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"Overloaded US Soldiers" Topic


37 Posts

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1,394 hits since 28 Dec 2018
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Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2018 4:15 a.m. PST

I found this link on the Yahoo T O & E site and thought it worth sharing:
link

Apologize if shared before.

Skarper28 Dec 2018 6:33 a.m. PST

In the past men were cheaper and stuff was much more expensive. Now we have the reverse.

Most units are undermanned, so they overload the troops. They are also tasked with missions that are very different to previous times.

In WW2 for instance you either defended your position or advanced and took ground.

From Vietnam onwards there has been more and more patrolling and looking for the enemy…

The Germans had 'infantry hand carts' to transport ammo, Panzerfausts etc. So did Allied Airborne units. So the 'robotic' mules are in a way going back to that idea.

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2018 7:00 a.m. PST

As an American taxpayer, I always support the most expensive solution to any defense issue.

Legion 428 Dec 2018 7:41 a.m. PST

Yes, regardless of missions, Infantry equipment has become lighter, per se. But more high tech devices, etc., are also been added to the Infantryman's loads as well.


Most units are undermanned,
Yes, that is generally a standard.
so they overload the troops.
At times depending on the mission(s). E.g. you may not be carrying an AT weapon on a Recon.
They are also tasked with missions that are very different to previous times.
I don't think the basic Infantry tasks have generally changed overall. E.g. Attack, Defend, Patrolling of various types, etc. The TTP may have though based on Tech and Lessons Learned, etc., even from back in WWII.

In WW2 for instance you either defended your position or advanced and took ground.
Patrolling was also still very much an Infantryman's mission. Patrolling includes Recon, Raids and Ambushes. We had TTP from
WWII in our manuals and training … So things didn't change that drastically in some cases.

From Vietnam onwards there has been more and more patrolling and looking for the enemy…
Not necessarily, IMO. The terrain and situation has a lot to do with i.e. recon, raid and ambush patrols. But intel gathering methods have also increased with technology. E.g. orbital assets, aircraft, drones, etc., all with increased capabilities/higher tech as time went on.

Of course the best way to do a recon is generally on the ground, "up close and personal", pre se. And primarily trying not to be discovered.

And again, in many cases the unit/patrols radios can call in supporting fires. For FA, CAS, etc. much more effectively after WWII and the Korean Wars, etc. For patrols and all other types of missions as well. E.g. Prep fires, etc.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2018 8:11 a.m. PST

If the load is actually hindering the soldiers in carrying out their missions, then this is a leadership problem pure and simple--officers unwilling to say "they can only march and fight carrying X much, so THIS and no more is what they will carry." But that would involve taking responsibility and the risk of being wrong.

When a country is fighting for survival, they may, if they are lucky, get leaders who assume responsibility. But the default setting of peacetime low-stakes wars is to make everything top priority. The rule of every bureaucracy is that if you never make a decision, you can never be wrong.

Legion 428 Dec 2018 8:14 a.m. PST

Agreed … on all counts …

Griefbringer28 Dec 2018 9:07 a.m. PST

And again, in many cases the unit/patrols radios can call in supporting fires. For FA, CAS, etc. much more effectively after WWII and the Korean Wars, etc. For patrols and all other types of missions as well. E.g. Prep fires, etc.

However, those radios and their batteries do not carry themselves around on their own…

advocate28 Dec 2018 2:47 p.m. PST

Load up with as much ammunition as you can carry. As much ammunition and water as you can carry. And batteries, as much ammunition, water and batteries as you can carry. And some rations…

foxweasel28 Dec 2018 3:42 p.m. PST

And some NVAs

foxweasel28 Dec 2018 3:43 p.m. PST

And some spare batteries for the NVAs

foxweasel28 Dec 2018 3:44 p.m. PST

And some bombs for the mortars

foxweasel28 Dec 2018 3:45 p.m. PST

And some link for the guns

foxweasel28 Dec 2018 3:47 p.m. PST

About time someone invented dehydrated water and moon powered radios.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2018 4:57 p.m. PST

foxweasel, your unit never had dehydrated water? Works like a charm. Just add hot water.

