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Thread: Weight of Combat Gear Is Taking Toll

  1. #241
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    There's also a political dimension to this problem. Senior leadership can't justify to the American public the necessities of taking risks when the public doesn't understand the trade-offs involved in combat related decisions. What will be reported are the casualty statistics and the 'scandal' of that the administration did not properly equip soldiers to fight. The solution it seems would be to keep pursuing lighter equipment - though that doesn't address the problem Bill mentioned of adding more equipment to fall that gap.
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    Carl (responding to Post #240 on the previous page)

    Food for thought: Is the reason we don't have as many helos in Afg (compared to Viet Nam) the expense of the helos? Or is it possible that the logistics tail can only accommodate so much in Afg? There is no port to bring in fuel, spare parts, etc in country and the two routes somewhat open to us are both undesirable for different reasons. I'm not claiming either one is solely the reason and I have no more knowledge than any other bystander.
    Last edited by KenWats; 06-24-2014 at 06:52 PM. Reason: clarified the post I was responding to

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Senior leadership can't justify to the American public the necessities of taking risks when the public doesn't understand the trade-offs involved in combat related decisions.
    The public? Or are you talking about congress?

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    The public? Or are you talking about congress?
    Mark, if the point of your question is what I think it may be, I very much agree. Out problem is mostly the leaders not the people. People out here in flyover country are pretty smart and would well understand how ability to move affects ability to win and ultimately keeps casualties lower, if the leaders took the time to explain it to them. The leaders don't, neither military or civilian. It is my opinion they don't for two reasons. First an awful lot of them, even military, are too stupid to get it themselves. Second, most of our leadership class is supremely arrogant and don't figure that the flyover population of the US has the smarts to get it. If they did admit to themselves that the flyover people do have the smarts to get it, where would that leave them?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  5. #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenWats View Post
    Carl (responding to Post #240 on the previous page)

    Food for thought: Is the reason we don't have as many helos in Afg (compared to Viet Nam) the expense of the helos? Or is it possible that the logistics tail can only accommodate so much in Afg? There is no port to bring in fuel, spare parts, etc in country and the two routes somewhat open to us are both undesirable for different reasons. I'm not claiming either one is solely the reason and I have no more knowledge than any other bystander.
    That leads us into a whole discussion about what the supply chain has to support. Given the nature of the war in Afghanistan over the past 13 years, did we need all the fast jets we have based there?

    But as far a helos go, we should probably look to see how many helos were normally allocated to a unit in the VN era and how many are allocated to a unit now, which I don't know how to do. If there are fewer now, it would be a good guess that expense is a big reason.

    In any event, it seems to me we can't do things we did in VN and what Mark's army did in Rhodesia, in both places using much less sophisticated tech than we have now.
    Last edited by carl; 06-25-2014 at 12:14 AM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by David I Evans View Post
    JMA

    Osprey with the small plate front and rear weighs about 7Kg
    Bearing in mind the "coroner test" to what extent are the use of plates a matter of individual disgression?

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    Quote Originally Posted by David I Evans View Post
    About 3 litres.
    Was this laid down or was it discretionary? Also were there any policies relating to water discipline?

    And I would say regardless of what the Army thinks, attempting to carry out the Mission of the Infantry, to close with and kill the enemy, was impossible with the normal weight I'd carry on a patrol intended to last only 4 - 6 hours and that was just equipment.
    Then what is the point of the patrol? (if you can't get amongst the enemy if contact is made).

    From books and anecdotes it appears that patrols left the FOB in company minus strength and moved until contact was made (initiated by the Taliban), an airstrike was called in and the patrol went back to the FOB for tea, with enemy casualties being ascertained by monitoring the Taliban radios. The question being asked is what was the point?

    Food was maybe 2 or 3 snack bar of some sort , wet/warm kit was a gortex jacket which I never wore.
    Brew kit, got to have brew kit.

