72 Hour Loads

An excellent thread. Good work Yogi.

When I get some more time, I'll add my 2c (adjusted for GST).

And you know what Yogi, you've actually pre-empted an article I was writing - again Wink

=======================
Forward!
Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

  

Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

quote:
Originally posted by 22F:

you've actually pre-empted an article I was writing - again Wink


What are you outlining?

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

Just finished translating the article. It can be downloaded here:

https://rapidshare.com/files/5...inthe21stcentury.doc

Please read it within the following context:

1. The audience is norwegian military personnel

2. The "facts" are sourced from the following resources:

PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS FOR LIGHTENING THE SOLDIERS’ LOAD:
http://origin.adsinc.com/wordp...iersLoadHandbook.pdf

THE EFFECTS OF POSTURE, BODY ARMOR, AND OTHER EQUIPMENT ON RIFLEMAN LETHALITY:
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a435486.pdf

The Modern Warrior’s Combat Load:
http://thedonovan.com/archives...CombatLoadReport.pdf

Load Carriage in Military Operations; A REVIEW OF HISTORICAL, PHYSIOLOGICAL,
BIOMECHANICAL, AND MEDICAL ASPECTS:
http://www.usariem.army.mil/pa.../LoadCarriagePDF.pdf

Rifle Platoon Basic Load OEF XII:
http://www.blackfive.net/files...eight3-w-llvi-1.pptx

Battle Rattle: The Stuff A Soldier Carries – Hans Halberstadt
ISBN 10: 0760326223 / ISBN 13: 978-0760326220

3. The article is a mix of facts and my views, the intent is to hopefully create awareness of the issue amongst our future leaders. It is not meant as a complete piece on all aspects and details regarding the issue, rather a general outline.

4. It is translated to the best of my ability, with the result that the original meaning in norwegian might have been "lost in translation".

If there are any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

My 72 hour baseline packing list will follow shortly.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

Good references. The 1st, 2nd, and 4th documents are excellent pieces.

The 1/A/2/594 PIR slideshow tells a good background story as well. 108 lbs of BA 5590s and the reduction in manpower per platoon from 40 to 27 Soldiers due to force cap constraints are telling.

Modern day Agincourt.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

Good stuff Arctic, the amount of crap we are saddled with is insane.

Our ability to survive may have gone up with shit like THOR, side plates, ESAPI, etc. but our ability to get anything done is pretty much gone. And that airborn report said as much.

They had 3-4 full air panels, that's a lot of excess weight and space in itself.

But armor and anti IED measures are what is killing us as far as weight and combat loads. When your base kit, PC w/plates and helmet, weighs 30 lbs it's a problem. Just adding a full camelbak to that puts it at close 1/4 of the average guys weight.
quote:
Originally posted by jcustisredux:
quote:
Originally posted by 22F:

you've actually pre-empted an article I was writing - again Wink


What are you outlining?


Well J, it's a bit of a "back to basics" article on HOW to pack marching order (sorry, 3rd Line for you non-Commonwealth people Wink ), with some thought and suggestion to just WHAT should be carried.
Why back to basics? Because it's amazing what I'm hearing and seeing out there at the moment with regards to load carriage at the moment, especially in the Reserve forces.
I'm still conducting final editing and working out my picture layout.

=======================
Forward!
Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

  

Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

quote:
It's shifting into the realm of politics quite a bit, and for that I apologise, but maybe it's something that needs to be considered when we discuss doctrine and fighting equipment.

Lets not assume that once Afghan is over, we go back to fighting hordes of Soviets in their tanks, or engaging the Chinese hordes in the jungles of the Pacific.


Although I would agree that we shouldn't try to prepare to fight Cold War plans again because OEF is winding down, we can't shift to a sole emphasis on fighting backwater insurgents. Minor tactics remain minor tactics, and the infantry squad will always have a need to identify the enemy at or greater than the range of its organic direct fire weapons, employ HE fires into defilade (M203ish capability), and defeat light cover or structures in order to engage the enemy within.

