Type X Ration

Reviews of other US rations - MCW, LRP, MCI, FSR, etc.
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Tedster
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Type X Ration

Post by Tedster » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:35 pm

So why the need for secrecy and no markings of any kind? Did this extend to the contents as well? Strange!


https://web.archive.org/web/20081025014 ... ground.htm


Type X Ration

A "confidential" specification for Ration, Type X was issued early in 1944. 58 This ration was intended as an assault-type item to be issued to troops 'just before or during invasion." Components were K biscuits, chocolate or D bars, bouillon powder, soluble coffee, fruit bars, sugar, gum, hard candy, canned meat, and multi-vitamin tablets. Packaging designated a partial assembly of components in a water-vapor-resistant box. The entire ration was packed in a wax-dipped or wax-paper-wrapped carton. The theme of secrecy was carried out in the labeling requirements which stated that "there shall be no labels, printing, or identifying marks of any kind on any packaging materials for this ration nor on any component parts of the ration." It was reported that 600,000 rations were procured in December 1943 and an additional 250,000 in December 1944. No results of tests or field experiences are contained in the records, probably because the participation of SR&DL was limited to preparing the packaging requirements for the specification. The X ration may have some claim to being a predecessor of the Assault Lunch in purpose but there the resemblance ends. This "confidential" item proved to be one of the rations of World War II which was developed for a special purpose and then disappeared.

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wats6831
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Re: Type X Ration

Post by wats6831 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:54 pm

Tedster wrote:So why the need for secrecy and no markings of any kind? Did this extend to the contents as well? Strange!


https://web.archive.org/web/20081025014 ... ground.htm


Type X Ration

A "confidential" specification for Ration, Type X was issued early in 1944. 58 This ration was intended as an assault-type item to be issued to troops 'just before or during invasion." Components were K biscuits, chocolate or D bars, bouillon powder, soluble coffee, fruit bars, sugar, gum, hard candy, canned meat, and multi-vitamin tablets. Packaging designated a partial assembly of components in a water-vapor-resistant box. The entire ration was packed in a wax-dipped or wax-paper-wrapped carton. The theme of secrecy was carried out in the labeling requirements which stated that "there shall be no labels, printing, or identifying marks of any kind on any packaging materials for this ration nor on any component parts of the ration." It was reported that 600,000 rations were procured in December 1943 and an additional 250,000 in December 1944. No results of tests or field experiences are contained in the records, probably because the participation of SR&DL was limited to preparing the packaging requirements for the specification. The X ration may have some claim to being a predecessor of the Assault Lunch in purpose but there the resemblance ends. This "confidential" item proved to be one of the rations of World War II which was developed for a special purpose and then disappeared.
I'm just going to guess that it was developed specifically for Operation Overlord. The US likely understood that logistics in a rapid assault scenario of that size would be difficult if not impossible. An operation of that type and size hadn't been attempted

There wasn't much of a food/water logistics plan for Operation Overlord. They troops were issued "invasion currency" like monopoly money with the hope that they could buy supplies from the locals and then when real government rule returned the locals could trade in the "invasion currency" for real money.

The request for lack of markings may have been intended to help them cache the ration behind the beach heads? Or possibly it was unmarked to prevent troops from ditching the ration during the beach assaults?

It could have even been part of the massive and elaborate decoy Operation Bodyguard, with no intention to actually use them in Overlord but continuing the elaborate ruse that the invasion would come at a different part of the French coast and/or at a different time. Maybe they were even dropped into the French resistance (which may explain the request for no markings).

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Tedster
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Re: Type X Ration

Post by Tedster » Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:55 am

Yes, I surmised something along those lines .., but again what strategic advantage is there to removing the markings? Or put another way, what were they trying to hide, and who were they trying to hide that ... whatever it was ... from? I'm at a loss to come up with anything.

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Re: Type X Ration

Post by wats6831 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:53 am

Tedster wrote:Yes, I surmised something along those lines .., but again what strategic advantage is there to removing the markings? Or put another way, what were they trying to hide, and who were they trying to hide that ... whatever it was ... from? I'm at a loss to come up with anything.
Simply to hide where the ration came from is the only reason I can think of. Which would imply that the US did not want anyone to know they were providing this ration...to the French Resistance, or the Russians, or possibly anyone else. Maybe it was also an attempt to smuggle rations into occupied France to build up caches of supplies for the big push inland from the Normandy beach heads. They could have been disguised as "regular" civilian food or maybe even non-food items.

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Tedster
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Re: Type X Ration

Post by Tedster » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:42 am

Yes, I've been trying to square the text in that article, along with the buildup of the Normandy invasion and the secrecy around it. It sort of makes sense, except of course the fact that by 1944 everybody and their brother knew there was going to be an invasion, the only question was where, not if or when. It is true denying the enemy even seemingly innocuous information can be vital to the success. "Overlord" had lots of deceit and intrigue and headfakery involved. Huge amounts of materials were staged in the UK, but it's still unclear to me what purpose or utility unmarked ration boxes would serve.

And it causes trouble with the troops. Early canned rations had paper labels, which would soon fall off leaving the contents of the meals a mystery. Anyway it was hardly a secret that the US was supplying everyone in the Allied camp with materials of all kinds, in staggering quantities.

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