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

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Old 11-01-2012   #1
Fuchs
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Default Equipment list

A year or two ago some dude on the internet decided to invite others to help him make a list of 100 items.
He wanted to kind of return to simplicity and thus wanted to reduce his possessions to 100 items, underwear not counted.

He got lots of suggestions for what's really necessary.
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I personally am tired of threads discussing the perpetual problem of soldier overload.
Let's do a different one for a change.


Let's equip a rifleman (85 kg body weight) for a fight that might involve fighting in woods and villages (opposition by small arms, hand grenades, man-portable AT weapons and mortars expected). Moderate climate, spring, probability or rain is 30% per day.
He is supposed to carry 5 kg of hardware for others (ammo, batteries or whatever - I know 5 kg is not much).

His carried weight (including the 5 kg and clothes!) should not exceed 30% of his body weight for good enough agility and endurance. That's 25.5 kg or 56.1 lbs.



Must-have items, for an easier start:

(1) jacket and clothes behind
(2) trouser and clothes behind
(3) boots and socks
(4) carbine/rifle with iron sights, accessories are up for debate
(5) Minimum magazine capacity (loaded) 60 rds. More is up for debate.
(6) emergency ration one day (may be a simple chocolate bar, of course)
(7) filled small canteen
(8) individual bandages for own consumption
(9) dog tags
(10) some means to open emergency ration (small pocket knife, for example)
(11) a single hand grenade (may be a small defensive one)
(12) (5 kg for others, including the necessary containers)


Let the games begin.
I suppose a specific discussion and probably a search for more lightweight equipment alternatives might actually yield some insight, for a change. Maybe someone from one of the ubiquitous "tactical" equipment suppliers suggests something as well.
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Old 11-03-2012   #2
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OK, I get it. I was too subtle.

Yes, my messages often have a subtlety - most of the time I try to push other's thoughts in another direction than the verbatim text suggests.


This time I did not care about some lightweight pants, ideal canteen size and all the other hardware.

It was instead a provocation tog et others to bring their personal preferences to the table. The compiling of such an equipment list was meant to lure out anecdotes, personal opinions about relative importance, different philosophies about how to conduct small unit actions and the like.


Too bad nobody wants to play with me this time.

Sooner or later I'll lure you guys out of your safe havens anyway. Resistance is futile.
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Old 11-04-2012   #3
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I don't know if I'm qualified to play and maybe this isn't what you are looking for but how about a blanket instead of a jacket?
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Old 11-04-2012   #4
Bill Moore
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Is it a only a 24-48 hour patrol, or an extended patrol in excess of 48 hours?

If it is a combat patrol (the intent is to make contact with the enemy, raid, ambush, movement to contact) then I would offer your proposed ammunition load is way too light. If it is recon patrol and your intent is not to engage the enemy you can go lighter.

If the terrain allows you to refill your canteens in streams, lakes, mud puddles, etc., then two one quart canteens should suffice. Use water purification pills and lets move past this pampering where our guys have to have bottled water.

If it is a day patrol, a couple of energy bars is enough chow. Climate will determine the amount of clothes needed, but a dry t-shirt and dry pair of socks can come in handy if there is a big temp drop between day and night. We used to move during the day only wearing our jacket/camaflauge shirt with no t-shirt, then if we settled down for the night we put on our dry t-shirt underneath our wet jacket to stay reasonably warm. Situation dictates, but we didn't carry the kitchen sink with us. If you switch socks out at night, you rinse your old out in a stream an hang them on your ruck to dry and repeatedly swap them out. We even used to cut our tooth brush in half to minimize weight and bulk. Sounds execessive but a hundred pounds of light weight gear is still a hundred pounds. Individuals carried their own med stuff to a point, but the medic still had to carry a med kit complete with IVs, chest tubes, hemostats, blades, etc. for more extensive injuries, especially if evac of the wounded could be delayed.

Communications kit is often a problem, how many radios, and how many spare batteries? It can add up quick.

Body armor and other protective kit is a huge problem, and I agree we are more effective without it, but not necessarily safer. The argument will be we want our soldiers to have maximum protection. If your goal is protect your soldiers instead of enabling to fight then it is a valid argument, otherwise it is pretty lame.

Someday in the future I hope we can send out lightly equipped patrols that have a maneuver advantage over our adversaries, but the current mindset in the military won't accept that risk.

