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A field ration, or combat ration, is a canned or pre-packaged meal, easily prepared and eaten, transported by military troops on the battlefield. They are distinguished from regular military rations by virtue of being designed for minimal preparation in the field, using canned, pre-cooked or freeze-dried foods, powdered beverage mixes and concentrated food bars, as well as for long shelf life.
Such meals also prove invaluable for disaster relief operations, where large stocks of these can be ferried and distributed easily, and provide basic nutritional support to victims before kitchens can be set up to produce fresh food.
Most armies in the world today now field some form of pre-packaged combat ration, suitably tailored to meet national or ethnic tastes.
- 1 Americas
- 2 Europe
- 3 Middle East
- 4 Australasia
- 5 Asia
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The Ración de Combate (Individual) was introduced in 2003, consisting of a gray plastic-foil laminate pouch containing a mix of canned and dehydrated foods, plus minimal supplements, for 1 soldier for 1 day. All products in the RC are domestically produced, commercially available items. Each ration contains: canned meat, small can of meat spread, crackers, instant soup, cereal bar with fruit, a chocolate bar with nuts or caramels, instant coffee, orange juice powder, sugar, salt, a heating kit with disposable stove and alcohol-based fuel tablets, disposable butane lighter, resealable plastic bag, cooked rice and a pack of paper tissues.
Menu # 1 contains: corned beef, meat pate, crisp water crackers, and instant soup with fideo pasta.
Menu #2 includes: roasted beef in gravy, meat pate, whole wheat crackers, and quick-cooking polenta in cheese sauce.
Canada provides each soldier with a complete pre-cooked meal known as the IMP (Individual Meal Pack), packaged inside a heavy-duty folding paper bag. There are 5 breakfast menus, 6 lunch menus, and 6 supper menus. Canadian rations provide generous portions and contain a large number of commercially available items. Like the US ration, the main meal is precooked and ready-to-eat, packed in heavy-duty plastic-foil retort pouches boxed with cardboard. Typically, the ration contains a meal item (beans and wiener sausages, scalloped potatoes with ham, smoked salmon fillet, macaroni and cheese, cheese omelette with mushrooms, shepherd's pie, etc.), wet-packed (sliced or mashed) fruit in a boxed retort pouch, and depending on the meal a combination of instant soup or cereal, fruit drink crystals, jam or cheese spread, peanut butter, honey, crackers, bread (bun) compressed into a retort pouch, coffee and tea, sugar, commercially available chocolate bars and hard candy, a long plastic spoon, paper towels and wet wipes. Canada also makes limited use of a Light Meal Pack containing dried meat or cheese, dried fruit, a granola bar, a breakfast cereal square, a chocolate bar, hard candy, hot cocoa mix, tea, and two pouches of instant fruit drink. Canadian ration packs also contain a book of cardboard matches.
Colombia issues the Ración de Campaña, a very dark olive green (almost black) plastic bag weighing between 1092 and 1205 grams and providing 3,097 to 3,515 kcal (12,960 to 14,710 kJ). Inside are the MRE-like retort pouch main courses and supplements needed by 1 soldier for 1 day. The individual meals, which cater to South American tastes, consist of a breakfast, a lunch, and a main meal (Tamal, envueltos, lentils with chorizo, arvejas con carne, garbanzo beans a la madrileña, arroz atollado, ajiaco con pollo, and sudado con papas y carne. The ration also includes bread products, beverage mixes, candy and accessories. All items except the beverage mixes require no further preparation and can be eaten either hot or cold. The beverage powders must be mixed with hot or cold water before consumption. Each ration also contains raw sugar, a can of condensed milk, sandwich cookies, sweetened and thickened cream spread, hard candy or caramels, peanuts or trail mix or 25 g of roasted almonds, instant coffee, salt, paper towels, a plastic spoon, 2 water purification tablets, and a multivitamin tablet.
The Mexican defense department (SEDENA) issues the "Ración Diaria Individual de Combate" box or "individual soldiers daily combat meal" box. It is packaged in an olive green and black plastic box with the contents printed on the front; the box contains three individual meal packs containing meals providing 3,640 to 4,030 kcal (15,200 to 16,900 kJ) which are meant to sustain a soldier for one day. Each individual meal package contains two main retort pouches which are meant to be eaten with each other. The first retort pouch usually contains a meat product (such as beef, pork, sausage, fish, ham, seafood, chicken, tuna, bacon or other meats which are usually mixed with a flavoring sauce and vegetables) the second retort pouch contains a staple food (rice, hominy, noodles, beans, pasta, eggs or more vegetables). Each meal package also contains salt, spices, condensed milk, cream, butter, chorizo spread, dried fruit or preserves, bread, crackers, sugar, custard, cookies, canned fish, cocoa mix, nuts, chocolate or other candies, vitamins, a large pouch of drinking water, a pouch of Jumex fruit juice or Coca-cola, biodegradable napkins and utensils and water purification tablets. Some meal packages do not contain the two main retort pouches and instead contain a single larger pouch with a finished meal such as tamales or steak and eggs but, these are usually only available when close to a base or when the military is operating in an urban area. When these were handed out by the Mexican military during their assistance in the Hurricane Katrina relief operation many Americans who received them gave very high praise about their taste and variety.[opinion]
The United States' Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) is packaged similarly to the Canadian ration. Each sealed plastic bag contains one entire precooked meal, with a number of supplements and accessories. The original 12 menus have been expanded to 24 and now contain a variety of ethnic and special request items as well. Kosher/Halal and Vegetarian menus are also provided. Each meal bag contains an 8-oz main course (packaged in a four-layer plastic and foil laminate retort pouch), 8 hard military crackers, some form of spread (cheese, peanut butter, or jelly), a fruit-based beverage powder, some form of dessert (cake, candy, cookies, or fruit), and an accessory packet containing coffee or tea, creamer, sugar, salt, matches, a plastic spoon, and toilet paper. A chemical heater is packed with every meal.
