[REF] K Ration cartons

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[REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Gina_Costina on Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:59 pm

K rations –symbolic of “GI” food.

Neither the D ration or C Ration entirely filled the need for a special ration during WW2. The D ration was intended “to allay the worst hunger of a single missed meal” and the C Ration was considered too heavy and too bulky for most of the mobile units. It was felt there was a need for a sustaining ration of a new type suitable for parachute troops, tank corps, motorcycle troops and other mobile assault units.

First experiments began in 1940 by Dr Ancel KEYS (hence “K” Ration) and by 1942 tests were put in place to test the K Ration amongst other rations. The K Ration emerged with flying colours and it was generally agreed that the ration could be used with good results for periods of at least one week.

The initial trials in which the K Ration were tested involved comparisons with other allied countries rations.

The image above shows a ration carton, the earliest style that I can tell, this is the same design as the one in my collection.

The K Ration of 1942


Early in 1943 Cans were supplied lacquered, this was as a result of the packing companies reporting slight rusting to the non lacquered cans at their plants.

The composition of the K Ration at the end of the first quarter of 1943 was as follows

Breakfast unit-
Biscuits K1
Biscuits K2
Meat and Egg product in Can
Fruit Bar
Coffee
Sugar tablet X 3
Gum, stick
Cigarettes
Key, Can

Dinner unit-
Biscuits K1
Biscuits K2
Cheese product in Can
Lemon Juice Powder
Sugar, Tablet x 3
Gum, Stick
Cigarettes
Can, Key
Clip of Matches

Supper unit-
Biscuits K1
Biscuits K2
Meat Product in Can
Ration D Bar
Bouillon Powder
Sugar Tablet x 3
Gum, stick
Cigarettes
Key, Can



All the units were designed to pack snugly in an inner carton measuring “3-14/32 x 1- 14/32x 6-20/32 inches”. I have measured the outer cartons of all of my K Rations and they measure 7 inches long by 3 5/8 wide by 1 5/8 inches thick.

The rations were prepared on a production line and in my own experience and that of Paul Dray who also collects rations I have found that the contents do not always match what is recorded on the carton.


There were three styles of box, two are depicted above, The first was very plain giving just a makers name and the meal title.




This ration contained just a key, an un-lacquered can, which surprisingly was not rusty at all, the Biscuits etc wrapped in cellophane, and one pack of cigarettes.






The final styles of K Ration carton were known as “Morale Boxes”. These were issued late war. I don’t know exactly when, but it’s reasonable to state that they were unlikely to be seen during the time of Normandy. My two Morale boxes have tins stamped in 1945.










The Dinner menu-




Complete with the malaria warning that was put on late war K and D rations


A tin of unopened processed cheese, this one is dated “1 45”


Differing to the earlier version the contents of this model are not all contained in cellophane




An unopened pack of “Camels”


A very plain matchbook-not like the ones that are seen in all those repro rations!






Courtesy of Paul Dray the table below gives you an idea of the contents of K Rations as the war (and they) developed-


One of the things I have noticed with the set of three morale boxes that I got from the same source in Germany was that all had been broken along their middle. I can only guess that the reason for this is that the GI simple snapped the cartons in half, so as to get to the contents quickly.

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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Guest on Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:30 pm

An outstanding reference thread Paul, thanks for posting up the photographs along with it too!

Cheers,
Ben.

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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  samharris45 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:56 pm

Paul top post and good pictures too!

Shame the boxes where damaged but still you have some nice original items there mate.

Sam
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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Guest on Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:49 pm

The "moral boxes", aye, had a few arguments on the US forum about that one Paul... As far as the QMC "bible" says; "In May 1944 it was said that the new package was going into full production"... given the rate at which boxes where in production, and the anticipated procurement orders for the "older" box types, it would have been some time for them to go into actual production and to reach the front, in my opinion, though it is said there is "a photograph" of one in the Bulge... Add to the pot the many different contractors making both the components and the actual packaging, then there's a rainbow of possibilities... Very Happy

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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  murph on Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:32 pm

That is top stuff! Nice to think that this thread is really exploring and preserving a little piece of History.

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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Giben on Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:51 pm

Hey there, Do you have any measurements for the tins?

It is nice to see all of they pictures of the real deal. same for bens c-rats post f the b-portion.
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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Guest on Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:43 pm

According to the specs: 300x106

My original example, measures 3 inches x 1 3/4 inches.... Or 7.5cm x 3.4cm...

Hope that helps

Cool

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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Camel1815 on Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:44 am

Really good stuff. I am still looking at filling one of Paul's crates with boxes and cartons, to show a full crate, at the time of Normandy. But still having trouble tracking down laminated cardboard rather than modern corrugated, for the main insert. I would guess then that that the correct ration boxes would be mid production rather than the morale boxes. Also would one crate have just one type of ration say supper, rather than all three types, breakfast, lunch, and supper?
Cheers
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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Guest on Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:11 pm

hi richard, i got some thick card from a craft shop for the boxes, have you got a pdf for the print? i have one somewhere if you havnt. i stand corrected but all 3 units where packed in the same wooden crate, one row of breakfast, one dinner one supper.

riz

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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Guest on Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:50 pm

Yep....Three rows of twelve... They where supposed to be inserted into a cardboard box (for internal use - USA) then for overseas shipment (PTO, MTO, ETO etc) this was supposed to be inserted into a wooden crate, but ye do see photos of the guys opening the crate and there's no inside box...

Moral boxes for Normandy, nope, yer right there...

For the K box I go to Staples and get the brown folders, think the last time I bought them they where £3 odds for a whole bunch... Now, print out and wallpaper paste onto a lighter shade pice of card, then fold and glue... As ye can see form the original here, the inside is a different shade, these boxes where made in layered cardstock (I reckon):


Now, the "early" and "mid War" boxes where supposed to be brown? Here's one for ye, and this is original:

As ye can see, the outer non waxed part is almost exactly like wallpaper liner in colour, but is definitely the same in texture...

Now, here where I"m gonna shamelessly promote my own, these will shortly be going into production, not sure of the cost as yet, as I even go to the trouble of baking my own K biscuits:


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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Guest on Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:01 pm

The above can is as approx to the original as I have seen so far, but in the past I have thought about this for my production of the 10in1s for our field trip, which had "partial K rations" for the dinner menu included in them, and here is the choice I considered, on the left is the Tesco spam like product, middle original, and the right Spam Spreadables (in the end I chose used in the Spam Spreadables and produced the snug fitting box for it from scratch):



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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Guest on Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:20 pm

Just to clarify, a "ration" was three boxes, "breakfast, dinner, supper" as in a "days ration"... So for example, when the QMC talks about a ration, it's a whole days ration... Very Happy

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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Gina_Costina on Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:24 pm

Some new intel in. Taken from a recently acquired Yank Weekly dated April 21 1944.

Morale boxes- soon to be issued, once old stock is used up.


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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:13 pm

Interesting, thanks for sharing Paul.

Cheers,
Ben.

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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  murph on Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:44 pm

Hmmm, bet the contents remained as unpalatable for the GIs.

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Re: [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  samharris45 on Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:45 am

murph wrote:Hmmm, bet the contents remained as unpalatable for the GIs.

That's for sure!
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