Keeping soldiers well fed and healthy when out in the field is a major priority for all armies everywhere, including in Russia, where combat rations offer a perfect combination of energy content, endurance, variety and taste.
Foreign armies go much the same route, but, like they say, different cultures, different food. Indeed, what a Pakistani soldier will happily munch on, his Japanese college will hardly look at, and the other way round.
Well, some countries may have it better than others, but at the end of the day, most armies around the world are eating out of pouches and cans.
Sputnik has drawn up the list of the five most exotic combat food rations from around the world.
What makes the Australian CR1M (Combat ration one man) so special is that each soldier fills out a form listing exactly what he would like to eat when out in the field.
The choice is really wide: beef barbeque, chicken, tuna with stewed tomatoes and basil, meatballs, spaghetti with hot sauce, chicken puree, fruit syrup, cheddar cheese, raspberry, chocolate candies, chocolate drink, sweet biscuit and many other palate-tickling treats.
The CR1M’s main specialty, however, is Vegemite — a thick, black Australian food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. Vegemite is a must addition to every Australian combat ration pack no matter if its owner likes it or not.
France uses a ration called the “Ration de Combat Individuelle Rechauffable” (Combat Ration Individual Reheatable), or RCIR. The selection of food available to each soldier is sure to make everyone salivate.
Each RCIR meal box contains ready-cooked assorted meats, Creole pork, cream pudding, duck ravioli, meat chili, rabbit casserole, salmon paste, ham with beans and other delicacies which are all canned and can be easily prepared on a disposable folding stove.
Despite its reputation of one of the most affluent countries in Asia and the Pacific, the offerings in Singapore’s combat ration pack are pretty sparse.
They come in three menus: Type M (for Muslims), Type N (for non-Muslims) and Type V (for vegans). The standard Muslim ration consists of soy milk, chicken noodles and red-bean dessert of red beans.
Non-Muslims enjoy beef or ground meat noodles. Vegetarians are offered vegetable ragout. Each ration also includes hard biscuits, powdered juice and vitamins.
The Italian Army’s combat ration is a no-frills affair consisting of pasta and bean soup, beef dumplings, mackerel in olive oil, canned sausages, fruit salad, fruit jelly, sweet and salted crackers, chocolate, salt, vitamin pills, instant coffee, sugar and condensed milk.
Not really mind-blowing, but Italian soldiers enjoy an exclusive privilege of a shot of 50 grams of alcohol, mainly brandy, when on the ground or in combat situations.
Contrary to expectations, sushi is not to be found in Japanese soldiers’ combat ration packs. Moreover, their Type I and Type II menus are even less mouth-watering than in Singapore.
Each pack is intended to feed one soldier three times for 24 hours and consists of two main meals which normally start with 200 grams of rice, which comes in a multitude of forms (straight, with red beans, vegetables, meat, green beans etc.).
The second course normally consists of canned tuna and salmon, hamburgers, spiced chicken and mackerel in tomato sauce.