Author Topic: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier  (Read 11902 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« on: January 31, 2018, 00:47:51 »
The Overburdened Infantry Soldier

“Attacking the British strategy in Helmand, the officer claims that soldiers are now so laden with equipment they are unable to launch effective attacks against insurgents. The controversial account of the situation in Afghanistan appears in the latest issue British Army Review, a restricted military publication designed to provoke debate within the Army.

Writing anonymously, the author reveals that the Taliban have dubbed British soldiers “donkeys” who move in a tactical “waddle” because they now carry an average weight of 110lbs worth of equipment into battle. The consequences of the strategy, he says, is that “our infantry find it almost impossible to close with the enemy because the bad guys are twice as mobile”.

The officer claims that by the end of a routine four-hour patrol, soldiers struggle to make basic tactical judgements because they are physically and mentally exhausted. Attacking the British strategy in Helmand, the officer claims that soldiers are now so laden with the equipment they are unable to launch effective attacks against insurgents.”

https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/overburdened-infantry-soldier/
"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 JacobPayne17

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2018, 01:06:18 »
How similar is the stuff that the Brits carry to what Canadian infantry has?

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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2018, 07:49:35 »
The Overburdened Infantry Soldier

“Attacking the British strategy in Helmand, the officer claims that soldiers are now so laden with equipment they are unable to launch effective attacks against insurgents. The controversial account of the situation in Afghanistan appears in the latest issue British Army Review, a restricted military publication designed to provoke debate within the Army.

Writing anonymously, the author reveals that the Taliban have dubbed British soldiers “donkeys” who move in a tactical “waddle” because they now carry an average weight of 110lbs worth of equipment into battle. The consequences of the strategy, he says, is that “our infantry find it almost impossible to close with the enemy because the bad guys are twice as mobile”.

The officer claims that by the end of a routine four-hour patrol, soldiers struggle to make basic tactical judgements because they are physically and mentally exhausted. Attacking the British strategy in Helmand, the officer claims that soldiers are now so laden with the equipment they are unable to launch effective attacks against insurgents.”

https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/overburdened-infantry-soldier/

We've traded speed and mobility for firepower and protection not understanding that there is a time and place for both.  Our enemies understand this and I hope some recent events haven't been forgotten:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Iraq_offensive_(June_2014)#Proclamation_of_a_Caliphate

Two week offensive, 3+ Divisions destroyed, lightly armed fighters in pickup trucks overrunning mechanized divisions.



All reminiscent of this:


Offline ExRCDcpl

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2018, 08:43:32 »
I find the statement the average British infantry soldier is carrying 110lbs a little far fetched.

On foot patrols I had FFO, 10 mags, M203 rounds, grenades, TCCC kit, water, and a small pack with extra ammo etc. and it wasn't anywhere close to 110lbs.

What are these guys carrying?!

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2018, 09:18:37 »
I've never did any serious ops that I can remember with Brits in Afghanistan but I always remember thinking when I did see them they seemed fairly light on their feet and not weighted down but also didn't seem to have much armor/protection. Americans had an average amount of kit but soldiers usually seem uparmored.  Canadians started going the way of the Americans with body armor but also had a crap ton of kit. 

One second hand story I've been told was a company on a patrol who were ordered from higher to carry something like 8 (or 10?) liters of water per man. My buddy said half way into the patrol guys were chucking water bottles left and right because they were so weighted down.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2018, 09:32:42 »
I find the statement the average British infantry soldier is carrying 110lbs a little far fetched.

On foot patrols I had FFO, 10 mags, M203 rounds, grenades, TCCC kit, water, and a small pack with extra ammo etc. and it wasn't anywhere close to 110lbs.

What are these guys carrying?!

ECM weighs a ton.

That, and the Field Marshall's baton ;)

Here's a good video that shows the Canadian load: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w846UcmIo5o
"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 ExRCDcpl

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2018, 09:46:02 »
After watching that video.....I guess I was just in way better shape back then cause it certainly didn't seem like it weighed THAT much.

Getting old sucks

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2018, 12:27:53 »
After watching that video.....I guess I was just in way better shape back then cause it certainly didn't seem like it weighed THAT much.

