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Trigger Puller Boots on the ground, steel on target -- the pointy end of the spear.

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Old 12-04-2012   #21
Firn
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I know the object of the exercise is getting the weight down, but as knifes go I believe that a folder is secondary to a fixed blade. That is, if you are going to have only one of the two, you should ditch the folder and its weight rather than the other way around.
Fair enough. I'm used to folders like the Victorinox Hunter knife which combine tools of sterling quality and design in a light package of the right dimensions. I carry it pretty much daily and can understand why countries like Germany and Switzerland selected it a similar one as their standard issue knife. But a fixed, not too big blade certainly also has it's merits.

As usually it is all about using a sensible combination of tools. Personally I arguably never saw the use of a big knife as I mostly used/use a Roncola/Billhook/Hippe for the lighter woodstuff or an axe for the heavier stuff. The latter is arguably the more versatile. From skinning and partitioning game, hammering and all sorts of woodwork a universal axe with a lenght of a bit over half a meter does it all. A claw at the back is nice, Saturday I helped to reroof the house of my paternal grandmother and did most of the work with an old carpenter's axe with a claw. Arguably nothing as simple and light is better at getting nails out of lumber.

All in all it depends pretty much on the task ahead but an decent axe per squad/stick might be a sensible thing to carry under various circumstances in certain environments. Knowing when and where is the difficult part.
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Old 12-07-2012   #22
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Default Mett-tc

It's been said before that METT-TC drives the gear, and I'm a strong believer in that. In our perspective (well back in my Army days), Western soldiers tend to overburden themselves with all kinds of things that we wouldn't even consider carrying.

The USMC contingent training with our Marine Corps, for instance, carry twice the load of our Marines when operating in the jungle environment. Now I've never personally cross-trained with US elements but the anecdotal stories my Marine buddies told me were almost all similar: US Marines are big, strong fellows. But damn...they carry a lot of ####! At the end of the day, we're faster.

For us, who almost exclusively operate either in jungles and/or rural/semi-urban/urban areas, its simpler.

In the jungle we'd have:

On the 1st/2nd line:

- Rifle (with RDS for some units. Magnified optics are carried to be used handheld).

- Ammunition (again METT-TC. But for routine border patrols, say, we carry 4 mags. More than enough even if we get into skirmishes with rebels/criminals. Fire discipline is key).

- 2 frags per person. 2/3 smoke per fire team (2 signaling, one the thick white concealment type)

- Some food/MRE (usually stripped. In the thigh pockets)

- Survival kit (snares, fish-hooks, fishing line, etc. You know the drill)

- First Aid Kit (both a small one on the belt, and a somewhat larger one on the LBE/Vest/Chest rig (some units)

- Landnav stuff.

- Personal comms (again, some units)

- Knives. Its plural because we usually carry 2: A small one (folder or fixed) for everyday use (sometimes this is a bayonet), and a machete (very useful in the jungle)

As you can see, this is minimum. You'll note that there is no armor/helmet in the list. Wearing armor and helmet - even if its only a plate carrier - in a hot, humid, wet and closed in environment sucks. It kills SA. It exhausts you before you can do anything. It dehydrates you faster. Heaven help you if you trip and fall into a muddy swamp (happens more than you think). We found that armor in that environment makes Soldiers lazier - because of the exhaustion. You can't move as quietly, you can't hide as quickly.

Of course we also carry rucksacks (like a medium ALICE type) with the rest of the stuff we have to carry like spare clothes, ponchos/shelter halfs, hammocks, more food, small stoves and mission essential equipment, but the basic individual kit is the list above.
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Old 12-10-2012   #23
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- Binoculars, 1 per stick if it suites METT-TC

7-8.5x42 are IMHO the best allrounder. Binos such as this Swaro I carry are fantastic but pricey. Of course there are other excellent (German) companies with great products but also more moderately priced products like those made recently by Meopta are surprisingly good. A MIL-scale can be of use.

Smaller binos are often very light but suffer under low-light conditions and are less steady although more then enough in a stable postion. Bigger ones like the mighty 56er are great when there is little light but are bulky, heavy and have only a true edge over the allrounders when NV is in any case better.
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Old 12-10-2012   #24
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You'll note that there is no armor/helmet in the list. Wearing armor and helmet - even if its only a plate carrier - in a hot, humid, wet and closed in environment sucks. It kills SA. It exhausts you before you can do anything. It dehydrates you faster. Heaven help you if you trip and fall into a muddy swamp (happens more than you think). We found that armor in that environment makes Soldiers lazier - because of the exhaustion. You can't move as quietly, you can't hide as quickly.
Just curious, but what is on the books in the U.S. Army and USMC as far as body armor and jungle operations?
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Old 12-10-2012   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarPorcus View Post
It's been said before that METT-TC drives the gear, and I'm a strong believer in that. In our perspective (well back in my Army days), Western soldiers tend to overburden themselves with all kinds of things that we wouldn't even consider carrying.

As far as I know this isn't really a "Western"-only thing.
Troops from India and Singapore appear to have quite hefty individual loads in similar terrain at times as well.

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Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
Just curious, but what is on the books in the U.S. Army and USMC as far as body armor and jungle operations?
They specialised on beating up people in less humid areas lately, thanks to the Vietnamese people.
The last official U.S. Armed Services book on warfare in jungle areas is afaik now three decades old:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...0-5/index.html

It's thus very possible (as far as I know) that there's don't have a textbook answer to your question.

Last edited by Fuchs; 12-10-2012 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 12-11-2012   #26
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Default What the book says is nothing...

