C RATIONS, INVDIVIDUAL COMBAT MEALS CASE OF 12 MEALS.
A United States Airman’s Meal, Combat, Individual ration (also called a C-Ration). The C-Ration, or Type C ration, was an individual canned, pre-cooked, and prepared wet ration. It was intended to be issued to U.S. military land forces when fresh food (A-ration) or packaged unprepared food (B-ration) prepared in mess halls or field kitchens was not possible or not available, and when a survival ration (K-ration or D-ration) was insufficient. Development began in 1938 with the first rations being field tested in 1940 and wide-scale adoption following soon after. Operational conditions often caused the C-ration to be standardized for field issue regardless of environmental suitability or weight limitations.
The C-Ration was replaced in 1958 with the Meal Combat Individual (MCI). Although officially a new ration, the MCI was derived from and very similar to the original C-Ration, and in fact continued to be called “C-Rations” by American troops throughout its production life as a combat ration (1958–1980).