Caramels, it will be recalled, had been tried in 1941 as a substitude for some of the hard candy in the C ration, but had not proven satisfactory. In 1943, however, a new type of caramel, which had been tested for over a year and which it was felt would stand up without turing too hard or crystallizing, was again substituted for some of the hard candy.

Caramels were introduced in the U.S. Army's hierarchy of rations as a candy component in the B units of the C Ration.  Not until early 1943 a satisfactory caramel was developed that had good keeping qualities. When proven popular with the C Ration it was decided to replace the unpopular Malted Milk-Dextrose and Dextrose Tablets in the Dinner unit of the K Ration with the newly developed caramels in the summer of 1943.

caramels contents

A package of caramels should contain no less then five, and not more than eight pieces of candy.

Originally hard candy, like the ones used in the C Ration and other special rations, were considered for substitution of the Malted Milk-Dextrose tablets. However, the production facilities weren't adequate to produce enough for all types of rations.
Only for a very short time mid 1943 (maybe just one production run) a roll of the Assorted Charms were used in the Dinner unit of the K Ration.
So far I have only seen one Dinner unit with the remnants of a roll of Assorted Charms. The hard candies and the label were detoriated and therefor it is hard to tell the size of the packaging, although it appeared to be of the regular 1
3/8 oz. size.

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Probably only one production run the Assorted Charms were included in the Dinner unit. (photo: 1944Supply)

The first caramels used with the K Ration appears to be the caramels produced by Peter Paul, Inc. Eight induvidually cellophane wrapped (chocolate) caramels were placed in a cardboard tray, then overwrapped with cellophane. These trays had a commercial design in red ink. Early production just labeled the candies as Chocolate Caramels, but were soon produced under a new commercial name: Choclettos. These caramels were also used as the candy component in the Partial Dinner Unit of the early 10-in-1 Ration's Menu #2.


A package made by Peter Paul's containing eight pieces of chocolate caramels. (from an early 1944 Dinner unit.)

So far only the choclettos have been found as the candy component from its introduction until the summer of 1944 when Milk Caramels made by the York Caramel Company from Pensylvania were included in the Dinner unit. These caramels were packaged in a tuck-end box with a commercial design printed in brown ink.

Type IV(a) Dinner1

A Dinner unit (mid 1944) with the York Milk Caramels package.

The October 1943 specifications call for two types of caramels being used in the Dinner unit of the K ration.
Type A was a vanilla flavored caramel, and type B was a chocolate flavored caramel. A 2-ounce package was to contain not less than five, and no more than eight induvidual caramels. Different packaging companies were instructed which flavor to include as to create some variety in composition of the Dinner unit.

vanilla caramels contents

Five pieces of vanilla flavored caramels (type A) from an early 1945 Supper unit.

caramels box

A package containing six chocolate flavored caramels (type B) that was sometimes included in the Supper unit instead of the two 1-ounce chocolate bars.

In the fall of 1944 the caramels in the Dinner unit were replaced with a candy bar. At the same time the 2-ounce sweet chocolate bar in the Supper unit was replaced by either two 1-ounce chocolate bars, or one 2-ounce package of caramels. Five, six or eight induvidually cellophane or waxed paper wrapped caramels were placed in a tuck-end cardboard box. The tuck-end could be one or both of the larger panels or the short side panels. On one of the large panels was printed in bold letters the name of the product, with in smaller type set the weight, ingredients and manufacturer.

Caramels (2a)

This package of vanilla flavored caramels (type A) contains eight pieces of candy.

The use of the two sweet chocolate bars, the chocolate flavored caramels, or the vanilla flavored caramels were specified in the contracts with the different packaging companies.