Is the FRH a mistake?

Discussions about US MREs and other US rations
User avatar
RockyRaab
Posts: 628
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:57 am
Location: Ogden, Utah

Is the FRH a mistake?

Post by RockyRaab » Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:32 pm

I posted this in another thread, but it seems like it would be a good discussion item in general. So...

The more I have of MREs the more I become convinced that we (the US) have the wrong idea with flameless ration heaters. I understand why a flameless heater would be a good idea in some - VERY few - circumstances such as special ops. But most of the time, a system to heat water as well as the meal makes a lot more sense. There's just no substitute for a hot drink when afield, not to mention the opportunity to clean oneself a bit. An FRH is fine, but as a secondary heat method, IMHO.

Your thoughts?
Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

rationtin440
Posts: 1163
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:53 am
Location: occupied territories, new england

Re: Is the FRH a mistake?

Post by rationtin440 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:36 pm

Well this is just my $.02, but the folding stoves that come with the British 24 hour rations would be the best way to go because, although I never used a FRH ( I was discharged just before we got them), they don't seem all that practical. Even the way we heated food back when we had MCIs was better in many ways than the FRH, that was using a can as a stove, of course it seemed to take forever for the trioxane fuel bars to heat up the cans. With the British folding stoves, they can be used over and over and the fuel bars seem to work well.

rationtin440
Posts: 1163
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:53 am
Location: occupied territories, new england

Re: Is the FRH a mistake?

Post by rationtin440 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:41 pm

Oh man it is sad to get old! :cry: I looked up the MREs that we had in the late'90s-early 2000 and we did have the heaters but I don't recall using them, just hearing the complaints from guys who did.

User avatar
RockyRaab
Posts: 628
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:57 am
Location: Ogden, Utah

Re: Is the FRH a mistake?

Post by RockyRaab » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:44 pm

That's kinda what I'm thinking: a canteen cup and a folding stove as the primary heating method, and the FRH as a secondary or backup method most of the time. But I was never Army, and my last active service was a LONG time ago so I'm no expert on what works for the ground grunt. (There was no provision or way to eat anything at all in the planes I flew: no room.)
Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

User avatar
Big Galloot
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 7:36 pm
Location: Merritt Island
Contact:

Re: Is the FRH a mistake?

Post by Big Galloot » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:29 pm

It may be that for most of us the FRH does not offer any advantage.

If I am camping, I am going to build a fire. I don't have to worry about giving away my position.

The only time I was happy to have one was when the engine on the boat died and I had to wait hours for a tow.
You can pick your friends
and you can pick your nose
but you can't roll your friends into little green balls!

rationtin440
Posts: 1163
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:53 am
Location: occupied territories, new england

Re: Is the FRH a mistake?

Post by rationtin440 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:37 pm

Yes, a fire has many advantages over pretty much anything else if you're not concerned with keeping a low profile. That being said, I get the distinct impression that the UK Ministry of Defence cares alot more about its "employees" than our gov't cares for ours----the large amount of drink mixes and snacks in the 24 hour rations along with the folding stove and fuel to actually not have to choose between a hot meal or a hot drink.....need I say more? I mean if nothing else, look at the matches the 24 hour rations come with, talk about water-resistant!

cavguy
Posts: 1008
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:24 pm
Location: West Coast USA

Re: Is the FRH a mistake?

Post by cavguy » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:37 pm

In 8 years of service I can count the times I used a MRE heater on both hands. When in the field eating MRE's I simply did not have time to heat anything. Always needed to grab and go - my go to meal was chicken breast always! I would use the exhaust pipe before the FRH.... just personal preference.

User avatar
RockyRaab
Posts: 628
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:57 am
Location: Ogden, Utah

Re: Is the FRH a mistake?

Post by RockyRaab » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:41 am

Crisp salute, cavguy.

Mine was a whole different era (long before MREs) and I had a mess hall to go to for every meal except when I was airborne. But I do distinctly recall heating a C-Rat can on the very hot bulb of my heads-up gunsight!

We were far enough out that the mess hall often served monkey noodle soup and/or water buffalo, though...
Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

User avatar
Woodland
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:30 am
Location: Hungary,Europe

Re: Is the FRH a mistake?

Post by Woodland » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:40 pm

I've never served in the US Amy so the following is just my "civilian" opinion...US soldiers are allowed to have Natick stove and they can buy fuel tablets for themelves,aren't they? It's not an "either-or" question.I mean either FRH from rations or Esbit stove.They can have their own kit.
In my opinion the FRH has adventages and disadvantages too.It depends on the situation.The MRE is a "system".The FRH was designed to heat MRE pouches and that's it.If I was working for Natick I would increase the size of the heater so that it would be possible to heat the entree plus a side dish or a hot drink.I definitely like the idea of the FRH when I'm outdoors.I love French rations because of the mini stove BUT every time when I go out and it's windy I think:"If I was issued RCIRs in this weather I wouldn't be very happy."Esbit and Sterno stoves are not easy to use when the weather is windy.You can dig a hole or use a shield of course.
The hot beverage bag is not perfect but at least you don't have to wash the canteen cup after a sweet hot chocolate (save some water).
Soldiers often don't have time to eat their rations hot and that means they don't have time to prepare a hot tea or coffee either.Heating the MRE pouch in a mess tin in hot water is a waste IMO because you can't drink that water (I wouldn't drink it) not to mention that it requires more water than the FRH.
Both the FRH and the stove have their place and role in my kit.I have a Natick stove (I have modified it a bit) and have Sterno cans too.Alcohol jelly burns clean.I don't like Esbit fuel tablets because they make my stove and cup dirty but they are easy to use and I keep them for "emergency".

User avatar
Woodland
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:30 am
Location: Hungary,Europe

Re: Is the FRH a mistake?

Post by Woodland » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:49 pm

Here is some readings about the topic...Lots of readings actually :D :

http://www.combatreform.org/hotdrinks.htm
Soldiers discovered with MRE ration heaters in the high altitudes of Afghanistan, they were unable to heat food and boil water! Something civilian mountaineers have known for years! MSR stoves have become highly useful items. While it may not be economical or wise to outfit and weigh down each Soldier with a MSR stove--perhaps every fireteam---its easily possible to issue Natick Stoves and heat tabs to get the job done providing they are trained to mask smoke signatures.
http://www.combatreform.org/declutter.htm
The Brits carry heat tabs (hexamine) that burn in a hot blue flame that can heat a small canteen cup or pot for tea from inside a metal "Tommy Cooker" no larger than 6 inches by 6 inches or a Natick Stove. You can place twigs into the cooker or under the Natick Stove to build a small fire, too. Tea has been shown to be good for the body and is a morale booster. When a designated Soldier "brews up" he feeds the others in his section in an act of unselfish camaraderie lacking today in the institutionalized American Army and marines. The French and Russian Armies even offer heat tabs and stoves with their rations!!!
Kinton Connelly's excellent MREINFO.COM web site reveals the following about the British and French Army rations and some excellent ideas we should incorporate into our MREs like the 25 meter target and range card, boil-in-a-bags, water purification tablets and powdered soups

Post Reply