If soldiers were allowed to determine what they needed for each mission instead of having it mandated you would see the load rapidly reduce in weight. Micromanagement is our biggest weakness in the military.

Another major problem we have is the mindset that PACE created. When I first came we focused on primary and alternate means if the primary failed, but now we what if ourselves to death with having a primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency piece of kit for comms. Great I have four freaking means to make comms, but I have hundred pound rucksack and I'm not going to be maneuvering very effectively with it.
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Old 11-04-2012   #5
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I agree with Bill's line of query. The mission and operating environment (conditions) absolutely have to be spelled out in order to come to a comprehensive recommendation. If we work from the frame of reference of knowing the weather, then those two elements are just as important.

Without that knowledge, this would be an exercise in a lot of "what if".
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Old 11-04-2012   #6
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I disagree.
For example, one might write "rations and water filter for three days: *** grams" and write that it's good practice to support infantry on longer missions, not the least because they might easily run out of ammo within hours, well short of three days.

Simply don't assume the ultra-risk-averse attitude that all eventualities need to be known or even prepared for. Competent soldiers are supposed to improvise if #### hits the fan. Loadouts only need to cover the probable needs.


I see, it's the first conflict of philosophies and background-driven attitudes.


Fight, woods, villages, spring in moderate climate, maybe rain, 5 kg carried for others - go!


By the way; maybe some day I will get behind the anglophone obsession with patrolling infantry. You can read a randomly selected 10,000 pages of German military literature and field manuals and are most unlikely to read more than two or three paragraphs about infantry patrols.

Last edited by Fuchs; 11-04-2012 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 11-04-2012   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
By the way; maybe some day I will get behind the anglophone obsession with patrolling infantry. You can read a randomly selected 10,000 pages of German military literature and field manuals and are most unlikely to read more than two or three paragraphs about infantry patrols.
So now you know where the Germans got it wrong.
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Old 11-04-2012   #8
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So now you know where the Germans got it wrong.
Patrol focus versus Stotrupp focus. Guess who won.
Answer.
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Old 12-01-2012   #9
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That's a topic with a strong cultural angle. Look at Soviet infantry during WW2, or the Viet Cong. Handful of semitchki or rice, kanteen-like thing, gun (or not) with a little bit of ammo. No way any Western troops would run around like that.


Let's try it, graded VITAL > USEFUL > NICE TO HAVE:

(1) -- Stay warm, stay dry, stay fed and watered, stay healthy, on a level that allows you to maintain operational effectiveness.

(2a) -- Basic Personal Field Tools (knife, spade, multitool, canteen - whatever needed to assists in achieving (1), can vary widely with ops environ)

(2b) -- Basic Personal Medkit (generally oriented towards covering small lesions as they happen every day to keep them from getting sore, but also a wound closure kit to stop a bleeding long enough till a medic arrives)

(2c) -- Smartphone. Not as absurd as it sounds. Even when not used as a com device it still is very useful.

(3) -- Optional special mobility equiment (e.g. skis, or snow shoes, or mountaineering equipment)

(4) -- Weapon. Can be all kind of things. Maybe better called "Offensive Mission Equipment". Can be a laser designator, can be a barrel and extra ammo for the machine gun. Can be a rugged notebook with some EW or cyber magic. Not limited to an assault carbine.

(5) -- Optional mission equipment: Navigation + Communication (as far as not provided by smartphone), Night Vision Equipment, NBC Equipment

(6) -- Optional special load carrying equipment (e.g. a hiking trailer)

(10) -- Optional armor

Last edited by Distiller; 12-01-2012 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 12-01-2012   #10
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Posted by Distiller

Quote:
That's a topic with a strong cultural angle. Look at Soviet infantry during WW2, or the Viet Cong. Handful of semitchki or rice, kanteen-like thing, gun (or not) with a little bit of ammo. No way any Western troops would run around like that.
Of course we could and we have; just not in recent years. You have to put it in context, if we were fighting in the U.S. against an occupying power we would become the guerrilla army and be able to live off the land the goodwill (or coerced will) of the people to support us.

Don't confuse today's industrial Army with what we could be, Americans are as hard as any other nationality when they need to be.

