional master menus are prepared for the use of overseas troops, but naturally are subject to change.

Okaying the menus is Miss I. Barber, food consultant to the secretary of war.

During the three years she has been with the subsistence branch of the quartermaster corps, on leave as home economics director of the Kellogg's company, she says she has noted a minimum of complaints from the boys.

"It's true that our Army marches on the best-fed stomach in the world," she says, adding that whether it's fried chicken in Maryland, a "D" ration chocolate bar in New Britain, or a stick of gum and candy on a liferaft in the Pacific, American chow is considered best under any circumstances.

Before any menus are planned, an estimate is made of what meats, fruits, vegetables and canned goods will be available at the time suggested for use.

The quartermaster corps now figures for instance, that there will be enough beef available in march to feed it to the boys in this country in some form 16 times during that month.

They'll get steak but once, but roast beef will be served four times and they'll have hamburger, Swiss steak, pot pie, meat loaf and beef hearts.

The Army recommends that the master menus be used as a standard, with such substitutions as may be necessary due to a shortage or surplus of certain products in the local market areas.

The overseas menus, available fresh foods may be used instead of non-perishable, expeditionary rations. This is left to the quartermaster on the spot.

In England, North Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Miss Barber says, the Army has found this comparatively easy.

In England, for example, there are always Brussels sprouts, potatoes and cabbage, with other fresh vegetables in season.

Upon disembarking, overseas troops all get one to three days' "K" rations … the half-pound size packages each with a different "entree" (such as tinned bacon and eggs) and a different powdered liquid (coffee, lemon juice, bouillion). All contain biscuits, sugar, a sweet, cigarets and gum.

Where there are no kitchen facilities, as in combat, our forces exist on either the "K" or the "C" ration, which is a little more complete. The "C" ration consists of six cans of food, three of which contain meat, combined with beans, stew or hash. The other three contain biscuits, soluble coffee, or powdered lemon juice, sugar and candy.

On Attu, soldiers lived for three days on "K" rations until the "C" rations caught up with them. They ate the latter with chocolate bars until they got frozen meats and their field ranges and the danger of fires giving away their position was over.

There's also the "D" ration, a candy bar of chocolate combined with powdered milk, sugar, oat flour (to keep it from melting) and thiamin … a bale-out ration for paratroopers, and the liferaft ration of candy, chewing gum and vitamin pills.

Receipts for preparing dishes in the menus come from the Army cook book or special cooking bulletins prepared in the service commands.

The Army's recipe book, "The Army Cook"—known to all mess officers as TM-10-405—is now in process of revision by Miss Barber. Revision of the recipes is based on Army appetites, although nutriment content is a prime consideration.

Soldiers' favorite foods are beef—any way it's dished up; peas, corn and tomatoes; apple pie and ice cream; sweet breads such as cinnamon rolls and coffee cake; raw apples and oranges.

Milk is the favorite drink of this young man's Army. A soldier gets a half-pint a day, which some mothers complain isn't enough. Miss Barber replies that soldiers are also provided with milk solids and eat an equivalent of what they formerly were accustomed to drinking.

She concludes:

"If every man in the service ate everything set before him, he'd get all the nutrients essential for perfect health.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 27 February 2017

Soldiers Fare in South Africa
Topic: Army Rations

Soldiers Fare in South Africa

The following short item is as published in the Los Angeles Herald, 13 March 1900

Color Sergeant Thompson of 40 Gwynne Avenue, [Toronto], now with the Second Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, in South Africa, writes home:

"We killed an ostrich the other day and had him for dinner. He went down fine; also a swarm of locusts, of which we eat some. They are all right too. You see, we don't live badly. There is not a tree to be seen—all sand and rocks—any amount of snakes, centipedes, scorpions, lizards and big black ants. These ants get inside the boys' clothes and make themdance and swear. Tomorrow will be Christmas and we are to have a big ostrich roasted for dinner, with lots of goats' milk to drink."

elipsis graphic

Color-Sergeant Charles Henry Thompson

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 20 February 2017

What Soldiers Eat (1916)
Topic: Army Rations

What Soldiers Eat

How the Nations Feed Their Troops in the Field

The Evening Record, Windsor, Ontario, 12 May 1916

The principal meal of the Russian peasant soldier consists of "stchee," a sort of cross between a gruel and a soup, the chief ingredients of which are cabbages, potatoes, oatmeal, and fat meat—preferably pork. These are all boiled together with salt and other seasoning, the resultant mess being a thick, nourishing, and by no means unpalatable dish.

