Army Ration Packs: What Food Do Our Troops Eat On The Frontline? (PICTURES)

"An army marches on its stomach", declared French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte back in 1800s, and indeed it still does.

Though the armies of yesteryear had to make do without mini bottles of Tabasco sauce (a staple in UK ration packs today), packets of Rowntree's Tooty Frooties (Norway), and a breakfast shot of 40% alcohol cordiale (the Italians,) they did enjoy some tasty comforts.

Nutritious beef tea, mutton broth, brawn, potato pie and duff pudding were often standard fare on the Western Front, wrote Andrew Robertshaw, researcher and curator at the Royal Logistic Corps Museum, in his 2013 book Feeding Tommy: Battlefield Recipes from the First World War.

The UK army ration pack includes Typhoo teabags and Polo mints

Meanwhile today's fascinating smorgasbord of international cuisines was collated by The Guardian and involved collecting meal packets from countries with soldiers in Kabul for a charity dinner in aid of schools in Afghanistan.

The packs, known as meals ready to eat or MREs, replaced canned food in 1981 for soldiers in combat zones or areas where field kitchens cannot be set up (indeed the majority of these packs include disposable heaters to warm up food).

And one item which could also soon be appearing in these packs is what researchers have dubbed "the holy grail" of ready-to-eat meals for soldiers - a pizza that can remain good enough to eat for three years.

Earlier this month, researchers at a U.S. military lab in Massachusetts announced they were closing in on a recipe that doesn't require any refrigeration or freezing, the Associated Press reported.

"You can basically take the pizza, leave it on the counter, packaged, for three years and it'd still be edible," said Michelle Richardson, a food scientist at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Until the day three-year pizza becomes a reality, here's what frontline troops will feast on in the meantime.


Army Rations