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1925 Reserve Rations


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Does anyone have in their collection tinned rations as are pictured in this 1925 manual? These would be the field rations that preceded C-rations. I'd settle for better pics.



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  • 5 months later...


No, nothing yet. All that there is is the brief description of them on the US Quartermaster Corps website (http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm#Ration%20Development%201936-41):


Ration Development 1918-36

While the trench ration died a natural death and the emergency ration became obsolete, some attention was given by the Quartermaster Corps to further development of the reserve ration. In 1920, it was suggested that the ration could be improved by making its container easier to carry, by dividing the unit into separate meals, by adding chocolate, and by replacing roasted and ground coffee with the soluble variety. There were, however, no suggestions for radical departures from the basic pattern of canned meat, tinned bread, and beverage. Probably because of the lack of interest then evident, it was generally considered that the ration was "good enough" in its wartime version.

Attempts by the Quartermaster Corps Subsistence School 20 to improve the ration did produce an Army specification for the item in 1922. 21 Under its terms, the components of the ration were to include:

Corned beef or Chocolate____ 3 oz.

dried sliced beef_____1 lb. Soluble coffee

Hard bread_________ 14 oz. Tablet sugar

The meat was packed in two small, sardine-type cans, each about 1 by 4 by 4 inches in size. There were two tins for the bread, chocolate, and coffee, each tin about 1 by 2 by 8 inches in size. The components were packed in a unit carton overwrapped with oiled paper. It was a considerable achievement that 10,000 of these rations (costing about $1.33 each) were procured in 1923.

The reserve ration was revised again in 1925 when the quantity of bread and corned beef was reduced and the dried beef was replaced by pork and beans. Oblong cans were still specified, although it was known that quantity production of that item was impossible. In 1930, the Army War College called the revised ration superior, termed its keeping qualities excellent, and pointed to the high degree of its utility.22 Further development nearly came to a standstill in the depression of the 1930's although some experimental reserve rations were packed in round cans by the Subsistence School in 1932. Four years later, the newly created Quartermaster Subsistence Research and Development Laboratory23 produced an experimental pack of a reserve ration containing an A unit with corned beef and a B unit with pork and beans. There was no change in the remaining components-the planners stood pat on hard bread, soluble coffee, chocolate, sugar, and cylindrical can.

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Ok, I have (had?) a post war Ration Development report that discussed the reserve rations developed between the wars. I'll see if I can find the book and see what it says.



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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...

I believe this is an original hardbread tin as shown in the photos. It has a finish similar to a WW2 era can of c-rations and has a similar key. It appears to have the manufacture date stamped into it.



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yd - I don't think that is the hardbread tin. Assuming the 7-22 is a date stamp, that is probably a component of the 1920 Reserve Ration that Dustin posted in #5 above. If true, that tin should contain 1.5oz chocolate, 1.2oz sugar, .3oz coffee, and 6oz hard bread. By 1927, all Reserve Ration contracts had been cancelled due to cost. Work on the next Reserve Ration started in 1936 however its name changed to C Ration. So that tin an early cousin of the C Ration M unit. :)


An amazing piece of ration history!

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