Jump to content

Italian Combat 24 Hr. Food Ration pack (2014), Model B Tasting review

Phil Perry

Recommended Posts

Not often I watch this sort of thing, and although 39 mins runtime,. . .I watched the whole thing.   The presenter is a U.S. soldier. and was most enthusiastic.  I wonder what a One Day ration pack for Australian soldiers looks like ? Must be some Ex-Grunts on here ?.. .Marines ?. .  .ASAS ?. . .CMF ?





Too much Gelatine for me tough. . .( Yeuch )



Link to comment
Share on other sites

A cappucino is included in the pack?? Mama Mia!! Where's da spaghetti or da lasagna?? Oh, I see there's minestra di past e foglioli (pasta & bean soup), that looks pretty disgusting.


Couldn't have an Italian ration pack without an olive-flavoured meal! - and chocolate! What is it about Europeans and chocolate?


Chocolate in every second pastry, and chocolate for breakfast, all through Europe?? I eat about a quarter block of chocolate a year, I can live without it.


And THREE toothbrushes and a toothpick?? I guess they include Chanel No 5, plus some Brylcreem, so they can hit the town, and chat up the girls, too??


And a food tray, too?? Good God, it's a wonder they didn't include a folding table and picnic chairs!! And canned Turkey?? What luxury! Ham and corned beef seems to make it into every ration pack.


I'm not impressed with all the pills and vitamins. Pills don't make for a half-decent feed! Gelatine is actually quite good for you, it's got a lot of nutrients in it, and it's good for lubricating aching joints.


Doesn't look like hexamine stoves have changed much since WW2 - except it looks like they've shrunk in size. Is that because, that's the new metric version?  :cheezy grin:


I didn't mind the Australian Army ration packs of the 60's and 70's - but every now and then, we'd get American ration packs. They weren't a patch on the Aussie ones.


Ciggys were always included, a lot of blokes traded them for something useful. A lot of blokes didn't smoke, even back then, so they weren't much use to non-smokers.


When we were out on military engineering jobs in 'Nam, a few of the blokes got hold of a big Noggie cooking pot, lit a fire, and decided everyone would contribute their lunch tins into the saucepan - a stew that these blokes called a "train crash".


I'm afraid it didn't do anything for me, but I had to go along with it, at least we generally got a decent hot feed out of it.


But there were problems, particularly with other dumb bastards you had to work (and fight) with. The fire was liberally fed with diesel from a nearby earthmover, of course - using an empty food can to collect the diesel and throw it on the fire.


Then came the day the troop clown stumbled as he went to throw a can of diesel on the fire - and the diesel went straight into the cooking pot!! You can well imagine his popularity, right about then!!


That was the day we went hungry. Diesel-flavoured ration-pack food is not something you want to try twice - even if it is hot.


Here's some of my partners in crime, cooking up a train crash. I'm in the background there somewhere, out of camera view, probably doing vital work, while these slack bastards are doing "vital" cooking work.


The little Noggie kids weren't looking for food to eat, they were looking for anything out of the ration packs that we would give them, that they could sell in the local market, to make money. Asians live to trade.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, that was early 1971, just 49 yrs ago. We were fit and young then, I wish I could turn the clock back on the aging body.


The bloke wearing the shirt with his back to the camera, is a little blackfella from Condobolin, his name is Mick Wighton. 


I haven't seen Mick since the 1987 National Reunion in Sydney, but I found a current photo of him. His photo is in the centre of the webpage below, you have to click it to enlarge it.


He's filled out a bit! Probably too many long public servant lunches in Canberra, which is where he ended up, as a public servant dealing with Aboriginal problems!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember bully beef and hard tack, plus chocolate.


The bully beef was from Argentina, ground up beef and lots of jelly to fill the can, I quite liked it. Hard tack was aptly named, very hard dry biscuits, probably left over from the battle of the Armada. The chocolate was solid like rock and a grey colour, if you could break a bit off and soften it in your mouth it was a good energy supply and supposedly needed less water to digest it.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of the food in our rations packs of the '60's and '70's, was dehydrated. You had to make sure you had plenty of water, to enable you to have a meal. Carrying two water bottles was pretty necessary.


I can remember canned ham and eggs, they were passable. I'm trying to remember some of the others. Some of the canned items were highly sought after.


Interesting AWM film below, from 1970, of the military putting on a "tasting" of dehydrated foods, some of which were still "potentially" to be added to ration packs.


Bit of a laugh, watching the meals getting served up to senior officers and public servants on china plates, with proper knives and forks! Also, a very young-looking Andrew Peacock in the footage!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's an interesting historical examination below, of the ability of the ration packs to sustain body weight. Not surprisingly, in almost every situation where a grunt had to carry all his supplies on his back, he wasn't getting enough nutrition.


Most grunt patrols were out in the J for around 3 weeks. You'd want plenty of good feeds back in camp, over the next couple of weeks, to make up for the weight loss.


Being in Engineers, I guess I was lucky as far as food and general supplies go. Engineers got all the building materials, so we often had huts, whereas the grunts had to put up with tents. 


Having access to lots of machinery and tools in Engineers was a godsend. Even when we worked on Land Clearing in the jungle, we didn't have to rely on ration packs.


Because Chinooks brought in our fuel daily, and Hueys took away the empty fuel bladders, it meant we got daily resupplies of anything we needed (parts mostly), and hot meals (from the Mess in Nui Dat) in the evening via Army hotboxes (which were great, by the way). Uber Eats had nothing on us, they must have copied our food organisation.


I found the list of foods in the Australian ration packs in Vietnam, from another site. I remember now, how they were broken up into A, B, C, D and E packs, each with a different overall menu.


They were;


• Menu A: Camp Pie (luncheon meat), Beef with vegetables, curry powder, precooked rice

• Menu B: Corned beef hash, Beef & Onions, curry powder, precooked rice

• Menu C; Camp Pie, Beef & Onions, curry powder, precooked rice

• Menu D: Spaghetti with meat balls, Camp Pie, instant potato with onions, beef soup powder

• Menu E: Ham Omelette, Tuna, Canned Fruit, instant potato with onion, tomato soup powder


I found all the Australian ration pack foods to be quite satisfactory - but I certainly wouldn't like to live on them, full time, as grunts on patrol had to.


We got a pretty good variety of food as Engineers, with ration packs for lunch, and hot meals either in the Mess (when in camp), or from hotboxes in the evening when out in a Night Defensive Position (NDP), or a Fire Support Base (FSB), or other compound.


By the same token, we were often doing heavy labouring work, building bridges, roads, building construction, installing water points, and concreting - so we needed good food supplies, as compared to simply hiking through the J, with a lot of grunts time taken up in simply lying around in ambush positions.


I do recall the "plastic" dehydrated canned potatoes supplied by the Yanks, which were a regular feature of the food in Vietnam. Spuds keep badly in tropical climates, unless kept in coolrooms constantly.


The plastic spuds were bloody awful, no matter how they were cooked, they still tasted like plastic. Most of the meat supplied was very ordinary, and I do recall getting quite a few feeds of rabbit stew in the Messes.


Keeping the Troops in the Field - Rations (Historical article) - https://vietnam.unsw.adfa.edu.au/keeping-the-troops-in-the-field-part-1-rations/


Informative discussion re Australian troops food supplies in 'Nam - http://www.mreinfo.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6036



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had six months in the UK where we had lunches provided from hot boxes and they were appalling. The ridiculous thing is that they were cooked at our base camp, where we had really good breakfasts and dinners. Even the cooks did not know why the lunches were so bad. Base meals were the best I ever had in the army, unlike other camps where I even had burnt boiled eggs.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...