Author Topic: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation  (Read 20770 times)

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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2014, 15:22:22 »
Let me offer a couple of points, the second one is germane, the first rather less so.

First, body armour was available in the Canadian Army in the Second World War, but most troops preferred not to wear it. The reasons were that it was very heavy and only protected the upper thorax so the groin, etc were unprotected. I think George Blackburn mentioned it in one of his books and there is a picture of it in another book by, I think, Service Publications.

Second, almost thirty years ago a DLR officer involved in the body armour project mentioned a post-Second World War casualty study done by the medics that concluded that fatal casualties could be reduced by x percent, I can't recall the figure but it was significant. Now, this figure was based on a Second World War battlefield where most of the wounds were caused by splinters from artillery and mortars. Would this also apply in other types of conflicts? I dunno.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2014, 21:24:18 »
Ah well, that was the equivalent of body armour


.....to hear some tell it.    ;)

And, as my Pl Sgt noted,  2 pints, a hot meal and a BJ  ;D
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2014, 21:29:10 »
My question for the infanteers:  If the decision were made to engage the enemy without body armour (for example, as suggested above, responding to a mortar attack immediately with webbing, rifle and ammo), would there be any negative psychological effect?  I mean a greater perceived fear of injury without the armour, that could result in less effective action by the soldier?  Are our soldiers now so used to fighting with the armour that they would feel exposed without it?

If you're in the infantry, you've already failed the psychology test ;D
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2014, 23:02:56 »
Quote
My question for the infanteers:  If the decision were made to engage the enemy without body armour (for example, as suggested above, responding to a mortar attack immediately with webbing, rifle and ammo), would there be any negative psychological effect?  I mean a greater perceived fear of injury without the armour, that could result in less effective action by the soldier?  Are our soldiers now so used to fighting with the armour that they would feel exposed without it?

Under some circumstances, it would be better for the soldiers to take positive action. The perceived ability to do something and to make a positive change (drive off, kill or capture the enemy mortar team) may actually override any fear or doubts that the soldiers might have. OTOH, this isn't something you can do all the time, the enemy will also adapt their tactics, perhaps using a mortar to draw your troops into an ambush.

The larger issue is that organizations have become more risk adverse. This is reflected in policies like wearing armour under all circumstances, both to shield the chain of command from having to deal with negative fallout from taking "unnecessary" losses and to demonstrate that the proper process is being followed (regardless if the "tick in the box" actually makes sense). This sort of one size fits all solution is similar to an earlier idea where BMI was the single "number" that demonstrated "fitness". People who's BMI was over 35 were put on warning for being "unfit", even if their BMI was a product of being a body builder or heavily muscled athlete...

I remember a similar contrast when I was in the sandbox. While Canadians went out in LAV's and RG-31's, and Americans moved out in up armoured HMMVW's, the British would drive around in Land Rover 110's and armour them by throwing a Kevlar blanket on the floor. The Land Rover's were much lighter and able to go down side trails where the larger armoured vehicles could not, and discouraged enemy action by bristling with weapons. The Jackal patrol vehicles that I saw just prior to leaving took the idea even further, being platforms with a machine gun seemingly on every corner. Was the British solution really "better"? Or was it just a different way of approaching the same problem?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2014, 00:30:05 »
This video is instructive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w846UcmIo5o

138 ilbs carried by a 175lb C9 gunner

Really?  :o
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #30 on: July 19, 2014, 07:02:29 »
Under some circumstances, it would be better for the soldiers to take positive action. The perceived ability to do something and to make a positive change (drive off, kill or capture the enemy mortar team) may actually override any fear or doubts that the soldiers might have. OTOH, this isn't something you can do all the time, the enemy will also adapt their tactics, perhaps using a mortar to draw your troops into an ambush.

The larger issue is that organizations have become more risk adverse. This is reflected in policies like wearing armour under all circumstances, both to shield the chain of command from having to deal with negative fallout from taking "unnecessary" losses and to demonstrate that the proper process is being followed (regardless if the "tick in the box" actually makes sense). This sort of one size fits all solution is similar to an earlier idea where BMI was the single "number" that demonstrated "fitness". People who's BMI was over 35 were put on warning for being "unfit", even if their BMI was a product of being a body builder or heavily muscled athlete...

