Need for groin armor for UK troops?

#1
Interesting piece on groin armor--reports I have gotten from friends in Iraq and Afghanistan indicate this armor is highly regarded by US troops in the right settings. There is always the problem of striking the right balance between protection and the ability to move and stay cool.


Groin armour 'would help British troops to survive'

Squaddies bartering with Americans for body plates

By Terri Judd in Helmand

Monday, 21 September 2009


A young Royal Marine takes a rest in Afghanistan


British soldiers are suffering catastrophic injuries not seen among their American comrades in Afghanistan because their armour does not cover the groin and neck.

The most senior surgeon in the British field hospital in Afghanistan, US Navy Captain Joseph Rappold, told The Independent: "We have seen a lot of groin and neck injuries in UK soldiers not otherwise seen in US soldiers and Marines because of this piece of equipment."

US Marines, who deployed this summer with British forces in Helmand, wear an additional groin guard hanging from the waist of their body armour, as well as a higher neck-piece. In the bloodiest summer to date in Helmand, a tour in which the number of soldiers killed and terribly injured rose dramatically, many have suffered leg amputations from the increasingly powerful improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that litter the terrain. Captain Rappold said they often suffer life-changing groin wounds.

A veteran of five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said the casualties he was treating had some of the worst injuries he had ever seen. Insurgents, he explained, were now using more powerful explosives which have more devastating consequences.

The US-worn Kevlar groin plate "is not going to stop the upwards effect of a blast if they step on an IED or mine", but Captain Rappold said it offered invaluable protection against the roadside blasts. "What it helps with is protecting them from very catastrophic injuries to their genitalia," he said. "If the fragmentation hits you straight on the risk is significant to this area. We don't see the same degree in US casualties as we do in UK casualties."

Some British soldiers in Afghanistan, now constantly vulnerable to road-side bombs, have begun bartering with the Americans to get hold of the groin guards. Nurses at the hospital have even recommended they use cricket boxes. One senior nurse said that such injuries were a notable feature of the tour not seen on previous deployments.

The UK Army headquarters insisted yesterday that such lower body injuries result from the British conducting more foot patrols and having a higher number of engagements with the enemy, and not because of the lack of groin plates. A spokesman for Task Force Helmand said there had been no analysis or statistics to prove the higher rate of groin injuries, adding: "UK personal protection equipment offers the very best levels of protection. Personal protection is ultimately a balance between risk and maintaining manoeuvrability so that soldiers avoid contact with the enemy in the first place."

The British Army has made dramatic improvements to the body armour since the invasion of Iraq when soldiers, expecting gun shot wounds to be their most common cause of injury, wore lighter Kevlar enhanced combat body armour (ECBA) with small plates over the heart front and rear, first developed for Northern Ireland.

The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to the introduction of the far heavier Osprey armour, which protects troops with large ceramic plates covering their torso front and back, and has modular neck and shoulder protection.

While infantry soldiers initially complained about the weight, it has saved the lives of troops. In Helmand, there have been stories of soldiers being shot with more than one round in the plate but able to continue in battle with no more than bruises.

The Ministry of Defence has now introduced an upgraded version of the Osprey, with 10,000 sets to reach Helmand shortly. It is lighter, has side plates and is closer-fitting. The ballistic plates are loaded from beneath because explosions could send them crashing into a soldier's chin. Zips have also been replaced with Velcro because they caused additional damaging fragmentation. But there is no groin guard.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...d-help-british-troops-to-survive-1790721.html
 
#2
JJH:

I read that article with my legs crossed. It would seem that something could and should be provided. Much as I am concerned about Obama spending my money like a drunken sailor (with apologies to any drunken sailors reading this) I would not mind a bit if he spent a few dollars to provide the US plates to our British brothers.

By the way, on the same page as you linked to there is a link to an article about the British medics who operate the morgue. Morgue link A very difficult emotionally draining job for which they get an extra two pounds a day. Two pounds!! You could not pay me enough to compensate me for that. I sometimes deal with sudden death in my job but I have never gotten used to children. The day a dead kid does not bother me is the day I head to the retirement office and turn in the papers!