Actually, a hand crank on some of the electronics might not be a bad idea. But no soldier from the beginning of time has been able to carry everything which might come in handy.

Lion in the Stars28 Dec 2018 10:18 p.m. PST

However, those radios and their batteries do not carry themselves around on their own…

Yeah, while some of the grunts in my friend's Stryker platoon like to ammo hog (carrying like 600 rounds of 5.56!), he was usually carrying the weight of ~400 rounds of 5.56 in batteries for radios and other gear (he was the platoon leader).

Legion 429 Dec 2018 7:36 a.m. PST

However, those radios and their batteries do not carry themselves around on their own…
Yes, I know … I've humped a PRC-77 a number of times … Even sometimes as a Co. Cdr … evil grin

Load up with as much ammunition as you can carry. As much ammunition and water as you can carry. And batteries, as much ammunition, water and batteries as you can carry. And some rations…
Agree …

foxweasel

And some spare batteries for the NVAs

And some bombs for the mortars

And some link for the guns
Yep, Light Infantry … ain't … laugh

But no soldier from the beginning of time has been able to carry everything which might come in handy.
Sad but true … but we are getting a little closer… Being both Light [with the 101] and Mech, Mech can carry more Bleeped text in the track. But a dismounted Grunt can still only carry so much of it.

mildbill29 Dec 2018 9:21 a.m. PST

Throughout history the combat load of a soldier is just about the most a human can carry. Roman soldier..80 lbs. , WWI british soldier.. 80 lbs. , etc. Now what they carry may change but not the amount of weight.

deephorse29 Dec 2018 9:35 a.m. PST

I think you'll find it does.

link

Windy Miller29 Dec 2018 11:50 a.m. PST

Mildbill, the British Army is currently re-thinking its entire doctrine and trying to get back to the concept of fight light. The weight we carried in Afghanistan was truly obscene, as a rough idea my basic patrol kit as a so-called light role infantryman was around 40 kilos (90lbs), half of that being body armour, the rest was ammunition, water, medical kit, rifle and helmet. Then if you add radios, spare batteries, extra 7.62 link for the GPMG, ECM, night vision kit, more batteries, maybe a stretcher, this total could rise to 60 kilos or more. That's nearly 140lbs. Some our young riflemen didn't even weigh that much themselves! And we were fighting guys who were wearing flip flops and a dishdash, and carrying at most an AK and a couple of mags. It's no bloody wonder we couldn't catch them. And no wonder my knees are Bleeped texted!

Legion 429 Dec 2018 4:27 p.m. PST

Yeah, I can say after serving in 4 Inf Bns [1 Air Asslt, 3 Mech], in my very long passed youth, '79-'90. old fart Carrying too much of a load can really takes it's toll. We had quick releases on our rucks, or we'd leave them at an RP near the OBJ, etc. Of course with Mech you generally left them on the track. But no matter what, you ended up moving dismounted, in many situations. And yes, a very heavy load only made it more difficult.

We had two type of loads, "fighting" and "existence" … The last one could be a real heavy SoB ! We tried to go with a fighting load as often as possible, for obvious reasons.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP30 Dec 2018 3:57 a.m. PST

The problem is that as soon as you save two pounds on equipment, somebody figures you absolutely need three pounds of extra equipment.

The M4 carbine is a perfect example, they don't want a light, convenient weapon, they want a lightweight piece of kit they can bolt the equivalent of an Edison Kinetoscope to. See also the OICW, a minifridge masquerading as an infantryman's weapon.

YouTube link

Wolfhag30 Dec 2018 4:32 a.m. PST

My son said he carried up to 150 pounds and being in SigInt he sometimes carried two radios. That's crazy.

In the 1970's I was a radioman for awhile and carried a PRC-25 and 2-3 extra batteries. Total was about 60 pounds and I thought that was a lot. We had basically the same pack, web gear and shelter half as the WWII guys had. In the 1980's they upgraded with packs and rigs that you could attach a lot more crap on. I'm glad I missed that.

