Monday, February 25, 2019

Royal Naval Air Service Armoured Car Section/Division Collar Badge - A Semi-Forensic Analysis

Paralleling the popularity of collecting the six battalion cap badges of the World War I Royal Naval Division is collecting the affiliated insignia of the Royal Naval Air Service Armoured Car Section, which was soon expanded into a Division. This principally consists of the collar badge (“dog”), with limited variants, which are frequently mistaken and referred to as a cap badge.

As is the case with the battalion cap badges, the collar dogs have provided fertile ground for unscrupulous entrepreneurs to exploit the demand provided by beginning, as well as even advanced collectors, who have not conducted in-depth research or obtained specimens with impeccable provenance.

In assessing the authenticity of a genuine collar dog look for the following details.
• In the copy the letter “R” in RNAS is very close, if not almost touching the left hand edge of the armored car’s turret. In the originals there is a space.
• In the copy the dimpling on the front surface area of the badge is very pronounced, if not almost rough. In the originals this surface is smoother to both the touch and appearance.
• On the originals the lugs are consistently spaced, directly above the wheels and level with the top of car’s body.
• Of the originals there are apparently two types, one with voided crown, one non-voided crown, with a slight variance in size and weight:
Voided 49.32mm x 40.48mm and 52.85 g
Non voided 48.38mm x 41.72mm and 53.05 g
A smaller size original also exists with a variance in dimensions:
One being 25mm wide x 30mm tall.
The other cited as an o/r collar, being 17.07mm x 30.55mm.
 • Depending on the manufacturer’s dies there is another variance in the originals of two types; termed by some collectors as a 'Low' bonnet & tray and a 'High' bonnet & tray. As best determined this refers to the depth and curvature shown on the reverse side. Copies tend to have the high characteristic. 
• Copies tend to have thin/skinny lettering, and poor definition in the crown and jewel detail.
• Originals all have lugs, not sliders.
• Originals have a rich dark matte finish in a range of shades, but certainly not a shiny or brassy appearance.   

Again, as is typically the case, best assurance is well established provenance.

The following three badges are classic counterfeits, because of several of the above cited details.

Based upon the same set of authenticating criteria the following badges have a high probability of being original and genuine.

The following badge is a known genuine variant, probable officer's collar dog.

The following image not only shows the badges being wore, but it also shows the man on the left wearing the distinctive ammunition pouch issued with the Webley Scott .455cal. Self-loading Pistol MkI Model 1912. Note the absence of the set of cartridge loops on the flap and the squarer shape of the pouch compared with the man on the right. See; for details.

Another image showing a group of officers of the R.N.A.S. Armoured Car Section/Division wearing both types of collar insignia.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

1st Canadian Armored Carrier Regiment Cap Badge - A Semi-Forensic Study

As would be expected due to the uniqueness of the unit, its small size, and its short span of existence, the cap badge (as well as the collar devices) of the 1stCanadian Armored Carrier Regiment (1 CACR) have fallen victim to replicater’s skills.

The first image is a side-by-side comparison of a genuine badge on the left and a reproduction on the right, as well as showing both the front and rear of the badge. The originals are lugged with the orientation being N-S.

Another very clear set of images of a counterfeit badge, which recently sold for $550.00 USD.

W.J. Miller of the British and Commonwealth Military Badge Forum has recently provided an excellent analysis comparing one of the original WWII badges to what he diplomatically defines as a “post-war badge”, i.e.,counterfeit/fake. His analysis is herein acknowledged and gratitude extended for its use. The badge was manufactured by J.R. Gaunt & Son of London, from a design originated by the regiment’s commanding officer. The presented image size is a compromise between clarity (resolution) and the physical size of the image.

A pair of what are to believed to be a correct/genuine pair of collar dogs for the regiment.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The 1st Airborne Division’s 75mm Pack Howitzers at Operation Market-Garden

The principal artillery support organic to the 1st Airborne Division was the 1st Airlanding Light Regiment RA. Before restructuring and expanding into a regiment in February 1943 the unit had been equipped with obsolete 3.7in mountain ‘screw gun’ howitzers. These were replaced with the American 75mm M1A1(on M8 carriage (Airborne), with other minor modifications) Pack Howitzer. 24 of these new howitzers, originally designed in 1920, were organized into 3 batteries with each battery having two troops of four guns each. The following video is a walk-around of the gun;

Basic Specifications:
Manufacturer : US Ordnance Dept
Calibre : 75mm
Length : 12' 0"
Width : 3' 11"
Height : 2' 10"
Weight : 1339 lbs
Elevation : -5º to +45º
Range : 9,760 yards (8,790 meters)
Rate of Fire : 3-6 rounds per minute

It should be noted that in this series of photographs the carriage axle and wheels are in the traversing, or transport position, rather than the deployed or firing position.

