Letter 6 - WWII Ration
WWII Ration Bars and other Army Food.
Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-ration#/media/File:KRation_Breakfast.JPG
Every solider was given something called a K-Ration during WWII. A K-Ration was an individually packaged combat ration—or prepackaged meal—that a soldier could easily carry into the field. K-Rations often included Ration Bars.
I can still remember when I first heard my grandpa tell us about “K-Ration” chocolate bars made by the Hershey chocolate company during WWII. It was Christmas and he and my grandma had brought our family a huge box of See’s Chocolates to share. I was in heaven and Grandpa couldn’t let a moment pass to let us know what a great those “real” chocolates really were.
Photo credit: https://www.historynet.com/the-u-s-army-chocolate-bar-that-gis-dubbed-hitlers-secret-weapon.htm
Grandpa served for 3.5 years as a Marine in Japan during WWII. So he became very familiar with Rations bars—particularly their special tropical bars—bars made specifically for temperate climates using Hershey’s special “tropical chocolate” recipe. The bars were given to the soldiers for two reasons 1) to boost morale and 2) as a pocket sized, high energy food soldiers could easily carry with them into field.
The bars were thick, rectangular, and squared at the edges and came in one- and two-ounce bars. A lot of our research for The Audrey Rose Letters claims that these Ration bars tasted no different than regular commercial Hershey’s chocolate, but I remember distinctly the look of distaste my grandpa got on his face while he told us about them. And he wasn’t alone. Most soldiers either discarded the bars or traded them to unsuspecting allied troops for other more appealing edibles.
The thing I remember most about what grandpa told us kids was this: he said that you could set a K-Ration bar out on the sidewalk at high noon on the hottest day of the year, and it wouldn’t even break a sweat. (Grandpa’s way of saying it wouldn’t melt.)
Thank goodness for See’s Chocolates, am I right?
Battery Acid: Artificial lemonade powder included in WWII K-Rations. It was generally unliked by the soldiers, and often discarded or used to clean with.
Jaw Breakers: Military biscuits. They were often overbaked and considered hard enough to knock another solider out if thrown in their direction.
https://gem-3910432.netPhoto credit: https://www.almanac.com/grow-victory-garden-coronavirus
Victory gardens were encouraged by the government in order to make more convenient foods available to the troops overseas. Rationing was strict and could be unreliable, but a garden grown by oneself was the perfect way to not only provide food for one’s family, but to do one’s part to help support the troops.
Here is an interesting article that explores the history behind Victory Garden’s more thoroughly.
Fort Pierce: A military training camp located in near Palm City, Florida. The Army Rangers were sent to Fort Pierce during WWII in order to train them in water combat among other things.
Big Time Operator: Someone who thinks he’s important.
Admiral of the Swiss Navy: A self-important person.