For Part 2 of the Estonian 24-Hour ICR article I am rolling the clock forward about 18 months to rations eaten on KEVADTORM 2017, writes Bob Morrison.
The ration pack photographed here, Menu No.3, was handed to me by the Estonian media team on the first afternoon of my trip, when I visited the Press Information Centre at Tapa to be briefed on the Exercise KEVADTORM 17 (SPRING STORM 17) scenario and on photo opportunities.
Estonia was, of course, one of Britain’s closest allies out in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province during Operation HERRICK and their 24-hour ration packs at that time had a fair bit in common with the UK 24-hour Operational Ration Pack. More recent batches, however, contained tins rather than the retort pouches which early examples contained and they came in a tan MRE-style outer bag rather than a carton. Some sources state that ten Kaitseväe Kuivtoidupakk (Defence Dry Food Pack) menus are available, but when I asked my hosts to provide a definitive answer they told me in mid-2017 there were currently only eight; there are, however, plans to both increase choice and revise contents in the not too distant future. I kept a close eye on the different Menus being eaten in the field – they are issued in cartons of twelve bags of the same Menu – and the highest number I spotted was No.8.
Turning to the contents of Menu No.3, these provided 3,872 kcal of energy and weighed 1.498kg net. I had to speedily photograph the contents outside my accommodation one evening, rather than bringing back with me for a studio shoot, not only because I was right on my luggage weight limit but also as I had returned from the field very late (after the local restaurant kitchen had closed) and I was famished. As mentioned above, cans are supplied in this ration pack rather than retort pouches, but as lightweight alloys are used there is no significant weight penalty.
With a population of just 1.3 million, i.e. half that of Manchester, Estonia does not have a large processed food manufacturing industry so some ration pack contents are imported from other European countries. RANNA ROOTSI is one of the few Estonian food companies and a few of their main dishes, including the Beef Stroganoff with Potatoes from Menu No.3 (and the Beef Broth) were included in both the Kaitseväe Kuivtoidupakk individual combat ration and the Kaitseväe Jaopakk squad ration (which I have briefly covered in a separate article). However the Reisfleisch (pork, rice, tomato & spices) can was produced by FELIX from Austria and the Chicken Paste can was produced by HAMÉ from the Czech Republic. All were high quality and substantial, though maybe a little bland as hot spices don’t interest Baltic palates.
[ Images © Bob Morrison ]
[ Images © Bob Morrison ]