Why are soldiers going down with the heat in Iraq



Having been sent back from Iraq cause of the heat, i am flabbergasted that so many soldiers are being sent home. On my flight there was 40 of us in the same boat.
Its not that we are dehydrated or not looking after ourselves, its because the British army has spent more time looking after the locals welfare and not giving us the basics that we need.
The two biggest gripes over there are
1. No air con and not being able to sleep, Thus always Knackered!!!!!
2. No cold water as they cant cool it quick enough!!!!!!
The Czechs who are working with 19 Bde cant believe that we are still using washing bowls filled from bowzers, using solar showers and best of all using thunder boxes that are put in direct sunlite (cant use them between 1100 hrs and 1700 hrs cause of the heat and flies)
The czechs have air con this and air con that, oh and they sleep in aircon as well.
Also the ladds are thin on the ground. How the hell can they replace a Div with a Bde. Constant patrols, ops and anything else that the Bde management decide need doing. By the way the Bde staff work and sleep in aircon!!!!!!!!!!!!
Before i left, my collegues were still being left in the police stations on their own, it wont be long for another incident. Give the Infantry ladds their dues, its not their fault. by the way yes i am RMP and cant praise the infantry enough for their work over there stuck in the police stations with the RMP with no support.
I will understand those who were in the war fighting role, who didnt have any welfare in place but we went in on op Telic II and these welfare items just havent been addressed.
So in your opinion Judge, what do the guys need, or need more of, to make themselves a bit more comfortable, and, accordingly, raising Operational effectiveness?
I think what he's saying is pretty simple. Provide the equipment i.e. aircon and refrigeration. This will not only raise the effectiveness of the soldier, but raise his/her morale as well. It's not difficult nor is it expensive. As for the sh*thouses, that may soon develop into a health hazard. Simple location of ablutions isn't rocket science. We've spent years laughing at the Spams for taking air con and fridges into theatres. Tell you what, I'll bet there's not many of the Brits out there who'll be seeing the funny side of that now. It's getting hotter out there and it's low point in the evening is high 20's. Try going without a cold drink over here during the day when it hits those temps and see how good you feel at the end of the day. Soldiers need to hydrate in those temps frequently. It's not much fun drinking warm water and there's no need to, they're not on a jungle op, where the facilities ain't there/you can't take them with you. This is basics here. I must say, I'd be f*cking' embarrassed by the fact that the Czechs are better prepared.

Simple welfare issues I would have thought.
Not sure where in the country you were in, but where we were the problem of cold drinks was sold by buying ice off the locals.

UK forces should be able to do better than this, but as it costs money it will not change.

Have they at least go desert boots for everyone now?
Come on - what are we - soldiers or what.

Remember the 8th Army fought in temperatures as high as they are having in Iraq at present with no air con !
Aren't those rather nice floppy hats any good, then?
No punka walah's available?


The trouble is some of the people who decide on the kit levels probably are not even in theatre. I had a row with a QM some time ago because he saw my request for lighting kits for the colpro as "sucking up to the boys"& "going soft" Easy for him to say. He was in England and probably had got no nearer to living in it(colpro) than using the fcuking part number :( Tight arsed git. Fortunately he was eventualy overuled by an enlightened gentleman who had spent some time in it (good lad!) but it does illustrate the difference in attitudes

P.S. Do QMs still get MBEs for saving money? :twisted:
Don't know, but what's a COLPRO?
Ok- there are obviously further steps that can be taken to improve conditions and some troops are being affected by heat illness despite taking all necessary precautions.............

However, certain muppets are creating their own problems - not only ignoring advice about drinking plenty of water, adding salt to food, avoiding sunbathing, keeping to Phyzz timings etc but some are also playing mindlessly stupid games like the Regt who was holding an unofficial 'Hard as ****' competition whereby individuals sunbathed / sat in portaloos etc etc etc for as long as possible to prove how hard they are. Now then - why do you think they ended up in the med cen - was it because they didint have aircon?

I don't think so.

