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K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944
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Author:  Kilroy_ [ Mon May 05, 2014 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

You cannot dispute what is shown by original photos which can be dated correctly. But you surely can contextualize what is shown. M1 web rifle slings are clearly seen in a few photos taken by Robert Capa with the 16th Infantry in Troina, Sicily (early August, 1943), but that does not mean you can say those were in general use overseas by then. They were already in production as standard items, and apparently some of them were shipped overseas within an unusually short "time lag" between entry into the Army procurement system and actual shipping to the theaters of operation. It may have been a case of last-in first-out from US storages, of bottlenecks in procurement, or of whatever other cause. I would say something similar happened to the color-printed rations in the photos. However, knowing they simply did not exist before Spring, 1944, and considering the time usually necessary to see newly procured items on the front lines (excepted "critical" items, which these rations surely were not), I would say it is no wonder the overwhelming available evidence shows beyond doubt most K rations used up to V-E day were of the earlier, not-decorated types.

Author:  SaddleTramp [ Mon May 05, 2014 19:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

Kilroy_ wrote:
You cannot dispute what is shown by original photos which can be dated correctly. But you surely can contextualize what is shown. M1 web rifle slings are clearly seen in a few photos taken by Robert Capa with the 16th Infantry in Troina, Sicily (early August, 1943), but that does not mean you can say those were in general use overseas by then. They were already in production as standard items, and apparently some of them were shipped overseas within an unusually short "time lag" between entry into the Army procurement system and actual shipping to the theaters of operation. It may have been a case of last-in first-out from US storages, of bottlenecks in procurement, or of whatever other cause. I would say something similar happened to the color-printed rations in the photos. However, knowing they simply did not exist before Spring, 1944, and considering the time usually necessary to see newly procured items on the front lines (excepted "critical" items, which these rations surely were not), I would say it is no wonder the overwhelming available evidence shows beyond doubt most K rations used up to V-E day were of the earlier, not-decorated types.


Exactly, never mind the procurement (from memory, it peaked at 21 million in one month, but fizzled out to 250,000 and they tended to freeze them till needed, also, war was expected to go on way beyond 1945, so the stockpiles of them where perhaps beyond description, remember, the where dozens of millions, and there was also other rations apart from the k ration), anyway, as it says in the "bible";

"In May 1944 it was said that the new package was going into full production ..."

Then goes onto say:
"Use of the K ration as a combat ration on the battle fronts, the purpose for which it was intended, seems to have been unaccountably delayed. The following was reported from the southwest Pacific in the Spring of 1943;
For some unknown reason, no K rations were used as a combat ration. They were supplied only to Air Corps as an emergency ration to be carried on flights and bombing missions ...

From North Africa, too, it was reported that use of the K ration at the front was confined to those instances where the rear echelon troops are generous enough to allow the K ration to pass to the front. From this front, however, it was reported that the K ration was enthusiastically received when it got through to combat areas...
As a result of the combat feeding experiment conducted at Cassino in Italy, it was reported that the K ration contained too much fat, which caused stomach trouble, and that it should be considered an emergency rather than a combat ration. In order of preference in this experiment the K, it will be recalled, lagged behind the 5in1, and C rations ..."*

So there ye have it, read of it what you want, or should, it seems to me, with the push some folks have for that "generic" impression, perhaps we should curb that prolific use of the K ration in our displays, it wasn't as popular as we might expect (not pushing a plug here, but I don't know anyone else in the UK doing C rations, or a 5in1), another field of research in how the rations got to the troops, a couple of hours of reading various QMC reference books might be a "good 'un" as Big Dave used to say...


* QMC Historical Studies September 1944 pages 127 and 128

Author:  SaddleTramp [ Mon May 05, 2014 19:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

Johnny_Costino wrote:
Latest intel in. "Morale" Boxes featured in Yank Weekly dated 21st April 1944.

Image


I'm getting seascapes, birdies and stuff... But as I've pointed out, going by the QMCs own report, impossible, can you repost?

