March 27, 2006


Now Troops Have Body Armor And They Shun It as 'Too Heavy' (ANTONIO CASTANEDA, 3/27/06, Associated Press)

Extra body armor - the lack of which caused a political storm in America - has flooded into Iraq, but many Marines here promptly stuck it in lockers or under bunks. Too heavy and cumbersome, many say.

Marines already carry loads as heavy as 70 pounds when they patrol the dangerous streets in towns and villages in restive Anbar province. The new armor plates, while only about five pounds per set, are not worth carrying for the additional safety they are said to provide, some say.

Made a nice talking point for the ignorant though....

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 27, 2006 9:14 AM

Good for reporters though.

Posted by: erp at March 27, 2006 9:57 AM

They wouldn't wear helmets either. They do, because they are ordered to do so. I still have my old Army helmet with the bullet hole through it. It never slowed the bullet down at all. The helmet was good for putting water in it for washing and shaving.

Posted by: AllenS at March 27, 2006 2:13 PM


Not to mention cooking. I was in the National Guard shortly after the Kevlar helmets came out. Those old-timers swore up-and-down that those old steel pots had many uses, and that Kevlar is a deadweight by comparison.

Posted by: Brad S at March 27, 2006 2:25 PM

Seventy pound loads while on urban patrol? That's flat insane.

Posted by: Luciferous at March 27, 2006 2:31 PM

Refusal to wear armor is part of the typical young guy sense of invulnerability. I know at least 4 soldiers who are alive today because of armor including one CPT who took at least 20 rounds from AK-47 at less than 20 feet(3 bad guys shooting behind cover) in Fallujah with zero penetration (armor was cracked and two ribs broken). Body armor is part of the reason for relatively low casualities.

Posted by: David Rothman at March 27, 2006 2:43 PM

The old steel helmet provided protection from glancing bullets and from various fragment weapons. Of course it wouldn't stop a rifle bullet at a steep angle.

A disadvantage of the old helmet was that it was off-balance. The center-of-gravity of the helmet was well forward of the base of support of your neck, with the result that you head felt like it wanted to drop forward all of the time. The discomfort was worse if you had been wearing the helmet for a long time and if you were generally tired.

The German-style helmet is much more comfortable in this regard, as the center-of-gravity is moved rear-ward by the flange over the ears and neck.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 27, 2006 2:43 PM

What's the moonbat equivalent of "boob bait for the bubbas"?

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at March 27, 2006 3:28 PM

Trying to run with those loads, it's no wonder that knee and back injuries (if I remember correctly) are disabling as many troops as enemy gunfire.

I, too, would be reluctant to tuck a dinner plate under my shirt if I was already carring 70 pounds and it was 110 in the shade...

I wonder where this is all going, though. Does the advance of materials science mean the end of small-caliber full-auto weapons and a return to large-caliber rifles as the primary infantry weapon?

Posted by: Mike Earl at March 27, 2006 4:57 PM

I wouldn't wear a helmet until the first time I came under machinegun fire. Never was without it afterwards. It cut the noise down and that lent a sense of security. That was another of the advantages of the German WW2 helmet design, which was incorporated into the kevlar design. I understand the kevlar is lighter and more comfortable. No infantryman on line I ever knew of cooked in a steel helmet. Some few may have when in reserve if they could steal some food.

Posted by: Genecis at March 27, 2006 5:38 PM

Kevlar helmets will stop bullets.

However, that can lead to neck and spinal cord injuries, so it's not a perfect solution, just a better one.

Mike Earl:

Yes, if two or more advanced nations tangle.

If we're just going up against ill-equipped irregulars, which we're assuming will be the norm for decades to come, then no.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2006 3:14 AM

My father told me that in WWII, he and the other GI's would "lose" their gas masks as soon as they could -- under a bush on a road in France, for example. (There's an old cartoon to that effect, that he just busted out laughing at.) Years later, when I was doing my military training, I didn't dare because we were just training and losing a gas mask would have meant big trouble, but we all WANTED to.

Posted by: Lisa at March 28, 2006 11:19 AM


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