Even with that, it still goes back to METT-TS&L. If I had to patrol in an environment where reinforcement or extraction might prove difficult or delayed due to terrain or man-made obstacles, my round count is going to be a lot higher than working an area where I know I have several other platoons that could move to a support or attack-by-fire position in a short period of time, or air support that was responsive and nimble.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

Good point J.
Certain principles are going to remain constant. What needs to be flexible and fluid will be all the external factors.

=======================
Forward!
Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

  

Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

I don't think that the New War Theory is very prevalent in military circles.

My cavalry troop commander attended the Cavalry Leaders Course a few years ago (2009 or 2010 I think), and they were very adamant about not employing a COIN/Afghanistan train-of-thought during their MDMPs.

As one of the instructors said:

"Forget about Afghanistan, in the next war there will be red tanks, there will be red planes".

I see a very Afghanistan centric approach in a lot we do over here, unfortunately. We have learned many good lessons from fighting in Afghanistan, but many important skills have taken a back seat; for example personal camouflage and concealment, conducting conventional offensive and defensive operations (most FTX's are geard towards an asymetrical threat scenario) etc.

Also, although it is highly likely that the fighting done in future wars will be centered around urban areas, I still feel that rural skillsets must be maintained.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

Here is my baseline packing list, sans mission essential gear:



I am planning on weighing each line, too see where the list ends up weight wise, as well as taking pictures of each line for reference.

5th line is a resupply duffel bag carried by integral company logistics support, intended to replace 4th line gear that has been used.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

Arctic, I finally read your piece this weekend. Good points on all accounts, but your most important one about making conscious decisions about a combat load were very important. I don't think we do enough in training to teach a Marine how to prep for the most likely (instead of most dangerous) threat, and pack accordingly. I don't think a good job is done until we get them into formal infantry leader training course.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

quote:
Originally posted by senorlechero:
quote:
Originally posted by linked308:
senorlechero, did I read your post correctly? You are using Dr. Bronner's soap as a toothpaste?

Never used it myself checking it out, does it work for that?


Yep, it's one less thing I need to bring out to field with me and it works fine. It's not a replacement for a true fluoride toothpaste, but for short durations it's fine. And it works great as a shaving soap, and I have a very thick, coarse beard.

Another thing you can do, if you can't stomach the soap, I'd put drops of toothpaste on a thin sheet of wax paper and dry it out in the oven.



Got it.

A war is not history until the last veteran dies; until then it is current events.

quote:
Originally posted by jcustisredux:
Arctic, I finally read your piece this weekend. Good points on all accounts, but your most important one about making conscious decisions about a combat load were very important. I don't think we do enough in training to teach a Marine how to prep for the most likely (instead of most dangerous) threat, and pack accordingly. I don't think a good job is done until we get them into formal infantry leader training course.


Thank you Sir!

I weighed my gear today, as outlined in the packing requirement list I posted above. Here are my findings:

S: Summer
W: Winter

First number is my total weight, second is weight of each particular line.

My weight without clothes: 70,3kg (154lbs)

1st line:
S: 75,2kg ~ 4,9kg (165lbs ~ 10,8lbs)
W: 77,9kg ~ 7,6kg (171lbs ~ 16,7lbs)

2nd line:
S: 88,3kg ~ 12,9kg (194lbs ~ 28lbs)
W: 90,8kg ~ 12,9kg (200lbs ~ 28lbs)

3rd line:
S: 91,7kg ~ 3,4kg (202lbs ~ 7.4lbs)
W: 94,6kg ~ 3,7kg (208,5lbs ~ 8lbs)

4th line:
S: 99,4kg ~ 7,7kg (219lbs ~ 17lbs)
W: 105,1kg ~ 10,5kg (231lbs ~ 23lbs)

The numbers are presented with the following caveats:

-Empty magazines
-No food
-Camelbak placed in 3rd line
-No mission essential gear
-No body armor
-Light and heavy sleeping for summer and winter respectively

Ideal weight is listed as 30% of body weight for the fighting load, 45% of body weight for the approach march load. For me, that is 21kg (46lbs) and 31,6kg (69.6lbs), respectively. My fighting load (1st-3rd line) as outlined above is at 21,4kg (47lbs) for summer, and 24,3kg (53.5lbs) for winter. Approach march load is 29,1kg (64lbs)for summer, and 34,8kg (76lbs) for winter.

