In this fourth Bundeswehr Einmannpackung (EPa) article we look at the batch issued to German troops on field exercise in late 2022, writes Bob Morrison.
First of all, since the third article in this mini-series was penned back in 2019 the gender debate has affected Germany and, after public consultation, the Einmannpackung or One Man Pack has been renamed the One Person Pack. The abbreviation, however, remains as EPa and as the boxed ration pack featured here was ordered and produced before the change it still bears the traditional name.
When I wrote the last article (FR34 ~ New Bundeswehr (Bagged) Einmannpackung) we, both Carl and myself, were a little puzzled about  why it was bagged rather boxed and  why it was produced by the French MoD and included mostly Spanish meal components. We now know that this temporary type of EPa was produced specifically  to feed the various units assigned to the German-led multinational VJTF 2018 to NATO standards in case of deployment and  to cover a German additional production capability gap during this year-long commitment. The Bundeswehr Catering Office, headquartered in Oldenburg since 2001, is responsible for packing and storing the conventional boxed German EPa but it is primarily only equipped for assembling and packing the standard types of ration packs (individual and group) used for routine training exercises.
Externally the latest boxed EPa issue, which Carl picked up late last year during a VJTF 2023 pre-deployment exercise on home soil and then passed on to muggins for an evaluation, does not look much different from the ‘little grey meal box’ reviewed in my second EPa article (FR 33 ~ Bundeswehr Boxed Einmannpackung) but the carton dimensions are slightly different; width and height are the same, but the length is roughly 25mm or 1” longer. Ten different standard Boxed EPa Menus are normally produced, with Typ 1 to Typ 6 having wet retort pouch main meal components and Typ 7 to Typ 10 having freeze-dried meals. Mine was Typ 9 and the contents were mostly vegetarian, though curiously Beef Jerky was included as one of the snacks. I am an omnivore and neither veggie nor vegan, but as vegetarian menu options appear to be less popular with the troops in the field I’m prepared to take a hit for the team if necessary. Incidentally, why do vegan / veggie restaurants almost invariably never include a meat option when it is taken for granted that other restaurants will cater for those who are not carnivorous? Woke double standards?
My first observation on the latest EPa is that the carton was packed with typical German efficiency, resulting in nothing rattling loosely around when the (tape sealed) lid was closed and there being virtually no air gaps when the lid was opened. In the second photo here I have removed all contents and repacked them standing on end, with the accessories pouch placed to one side, purely to show just how much is inside. From the enclosed Contents List, printed in German plus the two standard NATO / OTAN languages of English /and French, we learn that Typ 7 to Typ 10 menus each contain: 2x125g Instant Meal pouches; 1x 80g Muesli pouch; 1x 60g or 1x 30g Dessert pouch; 1x35g pouch of Cookies; 1x 50g Sesame Bar; 4x 35g Energy Bars; 1x 50g Fruit Mix or 1x 35g Banana Chips pouch; 2x 25g Chocolate Bars; 1x 25g Beef Jerky pouch; Assorted Beverages; and various Accessories.
The selection of Beverages provided in each of the four freeze-dried EPa menus is quite extensive, including: 2x Powdered Coffee; 2x Powdered tea; 1x Cappuccino Powder; 2x Vegetable Broth Powder; and 4x Isotonic Drink Powder sachets in different flavours (Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit and Exotic). The Accessories for each EPa, many of which are packed into the medium-sized zip-lock bag intended for rubbish / garbage, should include: 2x Coffee Whitener, 4x Sugar; 2x Salt; Chewing Gum x12; Water Purification Tablets x4, 1x Refreshing Tissue; 2x Multipurpose (Tissue) Paper; and Matches. Some basic Directions for Use, in three languages, are printed on the reverse of the Contents List.
¤ Tissues, Coffee, Tea, Gum, Whitener, Sterilising Tablets, Refreshing Tissue, Vegetable Broth, Salt, Sugar and Cappuccino
¤ The 50g Sesame Bar has three thin layers of seeds welded together with sugar and produces 267kcal of energy… but I suspect it might keep a lot of dentists in business
¤ Two 25g bars of tasty Dark Chocolate are now supplied instead of the previous 50g single bar
¤ Even although the Typ 9 EPa is otherwise vegetarian it includes a pack of Beef Jerky like the other three freeze-dried menu options
¤ Dried Banana Chips provide nutrients but I find them to be rather bland and uninspiring
¤ There are no conventional biscuits or rye bread in this type of EPa but these little cookies are a pleasant enough snack
On the whole I found this freeze-dried German 24-hour ration pack to be quite good, but I was a little surprised by the lack of plain biscuits or rye bread and coffee or jam. That said, the pouches used for the freeze-dried components are of the rather basic old design which, no matter how accurately one measures the water and stirs the contents before/ during / after reconstitution still seem to leave some gritty powder in the corners; my personal dislike!
¤ The Vegetarian Potato & Chervil (Parsley) Pot main course, to which I added the Beef Jerky afterwards
¤ Vegetarian Couscous was the second main meal ~ it was a bit watery after reconstituting and, even though I like couscous and regularly eat it at home and when in Andalucia or Jordan, I found it to be bland
¤ Dessertcreme Zitrone ~ even though I added exactly the right amount of water and stirred it very well several times, there was still gritty powder from the corners of the pouch when I decanted it into my bowl for the photograph [©BM]
Our next task is to try to blag or proff a current German EPa from the Typ 1 to Typ 6 range to sample the Wet Pouch rations, but before that I have a current issue UAE Armed Forces 24-Hour ration pack, produced by Jomipsa, to keep me going.
[images © Bob Morrison unless noted]
- Field Rations 32 ~ Bundeswehr Lightweight Einmannpackung
- Field Rations 33 ~ Bundeswehr Boxed Einmannpackung
- Field Rations 34 ~ New Bundeswehr (Bagged) Einmannpackung
- Field Rations 72 ~ Bundeswehr Einmannpackung 2022