Each gun was structured as a team. Each team was carried in two Horsa gliders. In one glider was a single gun, a jeep, an ammunition trailer, a gun commander (sergeant) and three members of the gun detachment. The following image is a detailed annotated load diagram.

 A second Horsa carried a second jeep, two ammunition trailers, an NCO and one other member of the gun detachment. Collectively the three trailers carried 137 rounds of ammunition (125 HE, 6 armour piercing, and 6 rounds of smoke (white phosphorous). In addition other glider loads included an addition jeep and trailer (other equipment), a motorcycle, and five or six men. The gunfire control liaison officers, signallers, and observation post personnel, were all trained parachutists who jumped with the battalions they were designated to support. These personnel were designated the 1st Forward Observation Unit Royal Artillery (Airborne) with an allowance of 20 officers and 84 NCOs and Enlisted.

The following is an excerpt from an excellent article appearing in the October 2007 issue of World War II Magazine entitled Gunners at Arnhem, by LtCol Thomas G. Bradbeer, USA, for which both acknowledgement is made and gratitude extended.

"On 17  September 1944, the first day of the operation, fifty-seven gliders carried the regimental headquarters and the 1st and 3rd batteries to Arnhem. The 2nd battery and the remaining men of the regimental headquarters were on the second day's lift.

With only three of the regiment's men travelling in the gliders, the two pilots stayed with the guns as drivers and to provide local protection, until the rest of the regiment assembled. Immediately after landing the 3rd Battery set up their gun line to the east of landing zone 'Z'. Meanwhile, the 1st Battery set up between the 3rd and the village of Wolfheze. Both were on call to support the 1st Parachute Brigade in their advance to the bridges, and the 1st Airlanding Brigade defending the landing zones.

In the morning of the second day, 19 September, in order to support the paratroopers in Arnhem, the guns had to move to a new position beside the church in Oosterbeek. The batteries were set up on the slight high ground that existed to the north-east and north-west of the church. At the Arnhem road bridge, the 2nd Parachute Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Frost, and some supporting units, were under attack by the reconnaissance battalion of the 9th SS Panzer Division, which was attempting to force a crossing. The regiment's guns were called into action and caused significant damage to the un-armoured vehicles, armored cars and half-tracks. Later they targeted German mortars firing at the 1st Parachute Battalion trying to fight through to the bridge in Arnhem. Their guns were also called upon to break up German attacks on the landing zones, still defended by the 1st Airlanding Brigade, which were in danger of being overrun. When the thirty-three gliders of the 2nd Battery that were on the second lift, arrived from around 15:00, one of their guns was damaged on landing and had to be left behind.  By that afternoon, the attempt to fight through to the 2nd Parachute Battalion at the Arnhem bridge had failed and the remnants of four battalions involved started arriving at the regiment's position."  

With LCOL John Frost’s 2nd Battalion, plus limited additional personnel, deployed in a defensive perimeter surrounding the north end of the Arnhem road bridge by the second day of the operation, the CRA (Commander Royal Artillery), LCOL R.G. Loder-Symonds DSO, MC, DSC,  and Commander of the Light Regiment RA, LCOL W.F.K. Thompson MBE, DL, had established an artillery park deployed around the Hartenstein Hotel in Oosterbeek, approximately three miles west of the Arnhem road bridge. In this position all three batteries were heavily engaged in continuous fire missions in direct support of the beleaguered parachute and airlanding battalions. The following image shows the approximate deployment of the individual guns. As can be seen in the diagram 22 out of the 24 guns arrived safely. One gun was damaged in glider landing, and the other was lost in flight to German flak. The positions of the two 17 Pdr Anti-tank guns covering any possible approach of German armor along Benedenorpsweg should also be noted.

Continuing from LtCol Bradbeer's narrative;
"On 20 September the division had been forced into a perimeter around Oosterbeek. The regiment was provided with local protection by five flights of the Glider Pilot Regiment. A group made up from the remnants of the 1st Parachute Brigade known as Lonsdale Force was to their right. While on the left was 'D' Company, 1st Battalion, Border Regiment. All that morning the Germans using tanks, self propelled artillery and infantry attempted to break through the British line and reach the regiment's guns from the east.