The First Strike Ration (FSR) is a compact, eat-on-the-move ration to be used for no more than three days during initial periods of highly intense, highly mobile combat assaults. A single FSR (24 hours food) is about 50% of the size and weight of three MREs. Each FSR provides 2,900 kcal (12,000 kJ) (15% protein, 53% carbohydrates, 34% fat), versus the 3,800 kcal (16,000 kJ) in three MREs, and has a two-year shelf life when stored at 80 °F. An FSR is packed in a single trilaminate bag and contains filled pocket sandwiches, a pouch of tuna or chicken, two packets of ERGO high-energy drink mix, two high-energy cereal bars (First Strike Bars), a dairy-based calcium-enriched dessert bar, two packets of beef jerky (BBQ or Teriyaki flavored), fortified applesauce, nut and fruit mix, caffeinated gum, and an accessory pack containing a beverage mix, salt, matches, tissues, plastic spoon, and cleansing moist towelettes. The FSR comes in three menus:
|Italian pocket sandwich||Honey BBQ beef pocket sandwich||Bacon-cheddar pocket sandwich|
|chicken chunks pouch||Albacore tuna pouch||pepperoni pocket sandwich|
|tortillas & hot sauce||tortillas & mayonnaise||filled French Toast pocket sandwich|
|Cinnamon & brown sugar toaster pastry||lemon poppy-seed pound cake||jalapeño cheese spread & wheat snack bread|
|peanut butter and crackers||cheese spread and crackers||apple cider mix|
|lemon tea mix||instant coffee, non-dairy creamer and sugar|
After joining NATO, the Czechs developed a combat ration known as the Bojová Dávka Potravin (BDP). The BDP comes in two versions, type I and II, each holding two ready-to-eat main courses packed in large foil "cans" (beef roast with rice, pork goulash with potato, spicy risotto, pork with carrots and vegetables, etc.), a small plastic cup of lunch meat spread, cheese spread, hard bread, cookies, jam, instant coffee, tea bags, fruit-flavored multivitamin drink tablets, vitamin C enriched fruit drink powder, a chocolate bar, sugar, salt, chewing gum, wet napkins, paper towels, a plastic bag, and a menu and instruction sheet. A modified version of the BDP known as the KDP (Konzervovaná Dávka Potravin) is also used. This contains the same items as the BDP, but adds an aluminium cup, plastic utensils, a folding stove with fuel tablets and matches, and soap.
The Danish military developed a modern field ration inspired by Norwegian and American rations. It consist of Drytech freeze-dried main meals and several additional items such as dried fruits and nuts, energy bars, hard biscuits, meat pate etc.
When (during peacetime) conscript soldiers are not provided with meals cooked either in garrisons or attached field kitchens, they are provided with rations (colloquially known as sissi rations) packed in a clear plastic bag. Several different menus exist, however all include foil packed crispbread, coffee and tea, sugar, chocolate, small tins of beef or pork, chewing gum, dry porridge, energy drink powder etc. Soups and porridges that are meant to be mixed with water and cooked are usually prepared in Trangia-type portable stoves that are shared by the pair in a fire and maneuver team, or in individual mess kits.
The French 24-hour combat ration, the RCIR (ration de combat individuelle rechauffable) comes in 14 menus packed in a small cardboard box. Inside are 2 precooked, ready-to-eat meal main courses packed in thin metal cans somewhat like oversized sardine tins, and an hors d'oeuvre in a more conventional can or tin. Current main courses include items such as beef salad, tuna and potatoes, salmon with rice and vegetables, shepherd's pie, rabbit casserole, chili con carne, paella, veau marengo (veal), navarin d'agneau (lamb), poultry and spring vegetables, etc. Hors d'oeuvres include: salmon terrine, chicken liver, tuna in sauce, fish terrine, duck mousse, etc. Each meal box also contains a package of instant soup, hard crackers, cheese spread, chocolate, caramels or boiled sweets, instant café-au-lait, sugar, cocoa powder, matches, a disposable folding ration heater and fuel tablets, and water purifying tablets.
