Too much armour robbing Marines of speed in combat

#1
Too much armour robbing Marines of speed in combat

The Associated PressPublished: March 10, 2009

WASHINGTON: Using heavy layers of armor to keep troops safe from bullets and bombs is making the Marine Corps too slow on a battlefield where speed and mobility are critical, a senior military leader said Tuesday.

With 8,000 Marines about to be sent to Afghanistan to quell rising violence, Lt. Gen. George Flynn cautioned members of Congress against wrapping them in so much protective gear they can't hunt down more agile insurgents who use the country's rugged peaks and valleys to their advantage.

"The bottom line is that the focus on armor as the principal means of protecting our force is making us too heavy," said Flynn, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for combat development and integration, during a hearing held by the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.

The weight of personal body armor and steel-encased vehicles limits the speed and maneuverability that make the Marine Corps "more effective and deadly to the enemy," he said.

Body armor has been a proven lifesaver of U.S. troops. But the vests weigh as much as 34 pounds each. When body armor is added to the assault rifles, ammunition, water and other essential gear troops are required to carry, they can be lugging as much as 80 pounds into combat. Besides moving more slowly, overburdened troops tire more quickly and are prone to orthopedic injuries that can take them out of action, officials say.
More on the link
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/03/10/america/Marines-Lighter-Loads.php
 
#2
Hmm, problem is, the armour that they had before this, was utter shite. Couldn't stop most stuff, and resulted in quite a few deaths, if I recall rightly, but that was back in earlish 2001, I think.

Which is the choice? Slow, and armoured, and technically more safe from a 7.62 to the chest, or fast, mobile, and easily gunned down?
 

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#4
Squiggers said:
Hmm, problem is, the armour that they had before this, was utter shite. Couldn't stop most stuff, and resulted in quite a few deaths, if I recall rightly, but that was back in earlish 2001, I think.

Which is the choice? Slow, and armoured, and technically more safe from a 7.62 to the chest, or fast, mobile, and easily gunned down?
Same issue as that with armoured vehicles - we went for 60 ton behemoths, whilst other countries went for lighter, faster units.

No different on a person - would you rather be nimble but vulnerable, or sweaty, hot, knackered and slow but protected?
 
#7
Well with those APC's that can survive the IED strikes etc i think reducing the armour for speed would just lead to massive casualties.

What i've gathered from ross kemp is the vehichles armoured against ied's / mine strikes etc are nearly essential as they're is so much risk from them.

Also about the tank armour etc.

There hasn't been a single tank blown up in both iraq and afghan was there? except for a friendly fire incident, am i right?

Having tank armour good enough that during a fierce campaign not a single tank is disabled is pretty impressive and i beleive worth a loss in manuerverability.

Excuse my nubness of facts if i am wrong, I am only a current applicant.

edit - I wont comment on personal armour as i have not had the experience using it yet.
 
#9
Firthy556 said:
Well with those APC's that can survive the IED strikes etc i think reducing the armour for speed would just lead to massive casualties.

What i've gathered from ross kemp is the vehichles armoured against ied's / mine strikes etc are nearly essential as they're is so much risk from them.

Also about the tank armour etc.

There hasn't been a single tank blown up in both iraq and afghan was there? except for a friendly fire incident, am i right?

Having tank armour good enough that during a fierce campaign not a single tank is disabled is pretty impressive and i beleive worth a loss in manuerverability.

Excuse my nubness of facts if i am wrong, I am only a current applicant.

edit - I wont comment on personal armour as i have not had the experience using it yet.
No you're completely wrong.
 
#10
ilovegrapes said:
Maybe they should train more.
Said like a true armchair general. Trying to crawl wearing the new kit we have plus CEFO is devistatingly difficult even for the fittest. I'll assume you were being sarcastic though.

thanks for the correction re "Tanks" Ex Stab.

The folks who shout loudest about extra body armour are normally those who don't have to wear it. There are quite a few that do have to wear it who are pro turning individual soldiers into Kevlar skinned Robots but its not always the way forward.

There is alot to be said for zig zagging and getting on your gut.
 
#11
Remember of course the political argument when it comes to body armour too. If troops get killed when not wearing armour that could potentially have saved them, there's an enquiry. So the highest spec protection is ordered, even if this makes the troops slower and so more vulnerable. Not that I'm cynical about it all of course
 
#12
fraudstar said:
Remember of course the political argument when it comes to body armour too. If troops get killed when not wearing armour that could potentially have saved them, there's an enquiry. So the highest spec protection is ordered, even if this makes the troops slower and so more vulnerable. Not that I'm cynical about it all of course
Its very true. The relatives of those killed/injured will always be asking hard questions and will be allowed too much of an opinion.