On 21 September, the fifth day of the operation, the Germans again attacked from the east and got within 300 yards (270 m) of the guns. Engaged in hand-to-hand fighting, infantry support was requested and the guns were firing at point blank range. German artillery attacked the gun line killing and wounding a number of men. Amongst the wounded was the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson. One of the men defending the guns was Major Robert Cain who was part of Lonsdale force. Cain was wounded disabling a Tiger tank, after which he brought one of the regiment's guns forward to finish it off. Cain was later awarded the Victoria Cross, for this and other actions during the battle. By the end of the days fighting the regiment's stock of ammunition was running out.

By 22 September, XXX Corps had advanced close enough to Arnhem for their artillery to participate in the battle. But it was the 1st Airlanding Regiment's guns that broke up a German attack on the glider pilots positions just after 07:00 that morning. The following days took on the same pattern until the night of 25/26 September, when the remnants of the 1st Airborne Division were withdrawn south of the River Rhine. The gunners fired their remaining ammunition and then disabled the guns, so they could not be used by the Germans. Of the regiment's 372 men who went to Arnhem, 136 were evacuated, 200 were reported missing and thirty-eight were killed." 

The guns essentially remained in the above diagramed location for the duration of the operation, until there was no ammunition and the guns were “spiked” (disabled and breechblocks removed). In addition to the surviving anti-tank guns and PIATs, the 75 mm howitzers even saw limited direct fire missions over open sights against armored attacks. It suffices to say that the great majority of the last rounds fired in anger in the period 23-25 September, were AP (armor-piercing) at point-blank ranges. Here are three of the iconic photographs taken during the height of the action within the artillery park.

This author has not been able to find accurate records of precisely how many rounds were fired by the 75mm howitzers at Arnhem, but by deduction from the following data a reasonable estimate can be established. An error in accuracy of the count is inherent due to weight differential between the type of round.
137 rounds (carried as allowance in the trailers of each gun) X 22 guns (number safely arrived, excluding any additional rounds salvaged from glider loads of 2 guns) = 3014 rounds.
480 rounds delivered in the recorded loads of 3 Hamilcar gliders (30 panniers with gross weight of 350 lbs/pannier (300 lbs payload), 16 rounds/pannier, each round weighting 18 lbs 4oz.).
Only 1220 rounds based on recorded resupply collected from 18 - 23 September. (This is out of 19,170 rounds recorded dropped). The composition of these rounds was:
M48 (HE) - 960
M54 (HE, Fuzed) - 50
M64 Smoke (WP) - 120
M66 (Armour Piercing) - 120 
Estimated total number of rounds fired = 4714 rounds

It should be acknowledged and gratitude expressed for the amount of information contained in this article which came from the book, The Gunners at Arnhem, Wilkinson P.W., Spuurwing Publishing, East Haddon, Northampton, 1999, ISBN 0-9535754-0-3. Lieut Peter "Sam" Wilkinson MC served with the Light Regiment RA at Arnhem. In addition to the Military Cross he was promoted to Captain in October 1944, shortly after the battle. 

Although not contemporary the following are excellent images of remaining 75mm M1A1(on Carriage M8 (Airborne)) Pack Howitzers. Current U.S. designation is M116.

For those readers who may be interested in an even more detailed account of the action of the 75mm pack howitzers during Operation Market-Garden the following book is highly recommended; Arnhem Bridge Target MIKE ONE, An Illustrated History of the Ist Airlanding Light Regiment RA 1942-1945, North Africa-Italy-Arnhem-Norway, Truesdale, D., Cornelissen,M., Gerritsen, R.N. Sigmond Publishing (2015), Netherlands, ISBN/EAN; 978-90-812703-6-6.

Friday, January 18, 2019

An Army Marches on Its Stomach, Unless It's Made of Toy Soldiers

As has been indicated in several of my more recent blogs, I’ve been really hard pressed for new subject matter that would be within the broad theme of the blog, and still be of interest to readers. What seems to occur when you are thinking hard for new subject matter, you get hungry. A quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte is “An Army Marches on Its Stomach”. Toy soldiers don’t have to eat, but their designers, manufacturers, purveyors and owners do. So, I thought it would be interesting to do a representative survey by nation of the military field rations carried currently by their respective armed forces.