This constitutes his usual midday meal, and it is repeated in the evening for supper. For breakfast he takes, when he can get it, a big bowl of "kasha"—dry buckwheat and cold sour milk.

The staple diet of the "Turcos"—the splendid French-Algerian colored troops who are fighting so magnificently in Alsace—is "cous-cous," which is merely boiled semolina. It is eaten either plan or with the addition of vegetables, and very occasionally a little mutton or goat-flesh may be added; but the semolina is the mainstay. On this a Turco will march forty or more miles a day, carrying a weight of from eighty to one hundred pounds, more than is borne by any other soldiers anywhere.

Italian soldiers are also splendid marchers, and they, too, exist largely on a farinaceous diet, macaroni, spaghetti, and so on. They are also very partial to fruit, which is issued, together with wine and cigars, as part of their regular rations whenever possible.

No German considers his daily menu complete without a sausage of some kind or other, and the "higher" it is as regards to flavor the better he likes it.

The mainstay of the French soldier consists of his beloved "soup," as he calls it, but which is really a thick nourishing stew, made from meat, potatoes, and various other vegetables.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 18 February 2017

Fighting Men of India Brought Strange Problems of Food and Religion (1918)
Topic: Army Rations

Fighting Men of India Brought Strange Problems of Food and Religion

The Northern Advance, Barrie, Ontario, 24 Jan 1918
Lieut. A.M. Bealson

One of the commissariat problems of the war which has been solved satisfactorily, was the question of "Native meat." or the ration of meat for the Indian troops serving in Europe. The solution has been found in the institution of "Native butcheries." A native of high caste in India would, of course, not eat any meat that even the shadow of a European had passed over. In coming to France the Native troops have, however, been granted certain religious dispensations, not only with regard to food, but, in the case of Hindus, in being allowed to leave the boundaries of their own country. Doubtless a dip in the Ganges, for those who survive the war and return to India after it is over, will put matters right again! Nevertheless, their caste rights as to food are as strictly observed as the exigencies of active service allow. The goats and sheep, chiefly Corsican and Swiss, purchased for their consumption, are sent up in a truck to railhead alive, and are slaughtered by men of their own caste in a butchery arranged for the purpose, generally in a field or some open place in close proximity to the railhead. The Mohammedan will eat only goats or sheep slaughtered by having their throats cut, and the Hindu by their being beheaded. The latter method is carried out in the abattoir by a native butcher with the aid of a cavalry sword at one fell swoop, and of the two methods is certainly to be recommended as being the most rapid and instantaneous death. I need hardly add that the Native butchery is always looked on as an object of awe and interest, of not of excitement, by the French inhabitants, and none the less by the English soldiers, who consider it a tremendous joke.

The Natives do not object to their meat being handles by English soldiers, or to it being brought to them in the same lorry which also perhaps carried British ration beef, although the cow is a sacred animal to the Hindu and in the form of beef is naturally distasteful. The only point is that the goat's meat or mutton intended for their consumption must not actually come in contact with the beef, and this is arranged for by a wooden barrier between the two erected in the interior of the lorry. On one occasion, however, the native rations for a certain regiment had just been dumped on the side of the road, and were being checked by the Daffadar, or Native quartermaster, when at a critical moment an old sow, followed by her litter, came out of a farm gate and innocently ran over the whole show. A lot of palaver followed amongst the Natives, and there was no alternative; they would not have these rations at any price, and back they had to be taken to be exchanged. The pig is, of course, abhorrent to the Mussulman.

