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24th Century Soldier Rations: Diet of the Commonwealth Minutemen

fallout 2 - 24th Century Soldier Rations: Diet of the Commonwealth Minutemen
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(I'm bored at home, and want to get some of my thoughts making up my fan-verse, used for fanfics and tabletop games, on paper instead of in my head)

As several Pre-War military thinkers are attributed to have said, "an army marches on its stomach", and that statement remains as true in the 24th century as it did in the 18th and 19th. The issue of supply was one of the several reasons for the falling-out of the nascent Commonwealth and the Brotherhood of Steel in 2296, and it was largely the logistical efficiencies of the Minutemen compared to other military forces that led to the Commonwealth expanding to cover much of New England in the present day (2375).

The current system of military rations was implemented in 2305 by action of the Military Affairs Committee of the Commonwealth General Court (the legislative branch of government), and has largely remained the same for 70 years. Designed to be simple-yet-functional, easy to provide in large quantities yet comprehensive in nutrition and energy, the "food ration" of the Commonwealth Minutemen is outlined below:

There are several different "types" of rations, differing in the frequency of issuing, the amounts and types of food issued, and the level of military organization being issued to. Broadly speaking, issued rations can be divided into three categories: "Per Man, Per Day", "Per Man, Per Week", and "Per Company, Per Week".

  • Per Man Ration(s): These rations are what is issued to the individual soldier, either once a day or once per week. (In effect, both rations are usually issued per-week), and expected to be carried on the soldiers person as part of their standard kit.
    • Per Man, per Day:
      • Each Commonwealth Minuteman is to be issued, per day, 1 lb of meat, 1 lb of bread, 1 qt of milk, and either 1 guart of beer (in-garrison) or 1/2 pint of whiskey (on-patrol).
  1. The meat component is either fresh (in-garrison) or preserved (on-patrol), and is usually beef, pork or fish.
  2. The bread component is either fresh-baked (in-garrison) or issued as "ship crackers", of flour (razorgrain or cornmeal), water and salt.
  3. The milk component is either fresh (in-garrison) or issued as cheese (on-patrol)
  4. The alcohol component is ordinarily issued at the discretion of the commanding officer of the Regiment, and is normally mixed with an amount of water to bring the total volume of liquid up to a gallon. Only in-garrison will the alcohol ration be issued neat.
  • Per Man, Per Week:
    • Each Commonwealth Minuteman is to be issued, per week, 3 lbs of dried peas/beans, 1 quart of vinegar, 1/4 lb of salt, 2lbs of pickled cabbage, and 1 lb of vegetables.
  1. The dried legume component will usually be dried and compressed into blocks
  2. The vinegar component will either be of the malt variety or of various-Mutfruit sources
  3. The pickled cabbage component is issued to prevent the spread of scurvy
  4. The vegetable component is usually issued preserved, as potatoes, carrots and carrots.
  • Per Company Rations: These rations are issued to the Company, and are usually not food, instead being materiel required for continued field operations and the health of the soldiers:
    • Soap
    • Candles and Lamp Fuel
    • Fodder for any pack-Brahmin
    • Cleaning equipment for weapons
    • Cooking equipment

In addition to these issued rations, Commonwealth Minutemen are allowed, and perhaps even expected, to procure additional rations through the use of private purchases, foraging and so forth. Chicken and eggs, fresh produce, hunted Radstag venison, Radrabbit, coffee and tobacco and alcohol, etc are all common and popular, and it is common for the quartermaster staff at the Regimental level to purchase additional non-issued-ration items (with a corresponding deduction in pay, which many soldiers do not actually mind too much) in order to keep soldiers content.

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-The Matter of Cooking:

Each Regiment of the Minuteman Regulars has attached to its Regimental HQ is a "Supply Company", rear-echelon troops that handle support detail for the combat-soldiers. From caring for pack-Brahmin to doing laundry, the Supply Personnel do most of the background scut-work that allow the Minutemen to do their jobs, and most soldiers do not disparage them too much. One of these essential duties is the preparation of meals.

As above, meals in the Commonwealth Minutemen can be divided into two broad types: in-garrison and on-patrol. In a garrison setting,such as a build-up fort where there are facilities like stoves and bakeries and the like, Minutemen can enjoy meals made with fresh ingredients, such as fresh-baked bread, butter and milk, soups and stews and hash and roasts and suchlike. Outside of these encampments, however, where cooking facilities are lacking, the soldiers are largely limited to cooking over an open fire, usually with just a pot to boil things in. And when soldiers are out on patrol, where the Supply personnel normally do not follow, the combat-personnel themselves are obligated to cook. In these cases, most soldiers cook on the squad-level, combining rations in order to make food for the entire group. Since cooking abilities vary from soldier to soldier, most meals are very simple: Minutemen usually end an enlistment unable to eat a bowl of
New England boiled dinner - 24th Century Soldier Rations: Diet of the Commonwealth MinutemenNew England Boiled Dinner or
Cabbage and Bacon again.

-The Matter of Logistics:

During the nascent years of the Commonwealth, when the early Minuteman militias worked alongside (and eventually against) the Brotherhood of Steel, the importance of a well-developed logistical network was stamped into the minds of Minuteman officers. The Commonwealth didn't necessarily have to have better soldiers than its opponents, it just had to be able to outlast them, a point that was firmly proven when the Brotherhood of Steel were soundly defeated in the Second Siege of Boston largely due to their high logistical demands and poor networks-of-supply. Such a lesson became an integral part of the Minuteman's operating procedure, and the success of the Commonwealth Minutemen today is not because they are such elite forces (not to say that they are poor soldiers, of course.), but because they have the beans, bullets, boys and bandages in the field, where it counts, when it counts, and are able to stay fighting for longer than any opponents they have encountered so far. Part of this is because the Minutemen Regulars (the professional standing forces of the Commonwealth) are required to carry a weeks-worth of supply on them, but the other reasons for their well-developed logistical networks is due to the implementation of regular supply-depots across the Commonwealth and through the actions of the Commonwealth Navy.

There are numerous supply-depots scattered across the Commonwealth, normally not more than an average days march apart, stockpiled with ammunition, medical supplies (alcohol and bandages, normally),fuel and fodder and food-rations. These depots are guarded by the Militia Companies of the Towns and Counties they are a part of, and one of the more-important responsibilities of the Militia(s) of the Commonwealth Minutemen is to safeguard these depots from attack and to bring the supplies to where they are needed. Acting in concert with the Commonwealth Navy and the Militias, it is theoretically possible for a unit of the Commonwealth Minutemen to receive regular resupply of all necessary materiel within 3 days, which for the Post-War Wasteland is very fast indeed.

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