Getting old sucks

The lamer the CSS and other support, the more risk averse and lacking in imagination the commanders, the more the 18 year old rifleman suffers.

Meanwhile, Malaya chest rig:

"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 Eaglelord17

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2018, 18:03:54 »
I find the statement the average British infantry soldier is carrying 110lbs a little far fetched.

On foot patrols I had FFO, 10 mags, M203 rounds, grenades, TCCC kit, water, and a small pack with extra ammo etc. and it wasn't anywhere close to 110lbs.

What are these guys carrying?!

C7A2 10.5lbs loaded
Body armour approximately 16.5lbs
helmet 3lbs
Uniform 7.5lbs
Tac vest loaded with kit 10.4lbs
10 loaded magazines 11lbs
C9 box of ammo 7lbs
Browning HiPower with 2 mags approximately 3lbs
M72 5.5lbs

That's already roughly 75lbs of equipment there and I am sure it is easy to get up to the 110lbs from that. Not even including heavier weapons, larger quantities of ammo, or really any extra equipment.

Online Hamish Seggie

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2018, 18:09:23 »
One of the issues is that of the political fear- military and government- of taking casualties. This is why troops wear body armour...
Another issue is that every time the soldier gets a new rucksack people who have no clue about loads think the soldier can carry more.
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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2018, 19:12:28 »
I find the statement the average British infantry soldier is carrying 110lbs a little far fetched.

On foot patrols I had FFO, 10 mags, M203 rounds, grenades, TCCC kit, water, and a small pack with extra ammo etc. and it wasn't anywhere close to 110lbs.

What are these guys carrying?!

Attached for info find a PowerPoint presentation on the breakdown of the basic load carried by a rifle platoon of the 2 Bn 514th Parachute Infantry Regiment on OEF.

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2018, 19:30:20 »
And people wonder why the infantry suffer from joint problems from the neck and down.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2018, 19:37:49 »
And people wonder why the infantry suffer from joint problems from the neck and down.

Here's fodder for the chiropractor:

The physical realities of the dismounted infantry battle

It is obvious that the job of an infantry soldier is hard, physically and mentally demanding work. To successfully close with and destroy the enemy, without themselves being destroyed, infantry soldiers must be capable of carrying heavy loads of weapons, ammunition and provisions for long distances over all types of terrain – and through all types of climactic conditions – while encountering and defeating the enemy. This job description inevitably means that infanteers must be prepared to pack exceptionally heavy loads as dictated by the enemy and terrain. As described by Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, the experiences of he and his troops on the Italian front in 1917 were intensely physically demanding, and not at all unique:

“The capture of Mount Matajur occurred fifty-two hours after the start of the offensive ... My mountain troopers were in the thick of battle almost uninterruptedly during these hours ... Here, carrying heavy machine guns on their shoulders – they surmounted elevation differences of eight thousand feet uphill and three thousand downhill, and traversed a distance of twelve [straight line] miles through hostile mountain formations”.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, Infantry Attacks

Sixty-five years later during the Falklands campaign of 1982, the experiences of LCpl Vincent Bramley, 3 PARA Machine Gun Platoon, were not much different from Rommel’s. Following a two day, 50 mile advance to contact on foot, 3 PARA – festooned with personal weapons, grenades, GPMGs and tripods, anti-tank weapons, and as much ammunition as could be carried – moved off to the start line for their attack on Mt. Longdon:

“Lying before us was about twelve kilometers of ground and a river. My kit alone weighed about a hundred pounds, possibly more. Many lads in our group had to swap kit throughout the march - a machine gun for a tripod for example. Milans, being bulky and awkward, went from shoulder to shoulder. As daylight faded I could see the thin line of troops disappearing into the darkness, struggling with their kit.”

Vincent Bramley, Excursion to Hell – The Battle for Mount Longdon

The weight of the ammunition required by the infantry to suppress and destroy the enemy in wartime is clearly the greatest difference between loads carried in peacetime exercises and war. “Our main load was ammunition.” recounts Cpl. “Lofty” Large of the Jebel Akhdar campaign in Oman, 1959:

“I remember having two 3.5 rockets, four 90 (Energa) grenades ... Eight No 36 grenades, six No 80 (white phosphorous) grenades. Five 20-round magazines of rifle ammunition, plus 100 rounds in bandoliers. One 250-round box of .30 calibre machine-gun ammunition ... My bergen rucksack, loaded and ready to go, weighed 98lb. My belt weighed 22 lb. – 120 lb total [without] my rifle. Everyone had similar loads to carry.”

