Iron Rations


I get asked quite a bit about Otto, the main character in my new novel, Paper Boats. Particularly, I get asked questions about what he wore and how he survived in regard to what he ate.

Otto mostly ate anything he could find during his travels. But when he was on his missions during the war years he ate the common German soldiers "Iron rations." While it does vary, the basic iron ration was a 300-gram tin of meat and one 150-gram unit of a bread-like product. The meat ration could be from a number meats, chicken, roast beef, pork or yes, horsemeat. There was even a ration that was labeled “Fleischkonserve," which assured the soldier that the contents were a “canned meat” of some origin. The bread could be of three types: a cracker type product, a bread-like biscuit and a bread-like biscuit that was more like a cracker.

I talk more about this in the book, but you’ll have to read it to see what the characters really thought of their food!

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