One story in connection with the rationing of the Indian cavalry whilst in the trenches at Ypres in the summer fo 1915 may be of interest. The cow being a sacred animal to the Hindu, it became necessary to replace the usual tins of bully beef by a suitable substitute. With this end in view, quantities of tins of preserved mutton were sent up for consumption by the Hindu personnel. The tins in which it was packed, however, unfortunately bore the trade mark of the packers, Messrs. Libby---a bull's head---and in consequence the Hindus would not have it that their contents could be anything but beef, until their own Native officers convinced them that such was not the case.

The organization for rationing Native troops is such that they are able to be fed in accordance with the rites of their caste, surely not an unimportant factor. There are various special articles.

Atta is coarse ground flour, very similar to that of which so-called "standard" bread is made at home. Of it the Natives make chupattis, which are round flat cakes of baked dough. Dhal consists of pried pease. Ghi is a kind of butter, which, judging by its smell, would appear to be rancid. Gur is simply brown sugar or molasses. It may be mentioned that the Native meat ration is very small. The Natives are not meat-eaters in the accepted sense of the word, and their small ration they invariably "curry" with the ration of ginger, chillies, turmeric and garlic, which are the raw ingredients of curry powder. Not infrequently also they are issued with a ration of rice and also dried fruits.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 30 January 2017

The Food of Armies (1918)
Topic: Army Rations

The Food of Armies (1918)

Some Strange Looking Specimens of Highly Concentrated Rations Prepared for the Nourishment of Soldiers on the Trenches and on the Battlefield

Coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, and so on, are indispensable, and in some armies, such as the French, light wine is furnished as part of the regular diet of the soldier. The Germans prefer beer.

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane Washington, 12 January 1918

As long as an army is fed it can fight, provided, of course, that its guns are fed also. We hear more about the food of the guns than about that of the men, but the latter is the more important of the two, as was shown recently when come of our boys in France, having no guns, fought their way out of German captivity with their fists.

The improvements in army food also keep step with those in powder and projectiles. High-powered powder and high-concentration foods are the twin winners of modern battles. Some of the foods used as "emergency rations" are curious indeed, and some possess astonishing powers of nourishment locked up in a very small space. Modern improvements and discoveries in the preservation and concentration of foods have, perhaps, been as effective in extending the range of military campaigns, accelerating the rapidity of strategic movements and increasing the power of sudden blows as any advance in armament.

Meat stands, as it always has done, at the head of the list of essential foods for an army. Bread, in its various forms, comes next. Fruits and vegetables must generally be furnished in preserved and concentrated forms in which shape they supply some of the sugar, which is a very essential element of an army's rations. Coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, and so on, are indispensable, and in some armies, such as the French, light wine is furnished as part of the regular diet of the soldier. The Germans prefer beer.

It is asserted that tea is the most sustaining of all the army beverages because it is especially effective in arresting waste of the bodily tissues. It ranks next to milk in this quality. The Russians are the great tea drinkers, and the English are fond of it, but it has never had the popularity of coffee with American men. The Russian army has many forms of compressed tea in its rations, and it is averred that the Russian soldier could hardly fight without tea. One of the illustrations shows a round disk of compressed tea for the Russian army made of whole leaves of prime quality, and weighing three pounds, yet not too large to be slipped into a coat pocket. Other forms in which the tea is preserved are bars, slabs, and balls.

There is an emergency meat ration called the "chain-shot ration" on account of its form. It is used by the Belgians, French and Germans as a winter ration, being too oily for summer use, and L. Lodian says of it in the Scientific American that it "is the finest combination of sustaining and heating qualities known among the meat foods." Each ball is a chain constitutes one complete ration.

But the celebrated "pea-sausage," or erbswurst," of the German army gets a setback on the same authority, for it is said to be "about as unsatisfactory a concentrated ration as any extant, and is actually inedible when uncooked, being of a nauseating, bitter and raw flavor."

The notable ration of the Swiss army is "white chocolate," which consists of nothing but cocoa butter and sugar, the brown parts of the cocoa being removed. Moulded into a cake it resembles in color and gloss a billiard ball. It is more nutritious than brown chocolate.