Before exploring current rations thought I would briefly reflect back on their predecessors. Even though as a young boy growing up, with my dad as a Navy lieutenant and instructor with the V-5 Pre-Flight Program for naval aviation cadets at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. I only recall K-rations as a heavily waxed (waterproof) and sealed olive-drab rectangular cardboard box. Couldn’t remember that there were three configurations, breakfast, dinner (lunch), and supper. As you will see there has been quite an evolution from then to the current configuration, which varies from nation to nation. Here are the contents of each, starting with the Breakfast Unit;

Breakfast Unit: canned entree veal(early version), canned chopped ham and eggs (all subsequent versions), biscuits, dextroseor 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).

Dinner Unit: canned entree pork luncheon meat (Form of Spam, early version), canned processed American cheese, Swiss and American cheese, or bacon and cheese (cheese entree all subsequent versions), biscuits, 15 Dextrose or malted milk (diastatic malt)tablets (early) or five caramels (late), sugar (granulated, cubed, or compressed), salt packet, a four-pack of cigarettes and a matchbook, chewing gum, and a powdered beverage packet (lemon (c.1940), orange (c. 1943), or grape (c. 1945) flavor).

Supper Unit: canned meat, consisting of cervelatsausage (early version), either pork luncheon meat with carrot or apple(first issue), beefand pork loaf(second issue); biscuits; a 2-ounce (57 g) D ration ermergency chocolate bar (early version), Tropical bar, or (in temperate climates) commercial sweet chocolate bar (late version), a packet of toilet paper tissues; a four-pack of cigarettes, chewing gum, and a bouillonpacket (cube or powder).

As some may recall K-rations were followed by a series of C-rations. Typical of this series was the Type C-4 ration (circa 1954-1958), precisely the period of time this author was an NROTC Midshipman attending university. Don't remember eating any during the course of amphibious warfare orientation training with the U.S. Marine Corps at Little Creek, VA.

A sample C-4 ration (stamped March 1954) contained: 
  • 1 instruction sheet
  • cheesebars (1.5 net ounces/43 g net)
  • cerealclass 5bars (1.5 net ounces/43 g net)
  • 3 type XII style 1enriched chocolate bars(1 ounce/28 g)
  • jellybar(2 ounces/56 g)
  • 2 Fruit Cake Bars(2 ounces/56 g)
  • 3 sticks Topps peppermintchewing gum
  • 3 Domino sugarpackets
  • 3 Nestea "soluble teaproduct" packets
  • 1 packet of pure soluble sugar
  • 1 packet of solublecreamproduct
  • 1 bottle water purification tablets (iodine)
  • 1 plastic bag

The current U.S. military field ration is the Meal, Ready-to-Eat, more commonly referred to as MRE.

General contents may include: 

The following series are from a current Milan, Italy exhibit "K-RATION" by industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti, and appeared in an article in the UK Daily Mail. Both Mr. Iacchetti and the Daily Mail are duly acknowledged. and gratitude tendered for the use of the images on a non-profit basis. They are representative of the current issue of military field rations from twenty different countries.

The UK ration pack contains: Chicken sausage and beans; Mexican tuna pasta; paella; lemon cake; compote; Oat biscuit; raspberry jam; caramel cereal bar; apricot bar; salted cashews; sweets; hazelnut spread with cocoa; fruit drink; hot chocolate; coffee; coffee whitener; tea; Tabasco; sugar; water purification tablets; paper tissues; matches; chewing gums; wet wipes; spork and a re-usable bag.

The US pack: Vegetarian ratatouille with pasta; hot snack crackers; crackers; almond poppy seed pound cake; peanut butter; tropical punch powder; salt; seasoning blend; sugar; coffee; coffee whitener; chewing gums; wet wipe; matches; toilet paper; plastic spoon; water-activated disposable heaters and a beverage bag.

Denmark: Cereal mix with fruits; pasta with meat sauce; rye bread; biscuits; pate; toothpicks; biodegradable fork-spoon; jam; honey; hazelnut spread; protein bars; isotonic drink; compote; chocolate drink; coffee; tea; matches; raisins; nut mix; chewing gum; sugar; salt; pepper; tomato ketchup; wet wipes and a toothbrush.

France: Beef tortellini; Oriental salad; salmon pate; instant soup; milky dessert; salted and sweet biscuits; coffee; tea; instant chocolate drink; sweets; nougat; fruit jelly; energy bar; muesli; isotonic drink powder; chocolate; jam; tissues; reheating kit; matches and water purification tablets.