Author:  Kilroy_ [ Tue May 06, 2014 11:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

Paul, the new rations might have been featured in Yank before their mass production started. In fact, that would be typical of the way the QMC PR people operated, and a publication date of April, 1944, would indeed more confirm than contradict a mass production starting date in May 1944, as stated in the QMC Historical Study (I also own the study, and know its contents well).

cheers

Author:  SaddleTramp [ Wed May 07, 2014 1:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

Kilroy_ wrote:
Paul, the new rations might have been featured in Yank before their mass production started. In fact, that would be typical of the way the QMC PR people operated, and a publication date of April, 1944, would indeed more confirm than contradict a mass production starting date in May 1944, as stated in the QMC Historical Study (I also own the study, and know its contents well).

cheers


Agreed, but just think on this, a contractor has a few million of the "mid war" packages/boxes on hand when the order to change over arrives, do they just burn them and buy up the new ones, or use the old ones up first?

Author:  LeMaitre [ Wed May 07, 2014 5:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

If full production was started in May 1944 does that not allow for limited production before that?
It is certainly not excluded by the wording used.

Author:  SaddleTramp [ Wed May 07, 2014 9:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

LeMaitre wrote:
If full production was started in May 1944 does that not allow for limited production before that?
It is certainly not excluded by the wording used.


The wording is "it was said that" and then "going" into full production, doesn't say it was in full production...

It does have to be remembered, that the K ration was in production till 1948, and those full OD lacquered cans, with wooden spoon, and cereal bar are, I bet, Post War (I know any that have a cereal bar would be, as they didn't appear in any specifications till 17th August 1945), but still, folks will look at the date and say; "well, it's 1945, so it must be WWII" which is fine, I'm gonna wear my M43s for a Normandy airborne drop, or North Africa impression and no one can make any criticism :roll: :D

I do have a few photos from around August 1944 of the so called "Early War" K rations (1942 spec), even up into early 1945, and though it's indisputable some of the "Moral Boxes" appeared around these times, I wouldn't really say they where generic (which is the new gucci expression in WWII re-enacting) ...

Author:  LeMaitre [ Wed May 07, 2014 21:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

SaddleTramp wrote:
doesn't say it was in full production..

That still allows for limited production before that date.
Trials are often undertaken.
It could account for the otherwise anomalous 'early' photos?

Author:  SaddleTramp [ Thu May 08, 2014 7:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

LeMaitre wrote:
SaddleTramp wrote:
doesn't say it was in full production..

That still allows for limited production before that date.
Trials are often undertaken.
It could account for the otherwise anomalous 'early' photos?



Aww, ok, I follow ye, like those paper labels for the C rations and the cardboard shipping cases for the K in early trials.. OK, not quite, but you get what i mean...

Author:  Johnny_Costino [ Thu May 08, 2014 19:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

Yank Weekly 21st April 1944

Image

Author:  SaddleTramp [ Thu May 08, 2014 21:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

The words:
"as soon as the Army run out of", and notice they call them "olive drab", but the specs says Kraft board.... In fact, the article calls it "cardboard" not cardstock, it's all in the wording :wink: :D

Author:  LeMaitre [ Thu May 08, 2014 21:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

The article also says 'made of the same grayish-tan cardboard'....

Author:  SaddleTramp [ Thu May 08, 2014 21:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

Just a thought, does this whitish cardstock look "olive drab"?

Image

Author:  SaddleTramp [ Thu May 08, 2014 21:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

And then, we all know the press for detail and accuracy, and yet, do we imagine it has always been so as well informed, and accurate as today?

Author:  SaddleTramp [ Thu May 08, 2014 23:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

LeMaitre wrote:
The article also says 'made of the same grayish-tan cardboard'....


Image

Notice the inside is different in colour
Image

Author:  SaddleTramp [ Thu May 08, 2014 23:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: K Ration "Morale" boxes in France, summer 1944

The newspaper headline says it all:
Image

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