Fighting Light.. what is the problem?

Except that wasn’t a patrol. And lots of soldiers got trench foot.

Your avoidance to answer any details about this hypothetical patrol says a lot.
And that Sir, is where your point lays in cold and wet tatters.

If soldiers can remain effective in those conditions for weeks, what’s the big deal about being cold and wet for a day?

You seem keen to isolate the principle of minimal carriage to a specific hypothetical patrol.

Are you saying nothing can be eliminated from the loads carried on a routine patrol expected to last 24 hours?
A jetboil is extraneous on a patrol in Norway.

Enormous loads are carried until a patrol base is established, then it’s movement in belt kit and ‘pocket contents’ only.

How long are patrols in Norway? How much water is carried on the man? How is it replenished if not by melting snow? Never been so genuinely don’t know
ECM is still trotted out as the Holy Grail of force protection.

It may have reduced the attack rate in Afghanistan, but as we’ve seen, it doesn’t eliminate the IED threat, as a pressure plate, tripwire or command wire from a battery can initiate a bad day at the office.
It meant that someone was physically connected to the device or a booby trap was used, reducing en survivability
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How long are patrols in Norway? How much water is carried on the man? How is it replenished if not by melting snow? Never been so genuinely don’t know

We normally patrolled for a week at a time.

Heli from base onto a high feature, then ski with +100lbs bergan, pulling a pulk full of stores. No water.

Contact drill was to ditch the bergan, and manoeuvre wearing belt kit.

The point is that the bergan was what you lived out of, and dumped whenever and as soon as possible.

Living off belt kit, complete with bfo survival knife and the contents of your pockets(a rigidly mandated list) was something routinely taught.


Kit Reviewer
Thing is, I’ve never seen the “Army” mandate much be carried outside RMAS and even then it wasn’t often checked.

Which is why I specifically asked, what extraneous kit is actually being carried?

Would a jetboil be extraneous in a Norway winter?
Things the chain of command (happier?) i.e. not the ground commander, mandated on operations outside RMAS:

Body armour
Assorted other bits of PPE, clothing, ear defence, etc.
ECM (& batteries)
Medical kit, personal and patrol
Radios (& batteries)
Personal weapon system, in some cases, specific alternate weapons systems
24-hr rations
ID cards, dog-tags, Card Alpha and other ephemera

Coincidentally, that stuff comprises almost the entirety of weight on the man. By 'mandated', I mean a combination of an order: "these will be worn or carried", often delivered through packages such as RSOI, or the certain knowledge that if a casualty or similar event occured and it was found these items were not carried, then that commander's career would be over. About the only discretionary, high-weight item was exact scales of ammunition.

So I don't really know what you're talking about. Was this perhaps a mass delusion that everyone with a TAM from JNCO's on up thought that these items were mandated? If somehow it wasn't, is that not something of a command failure that successive brigades deployed carrying all this stuff thinking it was mandated when actually, they were never required to? Going to take a bit more than your word to convince me.


Kit Reviewer
It meant that someone was physically connected to the device of a booby trap was used, reducing en survivability
Also flat wrong. PP (pressure plate) IED / VO (victim operated) IED are entirely self contained, have no signal to block, and require no En to initiate the device.

I'm not sure you have a good understanding of IED and C-IED technology.
How long can soldiers be effective, cold and wet in 2° rain?

What happens if this patrol last longer than initially planned and it gets dark?

Are the QRF bringing the NVGs out? What the distance? How long will it take? How permissive is the environment between the patrol and the QRF?

imho, I think we have to differentiate what we take with us in transit to our patrol area as opposed to what we take when we are actively looking for the enemy. Yes, we will carry a bit until we get to and establish a patrol base. Then, once thats done, dump all kit except what you need and get out and do your recce, fighting, standing - whatever - patrols. What you are doing will decide what you carry doing those.
So , yes you marched in to the patrol base with ammo, bivvy, kipmat, doss bag, 72 hours rats, spec kit etc etc - however, you going out in 2 degrees of sleet will see you carrying ammo, water, a meal/hobnobs, goretex waterprooofs and a warm top so you dont freeze while resting up.

