Tuesday, June 18, 2019

German Ration of World War II

On the whole, the regular German Army foot soldier (Landser) received scientifically designed, high-calorie/protein rations. Typically, each soldier carried a daily supply of the so-called Halbieserne or “Iron Ration” that contained one 300-gram tin of meat and one 125- or 150-gram unit 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.

Another longstanding staple of the German Army’s menu of portable food items was the Erbswurst, a nourishing soup compressed into a pellet, packaged six to a ration. A pellet was crushed and dropped into a half pint of boiling water. One minute later and the instant soup was ready to eat. Condensed canned tomato soup was also available as a substitute when a field kitchen was not available, soldiers often adding half a can of water and half a can of milk to maximize its flavor. The milk also came condensed in cans.

Elite troops received food “perks” as in the case of Kampfpackung fur Fallschirmjäger or “Combat Rations for Paratroops,” one item consisting of real canned cheese, but these were issued only prior to a combat mission. The special kit also contained two cans of ham chunks, one bar of ersatz high-energy food, and Milchkaffee (powdered milk and instant coffee), as well as Knäckebrot and candy drops.

The SS had their exclusive food rations, the cans treated to a special extreme climate coating and painted in a rust-preventing yellow/brown lacquer. Standard rations for SS units in the field consisted of a four-day supply: about 25 ounces of Graubrot (gray rye bread); 6-10 ounces of Fleisch (canned meat) or Wurst (canned sausage); some five ounces of vegetables; a half ounce of butter, margarine, jam, or hazelnut paste; either real or ersatz coffee; five grams of sugar; and, oddly enough, six cigarettes, despite the SS leadership’s antismoking stance, the rationale being that cigarettes served the troops under combat stress as a “nerve tonic.” There were also other special SS supplements, one example being canned Leberwurst, a quality liver spread.

The Third Reich’s antismoking initiatives, part of the general public health campaign that included protocols about alcohol and exposure to workplace contaminants, was prompted by research conducted in 1939 by German scientist Franz H. Muller, who published the world’s first epidemiological, case-control study showing a link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer. The various health programs sought to reduce lost time and expense due to illness, to help produce fit and healthy workers and soldiers and to “preserve the racial health of the Volk.”

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Priess

SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS Hermann Priess posed proudly for a color studio picture after he received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern #65 on 24 April 1944 as SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS and commander of the 3. SS-Panzer-Division "Totenkopf".

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Atlantikwall Artillery at Royan

German artillery emplaced in Royan beach fortification, Charte-Martitime, France. The barrel is a French "Canon de 75 mm contre aeronefs " a.k.a. 7.5 cm Flak M.30/33 (f). Hard to say what exact type it is. Large numbers of 75 mm guns were captured by Germany after the French defeat in 1940. Guns in German service were integrated into Atlantic Wall defenses, including in Royan beach.

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

German Field Telephone in World War II

The field telephone is the basic and most frequently used piece of communication equipment on the battlefield. Used from the front line to the highest headquarters, it gave military commanders and unprecedented real time control of operations. Even though the design principles of field telephone equipment were well understood for many years, much of the equipment from before the1930’s was expensively produced on a small scale. The rapid developments in public phone network technology with which the field equipment was required to interface had led to a great complexity of equipment. The new field telephone unit, telephone switchboard and auxiliary equipment were introduced into service in 1933 and subsequent years would become the mainstay of German field communication. They would remain in production with only minor changes until the end of the war; of the FF 33 field telephone originally developed by Siemens in 1933, over 1.6 million examples were made by 24 different manufacturers.

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"German Field Line Communication equipment of WW2" by Funksammler Publications

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Lance Bombardier Jack Grundy with His Wife on Vacation

An Eighth Army Man on Leave, Wirral, Cheshire, 14 April 1944: Lance Bombardier Jack Grundy, of 441 Battery, 128 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, 50 Division, during his seven days privilege leave with his family. Jack Grundy and his wife Dorothy while on a picnic in the Cheshire countryside. The picture was taken by Lieutenant A.J. Tanner from British War Office official photographer.

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