The emergency ration of our own army, as prepared for the trenches, consists of chocolate tablets and packets of parched cornmeal. The latter seems to have been suggested by the parched corn of the Indians who often, when on the warpath and compelled to undergo great fatigues, subsisted for days on this food alone. Still, as a ration, the pemmican which some of the American tribes ultimately adopted, is said to be much superior in sustaining power to the cornmeal, or any other cereal food, since it contained chopped meat together with grain.

The Italian rations contain chocolate stuffed in sausage-like cases and a kind of plum duff, stuffed with raisins, and inclosed in a long membrane, in which it can be cooked with steam, while the empty case will serve for a tobacco pouch.

The Italian duff is said to be more nourishing than the British plum pudding. A kind of "spotted dog" is prepared with dark Italian wines instead of water, while rich nut meats are used for shortening. This recalls the rye hardtack of the Russians, in the making of which beef blood is emplyed instead of water.

But the nearest approach to the ideal emergency ration is said to be "the unsalted, sun-dried, paper-thin meat sheets" issued to some of the Latin American armies. It can be folded up and pocketed like paper, and is ready to be eaten withour preparation of cooking. Similar sun-dried meats in sheets are used by the soldiers of some Asiatic and African tribes.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Rations for a Big Army (1900)
Topic: Army Rations

Rations for a Big Army (1900)

Few Realize the Great Work Required to Get Supplies
Need Enormous Quantities
Collecting Them Involves a Vast Amount of Labor
Fighting Men Have Plenty

It is very probable that 90 people out of every 100 think of an army as a great aggregation of fighting men, armed to the teeth with rifles, swords and what not, while they never once give a thought to the "men in the rear."

The Pittsburg Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 18 April 1900 (From the Detroit Free Press)

It is very probable that 90 people out of every 100 think of an army as a great aggregation of fighting men, armed to the teeth with rifles, swords and what not, while they never once give a thought to the "men in the rear." Yet these men in the rear are an important part of the fighting machinery.

When an army is encamped in a friendly country there is not so great a difficulty in feeding it as when it is penetrating hostile territory and has separated from its own country. And yet in either case it is no light task to furnish and distribute the food that is to keep, say, 30,000 stomachs satisfied and 30,000 hearts in the right place. This is the work of the commissary department.

When an army division or an army corps is encamped at home the problem of getting supplies is comparatively simple. Sometimes they are furnished on contract, sometimes bought in large quantities a week or more in advance of the time at which they will be needed. The commissary general is responsible for the procuring of these supplies and having them deposited at a depot within easy reach of the troops.

Each company of a regiment has its cooks, each regiment has its commissary depot, where supplies are kept sufficient, say, for a week or ten days for all the men. Men are detailed from each company to assist in the work of getting the supplies from the regimental depot to the company kitchens every day. Others are detailed to help transport the supplies to regimental depots from the general headquarters whenever the stores in the former are getting low.

As all supplies are issued from headquarters only on orders and receipts are given for everything secured, it can be seen that there is an immense amount of clerical work necessary to the smooth and uninterrupted work of the department.

When the troops are in barracks the work of the kitchen can be better attended to than in the field. Ranges and all necessary utensils are on hand and hot meals are served to the different mess tables with regularity. When in the field, either field stoves are used for cooking or partially covered trenches are constructed with an opening for the huge coffee kettle and an oven for the baking of bread.

Suppose an army to have landed on a foreign coast. The first move after the landing of the men and arms is to secure a convenient spot for a depot of supplies. These are landed and piled high on the shore until there seems to be a mountain of boxes inextricably mingled in the general mass. Gradually these are separated into different piles and order begins to make its appearance out of chaos, until all the supplies are properly housed.

For an army of 30,000 men and 10,000 horses for three months it is estimated that there are necessary 11,000 tons of food and forage. This must be made up of palatable and strength-giving supplies, with a proper proportion of meat. Vegetables, coffee and flour for bread or biscuits. The meat is generally canned, although sides of bacon are abundant, and even herds of cattle are taken along for fresh meat.