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Just curious, but what is on the books in the U.S. Army and USMC as far as body armor and jungle operations?
What most know is that wearing protective gear in a hot, humid forest is bound to lead to excessive and unsustainable heat casualties.

No personal armor for ground troops in WW II. It did exist by the time of Korea. Not jungle but quite hot and humid in the summer. By 1952 after the line stabilized, wear was mostly mandatory but exceptions were made for Patrols and units with close combat potential -- things generally not done in Afghanistan and Iraq which have their own climate problems but also get quite warm in the summer.

As flawed as was the leadership in the past in Viet Nam it still had enough sense to not insist upon -- but to allow under some circumstances -- the wearing of vests and also to allow for some elements in most circumstances the wearing of soft hats instead of helmets (in both cases with minor excursions both ways).

Whether the senior 'leadership' of the time in the future will acknowledge the heat casualty reality is not known.

Fuchs:
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They specialised on beating up people in less humid areas lately, thanks to the Vietnamese people.
You got that a bit wrong, as you do on occasion...

It was US Politicians, not the Vietnamese people...

We're not allowed to beat up on people. We weren't allowed to in Viet Nam and have not been allowed to since. We are allowed, even wrongly encouraged, to tussle with them but we are not and were not allowed to beat up on 'em. Specifically precluded from doing so, in fact...
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Old 12-11-2012   #27
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Fuchs:You got that a bit wrong, as you do on occasion...

It was US Politicians, not the Vietnamese people...

We're not allowed to beat up on people. We weren't allowed to in Viet Nam and have not been allowed to since. We are allowed, even wrongly encouraged, to tussle with them but we are not and were not allowed to beat up on 'em. Specifically precluded from doing so, in fact...
It was the politicians, sure - but you didn't get what I wrote and thus you got me wrong. I wasn't writing as literally as you assumed.

The politicians and thus the nation as a whole specialised on beating up people in less humid areas.
This was no doubt triggered by the Vietnamese ascension to the throne of stubbornness previously shared by the British and Russians.
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Old 12-11-2012   #28
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Wink Oh, I got it -- and you're still wrong...

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It was the politicians, sure - but you didn't get what I wrote and thus you got me wrong. I wasn't writing as literally as you assumed.

The politicians and thus the nation as a whole specialised on beating up people in less humid areas.
This was no doubt triggered by the Vietnamese ascension to the throne of stubbornness previously shared by the British and Russians.
Take your pick of Politicians, either the dumb crowd that sent us there in the first place (both batches, both efforts...) or the two different batches that hamstrung the ongoing effort and would not allow us to beat up on anyone. Or even the other two batches who oversaw the end of the effort...

None of that excuses the Army for doing a poor job, BTW.

Stubbornness wasn't the issue though it contributed. Political and strategic failures were the principal problems and those errors were not rectified by less than decent tactical performance at the national (in South Viet Nam by the US Command) level. The Troops, the USAF and USN did the best they could with one hand tied.

My comment was and is that we aren't and weren't allowed to really beat up on anybody, we're just told to engage them fruitlessly and at far less than even decent, much less maximum, effort.
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Old 12-11-2012   #29
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No, you didn't get it at all.

The question was about doctrine (or so I understood it), and I replied in part (with the 'beat up' comment) with a reference to the political situation.

The 'beat up' thing wasn't meant tactically, but foreign policy-wise.
Don't tell me destroying a regime, destroying its state and hunting the former dictator down and hang him doesn't qualify as 'beat up' in the political arena.
I wasn't writing about whether U.S. politicians allowed anyone to beat up others; I was writing about them doing it themselves on their level.
Granted, I didn't explain it, but just dished out a quick comment.
_________

Concerning stubbornness; compare the qty of ordnance which rained on Germany in 1940-1945 with the qty which rained on North Vietnam...
Stubbornness wasn't just a contribution - that's vast understatement - it was the indispensable component.
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Old 12-11-2012   #30
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No, you didn't get it at all...Don't tell me destroying a regime, destroying its state and hunting the former dictator down and hang him doesn't qualify as 'beat up' in the political arena.
In my view, that would depend on how well one did the job or was allowed to do it. We did a lousy job of it in part because we weren't allowed / did not choose / to do better. I understood what you meant, just don't fully agree.
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Concerning stubbornness; compare the qty of ordnance which rained on Germany in 1940-1945 with the qty which rained on North Vietnam...
A marginal comparison on several levels IMO. Regardless the amounts were broadly ineffective in both cases.
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Stubbornness wasn't just a contribution - that's vast understatement - it was the indispensable component.
I would say stupidity (ours) was the indispensible component in view of the effort and the result. There's no question that the stubbornness effectively used that stupidity for their aims but lacking our idiocy stubbornness wouldn't have occurred or had an effect. Can't say that about our foolishness...

We're quibbling over little and really are broadly in agreement.
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Old 12-12-2012   #31
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I wrote a piece for my online writing gig a few weeks back which was published (is correct to say that something born-digital was published? ) yesterday. Ken White's fingerprints are on it here and there! The piece is civilian- and winter-specific, but possibly of interest to those contributing to and following this thread. Corrections and/or addenda are welcomed and in fact encouraged!

---------

Planning for the worst: the list | Snowshoe Magazine

Hope for the best but always plan for the worst. This attitude is especially important during winter outdoor activities. After an unplanned summerís night spent miles from the trailhead will leave you will may be hungry and mosquito-bitten, but after and unplanned winterís night twenty-five feet from the shelter you couldnít see you may not be at all. Ergo the following list.
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