I could do a 20 mile forced march in 5 hours. I don't think I could have with 150 pounds.

Wolfhag

Aethelflaeda was framed31 Dec 2018 8:49 a.m. PST

This is why there are mechanized units and leg units. Leg units haven't the transport for the logistical needs to fight extended periods. Mechanized units have additional logistics capacity from the transport, but transport is limited to where it can go (and has its own logistics burden).

It has not changed since Marius's mules, Napoleon's grognards (who very quickly "lost" their infantry short sabres despite being told they needed them) and the 82nd airborne. Soldiers in the field will throw away what they don't want to carry and think they don't need no matter who told them they had to keep it or bought it.

Good logistics is maybe the only thing that matters for victory. For want of a nail…

Wolfhag31 Dec 2018 12:44 p.m. PST

Mech units don't go through triple canopy jungles, swamps or up 10,000 foot high mountain goat trails.

Wolfhag

Aethelflaeda was framed31 Dec 2018 12:49 p.m. PST

Neither do legs, if they run out of supplies. Troops without ammunition resupply have what two firefights or so in them at best? And they certainly won't have the heavy weapons support either.

Legion 431 Dec 2018 12:52 p.m. PST

Good logistics is maybe the only thing that matters for victory.
Very true especially in modern motorized/mech/armor/air units. I was a Mech Bn Log Ofc, then Bn Motor Officer. Was grabbed up by the Bde Cdr, to be the Bde Motor Officer and then Bde Asst Log Ofc.

Many gamers don't understand how important good Log/Maint is. Of course running those type of ops might not make a very good game … evil grin

And yes, being an Inf Plt Ldr and Co Cdr was a lot more like doing a job that some join the Army to do. But as an Officer, you have to serve in many more staff positions along with/than being in Combat Leadership assignments.


Mech units don't go through triple canopy jungles, swamps or up 10,000 foot high mountain goat trails.
Yes, as have said before. Infantrymen do their best work on the ground. And even in Mech, units still have be able to move effectively dismounted. Sometime long distances. You can't always be wedded to your track … or the road net.


Neither do legs, if they run out of supplies. Troops without ammunition resupply have what two firefights or so in them at best? And they certainly won't have the heavy weapons support either.
I was an Air Assault Rifle Plt Ldr, then Bn Air Ops Ofc. with the 101. Then later an M113 Mech Co Cdr with a separate Mech Heavy Bde with 18th Airborne Corps. And as I said ran many Log/Maint ops as well. While on active duty 1979-'90.


Again as we know Resupply/Maint. is very critical in modern warfare. The advantage of Mech is you can carry more of everything. But generally both Light & Mech get resupplied daily. Even by air at times when I was with the 101.

But the TO&E of both Air Assault & Mech was basically the same at Sqd level: 1 Sqd Ldr M16

1st Fire Tm :

1 M60 MG
1 M249 SAW
1 M203 GL
2 M16s + more ammo for the M60


2d Fire Tm :

The same but an M47 Dragon MAW instead of the M60. An extra Dragon round can be carried by one or both of the troops carrying M16s. Depending on the mission, etc.

Plus the Mech Sqd had an M2 .50 mounted on the Track/M113.

In both TO&Es the Company organic 81mm Plt was gone by @ '85.

And both had a 4.2' Mortar Plt. As a Bn Asset. The Mech in Tracks, the Light in M278 Mules, then Jeeps.

Plus a Bn Sct Plt. The Mech Scouts had M113s & M901 ITVs. The Light Scts generally humped it, once inserted by Helicopters, etc.

Both had an AT Co., with Jeep mounted TOWs in Light. And 901s with Mech.

The Mech Co had an organic AT Section of 2 M901 ITVs. The Light inf Cos. had no organic TOWs.


A lot of firepower and mobility, but only if you have the Log & Maint to support it.

