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"How Ice Cream Helped America at War" Topic

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550 hits since 6 Aug 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0107 Aug 2017 9:09 p.m. PST

"For decades, the military made sure soldiers had access to the treat—including spending $1 USD million on a floating ice-cream factory.

In 1944, a Warner Bros. cartoon euphemized World War II through Bugs Bunny and ice cream. Marooned in the Pacific under Japanese attack, Bugs commandeers an ice-cream truck and begins handing out "Good Rumor" bars, which turn out to be chocolate-covered grenades. The bars explode, and Bugs drives off. "Business is booming," he cracks…"
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Big fan of it…


jdginaz07 Aug 2017 10:38 p.m. PST

I well remember watching that cartoon in the '60 and would really like to get a copy of it. Unfortunately it seems to cartoon-non-grata de to it's portrayal of the Japanese soldiers.

Tango0108 Aug 2017 9:17 a.m. PST



Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 10:03 a.m. PST

I remember reading in a book on the US battleship Washington that such ships came equipped with ice cream machines. The Washington had a guy aboard who had made ice cream before the war, so she had the best in the fleet. Destroyers needing to refuel all tried to hook up to the Washington, since a refueling always included a few gallons of ice cream being passed over.

JonFreitag08 Aug 2017 2:29 p.m. PST

Great story, Mark!

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 2:40 p.m. PST

More on the OP:


How The Navy's Ban On Booze Birthed A Million-Dollar Floating Ice Cream Parlor

"Though the Navy only formally banned alcohol for six years until the advent of Prohibition, went wild for ice cream… and stayed that way for generations. Ice cream only gained more cultural significance as a salve for low troop morale during the long overseas deployments World War II."

Here we see a slightly different perspective. Not so much the industry association pushing ice cream onto the military for its medicinal value, but rather the military (in this case the USN) pulling for ice cream during prohibition as a replacement for the booze ration.

Who knew?

(aka: Mk 1)

jdginaz08 Aug 2017 9:49 p.m. PST

The crew of the submarine USS Trigger installed a ice cream maker in their engine room.


Blutarski09 Aug 2017 3:23 a.m. PST

According to my father, who served as a destroyerman in the Pacific, the return of a ditched aviator to his parent carrier was worth five gallons of ice cream in exchange.

Ice cream also served as a useful medium of barter exchange for alcoholic beverages carried aboard British and ANZAC ships.

Also read an interesting story in a self-published personal history of a USMC flyer who served with a land-based Corsair squadron in the Pacific. How do you make ice cream without refrigeration? Simple. You mix the ingredients, put the mix into a Corsair, take off and climb up to about 20,000ft for X minutes, come back down with cold jungle ice cream.

Why was ice cream so popular? Think of the huge number of young kids serving in the navy.


Ottoathome09 Aug 2017 5:23 a.m. PST

Son't forget M&M's! too!

It was engineered to "melt in your mouth, not in your hands" with the thin sugar shell so it could be handed out by the bushel full to servicemen.

So next time you go to the store make sure to pick up a few gallons of ice cream and a bushel of M&M's in support of the boys of the greatest generation.

On a grimmer note the story about the icecream was in a book on the USS Massachusetts. It also noted that freezers of the American Battleships were cavernous, and those on British ships quite small. One day, I believe it was the Duke of York who pulled up alongside and took a tour of the vessel. The British were astounded. It also mentioned that the food on the American ships compared to the British were beyond the dreams of gluttony. They traded some and the Americans would up throwing most of the British food overboard. That's not a dig at the British. It shows how hard the British had it and what they ate for three years and still fought on. It also shows the tremendous productive power of American farms and the American agricultural sector.

The writer of the book said how American Servicemen noted how filthy the British Battleship was compared to their own spanking neat ship. He said "In one year we were the same" by that time all they really were interested in was keeping the guns working.

But you knew all that from the "Chocolate Cake incident" in the Battle of the Bulge.

Correct, Blutarski, it was popular because it was a link with home and soda fountains and Jane or Suzie back home and happier times.

LORDGHEE09 Aug 2017 7:24 a.m. PST

In the 90's it was a status symbol for a sparks in the Navy to be able to speak Kingon. when board and on duty the different ships sparks would talk in the clear in Klingon.

One day a sparks wanted to trade of some Ice cream. (about 1/2 a ton,

a three way conversation started up involing Ice Cream, beef and something.

It finally dawn on the 2 Americans that the third party was a Serb who really wanted that Ice Cream.

The Americans declined even with the Serb assuring that the landing transport would be safe, I mean it is Ice Cream.

After word they became more careful in their communications.

What is the Klingon word for Ice Cream?

Mobius09 Aug 2017 8:29 a.m. PST

I remember reading about the results of a naval battle the ice cream machine of a US warship was knocked out. How, this had a morale effect on the crew.

My dad was an electrician on a cargo ship in the South Pacific and hung out on hot days way down in the refrigeration compartment (near the ice cream) to keep cool.

Blutarski09 Aug 2017 10:50 a.m. PST

"I remember reading about the results of a naval battle the ice cream machine of a US warship was knocked out."

Yes. That is going to be in the next edition of the Seekrieg naval wargame rules … obligatory morale check.



Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP10 Aug 2017 5:56 a.m. PST

Navy wasnt the only ones making ice cream in the Pacific

And of course the Air Corps in Europe got in on it

Never underestimate the ingenuity of the American soldier/sailor/airman/Marine

Walking Sailor11 Aug 2017 7:17 a.m. PST

In the South West Pacific Area a USN sub burned out the electric motor on the ice cream maker while charging batteries. On the next cruise, they had to check with the cook before charging.

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