German Army "K-Ration"
was taken from the Die Neue Feldpost newsletter
& was done so with permission of the
publisher. We would like to thank him
for his generosity as well as thank all
those who have contributed to this article.
It is with their efforts, we are able to
share this valuable research with the rest
well-known American K-Ration impressed the German
Army. Unlike their own time-tested Eiserne
Portion (iron ration: a two-part reserve
foodsupply consisting of hardtack and canned meat),
the K-Ration supplied a more varied menu and provided
more stimulants like sugar and nicotine. It also
appealed to the German proclivity towards efficiency:
light in weight, pre-measured, pre-packaged. One
box, one meal.
in World War II, the Wehrmacht began to
issue its own "K-Ration".
They came in two types: the Nahkampfpäckchen
and the Großkampfpäckchen.
In this article we will illustrate and
describe in detail two such boxed rations
which we were able to examine. It is
not known which of the two types listed
above this particular ration actually is.
The first illustration shows what the boxes
themselves look like. It is a
cream-colored thin cardboard, with the label
Nur Für Frontkämpfer in
Infanterieverband (only for
front-line combat troops in infantry units)
printed in red. Overall dimensions are
roughly 5-1/8" x 4-1/2" x
1-1/2", and the box is designed with an
unusual flap-and-slot closure.
appears to have been made by a cigarette manufacturer
because the internal stiffening frame is made of
cardboard which was previously printed with the logo
of another cigarette maker: Waldorf Astoria, "Echt
Orient" (Genuine Orient). Perhaps that
is who assembled the ration as a whole.
the two boxes examined still retain all
of their original contents, but the sum of the
remaining contents between the two probably represents
the original contents of one complete ration.
One example contains a fruit bar, a pack of
cigarettes, and a roll of candy. The other
contains a pack of cigarettes and a small box of what
appears to be biscuits. According to the US
Manual on German Military Forces (TM-E 30-451):
"They include (referring to the Nahkampfpäckchen
and Großkampfpäckchen) chocolate bars,
fruit bars, candies, cigarettes, and possibly
biscuits." Knowing this, we can assume we
have examples of a complete set of contents between
the two boxes examined.
one fruit bar extant in one of the boxes, and this box
exhibits stains which originated from another, similar
bar which sat on top of it. One bar is almost
exactly half as thick as the box is deep, so we can
assume that two bars were originally packed in the
bar is wrapped in a waxy paper and packaged in a box
which measures about 1-3/8" x 5-3/8" x
5/8". The label is printed in red. On
one side of the box is a label followed by an ink
stamp: Hergestellt:, and then stamped: Aug.
1944. On the opposite side is another label:
Netto Frischgewicht ca. 80g. The fruit
bar itself now looks like a thick piece of beef jerky,
but originally it must have appeared as a solid,
semi-dry bar of about the same dimensions as the
package. It was made by Wilhelm Felsche
roll of candy has a oval cross-section of
about 1" x 3/4", and is
2-1/8" long. The candies
themselves look like caramel and melt
quickly on warm days (due to this
unfortunate trait, which almost ruined the
box and the rest of the contents, the actual
candy had since been removed and only the
wrappers saved.). There were 5 candies
in the package and they were wrapped in a
waxy paper with the company logo printed on
it and this in turn was slid into a
tube-like paper label. The wrapper
bears the official "Reichsgesundheits
Gutmarke". the Reich's Health Seal.
I suppose this meant that the stuff was
supposed to be good for you. The candy
was made by Schokoladewerke K.G. Lobositz.
The full name
of the candy on the label is "Deli
Dropse". The label is printed in
red and blue, and the wax paper inner
wrapper is white with blue printing.
The wrapper has a repeated pattern
consisting of the "V" logo (which
is printed in a diffuse red in the label),
the name of the candy, "Dropse Deli",
and the words "K.G. Lobositz"
and "Deli Schokoladenwerk."
cigarettes are identical in both boxes
examined. The rather small packs are
about 2-1/16" x 2-9/16" x
7/16", and were made by Sulima
in Dresden. The pack contains six
cigarettes, wrapped in a tin foil envelope.
The box is printed in red and black.
Like many German cigarettes of the time
period, the pack is decorated with a middle
eastern motif with stars, half moons, and a
Arabian style building.
find it rather amusing that the only thing
in the ration meant to be burnt was made in
Dresden (the city was heavily bombed in Feb.
1945 during operation THUNDERCLAP).
biscuits are also wrapped in waxy paper and packaged
in a small cardboard box, but the printed contents
cannot be read because of staining which undoubtedly
originated from either the fruit bar of candy which
was originally placed in this ration. the
biscuits themselves look like oversized versions of
the all-natural "stone ground, whole wheat"
crackers that you can buy in the store. Although
the contents are rather crumbly, there appears to be 6
biscuits in the box. The biscuit box measures
about 2-1/16" x 2-9/16" x 1-7/16".
the remaining contents and their relative size
compared to the box, we can postulate that the
original contents were as follows:
- Manual on German Military Forces
(TM-E 30-451) U.S. Government Printing Office
- The collections of:
Eric Tobey and Clifford Ciotti
- Brussels Army Musuem