Although efforts were made by the British army to serve hot cooked food and fresh bread to troops in the field (The Field Service Ration), this wasn’t always possible or practical. Therefore Compo (Composite) rations were issued, each crate containing enough rations for fourteen men for one day.
There were seven basic rations labeled A to G to provide some variety. Now I’ve only ever eaten compo rations on army exercises and I can imagine the novelty soon wore off. When the ration crate was opened whatever wasn’t eaten immediately would be divided among a section to be carried until needed. George McDonald Fraser in his memoir about the Burma Campaign “Quartered Safe Out Here” complains about marching all day while carrying a 7˝ pound tin of pineapple chunks from the compo rations.
In “The British Soldier, Volume 1” Jean Bouchery says that because of difficulties in supply the Field Service ration wasn’t available until late July 44 in North West Europe, so Compo crates would have been very much in evidence in British and Commonwealth Vehicle Stowage in Normandy at any rate.
The Set comes in a ziplock bag inside a cardboard box and contains the following: 10 Compo Ration Crates;
4 sitting flat,
2 on their sides,
2 on end,
2 empty crates with separate lids.
7 large biscuit tins,
8 middle sized biscuit tins –one of which has the lid open and biscuits spilling out.
4 small biscuit tins- two without lids
All of the parts are very crisply cast in a greenish colored resin. There are no air bubbles and the detail is excellent. The walls of the empty crates and the lids are very thinly cast without being weak. The idea of casting some of the crates on end and on their side is a good one as they can be added to vehicle stowage in a variety of ways without showing the lack of detail where the resin plug has been cut away. I also like the open biscuit tin with the biscuits spilling out.
The resin plugs are not too large and should be no problem for anyone with a sharp razor saw. As always remember to take precautions when creating resin dust as inhalation is dangerous. I usually dip my razor saw in water which makes the resin dust clump together and I do all my sanding under water in a shallow tray.
There are no painting instructions included but “The British Soldier, Volume 1” shows the compo crate to be made of unpainted wood with white stenciling. The biscuit tins are green (I would describe it as sap green) with white edges and black lettering.
Although Graham from Resicast is filling out his catalogue with individual stowage sets for many Allied vehicles this is still a very useful set for any British and Commonwealth (& Polish) vehicle or diorama modeler.
Highs: High quality of casting and usefulness.Lows: No lows for me.Verdict: Very useful and cleanly cast set with good detail.
I served three years in the Irish Army.
Then I studied fine art for five years.
Acted professionally since leaving college (Look me up on IMDB- Pat McGrathIII)
Interested in Allied Armour 1942-45 and German SPGs.
Other interests are figures and Sci Fi models