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Markings on C Ration Cartons

Carton of C Rations, 1967
Carton of C Rations, 1967.

Today in WW II: 9 Jul 1940 Battle of Calabria [Battle of Punta Stilo, the toe of Italy] fought between the Italian Royal Navy and the British/Australian Royal Navies, 30 miles [48km] east of Punta Stilo.  More 
9 Jul 1943 US-British invasion of Sicily begins [night of 9-10 Jul].
9 Jul 1944 British and Canadian forces capture Caen from the Germans, a critical post-D-Day objective in Normandy, France.
9 Jul 1944 US forces reach the northern end of Saipan, finding thousands of Japanese civilian men, women, and children who commit suicide by leaping off the cliffs rather than be captured.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

C Ration Cartons: Markings

As an example of the details of the specification of the markings on C Rations, below is page 17 of MIL-R-1504C dated 13 July 1954. That specification describes "Ration, Combat, Individual" including its packaging and markings. The markings of individual components of the ration, and of the C Ration as produced at different times, can be seen in some of the photos in the Olive-Drab.com section about U.S. Army Field Rations.

C Rations black crescent

Individual Cartons of MCI Rations

Marking of Individual Cartons of Meal, Combat, Individual MCI Rations
Photo of the ration carton courtesy of eBay seller woodydgn.

A case of "Meal, Combat, Individual" rations, the last C Rations before the advent of the MRE, contained 12 individual meal packages. As you can see in the photo to the left, the case was made up of a variety of menus. Each of the twelve inner boxes contained cans and accessory packages that made up the meal according to the menu plan.

For example, the box in the lower right corner of the carton contains a canned main course of "Beans w/Frankfurter Chunks in Tomato Sauce" along with a bagged Accessory Packet (matches, chewing gum, toilet paper, instant coffee, cream substitute, sugar, salt), a small can of fruit jam, a can containing fruit cake, a canned B-2 Unit (crackers, cocoa, beverage powder) and a plastic spoon.

The carton shown was packed in September of 1978. The "Meal, Combat, Individual" ration was replaced by the MRE in the early 1980s.

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