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Thread: Marines Give Modular Tactical Vest (MTV) Thumbs Down

  1. #21
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boot View Post
    The Soldiers Load NEEDS to be read by the folks who mandate we wear this gear. It was required reading when I was a grunt in the 80's.
    If you mean the book by SLA Marshall, I'd not bother to read it. I know it very well and I use it as an example of how not to discuss load carrying. Marshall just pulled things out of his ass, and did a huge amount of damage. Load carrying was the last thing he managed to screw up, by simplistically coming up with the "X"% of body weight, or "X" lbs.

    Are soldiers overloaded? Yes. Is the problem solvable by good leadership and training? Yes. Marshall's observations are not needed.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
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  2. #22
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default I'd disagree,

    nobody made me read S.L.A. Marshall, I found a marked up copy of a soldier's load in the old armory building that served as the ROTC building at APSU. I found it to be a short and concise read about thinking about the effect of weight on the soldier. Times have certainly changed - we have access to lots of folks who say this kit or that works better, and often its accompanied by a why, but for the time - really until only recently, not too many folks had access to someone who thought abut it. Marshall's language is easy to understand - and while some of his thoughts on loads may be tied to the context of the time he wrote in, the idea that leaders must consider the load along with the other METT-TC type conditions is timeless. It philosophical value is greater to me then its technical limitations.

    I'd also recommend "Men against Fire", for some thinking about why men risk what they risk in combat. Sure there has been lots written of late, but I think SLAM pioneered combat interviews for the US Army in terms of capturing the essence of things and making it available to inform us later - when we forget.

    Are there some great things out there that are more recent - sure, but SLAM has an important place along with guys like du Picq, Liddell Hart, and others who have spent allot of their lives contemplating war and the military. Even when I disagree with them or other authors, peers,etc. I usually get something out of it, often I get to places or thoughts I would not have gotten to otherwise.

    Best, Rob

  3. #23
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Dunking SLAM

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    nobody made me read S.L.A. Marshall, I found a marked up copy of a soldier's load in the old armory building that served as the ROTC building at APSU. I found it to be a short and concise read about thinking about the effect of weight on the soldier. Times have certainly changed - we have access to lots of folks who say this kit or that works better, and often its accompanied by a why, but for the time - really until only recently, not too many folks had access to someone who thought abut it. Marshall's language is easy to understand - and while some of his thoughts on loads may be tied to the context of the time he wrote in, the idea that leaders must consider the load along with the other METT-TC type conditions is timeless. It philosophical value is greater to me then its technical limitations.

    I'd also recommend "Men against Fire", for some thinking about why men risk what they risk in combat. Sure there has been lots written of late, but I think SLAM pioneered combat interviews for the US Army in terms of capturing the essence of things and making it available to inform us later - when we forget.

    Are there some great things out there that are more recent - sure, but SLAM has an important place along with guys like du Picq, Liddell Hart, and others who have spent allot of their lives contemplating war and the military. Even when I disagree with them or other authors, peers,etc. I usually get something out of it, often I get to places or thoughts I would not have gotten to otherwise.

    Best, Rob
    SLAM must be viewed against the slding scale of his own ego--as his ego grew his integrity as a historian slid into the toilet. His "Men Against Fire" was useful in that it raised the subject in a studied way. His later applications of the model merely sought to out do his earlier versions--and his Brigadier's star got bigger as his findings grew more outrageous.

    Soldiers Loads are much the same; we have done quite a bit on the subject here, especially before 9-11 and into OEF 1 and 2. Again just keeping the idea on the screen is important, otherwise you do get 150 pounds of lightweight gear. The classic example lately was a SOF ruck I saw that I could have put you inside Rob.

    Best

    Tom

  4. #24
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    It would be great to here more inside information on SLA Marshal. I haven't read any of his books but he's quoted extensively (sometimes contradicting each other). In a current book I'm reading "Violence" by Randall Collins most of the second chapter and tenth chapter talk about military violence and SLA Marshal is quoted differently but within the same context. An example is that in the second chapter of Collins book the use of rounds expended to kill ratio suggests soldiers are shooting at nothing or purposefully missing (completely doesn't take into account covering fire), and the shooting in ranks of the British and WW2 is the example (quoting SLA Marshal). In another section Collins quotes SLA Marshal as saying most in the Pacific Theater (WW2) and Europe (D-DAY) never fired their weapons (which misses the whole effect of waves of infantry arriving on a beach (nobody to shoot with guys stacked in front of you). I think the analysis is wrong by Collins, but now I'm left with a bad taste for SLA Marshal.
    Sam Liles
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  5. #25
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Default Science and Soldier Loads

    Scientific study of soldier loads has been conducted within this decade by folks at Natick Labs/ Soldier Systems Center. Those interested might try to gain contact with OFIG at Natick, part of the Army's RD&E Command under Army Materiel Command. I suspect the results, part of which I know was based on field research with troops on the ground in AF, are probably much better than anything that SLAM anecdotally recounts. I have no better POC information than this link.