I can ditch my 3rd line in order to cut some weight for combat actions, but I will still exceed the ideal weight when ammo and food is added to the load. Not to mention mission essential gear.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

Also just read your article Artic.
I'll echo Jcustisredux's thoughts.

Damn good work mate!

=======================
Forward!
Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

  

Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

Arctic, awesome rundown, and thank you for the effort. Interesting to see how it all shakes out eh?

It reminded me to ask about your table. Is your field jacket meant for wet weather? Do you carry a wet weather top in any of your Summer loads?

Chris and I had this discussion in the big assault pack thread, when he said he didn't carry a wet weather top in Iraq, and just dealt with the discomfort if he ever got wet. In temperate climate, I think a top is a must because you can become ill really quick due to wet weather, and certainly less capable if you are wet and miserable. It can also help weather-proof equipment.

This makes me revise my 72-hr load to add trashbags. Gotta go with a few 13 and 5 gallon ones. Uses are almost endless.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

Re wet weather gear, we have 3 different uniforms at the moment:

-Utility uniform (for garrison wear, and for field use during summer)



-Cotton field uniform (warm, very good durability, good breathability, ok water and wind resistance, poor design features, takes a long time to dry)



-Gore Tex field uniform (good water and wind resistance, some good design features, jacket is bulky, poor durability, cold)



Not my pics, just photos for reference.

We had a separate rain suit, but that was taken out of service maybe 3-4 years ago. The only wet weather top we have at the moment is the Gore Tex field jacket. The most common uniform combination during most of the year, unless extremely hot, is the Gore-Tex field jacket and cotton field uniform pants. If Wx info is good during the IPB, we can plan ahead and bring the Gore-Tex field jacket. But it is a challenge to cover all bases with the current clothing system.

There is fortunately an ongoing project for a new clothing system, and we are looking at replacing everything from the inner to the outer layer. The base concept will consist of a light and heavy field uniform, for summer and winter use, and a light Pac-Lite/Micro-Light water resistant oversuit (jacket and pants), rather than having a separate wet weather uniform like we do now. I have been T&E'ing some stuff for this project the past couple of years.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

This is quality work Arctic1!

The major question remains, where can we cut weight?
Is it possible to reduce Arctic1's list even further? And if you remove something, is the value/weight ratio worth it?

My personal "24" hour list is a set of lightweight wool (Helly Hansen Dry), wool socks, E-tool,2 meals and room for a jacket and mission essential gear. I pack only to survive, not to thrive.
I can't believe I've never seen the following point made before, and wish I'd thought of it:

"It strikes me as odd that there are max limits on total loads for vehicles, both military and civilian, to ensure safe operation and to prevent excess wear, whilst the soldier on the ground is not shown the same consideration."

An excellent observation, Arctic1.

By the way, your country is beautiful. I really enjoyed my two trips there.

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"Stay safe?"  If you stay safe, you're doing it wrong.  When you can't be safe, be sharp.

quote:
The major question remains, where can we cut weight?
Is it possible to reduce Arctic1's list even further? And if you remove something, is the value/weight ratio worth it?


The only thing I can come up with would be to drop small-arms protection down to a single frontal plate, and limit sleeping system carriage down to one every two men. I've used 25% security before, but in hindsight should have stayed at 50% in most cases. One man sleeps and the other pulls security. If it's time to go admin and bag out, someone needs to be tasked with moving my snivel gear to me.

Back when I was a lance corporal, an instructor with a recon/sniper background only allowed one sleeping bag (the old green slug) to go out for a four man reconnaissance patrol. It was there to deal with a potential hypothermia case and nothing more.

Are there any vets of Op Anaconda around who've posted on their loads before?