Aethelflaeda was framed31 Dec 2018 2:55 p.m. PST

Yeah, there is a hellava difference in the transport/logistical support capabilities of a modern light airmobile division compared to a WW2 para division. It would not be too much of a stretch to call any leg division, in modern terms, "mechanized" whencompared to a WW2 leg division, even from the US Army, which was the most heavily motorized army of the period. Even LRRPs can rely on resupply by air.

foxweasel31 Dec 2018 5:10 p.m. PST

This is all true, but the best logistical tail in the world doesn't lighten the load of an infantry rifleman on a patrol from a PB to a village and back. That's what this topic is about, not the logistics required to replace used kit. The kit that a section or multiple carries on patrol is kit that has to be carried.

Wolfhag31 Dec 2018 9:17 p.m. PST

Neither do legs, if they run out of supplies. Troops without ammunition resupply have what two firefights or so in them at best? And they certainly won't have the heavy weapons support either.

All you need is a radio and a couple of batteries. I was an FO.

Wolfhag

Legion 401 Jan 2019 7:30 a.m. PST

It would not be too much of a stretch to call any leg division, in modern terms, "mechanized" when compared to a WW2 leg division, even from the US Army, which was the most heavily motorized army of the period. Even LRRPs can rely on resupply by air.
So very true … Yes even Light Divs. today have a lot of transport, they could easily considered "Motorized".

This is all true, but the best logistical tail in the world doesn't lighten the load of an infantry rifleman on a patrol from a PB to a village and back.
Yes, dismounted patrolling still required a lot of "stuff". Especially if more than just local patrolling near friendly positions, etc.

All you need is a radio and a couple of batteries. I was an FO.
Yep as a Rifle PL, Air Ops Ofc. and then Co Cdr, we knew that the most "powerful" weapon/firepower we had was on the other end of that radio message. Mortars, FA, CAS, Gunships, and even back then Naval Gunfire. 8in Nuc RAP rounds, 2000lbs. Smart Bombs, TOW missiles and even 16 inch BB guns, etc. What is not to like ?!?!?! evil grin

Even as a Log/Maint ofc, if you saw something or needed something from support assets. Just call Bn !

Wolfhag01 Jan 2019 10:10 p.m. PST

My wet dream fantasy was to be by the DMV and have the USS New Jersey on call for fire support. It never happened.

My recruiter told me a story (may not have been true) of being on a hillside by the DMZ as the NVA brought a supply convoy through the valley below carried by – elephants. He had a US Navy cruiser off the coast and spent the night hunting elephants with 8" naval guns.

My son was in a SigInt unit and in addition to normal radios they had SatCom equipment and equipment to jam cell phone signals used to trigger IED's. A Wolfhound antenna equipment to listen to local cell phone traffic and get an azimuth to the caller. A couple of times his terp who was listening to the cell traffic saved his unit from ambush and sniper fire as he heard the call from the bad guys to open fire just before they opened up. He said part of the antenna was shot away.

Wolfhag

foxweasel02 Jan 2019 1:02 a.m. PST

I must admit being a JTAC on patrol was very good for the ego and could lead to delusions of grandeur. It's a bizarre feeling knowing the scale of violence you have at your disposal.

Legion 402 Jan 2019 8:17 a.m. PST

Yep ! You can rain down an unstoppable avalanche of fire & steel … then repeat ! evil grin

Steve Wilcox02 Jan 2019 8:58 a.m. PST

My wet dream fantasy was to be by the DMV and have the USS New Jersey on call for fire support.
Freudian slip? :)

Lion in the Stars02 Jan 2019 5:09 p.m. PST

@Steve: I dunno, there are days I'd like to drop a few 16" shells on the line at the DMV!

Wolfhag02 Jan 2019 6:03 p.m. PST

Haaa. Yes, evidently so. And you know what? I can do it from the USS Iowa here in California. Something to add to my 2019 To-Do list.

Wolfhag

Legion 403 Jan 2019 3:40 p.m. PST

thumbs up

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