Original U.S. WWII Early War Unissued K Ration Breakfast Unit by The Cracker Jack Co.
Original Items: Only One Available. The K-ration was an individual daily combat food ration which was introduced by the United States Army during World War II. It was originally intended as an individually packaged daily ration for issue to airborne troops, tank crews, motorcycle couriers, and other mobile forces for a short duration. The K-ration provided three separately boxed meal units: breakfast, dinner (lunch) and supper (dinner).
The K-ration originally came packed in an unbleached tan-colored rectangular cardstock box with black lettering. The outer box was printed on its top in bold capital sans serif block letter type with the text: "US ARMY FIELD RATION K", with the meal unit type (BREAKFAST, DINNER, or SUPPER UNIT) printed underneath it and a capital letter on each end (B, D, or S). While it was intended that the three meals be eaten in their named order, they were not always consumed in this manner. The inner box had the meal unit type printed across its top and a capital letter on each end (B, D, or S).
The later "Morale Series" had unique packaging designs that were color-coded and letter-coded on the ends for quick identification. The breakfast ration box had brown printing and was marked with a brown capital letter "B" on the ends, the dinner ration box had blue printing and was marked with a blue capital letter "D" on the ends, and the supper ration box had olive drab printing and was marked with an olive drab capital "S" on the ends. The packaging commencing with the earliest version of the ration consisted of a chemically-treated cardboard outer carton and a waterproofed waxed-cardboard inner carton to protect the contents from contamination or damage. The waxed carton was found useful by soldiers to start small fires in which to boil water for coffee or cocoa.
The entrée came in a small, round metal can painted green with black lettering, with a metal key (dubbed a "twist key") to open it, packaged in a roughly square 3 × 23⁄4 × 17⁄16 inch (7.5 × 7 × 3.7 cm) cardboard box.
The rest of the meal came packed neatly in a waxed paper or laminated cellophane pack. The pack always contained two packages of 8 rectangular K-1 or 4 square K-2 calorie-dense cracker biscuits each, a 4-pack of commercial-grade cigarettes, and either a flat rectangular stick of chewing gum or a square piece of candy-coated gum. Special items (like matches or Halazone tablets) were packed in one unit but not the others due to space limitations. Late production meals added a paper-wrapped paddle-like disposable wooden spoon and used the standard P-38 can opener instead of the "twist key".
This example is a rare early war plain brown box version (pre-morale series) Breakfast Unit. It is nicely marked on the front U.S. ARMY FIELD RATION K BREAKFAST UNIT and on the side Packaged by THE CRACKER JACK CO. Chicago, Ill.. There is a hole through the exterior packaging that goes into the interior package, however it has not been opened otherwise. The hole looks to possibly be insect damage. Otherwise it is completely unopened, and was found as part of the survival kit from an Airplane life raft.
The breakfast units would contain: canned entree veal (early version), canned chopped ham and eggs (all subsequent versions), biscuits, dextrose or malted milk tablets (early version), dried fruit bar, pre-mixed oatmeal cereal (late version) Halazone water purification tablets, a four-pack of cigarettes, Dentyne or Wrigley chewing gum, instant coffee, a packet of toilet paper tissues, and sugar (granulated, cubed, or compressed).
In total, the meals provided about 2700 calories and 28 grams of protein. depending upon components. As it was originally intended as an "assault" ration to be issued for a short duration, the K-ration was designed to be used for a maximum of 15 meals. The K-ration was mass-produced by several major U.S. food production companies, including Acme Food Services, H. J. Heinz, Patten Food Products Company and The Cracker Jack Company.
K-ration crates were either wood (43 lbs./20 kg each) or fiberboard (41 lbs./18.5 kg each) and had a volume of 1.4 cubic feet. Each crate contained 12 daily rations (each daily ration consisting of one Breakfast unit, one Dinner unit, and one Supper unit) for a total of 36 units per crate. They were packed one unit deep, three units wide (one of each unit), and twelve units long (all of the same unit type).
Idiot Clause - the contents of this kit are pre-1945 manufacture and are NOT suitable for consumption. They are being sold as novelty collector pieces only. Even though some people on youtube have tried. Yuk!
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