  6. #26
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    The Germans also conducted studies in the 1870s if memory serves...and yet we still overload the troops.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  7. #27
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Scientific study of soldier loads has been conducted within this decade by folks at Natick Labs/ Soldier Systems Center. Those interested might try to gain contact with OFIG at Natick, part of the Army's RD&E Command under Army Materiel Command. I suspect the results, part of which I know was based on field research with troops on the ground in AF, are probably much better than anything that SLAM anecdotally recounts. I have no better POC information than this link.
    Actually the impetus for the Natick effort came from my office in concert with the Natick rep here. We sent to idea to Natick and it came back to CALL. Then CALL sent a collection team and my office provided the soldier loads collector, who previously had done similar work via Ops Grp. I still have the brief that resulted from that collection. We hand it out with our digital library. I can provide copies to military email addresses.

    Best

    Tom

  8. #28
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    His "Men Against Fire" was useful in that it raised the subject in a studied way. His later applications of the model merely sought to out do his earlier versions--and his Brigadier's star got bigger as his findings grew more outrageous.
    I think he SLAM got the wrong end of the stick with "Men Against Fire." Fitz-Gibbon and Wigram did far better work and Wigram got the answer in 1943!

    I think the nicest thing I can sat about SLAM was that he was unencumbered by data!
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  9. #29
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default He didn't have room for any in his knapsack,

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    ...I think the nicest thing I can sat about SLAM was that he was unencumbered by data!
    it was full of his ego...

    He made some occasional good points but most of his stuff doesn't stand up to close scrutiny.

  10. #30
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    I would mention that the SLA Marshal entry in Wikipedia is interesting.

    Oh, and I followed the Robert Bateman entry which links to the the Small Wars Journal entry and is empty on wikipedia.
    Sam Liles
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  11. #31
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Professor Roger J. Spiller (Deputy Director of the Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College) demonstrated in his 1988 article "S.L.A. Marshall and the Ratio of Fire" (The RUSI Journal, Winter 1988, pages 6371) that Marshall had not actually conducted the research upon which he based his ratio of fire theory. "The 'systematic collection of data' that made Marshall's ratio of fire so authoritative appears to have been an invention." [1] This revelation called into question the authenticity of some of Marshall's other books, and lent academic weight to doubts about his integrity that had been raised in military circles even decades earlier.
    Roger was and still is a very dear friend and my mentor in delving into history in a serious way. He often talked about SLAM and these research "techniques" but he would not allow me to use similiar inventiveness in writing LP 14. Pity. I could have really examined the issue of magic turning bullets into water.

    Best

    Tom

  12. #32
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Roger was and still is a very dear friend and my mentor in delving into history in a serious way. He often talked about SLAM and these research "techniques" but he would not allow me to use similiar inventiveness in writing LP 14. Pity. I could have really examined the issue of magic turning bullets into water.

    Best

    Tom
    I found the Chambers article I'm looking for some of the others but not having much luck.
    Sam Liles
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    The scholarship of teaching and learning results in equal hatred from latte leftists and cappuccino conservatives.
    All opinions are mine and may or may not reflect those of my employer depending on the chance it might affect funding, politics, or the setting of the sun. As such these are my opinions you can get your own.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
    Agreed. I like the design. It FEELS better than the old one, it's just too damn heavy. Get rid of all the kevlar and use the same design just as a plate/gear carrier and I'd like it.
    I participated in a MARCORSYSCOM survey about two weeks ago regarding the MTV. According to SYSCOM, BLT 1/6 and 2/7 have been fielded a plate carrier that is very similar in design to the MTV (I believe it is pretty much the same as PPI's Hornet). The plate pockets have soft armor backing for the plates (a requirement, for those who are not familiar with the difference between "in conjunction" and "stand alone" plates). The cummerbund design is identical to the MTV. Currently SYSCOM is considering issuing GCE units the MTV and the plate carrier.

    A PPI rep brought along a vest they have designed that is a plate carrier with removable soft armor panels. With the soft armor panels, the coverage is equivalent to IBA; with them removed it is equivalent to the Hornet shown above. I like the concept, but am not crazy about the attachment system - it requires threading a wire through loops on the plate carrier and armor panels.

    The reason I like the concept is because I picture using different levels of body armor for different phases of an operation. For instance, an infantry company doing a movement to contact would wear the plate carrier in order to have protection from small arms fire, but also the additional mobility and breathability for dismounted movement, and in case of chance contact or a meeting engagement where they need to maneuver aggressively. Once the unit reaches its assault position, the Marines (or Soldiers) don their soft armor in order to have the additional frag protection for the assault.

    The survey group was interesting - I was the only infantryman in the room, the rest of the group were MPs, tankers, or amtrackers. I was the only voice in the room that wanted to reduce coverage in favor of mobility, and/or have a modular armor system that incorporated removable soft armor. Personally, I think we passed the good idea cutoff point when we added side SAPIs, but the casualty averse mentality has eliminated any chance of getting rid of those things.

  14. #34
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Is any body armour equipment known that offers 100% coverage against fragments when lying down?

    I'd rate fragments protection (like the old thin kevlar vests) for the arms and legs higher than hard rifle-proof torso side plates in many conflict types.


    Sorry for playing the HIC guy again, I can't resist it.

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