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

During ANACONDA, I was working the CJSOTF Jump-TOC tent at Bagram.

I watched the aircraft cross load for the Infantry that went in to Air Assault the Whale and the high saddles.

The loads were quite literally staggering. I watched an American Infantry Battalion march from the C-130 parking pad to the assault helo pad (less than a 1KM). They had machine gunners falling out after 500m due to being crushed under the weight that the good idea fairies had imposed on them. By my eyeball estimate, every guy I saw was carrying 100+ lb. rucks, plus LBE, extra ammo, weapons, etc.

They all looked the same or worse than this famous 173rd Abn photo (from Iraq I believe). I shit you not. An American combat unit rendered almost ineffective just from making an admin movement at an airfield.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_H8KD...log+us+light+inf.jpg

This after years (1980's & 1990's) of trumpeting Light Fighter Divisions, revised doctrinal analysis of fighting loads, and load management taught everywhere in the Army. Hell, S.L.A. Marshall addressed this exact topic back in 1949, when he wrote The Soldier's Load.

For that operation, U.S. Army Leaders freaked out at sending their troops up to an 11,000 ft. fighting environment and loaded them down for every possible contingency. It was 2002, and I couldn't believe that any professionally schooled Chain of Command could be so stupid.

Myself and another SF guy were frago'ed to accompany an MP Platoon up there to handle EPWs. I stripped down my already packed large ALICE ruck to sleeping bag, bivy sack, some water and chow, some extra hawk gear, and 10 magazines & 2 frags on my harness. I consciously discarded my armor. I figure my total load was about what it normally was for cold weather field use: ~45 pound ruck & ~25 pound LBE...plus boots, uniform and rifle.

As it turned out, our little escape from the TOC was canceled and we didn't go. Frank Grippe and his boys did a great job up there, but the first thing that everyone did was ditch the monsters on their backs and run for cover (under fire). (This from talking to the guys as they airlifted back in from the fight.)

Entirely too much shit for troops to carry. Every man could have gone up there Day 1 with just fighting harness and an assault pack. Rucks & sleeping bags could have been airlifted to them after they secured the objective. The same way things were done in the Korean War during numerous hill fights (using vehicle trains and quartering parties).

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

It looks like he was carrying a CPOG as well. Understandable, but crazy.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

Yeah, I think that photo is from the March 2003 jump into Northern Iraq. Most US units during the invasion were concerned about being slimed.

If you think about it, mere possession of chemical weapons introduces friction into an opponent's planning...and translates into all elements being loaded down (and slowed) by protective gear. Whether maneuver units on the ground or support units far removed from the action.

Not a bad tactical/operational return on a weapon system that you don't even have to use to reap effect.

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Somewhere in Marshall's writings, he noted that the entire Normandy invasion came down to 5 or so battalions achieving their beachhead objectives. If they weren't successful, the entire invasion would have stalled and turned into Dieppe II. Nonetheless, planners loaded down every troop crossing the beach with about 85 lbs of personal contingency gear. Most was discarded in the surf and many troops drowned. His point was that the initial assault infantry crossing the surf zone should have gone in with a bandoleer of ammo, a couple of grenades, canteen, and breaching explosives.

Either they stormed their objectives by mid-day, or the entire effort would have failed anyway.

They had no need for extra shit. Not rations, not clothing, not shaving kits, not rain gear, not extra ammo,...not anything.

All they needed was whatever was necessary to clear obstacles and breach the beach defenses.

Everything else could have been supplied to them from a secure landing beach after achieving victory.

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

the Funny/Sad thing about the 173rd jump was that with all that shit on their backs, they had almost NO snivel gear. They THOUGHT that they were going to jump further South and it would be warmer. It was snowing on Bashur Airfield up until a few hours before the jump and it was wet and muddy most places off the black top. There were quite a few young dupers that almost went Hypothermic and had to be "rescued" with some warm liquids just to stay combat effective.

