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French RCIR

France uses a ration called the "Ration de Combat Individuelle Rechauffable" (Combat Ration Individual Reheatable), or RCIR. A single ration contains 3200 calories and is intended to provide the nutritional needs for one soldier for one day. RCIRs are delivered in boxes of 12 rations. A single pallete of RCIRS will contain 20 boxes or 240 RCIRs.

There are 14 menus in all and they are divided into two types:
- Menus without pork, numbered from 1 to 7,
- Menus with pork, numbered from 8 to 14.

Here's a look at the disposable folding stove included in each RCIR. Also included are 6 esbit fuel tablets and matches.

Each RCIR meal box contains two ready-cooked entrees, one appetizer, one package of instant soup, cheese spread, salted and sweet crackers, breakfast kit, sugar, energy bar, chocolate bar, chewing gum, caramels, hard candies, multipurpose paper towels, water purifying pills, and a reheating kit (matches, fuel tablets, and a disposable folding stove).

While searching the Internet for information about French rations, I've read a number of comments from people saying that the French rations contained a small bottle of wine. While this may have been true in the 1990's or earlier, what what I've seen of the current (year 2000+) ration, no wine is included.

Some soldiers have reported that the trading value of RCIRs when on exercise with MRE eating troops is 1 RCIR for 5 MREs on average. In Somalia, a crate of RCIRs would get you a US field cot.

RCIR Menus

Here's a copy of the RCIR menus from the back of a ration box. The menu is printed in French and English on the box.

French RCIR Menus - 2004

2004 RCIR Stats
Optimal age limit for use:
2 years minimum
Energy value:
3200 kCal
14 different "menus", of which 7 contain no pork (sans porc*) and 4 may be consumed without heating.
1500g (3.3 lbs), 294L x 149W x 63H (11.6" x 5.9" x 2.5") cardboard box in plastic wrap
Cost each to Ministry of Defense (1/1/04):
Assembled by:
ESCAT of Angers (an automated chain)

Menu #
Hors d'oeuvre Main dish A Main dish B
Tuna paste North African chicken stew Tuna and potatoes
Salmon paste Salmon, rice and vegetables North African lamb stew
Mackerel paste Parisian chicken Duck, olives and potatoes
Chicken liver paté Sauté of rabbit Whitefish, rice and vegetables
Tuna in sauce Basque chicken Squid “Armoricaine”
Sardines Lamb stew with beans Chicken with spring vegetables
Mackerel in sauce Stewed lamb "Navarin" Tuna salad
Duck mousse Alsatian pork stew Pork and lentils
Venison terrine White bean, sausage and duck casserole Creole pork with rice and pineapple
Traditional pork paste Pork with vegetables Basque duck and vegetable soup
Forest terrine Stewed pork and potatoes Sausage and sauerkraut
Ham paté Pork salad Paella
Hare paté Veal, tomato, and olive stew Sweet and sour pork
Rabbit paté Sausage and lentils Beef salad

Each box includes: Main meals x2, Hors d'oeuvre, Soup, Cheese or a Crème dessert, Salted and Sweet crackers x16, Chocolate bar, Package of caramels, Gum, "Breakfast package" (Tea, Coffee, Cocoa, Milk powder, Sugar, etc), Nougat bar, Fruit gelee, Sugar cubes, Paper towels x10, Heating kit with fuel, disposable stove, waste bag and water purification tablets x6, etc.

Though this info was taken directly from the "official" site in February 2008, I have new or differing menu items manufactured in 2006 that do not appear above, and show a "Use Before" date of 3 and 4 years after manufacture.

Everything tastes pretty good, though the squid was a bit rubbery.

Thanks to Bruce Shervey for the updated 2004 menu information!

French RCIR Menus - 1999

Menu # Hors d'oeuvre Main dish A Main dish B
1 Chicken in Jelly Beef Salad Tunny Potatoes
2 Salmon Paté Salmon Rice Vegetables Shepherd's Pie
3 Mackerel Paté Stewed Beef While Veal Stew
4 Chicken Liver Paté Sauté of Rabbit Chile con Carne
5 Tuna in Sauce Paella Stewed Veal "Marengo"
6 Fish Paté Mutton Stew Flageolets Stewed Chicken
7 Mackerels in Sauce Stewed Lamb "Navarin" Lasagnes
8 Duck Paté Tuna Salad Pork and Lentils
9 Liver Paté (Pork) Earthenware-Dish "Cassoulet" Cannelloni
10 Pork Paté Pork and Greens Stewed Beef and Carrots
11 Pork Paté and Mushrooms Stewed Pork and Potatoes Stewed Beef "Bourguignon"
12 Pork Ham Paté Pork Salad Seafood "Risotto"
13 Pork Paté Chicken and Greens "Parisienne" Sweet and Sour Pork
14 Tuna Fish Paté Sausage and Lentils Cockered Stewed in Red Wine

Includes; Main Meals, Snacks, Soup, Cheese, Crackers, Chocolate, Candy, Gum, Many Beverages (Tea, Coffee, Creamer, Sugar, etc), Heating Kit, Matches, Water Purifiaction Tablets, Paper Towels, etc.

French RCIR Menus - 1995

Menu # Hors d'oeuvre Main dish A Main dish B
1 Tuna Fish Paté Beef salad Tunny potatoes
2 Salmon Paté Salmon rice vegetables Shepherd's Pie
3 Potted Meat of Mackerel Stewed Beef Indian chicken and rice
4 Salt Beef in Mustard Sauce Sauté of rabbit Chile con carne
5 Tuna in Sauce Paella Stewed veal "Marengo"
6 Sardine Medaillons Mutton Stew Flageolets Stewed chicken
7 Marined Mackerels Stewed Lamb "Navarin" Chicken rice and ratatouille
8 Duck Paté Coalfish and noodles Pork and lentils
9 Liver Paté (Pork) Earthenware dish "cassoulet" Cannelloni
10 Potted meat of pork Pork and greens Stewed beef and carrots
11 Pork Paté and Mushrooms Stewed pork and potatoes Thin slice of chicken in sauce
12 Ham Paté Pork salad Seafood risotto
13 Pork Paté Chicken and greens "parisienne" Dish cooked potatoes "Dauphinois"
14 Tuna "Catalane" Sausage and lentils Moussaka (dish-cooked aubergines mutton)

Includes; Main Meals, Snacks, Soup, Cheese, Crackers, Chocolate, Candy, Gum, Many Beverages (Tea, Coffee, Creamer, Sugar, etc), Heating Kit, Matches, Water Purifiaction Tablets, Paper Towels, etc.

Original menu reference:

"Practical Advice" (from the side of an RCIR box):

1 - Soup
2 - Cereal bar
3 - Chocolate bar
4 - Chewing gum
5 - Instant cocoa
6 - Evaporated milk
7 - Coffee (freeze-dried)
8 - Stove, esbit tablets, matches
9 - Water purification tablet
10 - 1st entree
11 - 2nd entree
12 - Folding paper towels
13 - Crackers (salty/sweet)
14 - Appetizer
15 - Dessert
16 - Sugar/sweetener

Other French Rations

The French also have a freeze-dried ration for special forces. This ration is called the RILC (Ration Individuelle Lyophilisée Commando or Freeze-dried Individual Ration Commando. In this ration, all the canned food is replaced by freeze-dried food.

The "Repas Individuelle D'Exercice" is the French Training Ration - similar in intent to the US military's TOTM.

Ration De Survie (Survival Ration)
This is the air version of the French Survival Ration.