Posted 20 April 2007 - 08:04 PM
The development is quite involved dealing with emegency rations from WWII by the AAC and USN departments so I will trim the fat and give you the buaer rations in a nut shell.
The first emergency ration is the AIRCRAFT AND LIFE RAFT EMERGENCY RATION specification M-539 adopted in january 1939.this ration contained pemmican, malted milk tablets and a D ration or/also refered to as a chocolate tablets.This ration is a also refered to as ration type K in some naval publications but can be misleading as we think of the QMC type K ration but as you will see they are quite different.This contained 2400 calories per man.In 1942 with the development of new compact type emergency kits it was necessary to devise a more compact ration more suitable for already limited space in emeregncy equipment aboard aircraft.This ration was discontinued in 1943
This is the wax coated cardboard ration m-539 from robin Bartels collection
These are the contents of the aircraft and life raft emergency ration
The new ration to replace the aircraft and emergency ration was the LIFE RAFT TABLET RATION.This contained mainly candy supplied by the charms company
sucrose citric acid tablets,sucrose lipid citric acid tablets and chewing gum.These candies provided enough calories to sustain a man for several days containing about 400 calories each,three cans per man were standard vs. one box per man on the M-539 ration .Pemmican and malted milk contained salt and provoked thirst which is very bad stranded at sea as food with salts take more body fluid to breakdown and digest causing dehidration.This ration was primarily designed to be incorperated into to the M-592 back pad kit with intentions of being packed in the one man parachute type rafts.This new ration under specification-539A was devloped parallel to the m-592.Adopted in june 1943 as the LIFE RAFT TABLET RATION spec. M-539A.These rations were sealed in a retangular cans with a key to open and components packed in individual wrappers and also contained in can was a water proof bag to store left over rations.The out side of the can has the contents labeled with calorie count.
pictured is an example of the M-539A tablet ration
In november 1943 further tests were conducted on these rations and was found that sucrose lipid citric acid tablets should be added.these provided vegetable fat to supplement the surcose citric acid tablets sugar content.This was adopted under new specification amendment B in april 1944.These rations are the ones we comonly see today the M-539B tablet rations.The label on can was also changed to
US NAVY EMERGENCY RATION FOR LIFE RAFTS.As you can see by comparing the two cans they have a different quantity change on components and also a deletion of calories on amendment B ration.This ration was the standard for the bureau of aeronautics till 1953 being replaced by the FOOD, PACKET LIFE RAFT AIRCRAFT
These are the only three types of rations procured by the buaer under their specifications during WWII though they used the other naval rations procured by the bureau of supplies and accounts such as theUS NAVY EMERGENCY RATIONS FOR LIFE RAFTS AND BOATS also known as the abondon ship ration,this is a round can containing biscuits only other rations used in conjunction with this last ration mentioned is tomato juice and chicken broth.The US navy believed in liquid diets when stranded at sea to supplement the shortage of fresh water.So in life boats and rafts carried aboard vessels they carried a compliment of the round can ration and cans of tomato juice and chicken broth.We also commonly see large rectangular cans of rations in three basic designs one with food and the other two with water ,these are USCG or merchant marine rations the US navy and AAC probably did use them but I have found no proof yet as they both (USN & AAC) had many designs of thier own and I have found not one mention of the USCG/merchant marine rations mentioned in any naval or air corp documnets as of yet! never say never!
Posted 20 April 2007 - 08:06 PM
Posted 20 April 2007 - 11:18 PM
Posted 21 April 2007 - 06:40 AM
field ration D.
I love that picture by the way! I have a copy of it on file also
here is a picture of my B-1 alaskan back pad kit
it is an old picture but now I have founf the correct insect repellent as pictured in vintage photo
Posted 21 April 2007 - 08:19 AM
thanks for the link though an excellent site covering many areas it leaves some things out.
FYI - There are a number of article on rations, including emergency rations on the Quartermaster Museum/Foundation website at:
for the army air forces there are two catagories for emegrnecy rations excluding the air crew lunch and AAF combat lunch as these are not "emergency" rations the catatgories are for flights over water and flights over land
flights over land:
emergency air corp ration
emergency parachute ration
flights over water:
airborne life boat ration
life raft ration A
the air crew lunch and combat lunch were intended for feeding crews in flight on long missions but could cross as an emegency ration.
Posted 21 April 2007 - 10:20 AM
Posted 25 April 2007 - 06:38 AM
Ever eat those things? We gave some of the hard candies to the kids at Halloween and they liked them! Pemmican is something like beef jerky, yes? Sarge Booker of Tujunga, California
I would say Pemmican was closer to fruit cake but better for you but better tasting.
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