I know in Group, we very rarely if ever practiced kicking door bundles or anything like that until probably going into OIF III/IV timeframe. Then I started working with teams on rigging bundles, jumping modified chest rigs, jumping body armor/drop leg items, and many styles of 3 day assult packs. The best jump load I saw was weapon, "vest" and 3-day packs, with Rucks etc. rigged as door bundles. All jumpers could move and were effective.

If it's a Pain in the Ass....you're doing it WRONG

I don't make policy, only suggestions, take them as such.

 

Joined: 8/5/05    Location: 20 miles west of Gettysburg, PA

 

 

quote:
I know in Group, we very rarely if ever practiced kicking door bundles or anything like that until probably going into OIF III/IV timeframe.


It's amazing that by 9/11, we had gotten away from the whole SF MARGE Bundle Codes and resupply bundle concepts of WWII and the Cold War. It was like we had eaten a bowl of dumbass for breakfast and forgotten our roots. Door & cargo bundles always being a pain in the ass to train on.

Fall of 2001, my battalion got focused on resupply bundles for our pending deployment to Afghanistan. One of the things we concentrated on was EVERYONE (not just riggers & JMs) learning how to rig all sorts of bundles ...especially stacked tire & POL resupply bundles.

This really paid off when we were able to keep fleets of Toyotas moving at remote fire bases or while actually out on long mobility patrols.

Our guys could go through carried vehicle spares in just a day or two of movement. But we could drop stuff from the sky and keep them rolling no matter where they were.

Some locations received nearly all resupply via cargo drops...and accumulated huge stockpiles of recovered cargo chutes, pallets, and netting. Eventually, we'd turn those over to rare vehicular convoys for return to CJSOTF and rigger use.

Of course, we couldn't seem to convince our Muj to not run out and try to catch the pallets as they touched down. Oops! Another tribesman squashed like a bug because the Koran never addressed basic physics or mechanics.

"If Allah makes it float through the air...I can catch it..."

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

It was the AAR's coming on the Afghanistan that drove us to start doing it at 10th. I know our riggers had prepo'ed some stuff in Romania during the intial assault, but when it wasn't called on and went forward on the air-bridge, we really got away from it.

It wasn't until people realized that Iraq was going to happen for awhile, and that things were starting to heat up; coupled with all the new equipment that was being issued, did we start getting back to the fundamental basics of the resupply mission. I only got into the mix as a respected JM and Safety that was single and wouldn't mind flying around for no reason.

I know that we start practicing building and throwing bundles before Pax whenever we got USAF Fixed wing, usually once a month. Once I saw teams do it for "real", I was all about tossing some bundles, no matter how "painful".

Oh, and I have flyers/leaflets from 92-94 time period for Bosnia that cautions the locals to not try and "catch" pallets. They NEVER learn.

If it's a Pain in the Ass....you're doing it WRONG

I don't make policy, only suggestions, take them as such.

 

Joined: 8/5/05    Location: 20 miles west of Gettysburg, PA

 

 

It's only gay when you're in civilisation amigo!
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it - despite what my section mates reckon they saw when my gunner and I were sharing heat

=======================
Forward!
Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

  

Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

quote:
It's only gay when you're in civilisation amigo!
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it - despite what my section mates reckon they saw when my gunner and I were sharing heat


Why is it always CAV and 3 Bde saying that? Not once did I hear it in 1 Bde nor 7 Bde as Infantry. And for that matter currently doing penance in a choc Bde in Vic and haven't heard it. And it's freaking cold at Pucka.

Hands the thread back from the AS comments.
Some pretty good advice here. Hopefully this thread isn't too old and this info is still pertinent for the author. My most recent deployment was to OEF (RC-E) as a 1SG for a recce troop. In this capacity, sustainment and support was my lane for planning, and we executed numerous company-level HAFs throughout the course of the deployment. While they usually lasted only a few days, several became unexpected 10+ day "experiences".

3 Days of supply (DOS) is really all any troop can carry without significant impact on maneuverability; the weight of even 3 DOS of water and chow can become counter-productive if not in very good shape, since it only increases exertion which increases water intake.