I remember a similar contrast when I was in the sandbox. While Canadians went out in LAV's and RG-31's, and Americans moved out in up armoured HMMVW's, the British would drive around in Land Rover 110's and armour them by throwing a Kevlar blanket on the floor. The Land Rover's were much lighter and able to go down side trails where the larger armoured vehicles could not, and discouraged enemy action by bristling with weapons. The Jackal patrol vehicles that I saw just prior to leaving took the idea even further, being platforms with a machine gun seemingly on every corner. Was the British solution really "better"? Or was it just a different way of approaching the same problem?

The British approach was criticized as not providing adequate protection to the troops. Here is a link to a 2009 story regarding the Jackal and noting it was produced in response to the lack of protection afforded by the Land Rovers. This is an example of the "damned if you do and damned if you don't" principle.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/revealed-how-armys-new-armoured-vehicle-is-a-death-trap-too-1769692.html

Offline Shrek1985

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2014, 08:12:17 »
My question for the infanteers:  If the decision were made to engage the enemy without body armour (for example, as suggested above, responding to a mortar attack immediately with webbing, rifle and ammo), would there be any negative psychological effect?  I mean a greater perceived fear of injury without the armour, that could result in less effective action by the soldier?  Are our soldiers now so used to fighting with the armour that they would feel exposed without it?

I move better and faster without it, I gain no emotional comfort from wearing it and I can do without carrying my own atmosphere around with me between my tunic and my chest. I'm a huge target already and the plates don't cover very much of my chest, or back.

It wouldn't bother me at all, I think i'd like it better. Assaulting a position? Armour. Defensive? Toss-up; I'd like to wear the armour and ditch my TV at my position i'm fighting from. Room clearing; toss-up; speed and agility vs armour. I'm not very agile to begin with, so i think I come down on the side of armour there, for me maybe not for others. A2C? no armour. Presence Patrol? Armour. Recce? just this side of naked. fighting patrol? no armour. Pursuit? no armour. Anything with a pack on my back? No armour, or ditch the back plate.

That's my opinion.

Offline Journeyman

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #32 on: July 19, 2014, 09:25:15 »
This video is instructive.
I'll say!  His pants aren't bloused!!    :panic:


/HQ focus on what's really important

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #33 on: July 19, 2014, 10:01:06 »
I'll say!  His pants aren't bloused!!    :panic:


/HQ focus on what's really important

Good point. He probably has an illegally modified hat in there somewhere too.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #34 on: July 19, 2014, 11:34:02 »
I'll say!  His pants aren't bloused!!    :panic:


/HQ focus on what's really important

We shall have to to investigate this ASP as it is a serious breach of dress regulations......... :sarcasm:
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2014, 12:03:53 »
As a soldier who was trained in the 70s, body armor was not used. The only time we used the old frag vest was for grenade throwing in the open.....and come to think of it the first time I threw a grenade on a live fire range we didn't even have those.

Armor, IMO weighs you down and makes you less mobile. it also adds weight and stress to the body and it's critical joints....back, shoulders, knees, ankles.....but I am no medical expert.

I'd sooner go wjithout it but that's just me.

I was just looking at the USMC study I referenced above and compared it our 1982 Gagetown standard for Fighting Order.

The USMC study claimed that a 14 man squad (including the USN Corpsman attached) carried the following:

599 lbs of Weapons, Ammo and Optics
575 lbs of Personal Protective Equipment
414 lbs of Clothing, Food, Water, Other
29 lbs of Comms gear428 lbs of Weapons, Ammo and Optics


Adjusted downwards to the 10 man Canadian section of 1982 that would mean:

428 lbs of Weapons, Ammo and Optics
411 lbs of Personal Protective Equipment
296 lbs of Clothing, Food, Water, Other
21 lbs of Comms gear

Looking at our 1982 scale of issue I came up with

311 lbs of Weapons Ammo and Optics

That included:

8 Bayonets
8 FN C1A1
2 FN C2A1
1480 Rds 7.62mm Ball in Mags and Bandoliers
80 Rds 7.62mm Tracer in clips
2 Cleaning Kits

Also

2 Grenades WP
2 Grenades HCC1A1
6 Grenades M67
6 LAW M72
6 Bombs 60mm (for the Platoon mortar).

The only "Optics" was the Section Leaders Flashlight - He also had the only wristwatch and the only compass.