Germany uses the Einmannpackung (EPA) to provide two substantial meals to each soldier. Practice is to provide one hot cooked meal for the other meal whenever possible. A heater or oven is not included since an Esbit cooker is part of each soldier's personal equipment. Enough food items are contained within the EPA to sustain the soldier for 24 hours. Currently there are three menus; each includes two meals out of a selection of 19 meals, with several heavy-duty foil trays containing items such as lentils with sausages, Yugoslav Sausage, Goulash, beef patties in tomato sauce, Italian pasta, or Tofu stir-fry. There are also three smaller foil "cans" of bread spreads such as cheese spread, liver-sausage, dried-meat sausage, or cheese spread with green peppers. The meal box also includes: thinly sliced rye bread (170 g), hard crackers (1100 kcal), a foil can of fruit salad, instant cream of wheat, instant fruit juice powder, instant coffee, instant tea, powdered cream, a chocolate bar, sugar, salt, gum, jam, water purifying tablets, two plastic bags, matches, paper towels and a user guide.
The primary operational ration used in Greece is the so-called "Merida Eidikon Dynameon" (Special Forces' Ration, also known as a 4B-ration), a 24-hour ration pack inside a cardboard box measuring 240 x 140 x 130 mm & weighing 1 kg. Most items are commercially procured, with the main meals in round pull-ring cans. Typical contents include: a 200 g canned meat ("SPAM"); 280 g can of meat with vegetables (beef and potatoes, etc.) (termed Prepared Food With Meat or ΠΦΜΚ); a 280 g can of cooked vegetables (green peas, etc.) (Prepared Food Without Meat or ΠΦΑΚ); an 85 g can of cheese; 6 hard biscuits; 40 g honey; three 50 g packages of raisins or chocolate; 30 g sugar; 1.5 g black tea, 2 g instant coffee; 19 g instant milk powder; two small packets of salt; a multivitamin tablet; 4 water purification tablets; a pack of tissues; a disposable ration heater with 5 fuel tablets; and a box of matches. In wartime, packs of locally commandeered cigarettes may also be issued.
Ireland fields a 24-hour ration pack somewhat similar to that used by the British. It is packed in a large ziplock plastic bag and contains two pre-cooked main meals and items to be eaten throughout the day. Included are: instant soup, ramen noodles, an oatmeal block, a high-energy protein bar, both brown and fruit biscuits, sweets, and a selection of beverage mixes. Breakfast (bacon and beans or sausage and beans) is packaged in a retort pouch while dinner (Beef Casserole, Irish Stew, Chicken Curry, or a vegetarian main course) comes in either a flat tin or microwaveable plastic tray. Desserts consist of a retort-pouched dessert (chocolate pudding, syrup pudding, fruit dumplings), a Kendal mint bar, and a roll of fruit lozenges. Beverages include tea bags, instant coffee, hot cocoa, and a powdered isotonic drink mix. Also included are a pack of tissues, a small scouring pad, matches, water purification tablets, salt and pepper packets, sugar, dry cream powder, moist towelettes, and individual packets of foot powder.
Italy uses the "Razione Viveri Speciali da Combattimento," consisting of a heavy duty brownish-green plastic bag with 3 thin white cardboard cartons inside (one for breakfast, one for lunch and one for dinner), each containing meal items plus accessories. There are 7 menus, called "modules", identified by colors: yellow, red, grey, green, white, pink and blue. Typically, breakfast consists of: a chocolate bar, fruit candy, crackers or sweet bread, instant coffee, sugar, and a tube of sweetened condensed milk. A lunch will have: 2 pull-ring cans with precooked foods (Tortellini al Ragù, Pasta e Fagioli, Wurstel, Tacchino in Gelatina, Insalata di Riso, etc.), a small can of fruit cocktail, a multivitamin tablet, energy and fiber tablets, instant coffee, sugar, and a plastic spoon wrapped with a napkin. Dinner will consist of 2 more meal cans plus crackers, an energy bar, instant coffee, and sugar. Accessories are: a folding stove, fuel tablets, water purification tablets, toothpick, matches, and 3 small disposable toothbrushes with pre-applied tooth powder.
Lithuanian field rations are based on US Army's MRE - they come in 10 menus packed in a dark green plastic bag, and include small chocolate bar, honey (or jam), crispy bread, a handful of almonds (or hazelnuts), instant drink, tea (or coffee), sugar, moisturizing tissue, matches, moisture-free fuel, a tray for food heating, flameless heater (similar to the US one) and a strap for package tightening.
The Netherlands version of the 24-hour ration, the "Gevechtsrantsoen," includes canned or retort pouched items, plus hard biscuits, jam, cheese spread, 3 cans of meat spread and 1 can of tuna spread, a chocolate bar, a roll of mints, instant coffee, tea, hot chocolate, lemon-flavour energy drink powder, instant soup, a vitamin pill, and supplementary items. The canned main course is packed in a thin aluminium can rather like a large sardine tin, containing 400 g of a precooked item such as rice with vegetables and beef, chicken with rice and curry, potatoes with sausage and green vegetables, or sauerkraut with sausage and green vegetables. The newer retort-pouches contain a 350 g serving of dishes such as brown beans with pork, chili con carne, corned beef hash, or chicken and pasta in tomato sauce. The ration pack provides breakfast and lunch only; the two canned or pouched main meals are issued separately.