Spain: Chicken and pasta instant soup; baked beans with sausages; sardines in vegetable oil; apricot cream; water purification tablets; solid fuel tablets; isotonic drink; chewing gum; matches; stove; papers napkins; toothpaste; hand disinfectant; chocolate with almonds; almond nougat; sesame bar; sweets and isoenergetic gel with vitamins.

Sweden: Yoghurt with breakfast flakes; chicken Rogan josh with rice; meatballs with pasta; sweets; peanut butter; nut cream; chocolate cake; oat biscuits; salted peanuts; honey roasted peanuts; exotic fruit isotonic drink; chocolate drink; chewing gums; wet wipes and coffee.

 Tanzania: Chicken stew; rice; porridge; biscuits; mango drink; orange drink; coffee; tea; sugar; pepper; salt; wet wipe; paper napkin; matches; fuel tablets; water-activated disposable heaters and plastic cutlery.

 Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti's international space station ration pack: Peas' brown rice; champignon mushrooms; mackerel' leek cream; quinoa; dried tomatoes and turmeric chicken.

 Thailand: Yellow soup with fish; jasmine rice; beef with pepper and garlic; chili powder; fish sauce; dried fruits and a plastic spoon.

Estonia: Muesli; whole rye bread; coffee; chicken soup with noodles; dark chocolate with cornflakes and guarana; sweet crackers; toffees; tea; isotonic drink; sugar; salt; pepper; liver pâté; beef goulash; disinfectant wipes; plastic bag and matches.

 Holland: Tea; coffee; coffee whitener; sugar; chocolate drink; jam; fruit jelly; vitamin tablets; instant soups; broth powder; fruit drinks; chocolate biscuits; fruit filled biscuits; meat, fish, vegetable pâté; candied almonds; chocolate; sweets with vitamin C; sweets; sesame bar; sambal; oatmeal block; muesli; meat with peas and potatoes; hot chicken stew; chicken korma; beef and potato hotpot; ham, leeks and potato hotpot; zipper bags; matches; paper tissues; salt; pepper; chewing gums and toothpicks.

 Israel: Chicken meatballs with rice; beef meatballs with rice; beans with tomato sauceRice stuffed grape leaves; vegetarian meal with rice and chickpeas; sweetcorn; green olives; tuna in vegetable oil; chocolate dessert; peanuts; halva; candied fruit mix with pineapple, pawpaw, raisin, and blueberries; plastic bags; tin opener and water-activated disposable heaters.

Italy: Cereal and chocolate bar; fruit jellies; condensed milk; coffee; chocolate; sugar; salt, ravioli with meat sauce; pork in jelly; crackers; fruit salad; multivitamin tablets; bran tablets; pasta and beans; chicken in jelly; energetic bar' toothbrushes; kit for water disinfection; matches; toothpicks; paper rubbish bags; camp stove; fuel bars; napkins; plastic spoon; plastic cutlery.

 Slovenia: Coffee; coffee whitener; tea; vitamin drinks; sugar; vitamin sweets; energy bars; chocolate jam; chocolate muesli with dehydrated milk; dehydrated wild berry yogurt dessert; pasta with porcini; chicken and potato stew; fish and vegetable pâté; tuna in olive oil; bread; chewing gums; disinfectant wipes; can opener; rubbish bag; matches and plastic cutlery.

Lithuania: Beef stew with pearl barley; crackers; almonds; blackcurrant jam; cherry drink with vitamins; chocolate; chicken broth powder; sugar; wet wipe; matches; fuel tablets; water-activated disposable heaters; paper tray; cable tie and plastic spoon.

 New Zealand: Creamy chicken and potatoes; Thai lamb curry; chocolate biscuits; Marmite; tomato ketchup; salt; pepper; sugar; tea; coffee; condensed milk; waterproof matches; chocolate drink; scouring pad; cheese; muesli; isotonic drink; bread; instant soup; plastic bag; peanuts and raisins; chewing gums; chocolate; napkins; onion flakes; sweets; instant noodles; muesli bars and strawberry fruit grains.

 Germany: Ravioli with mushroom sauce; Indian rice with chicken cutlet; bread; biscuits; meat pâté; semolina with fruits; snack; jam; coffee; tea; sugar; coffee whitener; salt; fruit drinks; chocolate; chewing gums; water purification tablets; multipurpose paper; wet wipes and matches.

