The 24-Hour Ration: (Pictures below Text)
This is ration was generally issued to troops just prior to combat, or prolonged
patrols where immediate issue with either the Field Service Ration or at least Composite Rations was uncertain or difficult.
For the D-Day landings, for example, troops were issued with 2 of the 24-hour Ration packets. Generally, one was kept intact
in the pack, while the other was broken down, and the components stored in various locations, with the chewing gum, tea, sugar
and candy items generally ending up in the GP pouches or pockets for a quick snack or drink on the go.
The content and size of this ration varied greatly over the course of the
conflict. Where earlier versions (as seen around 1940 to 1942) generally were meant as an actual meal replacement for prolonged
periods, provided in one large waxed cardboard box, the later ones were more of a compact "survival" type meal for short periods
not to exceed two or three days, packaged in smaller boxes (roughly 6.2x4.5x2.5").
Early war boxes (which will be offered by us later this year) came in waxed
boxes measuring roughly 6x 4.5x4.5" and contained, on average:
10 Plain Service Biscuits (a paste-tasting hard bread)
2 packets oatmeal
2 tea blocks
1 meat block (sometimes replaced with an additional tin of meat, or, rarely,
a tin of M&V)
1 tin of preserved meat (Generally bully beef or Ham Galantine"Spam")
2 chocolate bars with raisins (or nuts, or both)
1 chocolate bar with vitamins (generally a bitter-chocolate variety)
2 packs of Boiled sweets (available through us)
2 packets chewing gum (colorful and exotically flavored)
2 cubes meat broth
2 packets of Sugar
1 packet of sweet biscuits
2 packs of Milk Powder
Tinned Fruit pudding, Fruit Salad or additional confections (which occasionally
included tinned cheese)
A tin opener
Tinned Jam or occasionally candied/dried fruit in pouches.
Instructions and menu sheet.
The later war box contained less food, but was generally viewed as a partial
meal (and thus issued in greater numbers).
This ration pack is currently available through us--Click here if you are interested!
Items contained in the late war version as seen after mid 1943 and in general
issue by D-Day included:
1 tin of meat or meat block
5 plain service biscuits
1 small chocolate bar with raisins (or nuts, or both)
1 small chocolate bar with vitamins (generally a bitter-chocolate variety)
2 packs of boiled sweets
2 tea blocks
2 each packs of Milk and Sugar
1 pack of sweet biscuits
1 book of matches
1 wrap of latrine paper
1 packet oatmeal (or dry fruit)
1 packet of meat broth
There were several varieties of these rations, to include
a "Pacific Area" one. Generally, the meals were identified by Letters stenciled on the side of the boxes (or, in the case
of the post April-May '44 time frame boxes, on the closure tape that held the box shut).