The Swedish armed forces use ration packs from the Swedish developers 24 hour meals. 24 hour meals have a long range of menus (approx. 200)and can deliver both freezedried and wet meals. The Swedish concept (combat edition) consists of several versions for different use, in all climate zones, and various types of missions. Examples of different types of rations: 1-course (patrolration), 2-course, 3-course and 4-course versions with a variation of 40 different meals, both wet and dry. The rations varies from 1300 kcal to 5000 kcal. The ration is packed in a transparent durable plastic bag that is resealable with a ziplock. The contents are 1-4 main meals with energy bars, protein bars, nuts, energy drinks, wholewheat bread, peanut butter, desserts and spices for example. The durable bag change size depending on the version for optimal space usage in cartons and soldiers' backpacks. 24 hour meals have been developed at a rapid pace and are currently producing their 5th generation (first in 2008). R&D are working close with soldiers in Scandinavia and various missions around the world.
Norway utilize a 24-hour ration pack (Norwegian "feltrasjon") designed by Drytech, consisting of 2 freeze-dried main meals, a packet of compressed breakfast cereal, packets of instant soup, and supplements. These are packed in 3 green polylaminate bags labelled "Breakfast," "Lunch," or "Dinner," overwrapped in clear plastic and issued as one day's ration. Depending on the soldiers activity, the rations are delivered in two different sizes. Either 3800 kcal or 5000 kcal. Included are a substantial assortment of beverages (cocoa mix, instant coffee, energy drink powder, and herbal teas), plus thin sliced rye bread and chocolate, chewing gum, a vitamin tablet, and litter bags. There are 7 completely different menus, and ongoing development to meet different nations requirements. The main meals are for example Chili con carne, different pasta dishes, Beef Stew, Beef and Potato Casserole, Lamb Muligatawny, Cod and Potato Casserole, Pasta Bolognese, Wolf-fish with Prawns and Dill, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Rice in Basil Sauce etc. Small tins of fish are often provided separately.
The current Polish combat ration (Zestaw Żywnościowy Indywidualnej Racji Suchej) is packed in a green plastic-foil bag containing: 2 small cans of meat or meat spread or cheese, 2 packages of hard crackers, a tube of sweetened condensed milk, 2 packets of instant coffee, a packet of instant tea, 3 sugar packets, an individually wrapped Vitamin C fortified boiled sweets, a stick of chewing gum, safety matches, a menu and instruction sheet, a plastic bag, and 2 paper towels.
Field ration (24h) "RB1" / "RB2" / "RB3"
Meal A (breakfast): - goulash 400g / beans with sasuage and meat in tomato sauce 400g / pork shoulder with rice and vegetables 400g - pate 100g - jam 25g - crispbread 50g - instant tea 30g - fruit bar - flameless heater - sachet water 45ml
Meal B (lunch): - chicken with rice and vegetables 400g / spaghetti with meat 400g / bogracz (Hungarian dish densely with beef ) 400g - crackers 45g - instant tea 30g - condensed milk tube 100g - dark chocolate 50g - flameless heater - sachet water 45ml
Meal C (dinner): - canned meat 100g - crackers 45g - honey 25g - instant tea 30g - fruit bar
Accessories: - sugar 10g x3 - coffee candy x3 - vitamin C candy x3 - chewing gum x3 - salt, pepper x3 - dried fruits 50g - instant tea - instant borsch - plastic bag - matches - toilet paper - wet wipe tissue x3 - cutlery
Energy value 3496,15kcal / 3693,82 kcal / 3459,6 kcal Weight 1,85 kg
Since the turn of Milennium Russia issues the Individual Food Rations (Individual'nyi Ratsion Pitaniya (IRP) (Индивидуальный рацион питания/ИРП), a new self-contained ration, containing the whole daily food intake for an individual soldier in the field. However, in its most frequent form it isn't dietary complete, and is intended only as a stop-gap measure to be issued until the normal supply lines (with their field kitchens) are established and the hot food delivery started, to be issuen for no more than six days straight. Russian Ministry of defence doesn't strictly prescribe the contents of the ration, only some basic packaging and inventory requirements, so every producer issues their own version. Most commonly it is packaged into a sturdy plastic blister box (nicknamed "The Frog" in the field for its olive-green color), or plastic-sealed cardboard box that contains five to six entrees in laminated foil cans or retort pouches, four to six pack of crackers or preserved bread, two to three dessert items in form of a spread or fruit bar, four beverage concentrate pouches, some seasonings (salt, pepper, sugar, catchup), and various sundry items like satitizing wipes/paper towels, spoons, can opener, four hexamine fuel tablets, folding heater, matches and water purifier tablets. The types of entrees vary with the producer and the issued menu (of which there are usually 7 to 12), but the common set is based on a traditional Russian outdoorsmen fare, is largely formed out of the commercially available canned food, and usually includes 1 portion of stewed beef or pork, two meat-with-vegetables dishes, like various porridges, stews or canned fish, and one or two spreads, such as liver pate, sausage stuffing or processed cheese. Desserts may include fruit jams, chocolate and/or walnut spreads, chocolate bars, sweetened condensed milk, etc., but baked goods are usually avoided out of concerns about their shelf life. Other variants may add canned speck and/or dried fish or exchange the hexamine tablets for the flameless heater.
