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Individual Protection Kit; brilliant idea or PITA?

#1
I only ever saw it in some Field Engineering pam - about 20 years ago - and it seemed like a good idea. However, I've since read that it was withdrawn from service because blokes were using it wrongly and having their shelter bays collapse on their heads.

What was it like to use? Would it REALLY support the weight of a Land-Rover?
 
#2
I never saw the point; we were planning to fight in West Germany. There's a settlement every 3km , more or less (hence the maximum range for MILAN), and farmhouses between them. Every house has doors or steel radiators, and they make much better roofs for shelters. And at least in our case, every TA infantry platoon was equipped with someone who was either a builder, a chippy or had ripped a door off its hinges in a fit of pique.

I did use one as a basha for a while, though. It seemed to keep the rain off OK.
 
#3
I bought a job lot of them for about a quid each and use them wisely for certain jobs. Very good, very durable waterproof material. No eyelets tho. I have seen them used well enough to get the landy on top.....maybe. Just about.

(have to use the pebble in corner approach to pull tight.)
I did that too, but got some cheap plastic eyelets and bungys from a caravan shop, knocked up some shite hot windbreaks, and shelters with them and about ten years on they are still going strong,
 
#4
The IPK was good if used properly.




Which is Army speak for it does what it says on the tin, if you can be bothered to follow all the instructions on the tin.
 
#5
I made my first aquaintance with the art of erecting one on STANTA in the first defensive exercise at Sandhurst and learned that with practice it was possible to assmeble one that did not cave in or bulge threateningly. The IPK was compulsory on many defensive exercises in the early 1980s. Undoubtedly they could provide 18" of overhead cover, the minimum to ward off splinters. However the result did not offer any confidence of survivign the attnetions of 3rd Shock Army. There was an article in RUSI by a gunner officer pointign this out and suggesting that NATO might be strengthened by leaving some concrete shelters in the general area of the GDP rather than digging slit trenches and filling them in again.
 
#7
Mrs Chef and I went canoeing in France many years ago, before the Chefettes arrived, and as the river Charente has many weirs we used one as a liner with two long bungees to wrap all the tentage etc, and evolved an SOP to whit;
Approach weir and recce.
Beach Canadian style canoe.
Lift IPK as a module, place on bank.
Canoe manhandled and beached.
IPK manhandled put back in bateau, and away.

They also make good dust sheets when decorating.
I also modified my used one with cheap blue DIY eyelets.
 
#8
Yep, they could take the weight of a Land Rover. I remember building a trench and using one to support overhead protection to a depth of 45cm and having one of my ds driving a rover over over.

Tam
 
#9
I built one as a demo at Arsbeck (the old petrol depot on the railway line between RAF Wildenrath and RAF Bruggen) it was tested with a Bedford MK 4 tonne truck and held. (Nobody volunteered to remain inside the shelter).

As Military Railwaymen we would not have bothered with them as we would have used old railway sleepers for the top cover and placed the green kip sheet on top to provide waterproofing, and inside along the walls. Ballast was used in the bottom for a floor covering.

Or we would have cheated and simply sleep in the Ambulance Coaches, Fitted Guards Vans, G Vans or the newly issued Andrew Barcley and Hunslet locos which came complete with a large bench seat suitable for sleeping on, (very thoughful of the MoD to provide).

Each railway depot also had a lok shop (Loco shed) complete with a large pit therefore we had a concrete prepared shelter add a few sleepers and the job was jobbed.

A lots of lads in the TA infantry I joined after the trains had 2 kip sheet stitch together to make a useful bivi bag/ sleeping bag cover and had eyelets fitted to the kip sheets to make simple bivis etc.

If the cord had been green it would have been very useful but was difficult to dye due to being made from nylon type material.

The silver ali pegs could be converted into tent pegs, trip wire post etc.

A very useful bit of kit for other tasks than it was designed for.

Also the kip sheet make very good black out blinds
 
#10
I remember building one at STANTA. At night. I can't remember how long it took us, we had four men at it when obviously it would only hold two but I think that was so we could actually get it completed in hte time available. It must have taken a few hours.

It seemed a pretty robust shelter when complete although it was a very small space for two blokes to try and shelter in from arty etc.

