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The complete ration of German soldiers during WW2

ration of German soldiers

This article is about the rations of German soldiers.


Unfortunately, the author was unable to find regulatory German documents regarding the nutrition of German soldiers. The given data are taken from secondary sources, therefore they cannot claim absolute accuracy and completeness. As far as it turned out to be possible, through cross-comparisons, in the opinion of the author, it was possible to fairly accurately reveal the picture of the nutrition of the Wehrmacht military both before the start of the war and during it.

Nutrition ration of German soldiers

All the norms described below refer only to the Wehrmacht Ground Forces (Das Heeres) and do not affect either the Waffen SS, the Luftwaffe, or the German Navy. In addition, only those norms are given that the rear services were obliged to issue to soldiers through the line, so to speak, of centralized supply.

It is known that in the occupied territories the Wehrmacht had the right to confiscate food from the local population in order to improve the provision of its soldiers in excess of the established norms. However, it remains unclear what share of the seized food was to be accounted for and sent to Germany, what was to be transferred to the centralized provision of the troops located in this territory, and what part of the food the military units could seize without accounting.

There is no doubt that the robbery of food from the local population was officially allowed. This is clearly stated in the relevant directive and a number of archival documents.
In any case, a German soldier who took away a cow or a wild boar from a Belarusian peasant was not subject to any punishment.

Daily menu of Wehrmacht soldiers

The breakfast of a German soldier (we are now talking about food in peacetime and in wartime, but not in positions) consisted of only a piece of bread (about 350-400 grams) and a mug of coffee without sugar. Dinner differed from breakfast only in that, in addition to coffee and bread, the soldier also received a piece of sausage (100 grams), or three eggs, or a piece of cheese and something to spread on bread (butter, lard, margarine).

The soldier received the bulk of his daily ration for lunch, which consisted of meat soup, a very large portion of potatoes, often just boiled (one and a half kilograms) with a fairly large portion of meat (about 140 grams) and a small amount of vegetables in the form of various salads. At the same time, the soldiers did not receive bread for lunch.

The daily rate of food issuance of the Ground Forces of the Wehrmacht per day as of 1939 for units located in the barracks

Bread750 gr
Cereals (semolina, rice)8.6 gr
Pasta2.86 gr
Meat (beef, veal, pork)118.6 gr
Sausage42.56 gr
Lard bacon17.15 gr
Animal and vegetable fats28.56 gr
Cow butter 21.43 gr
Margarine14.29 gr
Sugar21.43 gr
Ground coffee15.72 gr
Tea4 gr per Week
Cocoa powder20 gr per Week
Potato1500 gr
-or beans365 gr
Vegetables (celery, peas, carrots, kohlrabi)142.86 gr
-or canned vegetables21.43 gr
Apples1 per Week
Pickles1 per Week
Milk20 gr per Week
Cheese21.57 gr
Eggs3 pcs per Week
Canned fish (sardines in oil)1 can per Week
Daily ration of German soldiers

Weekly ration of German soldiers

Of course, all these products are not issued daily, but in such a way that something can be prepared from them. For example, milk is used to make milk soup once a week. All three eggs are given out in one of the dinners.

In order for the reader, who is not too well versed in the intricacies of food security, to see all this in a more understandable form, below I give the weekly menu of Wehrmacht soldiers of one of the Wehrmacht infantry regiments on the eve of World War II. Weight indicates the amount of the main product put into the boiler.

For example, it says “Rice soup-20g.” This means that 20 grams of rice per serving are put into the cauldron for cooking this soup. Soup is cooked in meat broth, the meat from which is taken out and used to prepare the second course. At the output, the weight of a portion of soup is somewhere around 0.5-0.7 liters.

MonCoffee – 10gr.
Bread – 350g.
Rice soup – 20g.
Beef goulash, fat – 130g., 20g.
Boiled potatoes – 1500g.
Celery salad with oil and vinegar – 200g.
Coffee – 10gr.
Bread – 400gr.
Lard (fuel fat) – 50g.
Liver sausage – 100g.
TueCoffee – 10gr.
Bread – 350g.
Semolina soup – 20g.
Roast veal, fat – 140g., 20g.
Boiled potatoes – 1500g.
Peas with carrots – 200g.
Tea, sugar – 2g.,50g.
Bread – 400gr.
Butter cow – 50g.
Cheese – 100g.
WedCoffee – 10gr.
Bread – 350g.
Soup with pasta – 20gr.
Cue balls, fat – 140g., 20g.
Boiled potatoes – 1500g.
Spinach with bacon -200g.
Coffee – 10gr.
Bread – 400gr.
Margarine – 50g.
Eggs – 3 pcs.
ThuCoffee – 10gr.
Bread – 350g.
Суп  рисовый – 20гр.
Жаркое свиное – 140гр., 20гр. 
Отварной картофель – 1500гр.
Огурец соленый -1шт.
Coffee – 10gr.
Bread – 400gr.
Lard – 50g.
Pork sausage – 100g.
FriCoffee – 10gr.
Bread – 350g.
Canned vegetable soup – 30g.
Roast beef – 140g., 20g.
Boiled potatoes – 1500g.
Kohlrabi cabbage -200g.
Tea, sugar – 2g.,50g.
Bread – 400gr.
Butter cow – 50g.
Edam cheese – 100g.
SatCoffee – 10gr.
Bread – 350g.
Bean soup – 170g.
Lard – 120g.
Boiled potatoes – 800g.
Kohlrabi cabbage – 200g.
Coffee – 10gr.
Bread – 400gr.
Margarine – 50g.
Sardines in oil – 1 can
SunCoffee – 10gr.
Bread – 350g.
Milk soup – 20g.
Cutlets pork chops, fat – 140g., 20g.
Boiled potatoes – 800g.
Apple mousse – 200g.
Cocoa, sugar – 20g.,50g.
Bread – 400gr.
Butter cow – 50g.
Sausage – 100g.
Typical weekly ration of German soldiers

The cost of a soldier’s daily ration products was 1.35 – 1.50 Reichsmarks.

As you can see, there is no particular variety in the menu of Wehrmacht soldiers canteen. One single type of side dish is boiled potatoes. From morning to afternoon, the soldier is hungry and even goes to bed on an empty stomach. In fact, hot food is only once a day – at lunchtime. A soldier drinks sweet tea or cocoa only twice a week. There are no porridges, no jelly, no vegetable side dishes, and no fish. Although, in general, the diet meets the standards – 3600 kilocalories per day.

But this is all food, so to speak, in a hospital, i.e. in the barracks in peacetime or in the rear on vacation. Food in combat conditions is built a little differently. And we will talk about it in our next article.


The German army ratio was similar to its European counterparts at the time. It was almost identical in calories but had a better variety of products in it. Most other countries didn’t supply their soldiers with such products as cheeses and sausages. Overall it seems like a reasonable ration, just a little too heavy on potatoes and bread.


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2.R.D.Muller. Die Mobilisierung der Deutschen Wirtschaft fur Hitlers Kriegfuhrung. MGFA (Hrsg.). Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg. Band 5: Organisation und Mobilisierung des deutschen Machtbereichs. Teilband 1: Kriegsverwaltung, Wirtschaft und personelle Ressourcen 1939 – 1941. Stuttgart 1988.
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6. H.Dv 86/1 – Vorschrift fur die Verpflegung der Wehrmacht bei besonderem Einsatz.
7. H.Dv. 130/19 – Versorgung im Grenadier – Regiment (Entwurf 1945).