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Cost of front-line soldiers kit? (V. US costs)

#1
Hello there - this is my first post, so I hope I am posting in the right place, etc...

I came across a very interesting graphic the other day showing the relative costs of a G.I.'s personal equipment since WWII. I thought to myself, I wonder how this compared to the British Squaddie's kit costs?

If I can get a rough idea of the various British equivalent costs I can draw up a British version of this graphic...

Anyone know how I can get this information - or do any service/former squaddies have a rough idea about these figures please?

Many thanks, Steve

Here is the American version...

 
#4
Hi all - I'm not a journalist (was that the question?) - this is purely a 'hobby' question. I'm just interested - I thought it would be an excellent graphic so people can see exactly how much is spent on our soldiers compared to the US.

I am actually a graphic designer who works for a university (University of Hull), but this isn't to do with my work.

If I get this graphic done, I'll post it back up here.

Cheers,

Steve
 
#5
Beaty, don't worry about it, almost everyones first post is greeted by the "journo" call. Not sure why as the info you are asking for can be googled and isn't exactly sensitive.

As a rule of thumb add 30% to the US values and you won't be far off. Buying for many is much cheaper than buying for few and the US never buys small.
 
#6
Pocoyo said:
Beaty, don't worry about it, almost everyones first post is greeted by the "journo" call. Not sure why as the info you are asking for can be googled and isn't exactly sensitive.

As a rule of thumb add 30% to the US values and you won't be far off. Buying for many is much cheaper than buying for few and the US never buys small.
Hi Pocoyo - thanks for that. I had a go at Googling for this, but kept coming up with articles about larger equipment costs (vehicle costs seems to be the big issue at the moment).

Very good point about the scale of costs. I didn't consider that.

Cheers, Steve
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
On the other hand, the amount spent on British kit might be in the minus figures, as it has always eemed almost traditional for the average squaddie to go out and supplement his own equipment from his own pocket...
 
#8
chrisg46 said:
On the other hand, the amount spent on British kit might be in the minus figures, as it has always seemed almost traditional for the average squaddie to go out and supplement his own equipment from his own pocket...
That would be a cracking figure to add to the graphic! >thumbs up<

I wonder how much the average squaddie does spend of his own money?

--- I could add that as an additional segment in a pie chart of the cost.

Nice one.
 
#9
i stumbled upon that page too beaty, found it vvery interesting also, nice to compared how it has changed and developed and how they percieve the future equipment of the us army
 
#10
LittleD said:
i stumbled upon that page too beaty, found it vvery interesting also, nice to compared how it has changed and developed and how they percieve the future equipment of the us army
How I might project the future British squaddie I'm not quite sure. I know the MoD does have a development programme for the 'future soldier' but costs are R&D, not production/field costs.

In the meantime, I have contacted the Imperial War Museum about the costs of the 1940s/1970s squaddie equipment costs (fingers crossed).
 
#11
Such a comparison is flawed. How can you compare World War 2 and current ops with the aim of saying just because more is spent per-head there are fewer KIAs? One is mass industrial war, involving huge mobilisation; the other is a limited COIN operation using a professional armed force.
 
#12
HariboHarry said:
Such a comparison is flawed. How can you compare World War 2 and current ops with the aim of saying just because more is spent per-head there are fewer KIAs? One is mass industrial war, involving huge mobilisation; the other is a limited COIN operation using a professional armed force.
or is it saying that because of better equipment there is a higher ratio of wounded to KIA - in which case the comparison is not flawed.
 
#13
sanchauk said:
HariboHarry said:
Such a comparison is flawed. How can you compare World War 2 and current ops with the aim of saying just because more is spent per-head there are fewer KIAs? One is mass industrial war, involving huge mobilisation; the other is a limited COIN operation using a professional armed force.
or is it saying that because of better equipment there is a higher ratio of wounded to KIA - in which case the comparison is not flawed.
The difference in these figures was first spotted in ww1. After the issue of tin hats the KIA ratio to wounded dropped.
 
#14
Surely you need to factor in the medical services improvements into this as well to give a true figure as to relationship between KIA & wounded. Whilst I agree might be instructive to compare costs of individual issue kit. It would be nice to compare weapon systems not so much SA against M4 but GMG, HMG etc.
 
#15
Hello all...

There are certainly some very good points made in the replies to this question.

I personally do not believe that you can directly equate the cost of personal equipment to relative survivability - what about (as pointed out) training or field medical support or (importantly) evac improvements.

* At one time septicaemia and septic shock was a virtual death sentence. Today a solders death because of septic infection is almost unheard of.

Additionally - though controversially - the 'smart' use of infantry must surely bring down comparative casualties.

There are all sorts of ways you could off-set the relative casualty figures in a study. This diagram is VERY simplistic...

Having said that it is still interesting - especially if you separate the implied correlation of equipment costs to casualty figures. After all, if you rolled back the clock just a bit further to WWI the statistical difference in the casualty rate between 1914 and 2009 would be even greater.

However, none the less, the relative costs of personal equipment is still interesting as is the relative casualty statistics *if* you de-couple them.

I am trying hard to find out the cost of a Lee Enfield Mk. IV - wonder how that will compare to the cost of a SA80?

Thanks to everyone for adding their views on this.
 
#16
Clothing and Personal Protection only:

The sums of money spent currently on CS95 core, current Ops kit and the projections for PECOC are a key part of the message that is embedded in every PECOC presentation which is seen by senior officers and juniors alike. I asked myself the same question 2 and half years ago. I will not mention PECOC as the financial models are part of the decision making process and therefore subject to change. That said the PECOC figures compare very favourably to current ops and when a more structured and long term procurement plan is implemented likely to deliver more kit for less cost.

Rough figures for commercial reasons:

CS 95 Basic £750 (but we have never fought this man as he is always supplemented by extra kit)

Current ops £2450

who's going to be first to highlight the one item responsible for the major part of the cost growth?
 
#17
kitmonster said:
Clothing and Personal Protection only:

The sums of money spent currently on CS95 core, current Ops kit and the projections for PECOC are a key part of the message that is embedded in every PECOC presentation which is seen by senior officers and juniors alike. I asked myself the same question 2 and half years ago. I will not mention PECOC as the financial models are part of the decision making process and therefore subject to change. That said the PECOC figures compare very favourably to current ops and when a more structured and long term procurement plan is implemented likely to deliver more kit for less cost.

Rough figures for commercial reasons:

CS 95 Basic £750 (but we have never fought this man as he is always supplemented by extra kit)

Current ops £2450

who's going to be first to highlight the one item responsible for the major part of the cost growth?
Osprey and ECBA?
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#20
Perhaps it might be more relevant to average the cost of an infantry section or even platoon to take into account weapons and comms kit.

I'm not sure I see any value (other than as an accounting exercise) in comparing the costs of the kit carried by an infantryman.

I think it might be more interesting to compare the kit/weapons/comms carried by a platoon, which could include comparison of cost and effectiveness.

We are certainly claiming that our kit is the best and if its costing £2,400.00 against a US spend of $17,472.00 then it represents bloody good value for money but I don't think we are comparing like with like.
 

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