The Spanish Army issues an individual meal pack, available in 5 different menus, comprising a small cardboard box overwrapped with drab green polyethylene. Inside are 3 canned meals, plus accessories. Typical contents (Menu B) include: stewed steak, pickled mackerel, liver pâté with red peppers, an envelope of instant soup, a can of fruit, 2 salt tablets, 2 water purification tablets, a large multivitamin tablet, 10 sheets of general purpose paper, a book of matches, a folding can opener, a small folding ration heater and 2 fuel tablets, and an instruction sheet in three languages (Spanish, English and French). Crackers or bread are issued separately.
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The UK provides the Operational Ration Pack, General Purpose. Packed inside a small cardboard box, each ration has enough retort-pouched and canned foods to feed one soldier for 24 hours. Seven menus (plus vegetarian and religious variants) provide two precooked meals (Breakfast and Main Meal) plus a midday snack. Example (Menu A) Breakfast: Hamburger and beans, Instant Porridge. All ration packs also contain Oatmeal Block, Fruit Biscuits, Biscuits Brown (a more compact alternative to bread), a sachet of instant soup and jam or yeast extract (a Marmite like spread) for a lunchtime snack, and chocolate (in the form of a specially made Yorkie bar which is flatter than civilian bars, or, more recently, a simple unbranded bar of milk chocolate), though this has been phased out with the introduction of the more recent multi-climate ration packs, and boiled sweets (hard candy) for snacking whilst on patrol, or in free time. Main Meal: Instant soup, Chicken with Mushroom and Pasta, Treacle Pudding. Each pack also contains instant coffee, tea bags, creamer, sugar, hot cocoa mix, beef/vegetable stock powder, lemon/orange powder or Lucozade electrolyte powder, matches, packet of tissues, chewing-gum, a small bottle of Tabasco sauce, and water purifying tablets. They sometimes also contain chicken and herb pâté. Also available are Kosher/Halal, Vegetarian, and Hindu/Sikh specific menus. Regardless of their contents, these ration packs are referred to as Rat-Packs or Compo (short for Composite Rations) by the soldiers who eat them. In addition to containing the 24-hour ration, the outside of the cardboard box has a range card printed on its side for use by the soldier to record key features and their range from their position. Other variations designed for specific environments exist.
The UK also fields a larger pack of rations intended to feed ten soldiers for 24 hours from centralised but basic preparation; generally similar in content to the single issue ORP but tending to contain larger quantities of food in cylindrical tin cans to be divided up on preparation, rather than individual retort pouches or packets. Even dry materials like sugar or biscuits are often packed in these cans. They contain ingredients for baking bread and tinned food, including vegetables, corned beef and sausages in lard. Also included are chocolate, pre-cooked chicken or beef in gravy and soya mince. Ten boxed one-man ORPs are supplied in larger boxes identical in shape to the single ten-man pack.
The Ukrainian combat ration is based on a previous Russian version, consisting of commercially available cans and dried foods packed together in a sectioned box (resembles a takeout tray) made of very thin green plastic. Inside are: two 250 g mmin Meal cans (boiled buckwheat groats and buckwheat w/beef); two 100 g cans of meat spread (liver pate and beef in lard); a 160 g can of herring or mackerel; six 50 g packages small, hard crackers (resemble oyster crackers); two foil pouches (20 g each) of jam or jelly; six boiled sweets two tea bags; an envelope of instant cherry juice powder; a chicken flavour bouillon cube; two packets of sugar; and three dining packets, each with a plastic spoon, a napkin, and a moist towelette.
Developed and fielded the Ração Individual de Combate (RIC). Packed in a camouflage cardboard box measuring 265 mm × 160 mm × 90 mm (10.5 in × 6.25 in × 19.0 in) and weighing 1.99 kg (3.4 lbs), the ration provides 3 meals per day. Maximum use is made of off-the-shelf commercial items, including canned main menu items (still with their original labels). A typical RIC (menu 4) will contain: two 415 g "poptop" cans (beef w/vegetables and chili con carne), a flat 115 g can of sardines, round 65 g can of liver paste, sweet bread, crackers, packaged bread, 2 pouches of fruit jam, pouch of quince cream, hot chocolate or instant coffee, isotonic drink mix, instant milk powder, chewing gum, boiled sweets, sugar, salt, water purification tablets, matches, 6 fuel tablets, a folding stove, plastic cutlery, a pack of tissues, a plastic bag, and an instruction/menu sheet.
The Israeli "battle ration" (Manot Krav) is designed to be shared by four soldiers. It contains: 1 can of rice filled vine leaves, 8 small cans of tuna, canned olives, a can of sweet corn, a can of pickled cucumbers, 1 can of halva spread and 1 chocolate spread, a can of peanuts, fruit flavored drink powder, and bread or matzoh crackers. There is also an "ambush pack" of candy and high-energy protein bars.