Lofty Large, One Man’s SAS
"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

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2018, 19:48:55 »

“I remember having two 3.5 rockets, four 90 (Energa) grenades ... Eight No 36 grenades, six No 80 (white phosphorous) grenades. Five 20-round magazines of rifle ammunition, plus 100 rounds in bandoliers. One 250-round box of .30 calibre machine-gun ammunition ... My bergen rucksack, loaded and ready to go, weighed 98lb. My belt weighed 22 lb. – 120 lb total [without] my rifle. Everyone had similar loads to carry.”

Lofty Large, One Man’s SAS

And those were the days before body armour.

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2018, 20:18:23 »
Interesting point is how risk adverse modern militaries are: already overloaded soldiers are given side plates and "upgraded" plates adding 10.5lbs per man. No ability to allow the ground commander to tailor body armour to the threat/ mission.

Also, poor Signaller. He's even carrying less batteries than I'd probably recommend.

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2018, 21:15:58 »
One of my soldiers who was wounded in 2008 blamed the overloading of kit that was “mandatory “. Dash down crawl observe sights fire might not be easy when you’re loaded down with way too much gear. Heaven knows it was hard enough with just a weapon and ammo.
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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2018, 21:54:48 »
The med bags they started issuing around 2002-3 based on AAR's from 3VP were/are rucks in and of themselves.  Fully stocked as received from CMED, they'd make some 3rd world ER's blush.  I still had my old school Vietnam era jumpbag - I think when I got off the plane in Kabul, with body armour and med bag, I was around +80lbs without marching order; the platoon signaller and the C6 gunner were tied for worse off - between extra batteries/radio and barrels/link, plus the usual other stuff, we kept each other company slogging up the hill to the "Queens's Castle" overlooking Camp Julien, to do our security survey...one of the reasons Jon Vance had a minimum ruck weight for battalion or company battle PT of 65lbs, checked randomly and on order by the CQ's and CSM's.  Of course, I'd just been in the field for the past 3 odd weeks on mounted CTCC, so not a lot of weight bearing marches were had...and we went from a chilly 5-10C to 35+...and from about 300ft ASL to well over 7K.  It took awhile to get some of my fitness back.

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2018, 22:11:16 »
No ability to allow the ground commander to tailor body armour to the threat/ mission.

Consider your equipment needs in your estimate process to ensure they are suitable for the mission? What a novel idea...

We did a week-long level 2 exercise in October 2016 in which each section had to do their level 2 live-fire by day and night and also spend 3 days on an OP. Those was the Sect Comd's two missions. That was a long time on the OP but I sold everyone on the idea that practicing for 3 days, "doing it right," would ensure far more was learned and retained than our typical one-hour lecture once per year.

The Sect Comd's were all planning to adjust their dress for the given task of an OP with no resupply for 72 hours.... the OC was in disbelief and became adamant that everyone wore frag vest / plates for the entire thing because "we're a rifle company, not a recce platoon."  :facepalm:
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2018, 22:50:39 »
the OC was in disbelief and became adamant that everyone wore frag vest / plates for the entire thing because "we're a rifle company, not a recce platoon."  :facepalm:

Let me guess....

Meanwhile, he wasn't doing what you were doing, right? ;)
"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

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2018, 00:10:59 »
Let me guess....