If they realised that carrying 15kgs of armour means their son is less likely to 'hard target' or take cover properly and the implications of this then they might agree. Sadly the blindness of grief kicks in and understandably so.

Armoured Turtle or Unarmoured Cheetah?
 
#13
My Mate was attached to the Regt, REEM Spanner bender.
During Gulf 1 he attended a demo by the SF of one gulf state.
He and the Regt member where all astounded by the speed of the troops they had trained, for they where in full armor and wearing S6 masks.
After the demo they where congratulation the SF troops on their performance when one guy checked out the kit worn.
Polystyrene armor and S6 canisters that had had the filters removed.
john
 
#14
It is difficult trying to get a happy medium; too little we get killed, too much and we can't get around. I seen some the bodyarmour that the USSF use and it seems all right, certainly a lot less bulky than Osprey. The Danes are jealous of our Osprey though, their body armour is pretty pants, similar to the stuff the Americans used in Vietnam.
 
#15
Firthy556 said:
There hasn't been a single tank blown up in both iraq and afghan was there? except for a friendly fire incident, am i right?
You are quite right; no tank has been blown up in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
#16
EX_STAB said:
Firthy556 said:
Well with those APC's that can survive the IED strikes etc i think reducing the armour for speed would just lead to massive casualties.

What i've gathered from ross kemp is the vehichles armoured against ied's / mine strikes etc are nearly essential as they're is so much risk from them.

Also about the tank armour etc.

There hasn't been a single tank blown up in both iraq and afghan was there? except for a friendly fire incident, am i right?

Having tank armour good enough that during a fierce campaign not a single tank is disabled is pretty impressive and i beleive worth a loss in manuerverability.

Excuse my nubness of facts if i am wrong, I am only a current applicant.

edit - I wont comment on personal armour as i have not had the experience using it yet.
No you're completely wrong.
NO YOUR WRONG, NAHHHH!!!! *thumbs nose*

What kind of reply is that? Where is your evidence or even a nice little anecdote?
 
#17
bubsnicket said:
EX_STAB said:
Firthy556 said:
Well with those APC's that can survive the IED strikes etc i think reducing the armour for speed would just lead to massive casualties.

What i've gathered from ross kemp is the vehichles armoured against ied's / mine strikes etc are nearly essential as they're is so much risk from them.

Also about the tank armour etc.

There hasn't been a single tank blown up in both iraq and afghan was there? except for a friendly fire incident, am i right?

Having tank armour good enough that during a fierce campaign not a single tank is disabled is pretty impressive and i beleive worth a loss in manuerverability.

Excuse my nubness of facts if i am wrong, I am only a current applicant.

edit - I wont comment on personal armour as i have not had the experience using it yet.
No you're completely wrong.
NO YOUR WRONG, NAHHHH!!!! *thumbs nose*

What kind of reply is that? Where is your evidence or even a nice little anecdote?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1549551/Iraq-bomb-damages-Britains-best-tank.html
 
#18
Having been shot I would always go for the armour, the knowledge that you have a better chance of surviving if hit gives one a bit of confidence, you just have to become able of opperating with the extra weight. In Belfast every one moaned about flack jackets until one saved my life, not another word was heard
 
#19
Surely it's a risk/cost/benefit thing? (Cost as in loss of life not as in money)

Don't we lose many more troops through IED and ambush than through direct fighting with the enemy? That would suggest that surviving the initial contact is by far the higher priority. Of course, there needs to be a compromise between mobility and protection but in the current environment it would seem that protection is the key. It's not like our troops will ever be a unlaiden as some taliban wearing sandals and a dish-dash?

Of course, I've not been on the ground and can only imagine how much of a burden the kit is but there must be lots of guys that are alive today, purely because of the body armour?


Edited to add:
Having been shot I would always go for the armour, the knowledge that you have a better chance of surviving if hit gives one a bit of confidence, you just have to become able of opperating with the extra weight. In Belfast every one moaned about flack jackets until one saved my life, not another word was heard
Proof of the pudding and all that..
 
#20
Bravo_Bravo said:
Firthy556 said:
There hasn't been a single tank blown up in both iraq and afghan was there? except for a friendly fire incident, am i right?
You are quite right; no tank has been blown up in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
What about the Chally in Iraq? It was taken out by an IED. Can't remember now if the RTR driver survived that or not.
 
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