In 2008, Israel introduced a new field ration to supplement the traditional Manot Krav. Unlike previous rations, the new Battle Ration consists of individual, self-heating, ready-to-eat meals packed inside plastic-aluminum trays. They are designed to be carried and used by infantry troops for up to 24 hours, until regular supply lines can be established. Ten menus are available, including chicken, turkey and kebab; each meal pack is supplemented with dry salami, dried fruit, tuna, halva, sweet roll, and preserved dinner rolls. However, as of 2012, the older rations were still in use.
In 2011, as a result of the manufacturer going bankrupt, the IDF phased out the can of corned beef (known as 'Loof'), which had been part of the battle ration since the nation's founding. It would be replaced by "ground meat with tomato sauce".
Many different recipes and different ways of serving the rations have developed in Israel. With the can of tuna, for example, traditionally cooked using toilet paper soaked in oil.
Saudi Arabia uses a combat meal that is packed inside a brown plastic bag about the size and shape of a US MRE pouch. It contains a small can of tuna, a small can of sardines or salmon or beef, a small can of cheese or thickened cream, an envelope of instant noodle soup, hard crackers and dry toast (like Zwieback), a small bag of raisins or dried fruit, a small package of dates, a small bag of nuts, plus instant coffee, tea bags, sugar packets, matches, and a bag of spiced dried chickpea powder.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE utilizes a European-style combat ration pack containing food and accessories for one soldier for 24 hours. Packed in the UAE utilizing imported components, the ration box measures 245 mm × 195 mm × 115 mm and weighs 2.0 kg. Inside are 4 resealable (ziplock type) plastic bags, labeled in both Arabic & English, containing Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Miscellaneous.
A typical Breakfast bag has 2 foil-wrapped packages of hard brown biscuits, 1 small jar apricot jam, a can of tuna, and an accessory pack (plastic spoon, salt, pepper, and napkin).
Lunch contains a retort pouch of precooked rice, a retort pouch of chicken curry, a pouch date pudding, and another accessory pack.
Dinner has a retort pouch of pasta rigatoni, an envelope instant soup, and a third accessory pack.
The Miscellaneous bag contains a small bag of hard candy, 4 packets of sugar, 4 tea bags, 2 small envelopes of milk powder, and 3 foil envelopes of instant orange juice powder.
Also included are: a can of fruit, a package of ramen noodles, 2 flameless chemical ration heaters, a menu/instruction sheet, 1 pack dried hummus powder, and a book of matches.
Australia currently supplies three different types of military ration packs - Combat Ration One Man, Combat Ration Five Man and Patrol Ration One Man.
Combat Ration One Man is a complete 24-hour ration pack that provides two substantial meals per day and a wide variety of drinks and snacks for the remainder of the day. Most items, such as Beef Kai Si Ming, Dutch-style Beef with Vegetables, Beef with Spaghetti, Baked Beans, Sausages with Vegetables, or Chicken with pasta and vegetables, are packed in 250 gram sized plastic-foil retort pouches. Included with every meal pack is a pouch of instant rice or instant mashed potatoes, a fruit and grain bar, 2 envelopes of instant drink powder, some biscuits, an "Anzac Biscuit," a chocolate bar, M&M's, coffee, tea, sugar, crackers, cheese spread, jam, sweetened condensed milk, hard sweets, and Vegemite. It is packed in a tough clear polyethylene bag and weighs around 1.5 - 1.7 kg (3.3 - 3.75 lb). In practical use, these packs are "stripped" by removing and trading with other soldiers, those components that are unlikely to be consumed by the person carrying the pack. This also reduces the weight of the packs, allowing more to be carried. There are eight menu choices, one of which is vegetarian. None of them are allergen free since Defence Force members are typically selected, among many other attributes, for their no known allergy status.
Combat Ration Five Man contains a similar array of components as the Combat Ration One Man. However, it is provided in a tough fibreboard carton rather than in individual unitised polyethylene bags. It is a group feeding solution, and it is impractical to use on an individual basis for main meals. There are a multiple of group-sized retort pouches - 500 gram as opposed to 250 gram, several of which are required to be heated in order to provide a complete meal. Examples include Beef & Blackbean Sauce, Chicken Satay. Common elements include rice and vegetables such as corn, potatoes and carrots. The accessories such as snacks are consumable and can be carried individually. There are five menu choices, and each Combat Ration Five Man weighs around 10 kg (22 lb).
Patrol Ration One Man is a complete 24-hour ration pack that contains freeze dried main meals, meaning that the total weight of each pack is reduced, however a correspondingly higher quantity of water must be carried in order to reconstitute the main meal. Otherwise, it is similar to the Combat Ration One Man. It is packed in tough clear polyethylene bags and is available in five menu choices.
New Zealand issues an Operational Ration Pack designed to provide one soldier with three complete meals. Based around two ready-to-eat retort pouches (e.g. Beef and Vegetable stew, Chicken Curry), the ORP comes in 4 menus. Also included are: Anzac biscuits, chocolate bars, URC fruit grains, muesli bars, instant soup powder, instant noodles, muesli cereal, a tube of condensed milk, hard crackers, tinned cheese, cocoa powder, instant coffee, tea bags, instant sport drink powder, sugar, salt, pepper, glucose sweets, Vegemite, jam, ketchup, onion flakes, waterproofed matches, a resealable plastic bag, and a menu sheet.