We go heavy today due to risk adverse leaders and the mindset that if it is available we ought to carry it with us because you never know. In a different scenario the risk adverse leaders would be privates and we wouldn't have the kit to carry with us even we wanted to.
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Old 12-02-2012   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
I disagree.
For example, one might write "rations and water filter for three days: *** grams" and write that it's good practice to support infantry on longer missions, not the least because they might easily run out of ammo within hours, well short of three days.

Simply don't assume the ultra-risk-averse attitude that all eventualities need to be known or even prepared for. Competent soldiers are supposed to improvise if #### hits the fan. Loadouts only need to cover the probable needs.


I see, it's the first conflict of philosophies and background-driven attitudes.


Fight, woods, villages, spring in moderate climate, maybe rain, 5 kg carried for others - go!


By the way; maybe some day I will get behind the anglophone obsession with patrolling infantry. You can read a randomly selected 10,000 pages of German military literature and field manuals and are most unlikely to read more than two or three paragraphs about infantry patrols.
I still firmly believe we'd need to define the conditions and other factors (such a mechanized versus dismounted light infantry) or means of resupply, to be able perform some realistic analysis, but let's go ahead and assume he is a member of a company conducting a movement to contact in mixed terrain environment including small villages/towns, with resupply expected within 24 hrs of request, and can have his existence load brought up when resupply arrives.

Quote:
Must-have items, for an easier start:

(1) jacket and clothes behind
(2) trouser and clothes behind
(3) boots and socks [one spare pair socks]
(4) carbine/rifle with iron sights, accessories are up for debate [should have a magnified optic and an infrared designator, minimum]
(5) Minimum magazine capacity (loaded) 60 rds. More is up for debate. [minimum 140 rds]
(6) emergency ration one day (may be a simple chocolate bar, of course)
(7) filled small canteen [should be minimum 100 oz hydration bladder]
(8) individual bandages for own consumption
(9) dog tags
(10) some means to open emergency ration (small pocket knife, for example)
(11) a single hand grenade (may be a small defensive one)
(12) (5 kg for others, including the necessary containers)
Additions to this basic loadout are:

-Assault pack or hydration carrier of at least 20L capacity. This would serve as the means to carry the other 5kg of additional equipment. It would also hold a mortar round and one of the following: 200 rounds of belted ammunition, anti-personnel mine, extra batteries, or some command and control/surveillance tool component (think micro UAV controller)
-Plate carrier for a front only protective plate, rated to 7.62x39, vice the 7.62x54R we currently use
-Night optic device
-One entrenching tool per team of four men (perhaps two)
-15m paracord (a million uses)
-3-5m riggers tape (a million uses)
-weapons cleaning kit
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Old 12-02-2012   #12
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Few countries consider Claymore-type AP mines even only necessary enough for having them in their inventory. We should treat the 5 kg carried for the small unit as a black box, though.

Cleaning -while a personal responsibility with NCO oversight- does not require an individual kit.

Interesting; nobody mentioned a helmet yet, not even only a camo boonie with kevlar insert (protective function unsatisfactory, yet not completely absent).


We're still nowhere near the usual loads.
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Old 12-02-2012   #13
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A helmet was an ommission. I missed that it wasn't on the original list.

Even if they are only a few components in the kit, individual cleaning is indeed a required capability. I do not expect someone to help me remove a stuck casing, and even a quick brush down of the chamber and reapplication of lube during consolidation, post-attack. I'm not talking about scrubbing rust from thr outside of barrels when I refer to cleaning, and I don't want someone exposing themselves to hand a cleaning kit around. It's an inefficient waste of time.

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We're still nowhere near the usual loads.
Please clarify what you mean. What usual loads? Which country's forces?
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Old 12-02-2012   #14
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Cleaning -while a personal responsibility with NCO oversight- does not require an individual kit.
What you wrote is accurate but it is subject to misinterpretation IMO.

The way it's seen by too many senior uniformed people -- Officer and NCO -- is that old saw "An organization does well onlt those things the Boss checks." That's a dangerous statement. It is indicative of a terribly flawed approach which actually relieves the individual of responsibility, is subject to misapplication, charges NCOs to 'supervise' or oversee a function in a manner that leads to oversupervision and micromanagement and which far from least important and in this particular case, causes troops to over-clean / over-maintain their weapons and equipment. Far more military small arms are ruined by excessive maintenance than by over use...

