Recently, the British forces operating in the Middle East theater, were
given the following American rations and equipment for testing: 24 "K" rations,
6 packages of "M" rations, one 2-piece enameled cooking-utensil, and one
portable pressure stove. The results of the field tests under desert conditions are
The "K" ration was well received. Several features responsible for this
satisfaction were: its excellent waterproof packing, high food value, variety,
absence of waste connected with its use, and the attractive way in which
prepared. The only serious questions raised concerning its fitness for use in the
Middle East were its availability and the date of the canned foods.
Specifically, the report of a tank crew that used the ration was that it
satisfied all hunger and energy needs, was appetizing, nothing was wasted, no ill
effects were noted, the packing protected the contents from sand and oil, and the
weight and size of the ration was less than the one customarily used. The only
unfavorable reaction was the increased thirst resulting from eating the biscuits
and graham crackers. In view of the fact that these crews were on one-half
gallon a day water rations for drinking and washing, this is a serious complaint.
The comments concerning the "M" ration in general are that the packing
is excellent, stands up well in transport, and under usual conditions its contents
are adequately protected. The lemonade powder had attracted moisture and
became hard and difficult to use. All other ingredients were in good condition
for use. The amount of water required, and the time required to cook a meal,
detract considerably from its value as a ration in this particular theater.
The cooking utensils proved to be an excellent set of compactly packed
and easily cleaned utensils.
The portable pressure-stove was a failure. The chief defects observed
were the absence of a wind screen, and the small size of the pressure chamber. In
the desert, a stove must have a wind screen of some sort to prevent the flame
from being blown out. Pressure could not be maintained for more than 30 seconds, and
this required the attention of one man for continual pumping. The fuel
used was unleaded, 70 to 80 octane gasoline. The fuel jets were frequently
clogged from sand and oil.