What Did WW2 Soldiers Eat | US Military Food Rations | Documentary | ca. 1943

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It is a (circa) 1943 documentary made by the United States Office of War Information about the US military food rations during World War 2. It explains the importance of good nutritious food for the US soldiers. Dehydrated and process food was developed during that time. A very informative production of its time.

Historical background / context:

The United States military ration refers to various preparations and packages of food provided to feed members of the armed forces. U.S. military rations are often made for quick distribution, preparation, and eating in the field and tend to have long storage times in adverse conditions due to being thickly packaged and/or shelf-stable. The current ration is the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE).

Field Rations during World War 2
After 1918, the US army ration system went through several revisions. By June 1945, the US Army had 157 nutrition officers. Between 1941 and 1946, more than 30 field ration surveys were conducted to assess health, performance and nutritional status of troops in different environments. The main rations were:
– A-ration: Garrison Ration. Fresh, refrigerated, or frozen food prepared in dining halls or field kitchens. The most valued of all rations.
– B-ration: Field Ration. Canned, packaged, or preserved foods normally prepared in field kitchens without refrigeration.
– C-ration: Individual Ration. A complete pre-cooked, ready-to-eat canned individual meal.
– K-ration: Individual Ration. Designed as a short duration individual “assault” ration for paratroopers and other specialized light infantry forces.
– D-ration: Emergency Ration. Bars of concentrated chocolate
combined with other ingredients to provide high calorie content.

A-rations were generally whatever meat and produce could be obtained locally, so there could be great variety from one theatre of operations to the next. B-rations were generally used when there was inadequate refrigeration for perishable A-rations. The composition of the D-ration did not change much throughout the war but the C-ration developed many variations.

A- and B-rations were only served at bases or established camps in rear areas as they require cooking. C-rations could be eaten hot or cold and required no special preparation or storage, so these could be served almost anywhere.

During the war a new ration for assault troops, the 2,830 calories K-ration, was developed. K-rations were originally intended to be used as short duration rations for only 2–3 days, but cost concerns and later standardization led to its overuse, contributing in some cases to vitamin deficiencies and malnourishment.

There were various other special rations developed for specific circumstances, like:
– Mountain ration: 4,800 calories.
– Jungle ration: 4,000 calories.
– The Assault Lunch: Chocolate bars, caramels, dried fruit, chewing gum, peanuts, salt tablets, cigarettes, matches, and water purification tablets; total of 1,500–2,000 calories.
– The Assault ration (Pacific Theater): 28 pieces of assorted hard candy, chewing gum, cigarettes and a chocolate peanut bar.

What Did WW2 Soldiers Eat | US Military Food Rations | Documentary | ca. 1943

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