If you are out longer than your alloted time, somethings gone wrong and survival is bluntly best attempts.
Loading up the patrol with kit and ammo is a temporary net loss to those left protecting the patrol base of manpower, firepower, ammunition and specialist kit, so every attempt should be made to return.
just my 2p.
Perhaps the army is looking through the wrong end of the telescope?
Every day thousands of civilians venture into the countryside across the world, carrying some water and scoff, a few tools, and some form of shelter, all in a bag, without problems.
All being military does is add a weapon and ammunition.
And body armour, helmet, radios, ECM

in other words the bulk of the weight they carry
Hmm, I'm pretty sure the ladders thing was a valuable, if limited, lesson from direct operational experience. Carrying ladders originated in Sangin (possibly earlier from the US in urban fighting in Iraq) and then spread outwards, because it allowed you to cross walls and ditches in places other than the chokepoints, which is where IEDs would be placed. It's the same function as carrying ropes in mountains: it hugely expands the route options your patrol has when mountain routes are otherwise highly constrained and so vulnerable to ambush.

In those cases, I think it was probably the experienced SNCOs who coughed loudly and whispered "we're doing it". Of course, this doesn't mean we should issue every platoon flying out to eastern Europe with a ladder.

I think I should have qualified the patrol objective as one of recce on SPTA in this instance.


Kit Reviewer
Surprised this tweet that @brettarider posted last week in the Ukraine thread hasn't made an appearnce in this thread

Link blocked and age restricted to a Twitter login, can you summarise?


The middle piccy - troops are wearing the battle jerkin - the grandaddy of the combat vest.

No they're wearing standard leather jerkins (a very good bit of kit in both wars, but clothing rather than load carrying) with very basic '37 pattern pouches, rolled cape, waterbottles and bandoliers.
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Kit Reviewer
Link blocked and age restricted to a Twitter login, can you summarise?

Short video of Ukrainian Troops advancing into a village, They are equipped with rifle, body armour, helmet and NLAW, I would guess they are carrying some ammo in a chest rig, but no water, ECM, or anything else


Kit Reviewer
I think I should have qualified the patrol objective as one of recce on SPTA in this instance.
Sure, well I don't know what the mission / threat / situation were, but SPTA does have enough ditches and buildings to potentially warrant it.

For me it's the difference between "we know this threat / obstacle / tactic exists" and "let's take anything that might possibly be useful in some hypothetical situation". There is less middle ground between those two than is commonly assumed: you either know or have solid information on a real issue (first one), or you don't (in which case most things default to the second one).


Weeks on end in the Falklands.

To give an example I was at a lecture by Mark Aston where someone asked him how he'd coped after loosing all his kit in the Sea King crash. He pointed out that he's actually lost it long before that on Fortuna Glacier and although much was replaced he didn't get a sleeping bag until he picked up an Argentine one on Mount Kent.


Without sounding like a broken record and repeating another sob story about weight I was involved in a ludicrous decision (in my opinion) 4 years ago on the ‘largest deployment since the last Gulf War' in Oman.

Despite the instructions being to ‘fight light’, due to not being able to get back to ship, we had to be held in a waiting area for potentially 72 hours. The assaults had to be carried out during the day and due to the heat, we weren’t allowed to wear helmets and body armour.

Cue the farcical position of having daysacks with 72 hrs rations, 5L of water, standard fighting gear, bivvy bags, ponchos, pegs with our body armour and helmets top flapped trying to carry out assaults in the Oman mountains.

I know Afghan vets would have carried heavier but the main point is that if we never train for it how will we ever get used to dropping weight and having proper G4 planning in the rear bringing up supplies.

If the mission is to take a beach, a village, enemy positions or whatever it might be we never say well if we don’t take then don’t worry just settle for something else or if we only 2 buildings then that’s ok it can’t be helped. So why do we settle for that when it comes to robust rear echelons bringing up infantry supplies.

The reason why I mentioned the ‘largest deployment since the last Gulf War’ is that I’ve never seen so many helos, vehicles and general planning yet somehow getting bergans to us couldn’t be factored in.

I will see if I can find the picture but I did see one Coy OC had broken down in time periods what he wanted each man to carry from fighting order through to grips help in the rear. I thought it was probably the best methods I’ve come across. Sadly, it never got as far as company lines.
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