Whenever any important move is to be made by the army each soldier is usually supplied with rations for a day, which he carries in his haversack. These he is not to use unless ordered to do so. There are, besides, two days' rations carried in transport for each fraction of a command to tide the troops over the march. In the English army there are even wagon arrangements for cooking meals on the march, great quantities of soup being heated and meat and potatoes being prepared while on the march. But when the army moves away from its base of supplies then it is that the feeding problem becomes more complicated.

There are always a number of men detailed from each regiment to assist in the work of bringing up supplies. The keeping open of a line of communication with the base of supplies is the first thing that a commander must see to, for it means the safety of his army. If this line of communication is but a day's march, the work is simple, and it does not take many men detailed to wagon driving to replenish the impoverished stock of the regimental or division larder. But when the distance is increased to sixty or one hundred miles the trick is one of great difficulty.

There are along this line of communication two lines of transport wagons constantly on the move and in opposite directions. The one line is for wagons filled with stores and supplies for the army. The other is made up of empty wagons going back to base for other loads. Easy stages are made of the journey.

For instance, one set of loaded wagons will start from the base and go an easy distance, when another lot of empty ones will be coming in the opposite direction. The drivers and horses will be exchanged, those on the loaded wagons returning with the empty ones to the base of supply and those on the empty wagons taking the loaded supplies one stage nearer the army, at the end of which the same thing is repeated which the transportation of supplies and ammunition, too, is being carried on.

Within easy reach of the army is established a second base of supplies where a great amount of stores is accumulated in order to enable the army to extend its operations further from its principal base. Of course, a railroad makes the thing doubly sure and quick. But there is usually a good deal of wagon hauling to be done even with the railroads, because it is not often possible for an army to confine its operations to the line of rail communication. In any case, from the nearest base supplies are brought to the division or regimental wagons, which are filled on requisition and receipts are given for the supplies received.

A week's supply or even ten days' food should be at hand with the army. From the regimental depots the company gets its food for each day, and it is transferred to the company kitchen. Here are great kettles of coffee steaming over the fire, with bacon or other meat steaming in the pans. Thus the food which started as the contents of one of the boxes in the mountain on the shore, finally comes to the plate of the soldier to give him strength.

Sometimes a flying column takes no commissary train with it, cuts itself off from its base of supplies and moves swiftly through the country taking a few days' rations. This cannot be done unless the country is thoroughly known and can be depended on for food.

Sir George Head, writing of his experience in charge of the commissary in the peninsular war, says that 3 o'clock ever morning found him in the presence of the commanding general, where he was told of the movements of the army for the day. He would then go to his own quarters, where he found scores of representatives of the different parts of the army waiting for information. Sometimes, he said, he was obliged to ride out in the rain and scour the country for wheat to be made into flour for that night's distribution.

The worry of such a position can scarcely be imagined, for even after a supply of wheat was found, it had to be transported to mill, ground and carried to a convenient place for distribution among the parts of the army, which operations required the services of many men and teams.

There is considerable red tape required to get provisions, no less than seventy-five different kinds of blanks being supplied to use as requisitions.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 21 January 2017

Pound of Meat a Day to Each Man at Front
Topic: Army Rations

Pound of Meat a Day to Each Man at Front

British Army, Rules Also Require Like Amount in Each Soldier's Kit

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 23 November 1917

Behind British Lines in France, Nov. 22.—The British army ration scale allows one pound of meat to each man daily to the troops in the trenches, and three-quarters of a pound to those at home. It further requires each soldier at the front to carry a pound of meat in his kit.

The measures by which an army equal to one-fifth of the male population of Great Britain before the war have been supplied with meat on this scale amount to something like a revolution in the technique of army supply.

At the very beginning of the present war it was decided to provide frozen meat for the army and the boards of trade at once entered into negotiations with firms importing meat from the Argentine for a monthly supply of 15,000 tons. Later a "meat committee" was set up, and entrusted with the work of importing meat, not only for the British army, but also for the French and Italian governments, and for the British civil population.

