Soldiers called the military chocolate bar “Hitler’s Secret Weapon”.
War makes even chocolate taste bad
The D ration was the first military chocolate ration bar commissioned by the United States Army.
Milton Hershey was given four strict requirements for the D ration bar in 1937.
The bar must:
- Weigh 4 ounces (113.4 g)
- Be high in food energy value
- Be able to withstand high temperatures
- Taste “a little better than a boiled potato” (to keep soldiers from eating their emergency rations in non-emergency situations)
Captain Paul Logan’s idea was not to make them too tasty, so the soldiers would only use them for emergencies.
The chocolate bars used cocoa fat instead of cocoa powder and skim milk powder instead of the usual milk fat.
Stabilized with oat flour, the bars didn’t exactly melt in troops’ mouths.
Soldiers often had to shave off parts of the chocolate to eat it because it was too hard to chew.
You can imagine what it did to their insides!
The bar was so indestructible that Hershey couldn’t melt it enough to fit into standard chocolate bar molds.
Instead, the sludgy chocolate goop had to be kneaded into specially-made ones.
Each soldier would receive three bars as his full day’s provisions.
This added up to a daily 1,800 calories even in emergency situations.
A reformulated, slightly tastier version, the Hershey’s Tropical Chocolate Bar, kept Americans fighting through World War II.
There was one plus.
The Tropical bar “was the only ration those ill with dysentery could tolerate.”