Many a case of heat illness would have been prevented by a bit of common sense from the individual.
Ramillies, i dont quite understand your last post. Is it your oppinion, that when the SA80 A1 was affecting opperaitonal effectiveness, we should have said "Well, the 8th army coped with lee enfield No4's" and done nothing about it? If all it takes is some aircon and a cold drink to up the effectiveness of our soldiers (probably by a huge percentage, if their properly rested and hydrated) on opperations, the few quid it would cost is a cheap price to pay!!! I'v worked in the desert and the jungle, and there is nothing more sapping to moral than constant lack of sleep from sheer heat, and not being able to effectively hydrate only compounds the problem! Rant over, off for a sauna and a few bevvies :wink:
The heat and the dust are ghastly - and having done it I know.

I am all for maximising comforts but there comes a limit between the possible and impossible. For example - air con in AFVs is an impossible requirement.

Serving and fighting in extremes of climate is a nasty mind shattering experience. What we have to be careful of is developing a culture that without the mod cons, we do not fight. A bit like the Jacko statement regarding the toilet roll. Getting the right balance is the important thing. Yes we have some comforts but we do not want to get too comfy so that we lose the edge in a similar way to the Americans.

Our servicemen are the best in the world - and we want to keep it that way by providing the right balance between comfort and being able to fight in the most unfavourable conditions when we have to.
Still don't know what Colpro is...
Shame us

Colpro is Collective Protection. Basically, special tents with air pumped into inflate them. The idea being in an NBC environment the nasty chemicals and bugs can't get in because the air pressure on the inside is greater than that outside. This allows personnel to remove respirators and have a shave, and even a sh1t. (Or it can be used for the CO's sleeping accomodation or the QM's office.)

Does that help?
Thanks for releasing me from my ignorance, GGG. :)
Well I didn't see a single colpro during the whole of Telic I. I suppose if they were out there somewhere they were for the use of the troops in the rear that 'really' needed them, like everything else.

We spent our last couple of weeks in Iraq putting up the insulated tented accomodation for the unlucky people on Telic II, in silly tempratures and while still living on our vehicles. No air-con, no "dixies" and no mod-cons.

The EFI in Shaibah couldn't even provide cold drinks because they were using a small fridge that couldn't cope with the volume of sales. Now that's what I call planning!

Although I wasn't expecting comfort, after 3 months I was expecting some improvement. Silly me eh? :oops:
We binned our Colpro at the start of the conflict, it takes too many people to run. The only people I know who had/ used it were the medics.

As far as Shiabah when how come the Burger King could make the Pepsi cold and the EFI had Coke you could make tea with.

If you are mobile cool water can be made as follows

Take an issue sock or a couple of sandbags. Put a water bottle inside the above and soak with water. Tie the package to the front of a rover or othe vehicle. By the effect of evapouration the water is cooled. If static you can dig a cold hole that works the same way.

Primative but it works
"For example - air con in AFVs is an impossible requirement. "

Not so - what we really mean is that the UK can't be bothered to pay for it. Look at the way the Israelis approach the problem (for instance)


Anyone in the UK establishment who tries to claim otherwise is just justifying a lack of money. Which is fine for them, they're not sat in a metal box in Iraq and so can make cracks about the lads out there not being up to it.

I think that we also forget that the Eighth Army had a lot longer in theatre to acclimatise to the heat and usually wandered round in a pair of shorts, floppy hat and boots. Put them in desert cam trousers and shirt, flak jacket, helmet and webbing and they might have had problems too.


Certain types of COLPRO because of the materials used are profoundly dark ie: no light gets in whatsoever. This means if no lighting is available, shaving sh1tting and takin care of general physiological needs, has to take place by torch light which can be awkward and stressful. This kind of negates the restful effects of being able to remove I.P.E. to administer ones self. I think V V important when operating in a contaminated environment where performance degradation can be hopefully managed by a bit of R&R. Hope I'm not teaching anyone to suck eggs here but there will still be some who have yet to sample the joys of COLPRO(it can actually be V nice once you get the hang of it) Honest! :D