Good if there was nothing better that just happened to be there.
 
#11
As a clarification to my earlier post, I was in the trench, under the kip sheet and overhead protection when the Ds Corporal drove the Land Rover over. Seeing as how I did most of the digging of the thing as my oppo's heart wasn't really in this whole navvy thing, I was quite proud.

Tam
 
#12
You did need the right kind of ground. We dug slits and used IPK on them at Thetford in '95. Most of them ballooned downwards under the weight of earth as the pegs would not hold in the soil.
 
#13
Yep. Agreed with that. Fortunately ground was to the back of Vimy Barracks down in that Catterick like, and was really firm and stony when I had my one and only go at it.
Unfortunately, really firm and stony and sodding hard to dig through when you are the only beggar doing it in your syndicate.

Tam
 
#14
Yes, I vaguely recall reading that the pegs were designed to pull out of the soil if it was too friable to support the required thickness of OHP. Better than having it come down on your head in the middle of a barrage (that would have been taking the piss)
 
#15
In BAOR I built a few trenches (stage2) and used the IPK for the shelter half, it did work but I never felt completly happy underneath it. Most of the time we supplemented the white cord and pegs with any branches you could hack out of the local forestry. As for driving a landrover over it! Well I suppose you could if it was all put together as the diagram, but half the time we did it in the dark and they mostly ended up looking like a big pile of shit.
 
#16
I remember building one at STANTA. At night. I can't remember how long it took us, we had four men at it when obviously it would only hold two but I think that was so we could actually get it completed in hte time available. It must have taken a few hours.

It seemed a pretty robust shelter when complete although it was a very small space for two blokes to try and shelter in from arty etc.

Good if there was nothing better that just happened to be there.
STANTA isn't exactly hard ground for digging in - I don't think I've found anywhere in UK that's easier to exavate (Hunstanton Beach, mebbe?) which is why - if IPKs were to be used - you were well advised to do it by the book, lest that soft sandy soil give way and swallow you up. At RMAS, and later, during PCBC, I and others flogged ourselves to near coma on SPTA, trying to dig enough hole in the flinty chalk, to have a 2-man trench with matching double-shelter bays.

As for 1 x IPK = protection for 2 peeps . . . read the label again: Individual = 1 peeple. If 2 wants to shelter, you need one at each end of yur 2 man trench - obviously.

It was a viable piece of kit: capable of supporting more than the bare minimum 18" of packed earth required to protect against splinters.

On the other hand, if you could find trees, doors, timber or other materials sturdy enough to do a better job, most of us would have filled our boots and left the IPK in its packaging.

I had a bunch I sewed together and rigged with grommets, that made an excellent surface on which to pack my beloved Glidepath Fury 220 (seen here being uncharacteristically temperamental)

. . . . eeeh, by 'eck, those were the daze . . .
 
#17
Mmm, the joys of digging in...on my Aslt Pnr course we had to dig in a Bn CP kit, both as part of the syllabus, and as a demo for future courses. Having first built some sort of tank-capable bridge with hand tools only, we were, of course, knackered. Since the CP kit was to be built at the back of Rifleman Wing at the SoI, we couldn't excavate the hole with Beehives and ANFO, so more backbreaking labour, plus the obligatory seam of sandstone 18" under the surface.

Having dug the hole, we assembled the prefab CP kit at the bottom of it, and backfilled the bastard. Good riddance, we thought.

Wrong. We were too blitzed to realise that the kit was designed to be held together by the weight of the soil, so had to be backfilled evenly on all sides.

We had started on one side only, the CP was about 15 degrees out of vertical...

...so we had to dig it all out and start again...(sobs at the memory)
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#18
Yes I remember them very well, as a B1 Assorted Peanut I was confident in my ability to survive in a properly dug trench. I certainly put them together but after a year in Baor we were asked to trial the SHS and I didnt see a Kip sheet ever again!
 
#19
Yes I remember them very well, as a B1 Assorted Peanut I was confident in my ability to survive in a properly dug trench. I certainly put them together but after a year in Baor we were asked to trial the SHS and I didnt see a Kip sheet ever again!
Ahh - the Legendary Split Hairpin Shelter. A masterly re-invention of something they were using in WW1 . . . . ;D
 

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