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2LT Robert Dea Peterson Jr.
WWII POW Journal - Stalag Luft 1 - Barth, Germany

429th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)
 2nd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force, Foggia, Italy
B-17F "Lydia Pinkham" - Aircraft Serial # 42-5409

D Ration (D-Bar)

Specifications governing the composition of the D ration were only slightly changed during the entire life of the ration. The ingredients were chocolate, sugar, dry milk, cacao fat, oat flour, and flavoring-a mixture providing 600 calories per bar. Some changes in packaging requirements were necessitated by material shortages and by suggestions for improvement. In 1944, when emphasis was given to use of the bar as a supplement to other rations, a half-size or two-ounce bar was introduced to provide a smaller unit.

The D ration was procured in quantity almost from its inception. The 600,000 rations purchased in 1941 were followed by 117,800,000 rations in 1942. By then, the volume on hand was so great that the rations were stockpiled overseas and none procured in 1943. A final procurement of 52 million rations was made in 1944.

Misuse of the D ration as a combat food led to its unpopularity and replacement before the end of the war by the C and K rations. In 1945, it was classified as "limited-standard" and recommendations followed that the governing specification be cancelled.

Utilization of the oversea stockpile of D rations was of concern to The Quartermaster General early in 1945 when he requested that the Laboratory study the possibility of using excess D bars in some acceptable food product for Army or civilian feeding. The Laboratory asked candy manufacturers for recommendations regarding such utilization and also queried them on their ability to absorb some of the bars. Industry offered no suggestions and naturally was reluctant to take over the rations on hand. The oat flour in the chocolate and the cost of stripping the wrappers from the bars were understandable reasons for this reluctance. It was suggested that excess bars be unwrapped by prisoners-of-war, packed in containers, and shipped to plants for reprocessing into a chocolate confection that could be used for emergency feeding of civilians in war areas.

A salient omission in the development of the ration had been the lack of a program to inform the user of the purpose of the bar. There was in consequence little effort to confine the D ration to its proper place as an emergency food. While it admirably met the requirements for an emergency pack as to weight and space, was nutritionally adequate, and had good storage and keeping qualities, it was not a popular item. Misuse of it added to this unpopularity. The D bar nevertheless had been the ration that led the way to the intensive research conducted in Army subsistence during the war.