The principal source of supply at present is the Argentine, with assistance from Australia and New Zealand. Both Australia and New Zealand have reserved their entire surplus supply of meat for the use of the imperial government, and over $200,000,000 worth of beef, mutton and lamb has been brought from those countries.

To carry these enormous quantities of meat to the troops the board of trade requisitioned all the shipping engaged in the frozen meat traffic. Some of the meat is taken to England, but the greater part of that required for the armies is landed directly at the base ports, where it is discharged into cold storage warehouses specifically erected for the purpose. In this manner there is delivered monthly 30,000 tons of meat for the British armies and 25,000 tons to the armies of Great Britain's allies.

The cost of this meat up to the beginning of 1916 figured out at an average of about 12 ½ cents a pound, but it has since risen to about 16 ½ cents.

Sixty Per Cent Frozen

Frozen meat at present constitutes 60 per cent of the total meat issued to the British army. The remainder is made up of preserved meat of several varieties. The most familiar form is the well-known "bully beef," which is corned beef packed in small oblong tins, each containing 12 ounces. Some units cook their bully beef, other prefer it just as it comes from the tin. In comprised the principal article of diet for the army at Gallipoli.

Another form of preserved ration is a combination of about nine ounces of meat and a half pound of potatoes and other vegetables. This is served after warming up, either by heating in the tin or by boiling the contents in a camp kettle, which transfers it into a fairly appetizing stew. This combination, which is known in army parlance as "meat and vegetable ration," is manufactured in England by about 30 firms, working under the inspection of the local government board.

Another form of preserved ration, adopted from the American armies, is pork and beans. The first supplies of these were obtained from the Canadian Pacific Railway company and were introduced on an experimental scale in March, 1916.

The amount of canned meats supplied to the troops in France is enormous. Three and a half million cans are received weekly at the bases, and since the beginning of the war the army contract department has purchased over 400,000,000 cans of preserved meat. These cans would weigh about 178,500 tons, roughly the equivalent is weight of six superdreadnaughts.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 16 January 2017

The Stock Pot (Army Cookery, 1907)
Topic: Army Rations

The Stock Pot (Army Cookery, 1907)

Instructions to Cooks, Published by Authority, Government printing Bureau, Ottawa, 1907

A stock-pot will be established to provide good soup and gravies. It consists of a cooking utensil, either a boiler or a large boiling pot, into which should be placed all available bones, &c. , such for example as are collected when the ration meat is cut up, in preparing boned and rolled meat, meat pies, meat puddings, stews and curries. This boiler should be kept gently simmering for 3 or 4 hours daily immediately before its contents are required for use. If the ration meat is properly boned it will provide soup for men of a battalion daily.

In order to ensure a constant change in the stock, and that no bones remain longer than three days in the pot, the following system should be adhered to. The bones extracted from the meat rations on the first day should be placed in a net with a tally attached before being boiled; the bones of the second and third day should be similarly treated; after the third day the bones boiled upon the first day should be removed, and similarly the bones of the subsequent days, the stock being continually replenished from day to day. The bones should always be removed from the stock before the vegetables and other ingredients are added. They should be carefully drained, placed in a dish, and kept in a cool dry place until required the following morning. Every effort should be made to reserve special boiler or boiling pots for making stock, in order that, if possible, the surplus portion of unused stock should be carried on from day to day. This process adds enormously to the strength of the soup made.

The amount of water to be added to the boiler in making stock must depend on the quantity and quality of the bones. It must be understood, that when the stock is not required for soups, gravies, &c., it should be used in preparing dishes such as curries, stews, meat and sea pies, meat puddings, etc.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 16 January 2017 12:06 AM EST
Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Soldiers Test New Combat Rations
Topic: Army Rations

Soldiers Test New Combat Rations

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 17 June 1960

Canberra, Thursday.—Eighty Australian soldiers are testing new lightweight combat rations to replace the old wartime rations of bully beef and biscuits.