The individual has to be charged with and held responsible for all his own equipment and NCOs should check -- minimally -- only sporadically and somewhat superficially. In good units, this is the norm and the good NCOs simply keep an eye on their people and know who's taking care of their gear and who is not. Individual equipment checks and maintenance at all lulls and halts are vitally important habits.

Any suggestion that implies supervision is a key attribute will be misinterpreted to segue into micro management.
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Old 12-02-2012   #15
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Micromanagement is by definition impossible if the NCO meets all his duties with adequate time effort each.
To micromanage means to spend much time on one or few things, which equals neglect of others because there's so much to do.

This is especially true if said NCO is forced by his supervisor to not exhaust himself (enough sleep on campaign), which is necessary because an exhausted NCO cannot lead by example any more.
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Old 12-03-2012   #16
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Default I'm not worried about NCOs micromanaging. Most don't...

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To micromanage means to spend much time on one or few things, which equals neglect of others because there's so much to do.
In US parlance, to micromanage generally involves excessive 'supervision' and failure to trust subordinates. Whether one task or a number, the degree of generally superfluous meddling is the issue.The US problem with micromanagement is, as someone stated elsewhere, generally at the Field Grade and above level. The Generals learned to do it in Korea after the line stabilized and they had little to do; Viet Nam merely made it worse and the current 'wars' have continued that. I recall someone in Afghanistan back in 2005 telling me that one operation required the approval of five General Officers and I'm sure that's worse today...
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This is especially true if said NCO is forced by his supervisor to not exhaust himself (enough sleep on campaign), which is necessary because an exhausted NCO cannot lead by example any more.
True -- and a recurring US problem induced by our five day a week, forty hours of work mentality. While that 40 hours is rarely more than a floor in the Armed forces; how productive the usually extra 20 plus hours a week in garrison or on base are happens to be a separate question...

We're focused on short term efforts and the normal routine of four five days of field training a couple of weeks a month is not helpful. Everyone can stay awake for most of that so no one sets up rest and sleep plans...
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Old 12-03-2012   #17
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We're focused on short term efforts and the normal routine of four five days of field training a couple of weeks a month is not helpful. Everyone can stay awake for most of that so no one sets up rest and sleep plans...
Reminds me of reports how company leaders inadvertently fell asleep in ODS and OIF on the fourth and fifth day, exhausted by not having had enough sleep.

Also reminds me of post-WW2 opinions that infantry and other combat troops should not use a garrison during their training phase, but live in woods for the duration of their training (this may be influenced by German early WW2 training shortages which were caused by a lack of garrisons for the training of more recruits, though).


It doesn't help regarding the weight problem, though.
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Old 12-03-2012   #18
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- A knife: Something this should be standard as long as the same person doesn't already a multi-tool. Oh it already is...

I'm a bit surprised that the German version has no tweezers, as they come in handy (not so toothpick) and no hole in the awl. I would miss the small gut hook which works very well on not too fat and strong game and to quickly cut cord and all sorts of binding material. The long blade is lockable and serrated in the right place, strangely some put the serration exactly where you want a normal edge to do fine work like carving. The long wood saw works well. A scissor could be more useful then the can opener but as so much this depends. Red might be the better colour choice even in military service.

Got my first personal Swiss knife at the age of 6 and never looked back. Multitools are much heavier and could be shared.
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Old 12-03-2012   #19
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I had a primitive Luftwaffe 'Swiss Officer'-style knife by comparison, but hat was back in the 90's before the world suddenly began to gadget-up everything.

Funny; with all the Pedantry, they forgot to take back said knife in the chaos of my last day in office. They checked the list without getting it. A comrade of mine had to hand it back. Still got it - as a kind of prize.

Related: Brace yourself for an awesome multi tool
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I did mention a ballistic boonie hat (don't think such a thing exists, though):
Does anybody know the weight of a state of the art ballistic helmet with coverage and protection of a 80's helmet and the NVG interface in front? Today's helmets are rated up to NIJ class II, which is in the corresponding German system 2 levels above mere fragment protection of old - necessarily with higher weight per area.
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Old 12-04-2012   #20
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- A knife: Something this should be standard as long as the same person doesn't already a multi-tool. Oh it already is...
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.
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