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German soldiers were supposed to be fed from a field kitchen at least one hot meal a day. However, this was not always possible. Soldiers were also issued a Halbieserne or iron ration that was meant to feed the soldier when food could not be brought to him. Soldiers were not supposed to eat this ration without orders to do so. This ration was supposed to consist of one 300 gram can of meat and one 125-150 gram of hard bread. The canned meat could be Schmalzfleisch (a pork product), Rinderbraten (roast beef), Truthahnbraten (turkey), or Hahnchenfleisch (chicken). In addition, there was canned Fleischkonserve, its contents generically, and thus ambiguously, labeled “canned meat,” which allowed for a number of interpretations. Additional information about the four-tiered rationing system employed by the German Military can be found here.
Food quality for soldiers varied quite a bit depending on the skill of the cook and the available food supplies. Veteran accounts range the whole way from describing the food as awful to glowing about the quality of the traditional German cuisine they received every day.
These photographs were taken from a number of online sources and auction sites. They are presented here for educational purposes. For more information please check out the Warfare History Network or Der Erste Zug.
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