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    As there are some new faces around here this is worthy of a repost:

    Donkeys led by Lions

    We’re getting to a point where we are losing as many men making mistakes because they are exhausted from carrying armour (and the things that go with it) than are saved by it.

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    Carl, there are units and there are units.

    On my patch little discretion was allowed in what kit to take on patrols. I listed it and together with my sergeant all kit was inspected before moving out. Anything discarded had to be buried and camouflaged (under supervision).

    One learns a lot about a unit from such anecdotes.


    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Oh, I have another question for you guys.

    When a real hard war comes, how much of this problem will be solved by soldiers discarding equipment they judge not useful? It may be easier in a really hard war because command may have better things to do.

    I ask this because of two stories I was told. The first was by a Vietnam War Army infantry man who said they ditched their body armor because it was too cumbersome and they judged it not useful. Nobody bugged them about doing so.

    The second story was from a South African who went on long patrols in Namibia or somewhere around there. He said they were allowed to pick what equipment they each wanted to carry from a wide range of things available. He also said that the first small bit of the patrol's path could be found by tracing items of equipment dropped on the ground by guys who no longer felt the items were so useful.

  10. #250
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    A two-pronged problem we face in carried loads is centered on the almost unquenchable appetite for battery power. In the first prong we have increased a patrol's carried load for force protection purposes with the addition of body-worn counter-IED devices. In the second prong we have not been disciplined enough to curb our demand for tactical information, which in turn drives up the weight penalty due to the suites of communication equipment carried.

    We have created this vicious circle of demanding unrealistic reporting of reams of information, and it drives dismounted operations to carry ridiculous quantities of batteries to support 24-hour radio usage.

    It goes back to uneducated, ill-informed tactical planning by folks inclined to carry the kitchen sink as insurance against all threats, rather than conduct a smart analysis of requirements and the tactical risks involved.

  11. #251
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Carl, there are units and there are units.

    On my patch little discretion was allowed in what kit to take on patrols. I listed it and together with my sergeant all kit was inspected before moving out. Anything discarded had to be buried and camouflaged (under supervision).

    One learns a lot about a unit from such anecdotes.
    In fairness I must clarify one thing. The VN guy actually said they didn't wear body armor, not that they discarded it on the sly. I suspect that the unit just made the decision not to use it. I yielded to the temptation to use a colorful turn of phrase when a simple fact would have been better.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    In fairness I must clarify one thing. The VN guy actually said they didn't wear body armor, not that they discarded it on the sly. I suspect that the unit just made the decision not to use it. I yielded to the temptation to use a colorful turn of phrase when a simple fact would have been better.
    Fair enough. I wonder under today's circumstances what would be the outcome if a soldier were wounded through not having plates in? I guess it is not discreationary so his commanders would be in trouble and presumably he could lose his service/medical benefits?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Bearing in mind the "coroner test" to what extent are the use of plates a matter of individual disgression?
    None what soever.

    The Army only just bought enough large plates for osprey so not enough for training for one Brigade in the UK on MST, getting ready to deploy whilst the Brigade out in theatre was active. Once in country it was large plate front and rear and small plates on both sides plus tier 2 nappies. No changes to that policy at all ever.

    3 litres was the size of the issue camelback so you might as well fill :-)

    Given the weight of stuff I was carrying at times, 300 rounds 5.56mm. 2 smoke, 1 HE, 2 WP, HF Radio plus spare battery, 200 rounds 7.62mm link and 3 litres of water as one days load any more weight was avoided :-) I'd have loved to brew up sometime :-)

    The reference to patrol, contact, airstrike and home for tea was disparagingly referred to in a small article in BAR (British Army Review) as Dog bark patrolling

    The article put it as "We go out, we get barked at, we go home" and contrasted the USMC response which was to promptly turn and go straight to the shooting at all times

    It wasn't a very complimentary article.......
    Last edited by David I Evans; 06-26-2014 at 01:45 PM.