For my packing lists, we would take 2x 3L bladders, a few extra water bottles, and 4 or so MREs (stripped). For hygiene, only a toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, lip balm and hand sanitizer. Shaving in the field is absurd-even on my last deployment with big Army we would go many days (off FOB) without shaving and never got flack from the CSMs. Add a poncho and woobie in a compression bag, couple pairs of socks and that's it for personal sustainment for OEF. During the colder months we'd pack SPEARS LVL I & II (base layer silks and mid weights) and fleece caps.

The rest was mission essentials-ammo, batteries, mines and demo, RSTA devices, radios, etc. BTW 3 DOS of batteries-even for the 117Fs-is a LOT of weight.

In the cases where we spent extended periods out and couldn't get resupply, we had Defender steripens for water treatment (lots of fast-moving streams and rivers in the AO), and used CERP money for procuring flatbread, goats, etc. from the few friendly locals, which also helped with the COIN aspect.

While the mission essentials comprised the majority of the weight, we managed to keep the individual sustainment weight low, which allowed greater movement speeds over tough terrain. It sucks when it gets cold, but we never had a single CW injury, dehydration or starvation case-only some poopy faces.
No issue then. "things you take for granted isn't always understood by us younger...individuals". Very true, and I always attempted (and still do) to explain the concepts behind the planning guidance so that everyone would understand.

One thing I forgot to mention in my last post-always have a handful of empty sandbags and some camo net along in the event you have to prep a defensive/observation position. These items WILL save lives.

Here's a little more help, and without getting into operational planning too far, as TTPs are usually FOUO, this was more specific to my troop in our AO and is now over a year old so... During planning, I would almost always schedule class I (food, water) resupply within 1 day of insertion. Even if rotary wing aviation dropped the ball (or weather/enemy sit), we could almost always count on some type of resupply within the first couple days.

Our chain of command was quite good as well, and we used the occasional visits by BN, BDE, etc to execute resupply. The A/C bringing them in would also have at least 1 DOS on board. My personnel in the troop CP would also have both food and ammo "speedballs" rigged and on standby at the COP HLZ in the event something went down. A little creativity can go a long way in OEF, since no mission is ever like the one prior.

As to the original question of other AOs, the only difference between individual loads in training or combat should be related to the climate differences between Afghanistan and say, Ft Drum (or New Zealand at altitude) in the winter. Other than the cold gear, the fighting load and mission essentials should be identical, and the mission planning shouldn't change either. RLTW.
Since this forum is comprised of gear guys, these loads were planned around the Mystery Ranch SATL ruck. Some also used the older MOLLE rucks, usually the RTOs since the frame supported their load better.

Best thing about the MR is that the two outside pockets will accomodate 60mm rounds in the tootsie rolls perfectly and are easily accessible. RLTW.
quote:
Originally posted by JGavin:
Since this forum is comprised of gear guys, these loads were planned around the Mystery Ranch SATL ruck. Some also used the older MOLLE rucks, usually the RTOs since the frame supported their load better.

Best thing about the MR is that the two outside pockets will accomodate 60mm rounds in the tootsie rolls perfectly and are easily accessible. RLTW.


Thanks for saying this. I've always wondered what guys were putting in there. Not to derail too much, but what did guys put in those pockets when they weren't running mortars?
It was usually just 60s, generally 1/1 HE/LUM per person. Low density (RTOs, medics, TECHINT/SIGNIT, MG gunners) wouldn't have the rounds. They would generally put strike meals, snivel, etc in the outside pockets because the H2O bladders were directly behind the pockets. Some put batteries, ammo, etc in initially but had issues with burst bladders.
quote:
Originally posted by JGavin:

In the cases where we spent extended periods out and couldn't get resupply, we had Defender steripens for water treatment (lots of fast-moving streams and rivers in the AO),


I find this particuarly interesting, and would like to hear some more about your experiences with SteriPens in the field.

No issues with troops coming down with the shits or anything worse?