The Royal Brunei Army uses a 24-hour ration pack that provides a soldier with an entire day's supply of food, plus a limited number of health and hygiene items. Maximum use is made of plastic-foil laminate pouches, and most items can be eaten without further preparation. Currently, four menus are fielded, and all menus are compatible with Muslim dietary restrictions. Example Menu (F): 5 x 170-gram retort pouches (Biriani Chicken, Mutton Curry, Sardines in Tomato Sauce, Bubur Jagong/ Corn Porridge, Pineapple Pajeri); plus individual servings of pineapple jam, instant coffee, teabags, sugar, salt, pepper, steminder powder, hot chili sauce, MSG, a multivitamin energy tablet, tissue paper, scouring pad with soap, and matches.
Indian Armed Forces have a host of Meals Ready To Eat (MRE) including the One Man Compo Pack Ration, Mini Compo Pack, Survival Ration, a ration for marine commandos and Main Battle Tank (MBT) Rations. The shelf-life of the ration is 12 months. India has adopted retort processing technology for combat rations.
The MREs use pre-cooked thermostabilized entrees in a plastic-foil laminate retort pouch. The ration does not require cooking and the contents may be eaten cold, though warming is preferred. An entire day's worth of food, plus accessory items, is packed inside a heavy-duty olive green plastic bag with pasted on label. The menu consists of several different Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian products that cater to Indian tastes, such as sooji halwa, chapaties, tea mix, chicken biryani, chicken curry, mutton biryani, Mutton curry, Vegetable biryani, rajma curry, dal fry, jeera rice, Dal makhani, vegetable pulav and mixed vegetable curry, alongside pickled hot seasoning, in small plastic pouches.
The One Man Compo Pack consists of early morning tea, breakfast, mid morning tea, lunch, evening tea, and dinner. The menus feature both dehydrated and ready-to-eat products, and include a folding stove and hexamine fuel tablets. The ration weighs 880 grams and provides 4,100 kcal (17,000 kJ). The Mini Compo Pack is a simplified version of the One Man Compo Pack, weighing 400 g and providing 1,520 kcal (6,400 kJ).
The survival ration consists of a soft bar and chikki. The daily survival ration per man consists of: Soft bar 100 g x 2, Chikki (sugar base) 50 g x 3, Chikki (Jaggery base) 50 g x 3. This provides around 2,400 kcal (10,000 kJ), which is 1,520 kcal (6,400 kJ) more than the normal survival ration used by most nations.
Uniquely, India also developed an operational ration pack specifically for Main Battle Tank (MBT) and other Armored vehicle crews. Designed to sustain four soldiers for 72 h in closed-in battle conditions, the MBT ration is based on instant/ready to eat foods and ration/survival bars. First and second day ration packs weigh 2 kg each and provide 4,000 kcal (17,000 kJ) per soldier, while the third day ration pack weighs 1.5 kg and supplies 3,000 kcal (13,000 kJ).
The Indonesian military has introduced the RTP (equivalent to Individual Combat Rations) in the mid-1970s in order to standardize nutrition for soldiers in field. There are three types of ration and each daily ration consist of three menus and a pack of supplementary drinks, providing 2,700 kcal (11,000 kJ) in total. Sample menu for type C is Javanese fried rice, Balinese-sauce fried rice, and chicken rice. The supplementary drinks are instant coffee, powdered orange juice, tea bags and powdered milks. All rations should be heated for 15 minutes over fire. Virtually all products are made in Indonesia and manufactured according to Indonesian military standard.
The Japan Self-Defense Forces utilize two types of combat rations, Type I combat ration (戦闘糧食 I型) and Type II combat ration (戦闘糧食 II型). The older Type I ration consists almost entirely of canned foods weighing a total of 780 g per meal; a normal three-day ration has up to 36 cans weighing more than 7 kilograms. Eight menus are available, based around a 400 g can of rice and 2-3 smaller supplemental cans. Typical contents include: rice (white rice, sekihan (rice with red beans), mixed rice with vegetables, or rice with mushrooms), a main meal can (chicken and vegetables, beef with vegetables, fish and vegetables, or hamburger patties), pickled vegetables (Takuan(yellow radish) or red cabbage) and sometimes a supplemental can (tuna in soy or beef in soy).
The newer, lighter Type II ration was originally intended to replace the Type I and consists of pre-cooked, ready-to-eat items in plastic-foil laminate retort pouches, packed in turn inside a drab green polyethylene meal bag. Each meal consists of two 200 g pouches of rice (white rice, rice with red beans, mixed rice with meat and vegetables, fried rice, curried rice pilaf, rice with green peas, or rice with wild herbs) plus 2-3 supplementary pouches. Main meal pouches contain: hamburger patties, frankfurters, beef curry, grilled chicken, Chinese meatballs, Sweet and Sour pork, grilled salmon, Yakitori chicken, mackerel in ginger sauce, chicken and vegetables, and tuna. Also included are pouches of pickled vegetables (yellow radish, red cabbage, Takana pickles, pickled hari-hari, or bamboo shoots) or salad (potato salad or tuna salad) and instant soup (Miso, Egg Drop, Wakame seaweed, or mushroom).