The 10-day trial is taking place under battle conditions at Holdsworthy, N.S.W., and is the first since a 10-man food pack was tested in Malaya three years ago.

The experimental ration pack consists of partly-cooked foods in plastic bags. Each pack weighs 2 lb. and is shaped to fit easily into a pocket.

The men have been split up into two platoons of 40 each. One platoon will eat normal field rations and the other will live entirely on the new lightweight pack.

The aim of the tests is to discover whether the new food pack I nutritious, appetising and serviceable.

Here is a typical day's diet for the troops testing the new ration pack, which has been made possible by new food processing developments:—

Breakfast: Biscuits and jam, a cereal and instant spaghetti and tomatoes.

Lunch: Biscuits, jam and tea.

Evening Meal: meat, potatoes, cabbage or carrots, and instant pudding of chocolate and nuts, tea, biscuits and jam.

During the patrol, the troops will eat chocolate and sweets between meals.

The contents of the packs have been partly cooked and compressed and require only the addition of boiling water to prepare a meal.

The soldiers taking part in the tests were medically examined and weighed before the trial began and will be checked again when it ends of June 24.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 7 January 2017

New Soldiers' Chow (1940)
Topic: Army Rations

New Soldiers' Chow (1940)

British Tommies to Eat Rations Developed in U.S.

Lawrence Journal-World, Lawrence, Kansas, 11 March 1940

Washington, Mar. 11. (AP)—British "Tommies" in the French front line soon will be eating a new emergency ration developed by dietary experts of the United States army—and so will 65,000 American soldiers.

The British government, it was learned today, has placed an initial order with an Indianapolis firm for a consignment of the new canned "chow."

The Unites States army will give "field ration, type C" a two-day tryout during the big maneuvers in Texas next month.

The ration, designed for a possible three-day emergency during fighting, is packed in twin tin cans, each with its key opener.

Each man will carry one 15-ounce can of pre-cooked meat and beans, one of beef stew, on of meat and vegetable hash, and three companion cans, each of which contains six ounces of crackers, one ounce of sugar, and ¾ ounce of pulverised coffee, soluble even in cold water.

The new rations costs 70 cents a day (as against the present daily ration allowance of 40½ cents), but the price is expected to be reduced by quantity production.

The army is also experimenting with a super-emergency ration—a hard bar composed of chocolate, milk, soy bean meal, cocoa butter and other ingredients. Major Paul P. Logan, an instructor at the army industrial college, who holds the patent, made its taste such that men will not be tempted to eat it as candy.

In dire necessity, a man taking three four-ounce bars (each containing 600 calories) a day could be sustained for three or four days.

The new emergency rations are considered a big improvement, both in taste and food value, over the old bully beef and hardtack.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 30 December 2016

The Approved Ration (1907)
Topic: Army Rations

The Approved Ration (1907)

Instructions to Cooks, Published by Authority, Government Printing Bureau, Ottawa, 1907

The following ration having been approved will be supplied to the troops:

  • 1 lb. Bread or 1 lb. Biscuit (for camps, 1 ¼ lb. Bread).
  • 1 lb. Meat.
  • 1 lb. Potatoes.
  • 3 oz. Bacon.
  • 2 oz. Flour or 2 oz. Beans.
  • 3 oz. Jam or 3 oz. Dried apples.
  • 2 oz. Butter or cheese for permanent corps.
  • 1 oz. Split peas.
  • 2 oz. White sugar.
  • ½ oz. Salt.
  • 1/3 oz. Coffee.
  • ¼ oz. Tea.
  • 1/36 oz. Pepper.
  • ½ oz. Vegetables, evaporated, 1/2 oz. Onions; or 2 oz. Cheese for camps.
  • For permanent corps 4 oz. fresh vegetables in place of evaporated

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 26 November 2016

Bully Beef Apparently on Way Out
Topic: Army Rations

Bully Beef Apparently on Way Out

Eugene Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, 25 June 1959
By Jim Becker, of the Associated Press

Kota Belud, North Borneo—The days of the British Army's infamous "bully beef" are apparently over. The Queen's soldiers are living it up with a new canned ration that has even Americans envious.

