On June 6, 1944, some 150,000 American, Canadian, and British soldiers landed on the coast of Normandy in France during what was known as D-Day Invasion. In their pockets were an essential tool of survival: bars of chocolate.

Hershey’s chocolate is one of the leading chocolate brands in the market. You often see these chocolate bars and kisses just before checking out your grocery items. These delightful treats also surprisingly played a vital role during the Second World War, and here’s how:

Anything But a Boiled Potato

Army Capt. Paul Logan “demanded light field rations for paratroopers during their long field deployment. The meal needed to be indestructible, pocket-sized, heat-resistant, and highly nutritious,” as The Vintage News wrote. So in April 1937, he met with the president of Hershey’s Chocolate, William Murrie, and Sam Hinkle, their chief chemist, to discuss making these rations possible. According to Sam Hinkle, the US government wanted the chocolate bars to weigh 4 ounces, withstand high temperates, provide high energy, and “taste a little better than a boiled potato.” They wanted to make it palatable instead of tasty so that soldiers would only eat them in emergency situations and not when they are craving sweets. 

Only the Army would specifically ask for chocolate that doesn’t taste good to give to their own troops.