How did the units themselves hold up?

Were you confident in using them?

Were you supplied with some way to test the water, or did you just trust the device?

What kind of backup purification/filtration did you carry, if any?

I have SteriPen myself, but I just cant seem to trust it for anything more than guaranteeing allegedly potable water, is.

Excellent posts, BTW

 

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"The thing everyone forgets about the Chinese is that they work on a 50-100 year master plan. Our best planning here goes out maybe a year or two."

Yeah, I've read it a couple of times. Good stuff, but its also five years old, and pretty short on actual SteriPen field use, especially by military.

 

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"The thing everyone forgets about the Chinese is that they work on a 50-100 year master plan. Our best planning here goes out maybe a year or two."

The steripen was only used as a tertiary measure. Our packed-in water was primary, speedball resupply was alternate, and then the steripen. They were not used frequently at all, but each element in the troop would maintain one. Never had any issues with breakage, etc, and we always had plenty of 123 batteries on hand for other devices. On the last deployment we didn't carry any follow-up testing kit, but I never had to call for MEDEVAC for dysentery and never heard of anyone getting the shits.

They were only used three times that I remember. Without getting too much into mission specifics, we could usually get emergency speedball resupply. The few times we didn't, I led the watering party and used only water from the fast moving, glacier-fed rivers and never the slow moving irrigation ditches used by locals near villages and terraced farmland. My biggest concern was the defoliant used extensively by the Soviets in the 80s (the timber trade financed the muj in the area) the steripen definitely wouldn't protect against that. We used four steripens to treat enough water for a few dozen personnel for at least one day's water supply.

That being said, I don't know of any ill effects on anyone in the troop. In my experience, it worked much better than drinking from the streams in Dahlonega, where we used bleach which gave me bubbly guts.
Slight hijack here,

So this is a sample of 1 but in a limited test while in CAMS at the JSOMTC (Joint Special Operations Medical Traininng Center, Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course) we found the Steri-pen completely ineffective at removing fecal coliforms (leading cause of dysintery) from FT Bragg's surface water taken from the stream that runs through post near the engineer trail.

We found that simple filtration (ie. removing visible debris via mechanical means) and Iodine tabs was the most effective means of purification.

As I said this was a sample of one, a control was used along with multiple filtration devices and samples. An incubator and blood agar (sp?) were used for growing the bacteria. But this also was done in a classroom not a lab and is not a true clinical study.

On my trips to Afghanistan for operations over 24 hours I have had my team carry the tried and true iodine tabs and a means of filtration, I like the MSR filters. Using this method and drawing water from local wells my team has had zero cases of gastric distress during extended dismounted ops.

"Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!" -Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC

quote:
Originally posted by JGavin:
Low density (MG gunners) wouldn't have the rounds.


That's my guys, thanks for the info. The things you listed are basically all I could come up with myself, but never thought about the mortars as I've never once been asked to carry them.
McYogi,

You have the gist of it. Along with the Steri-pen a combo of methods involving UV light were tested to include filtration with UV. Flat out UV doesn't work without a micro filter media of some sort. TBH it doesn't do much on the other side of a good filter soure. The biggest limitation in my opinion is the time needed to treat vs the amount of liquid treated. It is very inefficient when compared to filtration and simple chemical purification.

UV has it's place and is a great means of doing a final treatment of water, but when dealing with the things found in ground and surface water the weight in batteries and time needed to treat, which differs in my mind from the time needed for chem since chemical treatment happens passively while you walk vs holding a pen in your water supply for a couple of minutes, leads to UV not being my preffered field method. Especially when we start talking about cubic inches of space and weight of all items being packed to make 72 hours as efficient as possible. 2 small vials of Iodine tabs per man is less weight and approximately the same cubes as the batteries for a Steri-pen alone. A filter is still needed even with UV treatment so 1 MSR filter per 4 men and you are still lighter and possibly faster.

This is my plan and not an attack on those using Steri-pens. I just wanted to share what I have learned and seen in practice not just theory.

Cheers

"Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!" -Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC

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