Some genius in the British Quartermasters Corps has developed a ration for field troops that is considered superior to the American "C" ration in taste, ease or preparation and compact size.

That was the opinion of American Marines training with British soldiers in a joint manoeuvre in the steaming North Borneo jungle recently.

The Americans from the Okinawa-based 3rd Marine Division were invited to sample the British field fare and were loud in their praise.

The ration comes in a square box that fits neatly in the mess kit, saving on carrying space.

It contains a variety of meat and vegetable dishes, vitamin-enriched and a soup can that heats in seconds by a chemical process.

There is also a toothpaste-type tube of cream and sugar combined, which can be squeezed over oatmeal or used in tea.

Also in the ration is a tiny collapsible stove which is discarded after a day in the field. It neatly holds the mess kit when used as a cooking pot.

Small squares of a wax-like substance—the compositions of which is not known even to British supply officers—supplies the fuel.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 26 November 2016 12:29 AM EST
Sunday, 20 November 2016

What Not to Feed Him
Topic: Army Rations

What Not to Feed Him

Berkeley Daily Gazette, Berkeley, California, 20 June 1919

Have you a returned soldier in your home? And would you like him to be happy? To forget those French mademoiselles Tout Suite? To go back to his old job and stick, even though it does seem to be a bit of a bore at first? Then follow this advice, approved by Colonel Woods, assistant to the secretary of war.

Feed him well, and you will make him happy. Give him good food, plain cooking and very fancy cooking. But remember that he has acquired certain inalienable hatreds.

Don'tgive him beans. Green beans are alright. But never give him the comedy beans.

Don'tgive him salmon. Not cooked or smoked or in salad.

Don'tgive him hash. Not even if he liked it before.

Don'tgive him corned beef. Not even in sandwiches or with eggs. When he was over there he called it "Corned Willy," "Monkey Meat" and "Bully Beef."

Don'tgive him bread pudding. He has had a great deal too much of it.

Don'tgive him rice pudding. It will make him think he is being forcibly fed.

Don'tgive him condensed milk.

Don'tgive him Irish stew. He used to call it "slum" in the army. He no longer desires it.

Don'tgive him horse meat. You wouldn't anyway, but nevertheless—Don't.

This leaves a number of pleasant dishes which you may serve him. He will welcome chocolate ice cream, thick steak, roast beef, French fried potatoes, salad with Russian dressing, ham and eggs, and other delectable dishes.

If you treat him in accordance with the culinary advice so outlined, he will once more be one of the world's happy workers, and stick to his job, old or new.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:13 PM EDT
Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Trench Soup (1915)
Topic: Army Rations

For pudding Tommy Atkins boils a few biscuits to a pulp, strains off the water, and serves with jam.

Trench Soup (1915)

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 9 June 1915

The British soldier has a knack of making himself at home wherever he is. During the weary months he has spent in the trenches in France he has endeavoured, among other things, to improve on the regimental rations, and vary the monotony of his diet. He has compounded a recipe for "trench soup," which is declared by those who have tried it to be very appetising.

The rations for one man per day are:—

  • One tin of bully beef,
  • a few biscuits (or bread),
  • a rasher of bacon,
  • tea and sugar to make two quarts,
  • two ounces of jam,
  • and occasionally, a packet of pea soup powder or an OXO cube.

The recipe for the soup is:—

  • One tin of corned beef (chopped up),
  • one packet of pea soup powder,
  • one OXO cube,
  • four tablets of Brand's essence of beef,
  • two biscuits (broken up), 
  • a few potatoes.

For pudding Tommy Atkins boils a few biscuits to a pulp, strains off the water, and serves with jam.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 16 November 2016 12:33 AM EST

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Soldiers' Load
Staff Duties
Stolen Valour
Taking Advantage
The Field of Battle
The RCR Museum
US Armed Forces
Vimy Pilgrimage
Wolseley Barracks

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