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Personal kit in Afgan...

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Infanteer

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Here is a post I ripped from another page for all you kit-sluts.

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http://www.cadpat.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=39

Posted - 04/01/2003 : 23:45:02
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"Since 3 PPCLI became a light infantry battalion in 1997, we have afforded our soldiers considerable latitude in their selection of personal clothing and equipment. Although the degree to which this is permitted varies slightly as COs and RSMs come and go, the latitude that 3 PPCLI soldiers can exercise in selecting their own gear is far greater than that encountered in any mechanized battalion. Indeed, I suspect that this degree of freedom is unheralded in the post-Korea Canadian Army. More’s the pity, because in situations where what you are wearing or carrying on your back is all that you have, it is nice to have the kit that happens to work best for you.

This freedom to choose personal kit within 3 PPCLI long pre-dated our deployment to Afghanistan. However, I will be the first to admit that it reached new heights once we got the word for our mission. After all, if you’re going to war you might as well go prepared, right? Once the mission was confirmed, there was a flurry of orders placed to many of the better known after-market gear providers within Canada and the U.S. Those who had been hesitant to spend money on custom gear before, were understandably willing to “drop some coin” in preparation for deliberate, real-world combat operations.

Provided the boots were black or green, the load-carriage system was green, the gloves were black or green, the headgear was green, etc, soldiers were able to wear whatever they determined worked the best for them. The "measuring stick" if you will, was that the external appearance had to remain unmistakably Canadian. That wasn’t terribly difficult to achieve when wearing Temperate Woodland CADPAT in the desert....

We were issued the 1st Generation "jean jacket" LBV for Afghanistan, however most of us at the "pointy end" elected to go with suitably modified 82 Pattern web gear. There were a number of reasons for this. First off, the LBV rides too high on the body when worn over top of the Generation III Frag Vest with ballistic plates inserted front and rear. As a result, the mag pouches interfere with proper placement of the buttplate against the shoulder. The 82 pattern web gear does not pose this problem.

Second, the heavy-weight NYCO Combat Jacket material of the 1st Gen LBV is far too hot for a desert climate where temps often reached 60C towards the end of our tour. The web gear allows for superior ventilation, although the issue is admittedly somewhat moot when you must constantly wear your Frag vest anyways.

Third, is the issue of carrying capacity. The 1st Gen LBV was designed for mechanized and peace support operations, and carries only 4 magazines in addition to the one on your rifle. In combat operations, we found the Canadian Army‘s "traditional" basic load of 150 rounds for a rifleman to be grossly inadequate. The long-standing solution of carrying an additional 100 rounds in a bandolier is ridiculous. Not only does the bandolier flop around and get caught up in everything, but why would you deliberately place your soldiers in a position where 50% of their ammunition is not readily available for use? Dumb. We went with a standard basic load of 10 x 30-round magazines for riflemen. Our basic loads of belted ammo for the C9 LMG and C6 GPMG were also proportionately increased.

Common mods to the 82 pattern web gear in Afghanistan included the addition of 2 extra magazine pouches, plus an old 51 Pattern "bren pouch" for use as a magazine dump-bag. Pouch attachment points were typically reinforced with small cable-ties, and in many cases the troops chose to modify their pouch closures (especially mag pouches) with fastex buckles and/or velcro rather than the antiquated "tab & loop" fastening system. 2 x M-67 fragmentation grenades were carried in the holders on the left-hand mag pouches, with smoke grenades carried in the utility pouch. An IR glowstick with an 18" length of para-cord was taped to one of the front Yoke straps for use in signalling helicopters at night (the SOP being to swing the glow stick in a circle over your head). IR Strobes were either cable-tied to the shoulder of the Yoke, or more commonly to the back of the helmet. Small "key-ring" style carabiners were attached at various points on the webbing Yoke to allow attachment of the rifle (see below), Camelback, etc. Some chose to paint their web-gear and frag vest covers with the Tan vehicle paint.

Above and beyond the LBV versus 82 pattern web gear choice, many troops chose to deploy with private purchase load-carriage gear. There was a pretty even mix of high-quality chest webbing versus commercial LBVs, all purchased from the usual dealers (Arktis, Eagle Industries, etc). You will see at least one "non-issue" rig in just about any picture of 3 PPCLI BG troops in Afghanistan. In fact, I defy anyone to find a photo of the unit‘s members on operations where 2 soldiers are dressed/kitted exactly alike. We had the kind of "operational focus" for equipment selection and modification that gives anal RSMs and clothing project managers conniption fits. Tough - it worked in combat operations, and that is the bottom line.

For weapons, 3 PPCLI has a similarly progressive practice of allowing the troops to choose the weapon sighting system of their choice. The unit requested as many iron sighted C7 rifles as it could get from the supply system back in 1998. The same with C9 LMGs, as the fitting of a scope to the LMG was always (and will remain) a stupid idea. I won‘t get into all of the "real world" (vice rifle range) short-comings of the Elcan C-79 sight here, but suffice it to say the majority of those who do the business up close and personal far prefer iron sights in the absence of a single-reference "reflex" type sight. This is why you will see far more iron-sighted C7s and C9s carried by 3 PPCLI troops than the scoped C7A1/C9A1.

The unit requested C8 Carbines specifically for the Afghan mission. We eventually acquired enough for every member of the Battlegroup "F" echelon (eg. the fighters). The only troops who couldn‘t carry a C8 were the designated M-203 grenadiers (2 per section) and of course, the C9 gunners (2 per section). There was no system available to mount the M203 on the C8 (although we tried), because we bought the "pencil-thin" Dutch barrel rather than an M-4 style contour. Hence, the grenadiers had to stick with the C7.

Overall, the C8 was an ideal choice for Afghanistan. Notwithstanding the open terrain of the desert around Kandahar during our defensive ops, all of our offensive combat operations occured in the mountains along the Pakistani border where engagement distances were surprisingly close due to numerous re-entrants, nooks, crannies and caves (eg. complex terrain). The only problem with the C8 were those thin Dutch barrels that we bought when the weapons were modified a couple of years ago. Although they are a heavy-contour barrel underneath the handguards and up to the front of the foresight/gas block assembly, the forward portion of the barrel is turned down to the same "pencil-thin" contour as the original C8 tube. Big mistake as they tend to overheat very quickly, are much more prone to damage (bending), and do not have the correct contour to mount an M203. Aside from that, the modified C8 was outstanding. Acceptable accuracy (despite the shorter sight radius), reasonable muzzle velocity range (thanks to the 16" barrel vice the M4‘s 14.5" tube), comfortable/compact carry, and excellent reliability. I carried my C8 bone-dry due to the talcum dust over there, and would frequently fire a double basic load (600 rounds) during weekly range practices without a single stoppage.

Most of us removed the slings from our rifles/carbines in favour of attaching the butt-stock directly to the shoulder of the web-gear using a short loop of para-cord throught the rear sling swivel, hooked through a small carabiner attached to the front shoulder of the web-gear yoke. This way, the weapon can be carried in the "alert" position without undue fatigue, it rotates instantly up into firing position (the butt-plate is already positioned), the weapon can be easily controlled with the firing hand if the support hand is required to open a door, etc, and the weapon "hangs" down the front of the body out of the way when both hands are required to do something else. Slings on rifles just get in the way, especially the 3-point C7 patrol sling.

For rucksacks, most used the 64 pattern frame with an 82 pattern bag or a custom bag. The durable 64 pattern frame is common in 3 PPCLI, and is still issued to the Para Coy. The 82 pattern frame is a piece of coat-hanger crap. The 1 RCHA Mortar Platoon attached to the BG broke 50% of their 82 pattern ruck frames the first time they did a march with the 81mm Mortars. Most rucks were fitted with private-purchase shoulder straps, kidney belt, etc.

The typical load in fighting order (helmet, web-gear/LBV, frag vest with plates, weapon) was about 90 lbs. A "light" ruck during offensive operations weighed another 70 lbs, but most weighed more due to the requirement to carry spare ammo for support weapons, radio batteries, etc. Water was the big killer, as aerial resupply could not always be relied upon. You drink 12 litres per day when humping the mountains in the summer over there, and the water weighs a ton. Personal gear (aside from rations) was limited to spare socks, a t-shirt, a poncho liner, sleeping pad, survival kit, and that‘s about it. The rest was ammo, rations, water, and group equipment. The fact is, there is nothing "Light" at all about the Light Infantry. Especially when you are advancing to contact at 10,000‘ elevation, up and down the most rugged mountain terrain imaginable. "300 pounds of high-speed lightweight kit", as we like to say....

Hope you found my comments of some interest/use. There are lots of photos on the internet where you can see what I‘m talking about, but if you need a link let me know."
 
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Evan

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i‘d like to see a pic of the c-8 carbine, know and web sites :mg:
 

shado_wolf

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This is a pic the original poster refered to.

It is his own rifle in Afgan.

Sorry I couldn‘t get the image to display.

Mark‘s C8
 

Spr.Earl

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Michael,off the topic, but you know Scotty Strickland or Glen Braid,both former Highlander‘s.
 
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