Staff Sgts Andy Nutt and Tom Brennan of he Helmand Morgue; if you read this, all the respect in the world for you for the job you do.
 
#3
DavidBOC said:
JJH:

I read that article with my legs crossed. It would seem that something could and should be provided. Much as I am concerned about Obama spending my money like a drunken sailor (with apologies to any drunken sailors reading this) I would not mind a bit if he spent a few dollars to provide the US plates to our British brothers.

By the way, on the same page as you linked to there is a link to an article about the British medics who operate the morgue. Morgue link A very difficult emotionally draining job for which they get an extra two pounds a day. Two pounds!! You could not pay me enough to compensate me for that. I sometimes deal with sudden death in my job but I have never gotten used to children. The day a dead kid does not bother me is the day I head to the retirement office and turn in the papers!

Staff Sgts Andy Nutt and Tom Brennan of he Helmand Morgue; if you read this, all the respect in the world for you for the job you do.
Given the clear effect this additional kit has on saving troops, we should just crate up what is needed for all troops in theater regardless of nationality--there are not that many for goodness sake--and do the right thing. Sort the cost out later if at all.

I also agree on kudos to the morgue personnel--we have a Marine reserve mortuary affairs unit here in GA that does that work--it takes its toll on them too.
 
#4
The Aussie army issues groin protectors, not hard kevlar, just the same stuff the main body is made of. They are a pain to wear and really restrict mobility. I would not reccomend them, the loss of mobility outweighs the benefit they offer.
As the TFH bloke said, the additional groin wounds could be attributed to other factors than not having the plates.

I've used both UK and Aus body armour on ops and prefer the UK stuff with the smaller plates.

Then again, I'm a stinking fitter so what would I know?
 
#5
I've seen the yanks cutting around with the 'nads' flap. Cant say i'd be happy with the extra 'dangly' bit covering my meat and two veg, its just got potential for some twat to kick it for maximum pain to the goolies.
 
#6
Nige said:
The Aussie army issues groin protectors, not hard kevlar, just the same stuff the main body is made of. They are a pain to wear and really restrict mobility. I would not reccomend them, the loss of mobility outweighs the benefit they offer.As the TFH bloke said, the additional groin wounds could be attributed to other factors than not having the plates.

I've used both UK and Aus body armour on ops and prefer the UK stuff with the smaller plates.

Then again, I'm a stinking fitter so what would I know?
My bold.

I agree. I read a book recently (Danger Close - Col Stuart Tootal, former CO 3 Para Batlegroup) that spoke of Para Reg on Herrick in 2006.

Some of there Ops were conducted with no body armour and it was seemingly favoured by a lot of the blokes. The arguement as I interprited it, is that mobility and the need to cover ground fast can sometimes offer more protection than the cumbersome body armour itself.
 
#8
Fallschirmjager said:
Poke more armour up its fucking arse. We carry enough shite.
If it was a major problem, then something the size of a cricket box made of kevlar, wouldn't weight that much and wouldn't get in the way either
 
#10
johnboyzzz said:
Fallschirmjager said:
Poke more armour up its fucking arse. We carry enough shite.
If it was a major problem, then something the size of a cricket box made of kevlar, wouldn't weight that much and wouldn't get in the way either
But where does it end? What next? In a few years everyone will be on patrol looking like ATO. It's fucking bollocks (literally!). :)
 
#11
Fallschirmjager said:
johnboyzzz said:
Fallschirmjager said:
Poke more armour up its fucking arse. We carry enough shite.
If it was a major problem, then something the size of a cricket box made of kevlar, wouldn't weight that much and wouldn't get in the way either
But where does it end? What next? In a few years everyone will be on patrol looking like ATO. It's fucking bollocks (literally!). :)
Either that or a Warrior each :wink:
 
#12
Fallschirmjager said:
johnboyzzz said:
Fallschirmjager said:
Poke more armour up its fucking arse. We carry enough shite.
If it was a major problem, then something the size of a cricket box made of kevlar, wouldn't weight that much and wouldn't get in the way either
But where does it end? What next? In a few years everyone will be on patrol looking like ATO. It's fucking bollocks (literally!). :)
Doing a forward assist in this little lot could prove problematic.... :roll: :wink:
 

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#13
As someone who owns a company that manufactures body armour, do you mind if I chip in? (Am going to anyway lol)

Personally, I am not too sure about the operational effectiveness of Groin Protection. If you have it, it’s only going to be in NIJ IIA, and will really only be any use against Frag and small arms fire.

It’s a real pain in the arse (groin) to wear and can rub on the upper (mid) thighs.

The interesting side of it is the blunt trauma side of things. I have seen some tests that would in if replicated in combat make the user suffer all sorts of nasty internal trauma and shattered leg bones. I guess you have to weigh up the lack of movement for running etc. to the protection the armour provides.
 
#14
There are soldiers who post on here who want to be wrapped up in cotton wool when in theatre. Probably the same ones who leave Bastion once every 2 months on a Logistics Patrol. It's fine for them wearing as much body armour as they can physically fit on themselves. It's not so fine for the poor fcukers who have to patrol in the green zone on a daily basis.
 
#15
Collars are avialible but how many people wear them?

I think that because the US collar is a lower profile it is more comfortable to wear. ISTR that it was mandatory on topcover and about as popular as genital warts despite the protection it gave.

Groin plates? As Fallschirmjäger points out, you have enough kit to lug around. Should it be offered? Perhaps. Those doing less ´physical´stuff could be cleared to wear it should they wish.
 
#16
Indeed--as I said "There is always the problem of striking the right balance between protection and the ability to move and stay cool." Interestingly, iI understand the USMC has just relaxed its requirements to allow local COs to modify body armor requirements as needed for mission accomplishment. Of course the first time a Marine gets whacked where body armor would have protected him there will be hell to pay from the NOK. Of course, that is why the CO gets the big bucks!
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#17
Reminds me of a Swiss/French cave diving pioneer I met a few times.
He built his own rebreathers (=very dodgy), factoring in triple redundancy and ruling out all obvious points of failure.
His thoroughness was testified by the fact he was still alive - almost unique in mixed gas cave diving pioneers of the 80's and 90's.
Once he was explaining to a technical diving audience how his kit worked, and someone offered a scenario of a sequence of common failures, to which he replied, "If zat 'appens eet is not your day".

Experienced professionals in whatever field take measured risk, but ultimately if its "not your day", its unlikely to make a difference. Not many professionals undertaking risky activities go OTT on safety over performance either, same reasoning.
Its like taking 2 reserve parachutes only to get tangled up and pile in headfirst.
 
#18
johnboyzzz said:
Fallschirmjager said:
Poke more armour up its fucking arse. We carry enough shite.
If it was a major problem, then something the size of a cricket box made of kevlar, wouldn't weight that much and wouldn't get in the way either
Need to have a variety of sizes for the 'more endowed' of us. :lol:
 
#19
CavalryCaptain said:
johnboyzzz said:
Fallschirmjager said:
Poke more armour up its fucking arse. We carry enough shite.
If it was a major problem, then something the size of a cricket box made of kevlar, wouldn't weight that much and wouldn't get in the way either
Need to have a variety of sizes for the 'more endowed' of us. :lol:
Indeed! :D
 
#20
More Kevlar. Fcuking hell when will the press stop pushing this crap out. The Press report it, the public ask for it then the soldiers have to work in it.

Osprey and such like are far too heavy as it is nevermind t'other crap.

I'm all for the current system where armour can be scaled up and down depending on task but asking intanteers to try and carry 35lbs worth of kevlar before they even put on their CEFO is starting to take the p1ss.

Have you ever tried crawling with a bergan on your back?
 

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