That was it for Weapons, Ammo and Optics.

Comms at the Section Level consisted of the Section Leader's whistle.  Full Stop.  There was no more.   Versus 21 lbs for the USMC  Squad.

On Clothing, Food, Water, Others front  I am assuming that Clothing weight is not significantly different.  Food carried was only unconsumed rations for 24 hours. 

Water - apparently a major issue now - was only 10 liters for the Section for 24 hrs - ie what could be carried in your water bottles (or your Stanley's Thermos on winter exercises).  This compares to 164 US Fl Oz (x 10) or 48.6 liters for the Section - based on the CATF 82 study.


I understand this is a contentious issue but howizzit my old man survived swanning around the sands of Palestine and Jordan under exactly the same water restrictions?  Water wasn't consumed at the individual's discretion.  It was consumed under orders and in Dad's case one bottle was opened at a time and passed around until it was empty.    That was the regime the British Army used to work under all across the Empire.   Perhaps picked up from emulating the local Bedu.

Others - not much there unless you include the Section Leaders wire cutters.

An lastly the point of discussion - PPE

575 lbs of USMC PPE (pro-rated to 411 lbs for 10 Canadians)
Our PPE consisted of 10x Helmets M1 for a total of 28.5 lbs.

To summarize (in lbs):

Wpns, Ammo, Optics - 311 vs 428
Comms -  0 vs 21
Food and Clothing - Assuming 0 difference allowing for 24 vs 72 hours of rations
Water - 22 vs 106
PPE - 28.5 vs 411

The USMC says that their 14 men are overloaded to the tune of 900 lbs.  They are carrying 1600 lbs instead of the recommended 700 lbs.
In Canadian terms that would mean 10 men carrying 1200 lbs instead of 500 lbs.

In 1982 we were carrying approximately 500 lbs for 10 men in Fighting Order.  The other 700 lbs = 100 lbs of technology (optics and comms), 100 lbs of water, 400 lbs of PPE and 100 lbs of Other Stuff and Rations (24 vs 72 hours).  Presumably that includes Gucci Kit like Israeli First Aid pouches and IVs instead of a simple Field Dressing.

Other gear was carried in the Rucksack but that was dropped at a cache prior to the assault.

I offer no opinion on the rightness or wrongness of the various loads.  Not my place in my situation.  I just point out that there is quite a difference in running around carrying 50 lbs and carrying 120 lbs.

It may contribute to the tendency to keep one's pants illegally unbloused.





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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #36 on: July 19, 2014, 12:17:04 »
It may contribute to the tendency to keep one's pants illegally unbloused.
Well skipping the boot bands, plus the potential "illegally modified hat" has got to shave 3....maybe 4 ounces off that load.   :nod:

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Soldier's Load and the Immobility of a Nation
« Reply #37 on: July 20, 2014, 12:18:54 »
OTOH....

The Fall of Rome

Decay of the army, according to Vegetius (5th century), the man responsible for the quote about preparing for war to ensure peace, came from within the army itself. The army grew weak from too long peace and stopped wearing its protective armor. This made them vulnerable to enemy weapons and to the temptation to flee from battle. Security may have led to cessation of the rigorous drills. Vegetius says the leaders became incompetent and rewards were unfairly distributed. See: "Vegetius on the Decay of the Roman Army, by Alfred P. Dorjahn and Lester K. Born. The Classical Journal, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Dec., 1934), pp. 148-158.

http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/romefallarticles/a/fallofrome_2.htm
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon