Body armour, suitable for every occasion?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by bakerlite, Apr 11, 2010.

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  1. I have searched out a lot of ARRSE discussion related to the design and carry of the kit, but this corespondent raises an interesting point, which I think is worth repeating. Who should decide what to wear and when to wear it.

    http://www.army-technology.com/features/feature81027/
     
  2. In days gone by we did not have the option of body armour, but if it can be prooven to save life then it must be used even with the weight , I for one, would not be writing this had it not been for a Northern Ireland Flak jacket
     
  3. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    Is there a tale to that I never heard you mention it
    Something happen?

    IIRC Fally stated after 3 Paras tour there were occasions when they ditched the body armour due to the weight to get more speed and freedom of movement
     
  4. you could also make the argument that it could cost lives, through lack of mobility and speed, and guys being switched off due to being chin-strapped. Its a tight judgement call. I think the author of the report is ex 2 Para sigs officer from Op Corporate era, out of interest.
     
  5. Very true, I was on a static check point, and I think that is an occasion when there are a good thing, but you infantry people know more about fire and movment, night recce, ect and all that kind of thing than I do. its a decision that can only be made in situ
     
  6. In these days of vicarious liability, the CoC would be foolish to advocate not wearing body armour. I suspect that it may be written into AuSOPs (if they still exist), that when issued, body armour must be worn. I know that we did dispense with ours, when need dictated it.
     
  7. Its really a very old question going back to when the first bronze age warrior put on a helmet, most of the French knights a Azincourt lived through the arrow storm, although there horses didn't,only to be killed by un armoured Archers with daggers and poleaxes, if you need agility its a problem, but if your going to get shot or blown up it must be an asset to survival
     
  8. To my mind we're getting to a point where the infantry can not conduct it's primary mission. To wit. To close with and destroy the enemy.

    Watching any footage of infantry on patrol is like watching 3 Para tabbing to Goose Green. Every movement is like watching people wade through snow, 5 minutes hard work and 20 minutes inhaling O2 thro your ring piece.

    Watching any footage of combat is like watching a rhino try and body slam a mouse.

    If "Mitigating the risk" has evolved to the point that a Section Commander can pretty much forget most of Brecon cos theres' no way in hell he can maneuver fast enough to pin down the enemy and close to the attack then we're setting ourseleves up for a Royal f**king from a clever enemy.

    Just hit something interesting. The William Frederick Institute in Germany did some research on load carrying and it's effect on soldiers in the late 19th Century. One interesting point pops up. Regardless of the amount and quality of any training or conditioning the weight that can be carried before phsyical distress starts to appear is 69lbs. British research in the 1920's recommanded a limit of 40-45lbs. USMC research in the 1950's recommanded 40lbs for combat and 55lbs marching. In the 1970's a combined US Army/USMC Team came up with similar figures.

    So, We have over 100 years of research into the subject of load carrying and yet we're still overburdened.
     
  9. David Benest served on Corporate and was also a CO in NI. He makes the valid point that decisions on risk management should as far as possible be in the hands of the tactical commanders, however in the case of body armour/helmets etc I am certain that, at present, it would make no difference because everybody would wear it anyway. Dozens, possibly even hundreds of lives have been saved by body armour in Afghanistan and I strongly doubt that any CO would authorise ops without it even if given the choice.

    He quotes Stuart Tootal but the situation has changed dramatically since 2006, specifically the frequency of contact IEDs. The degradation/mobility v protection argument is now very much weighted towards protection, particularly now that attitudes towards the deaths of soldiers in combat have changed considerably, even since Corporate. The enemy can now create a strategic effect by inflicting (in some cases at least) just a single death.

    Kitmarlowe - the infantry's mission is now the slightly more fluffy 'defeat the enemy through close combat'.
     
  10. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    But it's not just the weight that mitigates tactical maneuvering, is it? Having to stick to the BARMA lane even when under small arms contact, in fact especially when under small arms fire (the Taliban know good cover positions as well as we do and habitually rig them with IEDs in the hope that we would dive into them), jars every instinct that has been beaten into you since CIC.

    In fact many of the Holy of Holies have been reversed: Not bunching up takes a back seat to staying within the 'bubble'; movement in depth is often ditched in favour of sections leap frogging through each other to keep to a cleared path whilst one of them goes in overwatch.

    We could always best them in a small arms contact, but all bets were off when it came to IEDs, so that was the threat that we tailored our tactics around. Writing all, this I'm fully aware that situations and tactics change by the month and that the lads starting their tour on H112 now, will be fighting a war that will have evolved from a year ago.
     
  11. Maybe this could be answer in a few years time
     
  12. As soneone who has been recently involved in the design process of a new Dyneema Molle System for SF, i can tell you that there are a great many UK/US/European reports on the subjects that are raised here. The under pinning issue is i think the extra weight, reduced movement change in core temp (in any temp), vs the usability of said armour.

    I once went to a RUSI lecture about Light Infantry (not the LI, the concept) and some very interesting ideas were raised as to possible efficiency of less kit, more action, but this does pose more questions than answers and often relies more then on logistical support to troops that work "light" but strike hard.

    My own personal opinion is that body armour is here to stay, but its developement must echo its requirement and be made to "fit in" more to the user. Molle is a step in the right design direction; as would a fitted "Dragon Skin" concept, if it could be proven. For those that did not know, as far as i am aware, Dragon Skin has been withdrawn do to some legal issues with the tests carried out and has not been resurfaced in any new designs.
     
  13. Has the new Mk7 body armour not attempted to address the maneuverability issue? How effective has it been?
     
  14. Having to wear the jackets with front and rear plates fitted while in Kosovo while driving plant vehicles was a serious balls ache.

    The Plant cabs on certain vehicles were never really designed to take a Sapper wearing bulky body armour, and trying to clamber in or out of said vehicle with rifle and webbing was an exercise in futility.....nevermind trying to exit the vehicle in an emergency.

    When seated, the armour pushed you up into a semi-crouched stance with your ribs resting on the steering wheel and the front plate sat on top of the wheel and pushing up against your lower jaw....very likely to smash your own jaw or teeth out when hitting a bump.

    In this case, the armour was counter productive.
     
  15. We once got an order to take all our Mk6a into stores to get them replaced by Mk6. The Mk6a were being sent to another part of the unit. The boss quite rightly told them to shove it.

    There is some sense to the whole "lighter = faster" thought, but lets not forget, "chest wound = dead". If cuts are needed, they can be had elsewhere.

    I'm a bit of a racing snake, and I had no problems with kit weight, despite having a more well-stocked grab bag than some others in my plt.