Practical Airsoft Recommends:
The Contents of a British GP (General Purpose) Ration Pack
There's more information on British ration packs (including 4 x man and 10 x man packs)over at http://www.mreinfo.com/. He's been kind enough to mention this site in his article on GP rations so I reckon it's fair enough to give him a plug as well
Following a recent court case, the specifics of which are not really germaine to this article, a ruling in favour of the MoD was handed down. It now seems as if all ration packs for the MoD are now prohibited for resale, so any that you might find for commercial sale may well be 'stolen property'. I therefore heartily advise you NOT to seek GP ration packs, as it may be that possession of such could lead to charges of 'possession of stolen property', or 'handling stolen property'. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
By way of example, here are photos of the new packaging that the MoD are using. Note the labels 'Not For Resale' and 'M.O.D. Use Only'
By and large, the British Soldier is the best fed in the world, if you go by the ration packs. You'll see from the photo and menu sheet below, that the choice of menus is quite good (containing a breakfast, and main mean plus dessert); in addition, the drinks and sundries packs are well-stocked. Remember: "Hurry Up And Wait" and "If In Doubt, Brew Up!" are almost bye-laws of the modern military, so there should be a few hot and cold drink mixes in there!
Different contents, for different climates
The menus below are for temperate climates; in cold climate (CC) menus, an instant rolled oats mix is added; for Hot Climates (including tropical areas), an additional fruit drink mix is added, instead of the rolled oats mix.
Other variations on preference and religion
There are also vegetarian menus, Halal and, I'm reliably informed, Kosher menus, although in truth, I've never seen them (since I'm neither Hindu, Moslem, Jewish, or a vegetarian!).
So what's in the box?
Here's a typical temperate climate GP ration pack, with all the contents laid out. You'll note that there's quite a lot that 20cm x 18cm x 10.5cm box!
Note the three silver pouches on top of the box. Those are your Breakfast, Main Meal, and Dessert packs. Most are very tasty, but I don't think much of the Treacle Pudding, which replaced the Soldiers favorite - Mixed Fruit Pudding. Ever since they moved from tinned rations to these generally better pouched foods, I really miss that dessert!
And here's the menu sheet (one in every GP pack, to be found in the drinks/sundries pack).
So, what do you get in addition to the pouched foods?
All in all, it averages out at 30-odd seperate packs of one sort or another:
- An Oatmeal block (really a sweet oatmeal biscuit - quite tasty!)
- Chocolate bars or a bar of Kendal Mint Cake, according to the menu.
- Biscuits, brown (malted and hard, pack of six).
- Biscuits, fruit-filed (malted hard garibaldi-like, pack of six.)
- Cheese, processed, or meat paté, according to the menu.
- Tea, Instant, White, 4 x sachets.
- Coffee, instant, 2 x 5 gramme sachets.
- Sugar, quick disolving, 8 x 10 gramme sachets.
- Drinking chocolate mix, 1 sachet.
- Vegetable stock drink mix, 1 x sachet.
- Instant soup (varying flavours), 2 x sachets.
- Beverage whitener (non-dairy creamer), 2 x sachets.
- Gum, chewing, PK, 5 sticks.
- Sweets, boiled, 1 pack assorted flavours.
- Fruit drink mix, either orange or lemon (enough for 1 litre of drink).
- Tissues, paper (Kleenex individual pack).
- Waterproof matches (10) and striker (1).
- Water purification tablets (6).
This is far in excess of the sundries that other nations military forces are supplied, and just goes to show that a British Soldier truly marches on his stomach!
I suppose that at this point, I should mention that where you can (rarely) find these ration packs in civvy street, most times, the Processed Cheese has been removed; I found out a few months back, just why they are now doing this: The cheese packs (made for the UK Ministry of Defence by the people that bring you those Primula cheese speads in the super store chiller cabinets) didn't match up to the shelf-life specifications, so, if you DO find one, DON'T use it - it'll be rank beyond description - Truely, in British Troops parlance, 'Cheese, Possessed'!
By the way, in case you were wondering where the Hexamine fuel tablet packs (for the issued folding stoves) are, they don't come with the ration packs; they're seperately supplied. Intended to last two days, they are resupplied to troops in the field at the same time as rations are supplied, which is, on average, every two days (at least, that's how my old unit scheduled resupply runs).