The Malaysian Army version of the 24-hour ration pack is intended to provide one man with sufficient food and supplements for one day. Most items are domestically procured and cater to local tastes and religious dietary requirements. The ration makes extensive use of commercially available canned and dehydrated items. Wherever possible, plastic-foil pouches are used instead of cans. The ration is supplemented with precooked or freeze-dried rice. Example menu C: Beef Kurma, Chicken Masak Merah, Fish Curry, and Sambal Shrimp; Bean Curd and Vegetable mix; long bean stew; canned pineapple and canned papaya; 2 packages of quick-cooking porridge (black bean porridge and flour porridge); military biscuits; jam; instant coffee; tea; instant milk powder; sugar; salt; vitamin tablets; matches; and napkins.
People's Republic of China
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has recently introduced a new ration consisting of pre-packaged 1-man meals sealed in hard plastic retort pouches. The Chinese soldier rations is divided into Instant Meal Individuals (Twelve item menu), and Self Heating Individuals (Three-item menu). A typical Chinese ration breakfast package contains roughly 1,000 kcal (4,200 kJ), and includes compressed food, energy bar, egg rolls with pork, pickled mustard tuber, and instant solid beverage. Every Self Heating Package comes with an insulated flameless heater activated by water.
The Philippine Army had a combat ration similar to the MRE of the United States Army. Typically, they include a small can of sardines or tuna, instant noodles, crackers, instant coffee, a small packet of peanuts, ginger tea, and a biscuit or cookie. Chocolate manufactured for hot conditions are sometimes issued. Canned rice is also issued.
The Singapore Armed Forces issues three types of combat rations - Type M (Muslim), Type N (Non-Muslim), and Type V (Vegetarian). Each type comes in 4 or 5 different menus, packed in a heavy-duty green plastic bag similar to a US MRE bag, but measuring 205 mm x 190mm x 115 mm (8" x 7.5" x 4.5") and weighing 1.5 kg (3.3 lb). Most items are retort-pouched (in the form of a watery paste and eaten straight from the pouch) and (except for the hot beverages) can be eaten without further preparation. The ration provides three meals and a variety of between-meal snacks, averaging 3,350 kcal (14,000 kJ) per day. Each ration bag includes 2 retort-pouched main courses, a dessert, and an accessory pack containing 2 fruit bars, 4 packages of cookies, an envelope of isotonic drink mix powder, an envelope of instant flavored tea mix, a hot beverage (coffee, cocoa, or tea), an envelope of cereal mix, candy, matches, fuel tablets, and tissue paper. A package of instant noodles is provided with every meal pack, but is issued separately. Typical Type M (Menu #1): Rendang Mutton with rice; Tandoori Chicken with rice; Red Bean dessert. Typical Type N (Menu #5): Pasta Bolognese; Yellow Rice with Chicken; Barley Dessert with milk. Typical Type V (Menu #1): Mock Chicken Curry with rice; Vegetarian Fried Noodle; Green Bean dessert with coconut milk.
The primary operational ration used in Sri Lanka is the "jungle ration," a 24-hour ration pack whose components are produced and assembled in Sri Lanka. It is issued to soldiers at the rate of one per soldier per day, and contains both food and sundry items designed to sustain troops where food storage and preparation facilities are not practical. All meals are precooked, requiring neither cooking nor preparation, and all items are packaged inside sealed plastic packages or lightweight aluminium cans. Precooked rice is included as part of every meal. Typical contents are: chicken curry with potatoes, vegetable curry, precooked rice, hard crackers, processed cheese, soup cubes, instant milk powder, orange drink powder, and dates or dried pineapple. A sundry pack containing tea bags, sugar, salt, glucose tablets, seasonings, matches, plastic bags, and toilet paper is included with every ration pack.
The modern Korean army issues 2 types of field rations, Type I and Type II. Type I ration has ready-to-eat foods packed in foil-plastic trilaminate pouches, placed in turn inside a thin cardboard box. Typical contents include: 1 pouch (250 g) precooked white rice with meat and vegetables, plus a separate seasoning packet; 1 pouch (250 g) precooked rice with red beans; 1 packet (100 g) of 6 pork sausages in BBQ; 1 packet (100 g) kimchi; and 1 packet (50 g) cooked black beans. The Type II ration is a smaller, lighter, freeze-dried single-meal ration consisting of several small pouches packed inside a larger gray plastic pouch measuring 225 mm x 200 mm x 90 mm and weighing 278 g. Typical contents include: freeze dried rice (various flavors, usually with meat and vegetables included), a pouch of instant soup, flavored sesame oil, seasoning and spice packets, dried chives and chocolate.
- Garrison ration
- History of military nutrition
- History of military nutrition in the United States
- List of military food topics
- Military ration
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Combat ration.|
- Operational Rations of the Department of Defense, 7th Edition
- Carins and Tennant, Julie E. and Megan L. (March 2011). "Influences on the Consumption of Australian Ration Packs: Review of a Contextual Model and Application to Australian Defence Force Data". www.dtic.mil. Human Protection and Performance Division - Defence Science and Technology Organisation. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- 'Rations information from around the world - MREInfo'