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TenthA86
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[REF] Cocoa Unit

Thu Dec 21, 2006 03:39

In assembling an aid station, I see reference to a Cocoa Unit, but cannot find this in the TO&E or in the database. None of my manuals expound on this, except to say it's to offer to shell-shock patients & to warm litter berarers before they return to the field.

Anyone with a photo or details they can share?

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Ben
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Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:26

Dave,

I too have often wondered what the Cocoa Unit was, which is mentioned in the various Manuals. I checked my Medical Supply Catalog, and couldn'd find anything which looked like it could be a Cocoa Unit.

However, I remember some time ago seeing an Aid-station Beverage Pack, which I believe could be the item. The photo below shows the pack, and I have also included a short description about the pack:

Image

The aid-station beverage-pack supplement was designed for application at forward-area aid-stations as supportive subsistence for battle casualties and exhaustion cases. Interest of the Laboratory in the initial development concerned the assembly and packaging of components designated by The Surgeon General. Components included coffee, tea, cocoa beverage powder, evaporated milk, and sugar. Accessory items included plastic sippers, a can opener, and toilet paper. As ultimately developed, the supplement provided ingredients for the preparation of 290 twelve-ounce drinks.

A forerunner of the supplement was the B-C (Battle-Casualty or Bouillon-Cigarette ration) kit containing cigarettes, bouillon cubes, and matches. The packaging of the B~C was assigned to the Laboratory in 1944. Field experience revealed that the kit was inadequate as far as providing desired hot drinks and it was recommended that a new pack, containing coffee, cocoa, sugar, bouillon, and paper cups, form the basis for a new specification. Approximately 9,000 cases of the aid-station pack were procured before the end of 1945.

The ration was standardized for issue to ground battalion aid stations in 1944 and ever since then has maintained a "standard item" classification. Postwar interest in the ration was casual although it must be noted that a Marine Corps research report, completed just as the war ended, indicated that the aid station had potential peacetime use. The report agreed that the pack did "not represent an essential item during peacetime," but suggested applications in maneuvers, by airplane crews and rescue craft, and for parachute supply to isolated units.


I can't say for sure that this is the Cocoa Unit that is referred to in the manuals, but I have a strong suspicion that it either is the unit, or replaced it later on in the war.

Hope that helps,
Ben

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Cocoa Unit

Sat Dec 23, 2006 04:02

From what I have learned about the mysterious Cocoa Unit it was actually a very large metal insulated beverage dispenser. It was basically a hold over from WW1. The thought at the time was that a warm beverage provided a shock supressing effect as well as physical warmth in cold conditions. The cocoa which was very strong, thick and sweet was a natural stimulant, was easy to drink as it was sugary, and the sugar provided energy (though short lived) in the high calories per ounce it provided. The draw backs were warming, preparing, ect. which is why it eventually yeilded the the Medical Beverage Pack that Ben posted above. This information is not documented anywhere that I can find, but has been pieced together anecdotally over the years, by reading period texts and talking with vets.
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Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:49

Roger et al,

Thanks for your reply mate, I havent really ever seen an image of the large "cocoa earn". Whilst looking through some pictures I had, I found this one. I believe that the red circled item is the Cocoa Unit, although cannot confirm this (the image shows the detail for a Battalion Aid Station, complete with its transport in the form of two 1/4 Ton Trucks).

Image

Hope that helps, and thanks for your contribution Doc,
Ben[/img]

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Cocoa unit

Sat Dec 23, 2006 18:19

Ben:

Thanks for the photo. That's the first hint I've seen for what it might look like. The later-war beverage pack may be easier to reproduce, but I'll still need a hot-water source. Maybe I'll use the sterilizer stove & a 5 lb coffee can, with the beverage pack below the table.
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Sun Dec 24, 2006 00:13

Yes, That would be a picture of the Cocoa Unit in the BAS assembly. I can shoot a pic of mine if you would like. I purchased it many years ago at a gun show as a WW2 "Cocoa Dispenser". I have never been ever to verify if that was really what it was or not as I have never seen a photo of one up close and personal, just at a distance. It basically looks like a galveneal metal water can with a brass spigot. It was painted in OD with no other markings other than unit markings. No MD-USA, property marks, mfg, nothing. These may have been commercially obtained insulated beverage cans that were procured by the QM and supplied to the units without further specification. Many items were like that, such as lanterns.

Anyway, as Forrest Gump says, " and that's all I know about that".

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Sun Dec 24, 2006 00:48

A photo would be great! Then I'd know what I'm looking for

Dave Little
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Sun Dec 24, 2006 15:09

Roger,

I too would love to see some pictures of the Cocoa unit in your collection. I was thinking of either trying to locate one, or failing that have a go at mocking something up which resembled one.

Thanks in advance for your contribution,
Ben

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Tue Jan 02, 2007 05:00

Guys, I whipped out a quick article on the Cocoa Unit, it has pics as well. Look for it in the Articles and Links Area.

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Tue Jan 02, 2007 06:57

senility sucks! I cannot find it - will try again tomorrow!
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Tue Jan 02, 2007 07:26

TenthA86 wrote:senility sucks! I cannot find it - will try again tomorrow!


Here you go Tenth, I'll make it easier for you:

http://www.med-dept.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37
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Tue Jan 02, 2007 14:25

Outstanding article! May I print it & include in my unit documentation?
David J. Little

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Tue Jan 02, 2007 16:17

I have no problems with you using the article on your site, providing that Doc Dean doesn't mate. Please do quote him as the author, and if you would like to link from here, please use this address:

http://www.med-dept.com/resources/The Cocoa Unit.pdf

Please include a mention about the site if you choose to link from us :)

Many thanks,
Ben

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Tue Jan 02, 2007 19:52

No problems with using the article at all. After all that is what it is there for.

Thanks for asking!!
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Thu Jan 04, 2007 07:08

to both of you - THANKS for a great article and an outstanding site!
David J. Little

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