 Poland: Meat with rice and vegetables; canned pork; biscuits; raspberry jam; lemon tea; dried fruit mix; cereal and fruit bar; chewing gums; sweet with coffee extract; sweet with vitamin C; salt; pepper; plastic lid; napkin; wet wipe; toilet paper; zipper bag; plastic spoon; straw; hooks; water purification tablet and water-activated disposable heaters.

 Russia: Biscuits; Whole-wheat biscuits; beef goulash; salted lard; liver pate; meat pate; beef with buckwheat semolina; meat with peas and carrots; ratatouille, fruit and berry concentrate; cheese spread; jam; compote; chocolate; tea; coffee; coffee whitener; sugar; salt; pepper; multivitamin tablets; chewing gums; sweets; water purification tablets; heater; waterproof matches; disinfectant wipes; paper napkins; plastic spoons and a plastic knife.

Ukraine: Millet flour biscuits; canned meat; canned meat with cereals; canned meat with minced salami; canned fish; jam; tea; sugar; sweets; plastic spoons' paper napkins; disinfectant wipes; meat broth powder; fruit concentrate and multivitamin pills.

Upon closer inspection, and as suspected by both international culinary reputation and Napoleon’s advise, the French military field ration ranks as one of the world’s best.

The name of the ration is called, “Ration de Combat Individuelle Rechauffable” (Combat Ration Individual Reheatable), or RCIR. As previously described 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. 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.

  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 Sugar/sweetener

The Menu variety in 1999 included;
Menu #
Hors d’oeuvre
Main dish A
Main dish B
Chicken in Jelly
Beef Salad
Tunny Potatoes
Salmon Paté
Salmon Rice Vegetables
Shepherd’s Pie
Mackerel Paté
Stewed Beef
While Veal Stew
Chicken Liver Paté
Sauté of Rabbit
Chile con Carne
Tuna in Sauce
Stewed Veal “Marengo”
Fish Paté
Mutton Stew Flageolets
Stewed Chicken
Mackerels in Sauce
Stewed Lamb “Navarin”
Duck Paté
Tuna Salad
Pork and Lentils
Liver Paté (Pork)
Earthenware-Dish “Cassoulet”
Pork Paté
Pork and Greens
Stewed Beef and Carrots
Pork Paté and Mushrooms
Stewed Pork and Potatoes
Stewed Beef “Bourguignon”
Pork Ham Paté
Pork Salad
Seafood “Risotto”
Pork Paté
Chicken and Greens “Parisienne”
Sweet and Sour Pork
Tuna Fish Paté
Sausage and Lentils
Cockered Stewed in Red Win

The revised Menu in 2004 included:
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”
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
Hare paté
Veal, tomato, and olive stew
Sweet and sour pork
Rabbit paté
Sausage and lentils
Beef salad

The following are additional photographs of the current issue RCIRs.

Reading the variety of the menu leaves little doubt why the reported current rate of exchange is 5 MREs for 1 RCIR.

The author is reminded during the composition of this article, when in 1973 during survival training with his naval reserve unit in the undeveloped jungle-like fields outside Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, he and his shipmates would have gladly paid good money for a few RCIRs. At the time our menu consisted of mongoose stew, sprout-papaya-onion-soup and baked green bananas. The following photographs depict our "skills" making an improvised eating container and opening a coconut. Will never forget our instructor SSGT Fillipe, an army Force RECONDO, who as a young teenager had served with the famed Philippine Scouts during WWII. He had a classic frequent remark, "Something to be considered in the area."

During Operation Desert Storm (1991) elements of the French Foreign Legion were embedded within the principal units of the French Army engaged in the action, namely the 6th Light Armoured Division (6 DLB), and the 4th Regiment of Dragoons from the 2nd Armoured Division. These forces of the Allied Coalition were initially deployed on the left (Western) flank, prior to initiating the liberation of Kuwait. This author distinctly remembers an evening news segment in which a Legion chef was profusely apologizing because he did not have the correct wine for his “from scratch” evening’s presentation of Beef Bourguignon. It’s my understanding that for some time units of the Legion had, and still do, have the prerogative of hiring their own chefs.

For those seeking further detailed presentations of individual RCIRs, go to YouTube and in the search window, type in the search term 'French Military Ration RCIR', and literally dozens of video presentations of the meals will come up.

It is not widely known that the Legion has its very own winery. For those who might be interested see;