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    The reference to patrol, contact, airstrike and home for tea was disparagingly referred to in a small article in BAR (British Army Review) as Dog bark patrolling

    The article put it as "We go out, we get barked at, we go home" and contrasted the USMC response which was to promptly turn and go straight to the shooting at all times
    Is it possible to find this article online?

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    Default Dog bark patrolling?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Is it possible to find this article online?
    Jon,

    If this article appeared in BAR, it will not be online. BAR remains a print only, internal publication and non-official access is much harder now. You maybe able to get access via the BDLS or a friendly liasion officer.

    If as David Evans notes:
    It wasn't a very complimentary article
    then I'd be surprised it was in BAR. In recent years the threshold for different overtly expressed opinionms has shrunk - due to direction from on high.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-26-2014 at 04:41 PM.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Jon,

    If this article appeared in BAR, it will not be online. BAR remains a print only, internal publication and non-official access is much harder now. You maybe able to get access via the BDLS or a friendly liasion officer.

    If as David Evans notes: then I'd be surprised it was in BAR. In recent years the threshold for different overtly expressed opinionms has shrunk - due to direction from on high.
    It was during a brief spate about 2006 - 2010 when a more robust and forthright editing policy was in place.

    The deliberate restriction on expressing a viewpoint that doesn't match the groupspeak of the Army is indicative of the Mindset of the army

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    Quote Originally Posted by David I Evans View Post
    Given the weight of stuff I was carrying at times, 300 rounds 5.56mm. 2 smoke, 1 HE, 2 WP, HF Radio plus spare battery, 200 rounds 7.62mm link and 3 litres of water as one days load any more weight was avoided :-) I'd have loved to brew up sometime :-)
    Why you carry an HF radio? You speaking back to the UK?

    Please show me the breakdown of weight that comes out at 32kgs (or 70.5lbs)

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    Quote Originally Posted by David I Evans View Post
    The deliberate restriction on expressing a viewpoint that doesn't match the groupspeak of the Army is indicative of the Mindset of the army
    Not only the British army... you touch a nerve here and the yanks get all agressive and defensive as well

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Why you carry an HF radio? You speaking back to the UK?

    Please show me the breakdown of weight that comes out at 32kgs (or 70.5lbs)
    We were carrying HF as we were struggling with the VHF net, a problem found to be due to a fill for the VHF radios that had become corrupted.

    Breakdown

    Weapon + 6 full mags 9kgs
    HE, Smoke, WP, UGL+ link 5kgs
    Radio + spare batteries 3kgs
    Osprey + small plates 7kgs
    12 hr ration pack + 2litres of water 3kgs
    Commanders Kit + FIST 5Kgs


    FIST (future infantry soldier technology) is pretty much all the shiny new TI and HMNVS sights and LLM

    Topped out at 32kgs for a Section Cmdr.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David I Evans View Post
    We were carrying HF as we were struggling with the VHF net, a problem found to be due to a fill for the VHF radios that had become corrupted.
    The mind boggles...

    The Bowman system continues to be a cock-up it seems. It is tempting to write off the British procurement cock-ups as due to idiots - both soldiers and civilians - in MoD but perhaps an investigation to look for possible corruption would seem to be the appropriate course going forward.

    Breakdown

    Weapon + 6 full mags 9kgs
    HE, Smoke, WP, UGL+ link 5kgs
    Radio + spare batteries 3kgs
    Osprey + small plates 7kgs
    12 hr ration pack + 2litres of water 3kgs
    Commanders Kit + FIST 5Kgs

    Topped out at 32kgs for a Section Cmd
    You tell me where you can cut 10kg from that list. The alternative is to amend the role of the infantry to remove the ability to "close with and kill the enemy". So what role would the Michelin Men of the modern infantry have? To act as decoys to draw the enemy out for the purpose of putting in an airstrike?

    FIST (future infantry soldier technology) is pretty much all the shiny new TI and HMNVS sights and LLM
    Doesn't seem to have helped in Helmand...

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