Meanwhile, he wasn't doing what you were doing, right? ;)

I'll give him that frag/plates/etc didn't slow him down, he was a pretty athletic guy and probably more tough than brain. He was only there for the first day and then legitimately had to fly out the next morning with the CSM for some Bde thing. It was all section training so none of the WOs and up were doing tasks, just managing the exercise and running the training. Myself and the Coy 2IC were running the dry exercise / live-fire range which were happening concurrently after that, but we weren't going to go back on what he directed just because he was no longer around.... I was, and still am, just pissed with anybody that thinks that "Dress" is in your orders to reiterate to you than you are wearing the same thing you always do no matter how stupid, as opposed to being derived from any actual thought towards the mission ahead.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 00:13:40 by ballz »
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2018, 12:23:30 »
I'll give him that frag/plates/etc didn't slow him down, he was a pretty athletic guy and probably more tough than brain. He was only there for the first day and then legitimately had to fly out the next morning with the CSM for some Bde thing. It was all section training so none of the WOs and up were doing tasks, just managing the exercise and running the training. Myself and the Coy 2IC were running the dry exercise / live-fire range which were happening concurrently after that, but we weren't going to go back on what he directed just because he was no longer around.... I was, and still am, just pissed with anybody that thinks that "Dress" is in your orders to reiterate to you than you are wearing the same thing you always do no matter how stupid, as opposed to being derived from any actual thought towards the mission ahead.

Typical  ::)

Not that it is a direct comparison but, in NI, we wore frag vests in urban areas and ditched them in the countryside. In urban areas, because we were so close to various kinds of support, we could carry minimal other gear/ ammo. This meant we were fast and nimble enough to chase miscreants down and arrest them in the cities, even while wearing body armour, and we had far more endurance in the countryside because we could swap armour for food and ammo.



"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 Haligonian

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2018, 11:29:52 »
Consider your equipment needs in your estimate process to ensure they are suitable for the mission? What a novel idea...

We did a week-long level 2 exercise in October 2016 in which each section had to do their level 2 live-fire by day and night and also spend 3 days on an OP. Those was the Sect Comd's two missions. That was a long time on the OP but I sold everyone on the idea that practicing for 3 days, "doing it right," would ensure far more was learned and retained than our typical one-hour lecture once per year.

The Sect Comd's were all planning to adjust their dress for the given task of an OP with no resupply for 72 hours.... the OC was in disbelief and became adamant that everyone wore frag vest / plates for the entire thing because "we're a rifle company, not a recce platoon."  :facepalm:

Let me guess....

Meanwhile, he wasn't doing what you were doing, right? ;)

I'll give him that frag/plates/etc didn't slow him down, he was a pretty athletic guy and probably more tough than brain. He was only there for the first day and then legitimately had to fly out the next morning with the CSM for some Bde thing. It was all section training so none of the WOs and up were doing tasks, just managing the exercise and running the training. Myself and the Coy 2IC were running the dry exercise / live-fire range which were happening concurrently after that, but we weren't going to go back on what he directed just because he was no longer around.... I was, and still am, just pissed with anybody that thinks that "Dress" is in your orders to reiterate to you than you are wearing the same thing you always do no matter how stupid, as opposed to being derived from any actual thought towards the mission ahead.

I just noted this thread and it's quite timely.  My Coy is about to step off on a three day patrol which includes an airmobile insert and two pl raids and a coy raid and we are pretty heavily burdened.  I'm wearing just over 100 pounds of kit (radio (522), tac vest, helmet, frag with plates, water, 3 x IMPs, sleeping bag, rain gear, puffy, front line ammo).  Prior to rehearsals I considered load carriage and made the decision that during the infil soldiers could put their frag and helmet in their ruck.  Prior to actions on the obj for pl and coy raids we'll don helmets and frag at the long halt prior to occupying the ORV. 

During rehearsals my decision has been validated.  In the case of those of us with radios and sp wpns we are weighing well over the suggested carried weight to body weight ratio and having the frag with plates on is pretty rough.  When I say pretty rough I don't just mean uncomfortable, but uncomfortable to the point where you start focusing on that vice what you're supposed to be doing.

I naturally had one naysayer who is not on the patrol tell me that we should be sporting PPE at all times simply due to the fact that we are a rifle coy and not recce or snipers.

Offline GAP

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2018, 12:00:16 »
As opposed to...............
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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2018, 00:41:23 »
I naturally had one naysayer who is not on the patrol tell me that we should be sporting PPE at all times simply due to the fact that we are a rifle coy and not recce or snipers.

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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Overburdened Infantry Soldier
« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2018, 10:45:41 »
Haligonian to Ballz, on leaving the infantry: "Aren't you going to miss all this?"

Not yet... :cheers: