Problems with Military Equipment

Hello All,

I am currently studying A-Level Product Design, this involves identifying a problem and developing a product to solve it. As an aspiring officer (currently applying for the scholarship scheme) I have chosen to explore the theme of the military.
I am therefore researching problems with military equipment, and it would be really helpful if you could tell me about any issues you have encountered. I have also made a questionnaire about problems in the military, and I would really appreciate it if you could fill this out to aid my research.
Problems In The Military

Many thanks!

**@Bad CO has given permission to post this.
 

Ayatollah

Old-Salt
Rarely does Military Equipment go into service without going through trials and testing first. From the experience of years ago problems occurred due to lack of servicing and neglect by the operator cutting corners.
 
Could you suggest any equipment that is missing? Or anything that needs improvement? If you could take one piece of kit with you on a mission, besides the necessities, what would it be?
 
Rarely does Military Equipment go into service without going through trials and testing first. From the experience of years ago problems occurred due to lack of servicing and neglect by the operator cutting corners.
Not that you'd always notice. If you take that most basic of issue items; the army boot, for example. There is a long history of poor design and acceptance of sub-standard design.

1) Ammo boots. Poor in the working environment but revered for parade ground use (when they were/are rendered even more useless for any other purpose by the compulsory destructive bulling process).

2) Boots DMS. As comfortable as bedroom slippers when cutting around camp, but a poor item in the field, particularly in cold/wet conditions. Practically zero waterproof properties. Performed very badly during the Falklands War.

3) NI High Patrol boots. A limited issue intended primarily for an urban environment. Could be comfortable to wear for long periods but not at all durable.

4) Boots, Combat High. The design (especially early iterations) was especially prone to causing various foot and tendon problems. An absolutely fundamental flaw for an army habitually out on its feet.

5) Theatre specific boots, such as jungle boots and desert boots.

I have no experience at all of the current generation of 'brahn boots'. They look the part, but others are better able to comment on their suitability.

So, several generations of boot, spanning over 100 years of soldiering, during which time the most basic and commonly used military item was really not up to snuff. Most units had a relaxed attitude to the wearing of personally obtained substitute items in the field, such was the recognition that the issue kit was inadequate and that better existed elsewhere (either commercially or sourced from the military of allied nations).
 

Ayatollah

Old-Salt
If it isn't presently on the issue and no one knows what's missing it hasn't been invented or developed.
 
Webbing pouches. There’s an old saying about undone buttons. “A button today, an ammo pouch tomorrow, submarine hatch the day after”. Over the years there have been some real misses on the webbing front. 58 pattern latches, while wearing NBC suit, gloves and respirator were a joke. Especially if it was wet, and the webbing material had swollen.

Invent a webbing pouch that doesn’t require a buckle/latch, but securely holds the contents, and is durable across the range of operating conditions.
 
Could you suggest any equipment that is missing? Or anything that needs improvement? If you could take one piece of kit with you on a mission, besides the necessities, what would it be?

Non explosive remote wire cutter for EOD use.
 

Chef

LE
The penny pinching whereby the shortest possible straps and smallest bags are provided for equipment.

Trying to pull straps through buckles by the brass end with cold, wet fingers or get a less than perfectly folded 9x9 into its bag was a time consuming pain.

Of course I'm going back twenty odd years ago so I'm sure things have improved.

@Provost's post on the history of boots is an excellent view of military design problems in a nutshell.
 
Thank you all for your helpful replies. Could anyone go into some more detail about the buckles? Dont forget I also have a questionnaire in the OP, it would be really useful if you could fill this out!
 

sinned

Swinger
Hello All,

I am currently studying A-Level Product Design, this involves identifying a problem and developing a product to solve it. As an aspiring officer (currently applying for the scholarship scheme) I have chosen to explore the theme of the military.
I am therefore researching problems with military equipment, and it would be really helpful if you could tell me about any issues you have encountered. I have also made a questionnaire about problems in the military, and I would really appreciate it if you could fill this out to aid my research.
Problems In The Military

Many thanks!

**@Bad CO has given permission to post this.
Hi Alexandra,

All soldiers have varying views on equipment, as in the Falkland's War, One complaint was about the Combat Boots and soles apparently falling off. Well I still have my combat boots that I used in the Falkland's and now 38 years later I am still wearing those same combat boots. So what adv ice can I give. There is a great book called " The Soldier" by Chris McNab which covers all Armies from 171o to date and it shows the uniforms used in different conflicts around the world including the stupid uniforms worn by the British in the 7 years war 1756 - 63. A
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
the stupid uniforms worn by the British in the 7 years war 1756 - 63.
There are probably a few AR CFAV (my edit) personnel out there still wearing some of that.
 
Last edited:

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Webbing pouches. There’s an old saying about undone buttons. “A button today, an ammo pouch tomorrow, submarine hatch the day after”. Over the years there have been some real misses on the webbing front. 58 pattern latches, while wearing NBC suit, gloves and respirator were a joke. Especially if it was wet, and the webbing material had swollen.

Invent a webbing pouch that doesn’t require a buckle/latch, but securely holds the contents, and is durable across the range of operating conditions.
To be fair, I was never issued a submarine! :-D

The problem with pouch closures is/was noise, hence not just using studs.

The prime issue* for me with 58 Pattern was decontamination. It wasn't proofed.



*Besides it weighing a ton and shrinking when wet.
 

theoriginalphantom

MIA
Book Reviewer
Rarely does Military Equipment go into service without going through trials and testing first. From the experience of years ago problems occurred due to lack of servicing and neglect by the operator cutting corners.


a whole system of medical pouches (such as the one used for the team medic pouch) was definitely tested properly and not left in it's original wrappings in a shed (by the lake) at Keogh barracks until my boss took some for me to use on a particular OP he jiffed me for.
 
When the first MCV 80s (Warrior) were produced, one was brought up to MVEE Kirkcudbright for armour trials. We noted that the glassis plate and the belly plate met in a big weld right across the front of the vehicle, so we took our 12.7 Iraqi HMG with AP rds, fired it through the weld, through the dummy on the drivers seat, through the dummies sitting down the left hand side of the vehicle and out the back door!
It was taken away for redesign!
 

sinned

Swinger
Hi Alexandra,

All soldiers have varying views on equipment, as in the Falkland's War, One complaint was about the Combat Boots and soles apparently falling off. Well I still have my combat boots that I used in the Falkland's and now 38 years later I am still wearing those same combat boots. So what adv ice can I give. There is a great book called " The Soldier" by Chris McNab which covers all Armies from 171o to date and it shows the uniforms used in different conflicts around the world including the stupid uniforms worn by the British in the 7 years war 1756 - 63. A
Hello All,

I am currently studying A-Level Product Design, this involves identifying a problem and developing a product to solve it. As an aspiring officer (currently applying for the scholarship scheme) I have chosen to explore the theme of the military.
I am therefore researching problems with military equipment, and it would be really helpful if you could tell me about any issues you have encountered. I have also made a questionnaire about problems in the military, and I would really appreciate it if you could fill this out to aid my research.
Problems In The Military

Many thanks!

**@Bad CO has given permission to post this.
Hi again Alexandra. Another great book to is "Wellingtons Army's} This lays down how his Armies were managed
and the involvement of the Government and surprisingly soldiers of that day had their pay docked to pay for their uniforms and we had officers as young as 14 in the Army though in reality it was the experienced Warrant Officers who ran things, bit like today !but without the political correctness.
Eyes Front
 
I will produce an item of military equipment, nothing special.
It goes for trials against my competition.
I make this version from the highest quality materials, machined or cut to the most exact tolerances, it beats all-comers and I win the contract. My company name is on that bit of kit.
Now, I have to produce it as cheaply as possible, from materials which will 'just' do the job, no more. I could licence it to a competitor, who will probably make it even more cheaply than me, using the exact same principles but even lesser materials and production standards. My company name stays miles away from theirs.
From shovels to boots to guns, a never-ending story.
 
Thank you all for your helpful replies. Could anyone go into some more detail about the buckles? Dont forget I also have a questionnaire in the OP, it would be really useful if you could fill this out!
Do some research on types of closure in common use, get hold of as many samples as possible and do some testing. Get them wet, put them in a freezer, get your hands cold and wet, try it in the dark, get them hot, get your hands greasy, try to break them and wear them out, fill them with mud, sand, snow, try it underwater, listen to the noise they make. make notes, present the data (Star diagram maybe). Design something better, make a fortune, send my cut.
simple...
Then... design a rear view mirror that is easy to adjust, and stays in place when you take your hand off.
 
Top