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[REF] K Ration cartons

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[REF] K Ration cartons Empty [REF] K Ration cartons

Post  Gina_Costina 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.
[REF] K Ration cartons 2720081630080671336S600x600Q85
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
[REF] K Ration cartons 2766805780080671336S600x600Q85

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

[REF] K Ration cartons 2635852610080671336S600x600Q85

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.
[REF] K Ration cartons 2828979810080671336S600x600Q85

There were three styles of box, two are depicted above, The first was very plain giving just a makers name and the meal title.
[REF] K Ration cartons 2571070940080671336S500x500Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2345392360080671336S500x500Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2653798390080671336S425x425Q85

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. [REF] K Ration cartons 2996717920080671336S500x500Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2427206380080671336S500x500Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2224161780080671336S500x500Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2108031750080671336S500x500Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2338632080080671336S500x500Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2346560190080671336S500x500Q85

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.
[REF] K Ration cartons 2840297980080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2669864580080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2999286150080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2630095480080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2036972760080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2892472910080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2500953830080671336S500x500Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2232773070080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2587002360080671336S600x600Q85

The Dinner menu-
[REF] K Ration cartons 2307486830080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2450798230080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2260960900080671336S600x600Q85

Complete with the malaria warning that was put on late war K and D rations
[REF] K Ration cartons 2264475930080671336S600x600Q85

A tin of unopened processed cheese, this one is dated “1 45”
[REF] K Ration cartons 2977136360080671336S600x600Q85

Differing to the earlier version the contents of this model are not all contained in cellophane
[REF] K Ration cartons 2485696760080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2237415370080671336S500x500Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2149855360080671336S600x600Q85

An unopened pack of “Camels”
[REF] K Ration cartons 2877074610080671336S500x500Q85

A very plain matchbook-not like the ones that are seen in all those repro rations!
[REF] K Ration cartons 2599891060080671336S500x500Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2760107020080671336S500x500Q85

[REF] K Ration cartons 2002298610080671336S600x600Q85
[REF] K Ration cartons 2257258180080671336S600x600Q85

Courtesy of Paul Dray the table below gives you an idea of the contents of K Rations as the war (and they) developed-
[REF] K Ration cartons 2049500410080671336S600x600Q85

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.

[REF] K Ration cartons 2309472420080671336S600x600Q85
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Post  Guest 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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Post  samharris45 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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Post  Guest 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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Post  murph 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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Post  Giben 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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Post  Guest 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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Post  Camel1815 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
Richard.
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Post  Guest 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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Post  Guest 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):
[REF] K Ration cartons Original1

Now, the "early" and "mid War" boxes where supposed to be brown? Here's one for ye, and this is original:
[REF] K Ration cartons Kration-1
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:
[REF] K Ration cartons Finish1
[REF] K Ration cartons Finish2

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Post  Guest 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):
[REF] K Ration cartons Ktins2

[REF] K Ration cartons Ktins1

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Post  Guest 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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Post  Gina_Costina 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.

[REF] K Ration cartons 2914201730080671336S600x600Q85

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Post  Guest Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:13 pm

Interesting, thanks for sharing Paul.

Cheers,
Ben.

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Post  murph Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:44 pm

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

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Post  samharris45 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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