Soldier Systems just posted about the new US Army Mountain Warfare Leaders book. One of the appendix was a section on load planning and equipment selection. While it's nothing ground breaking, I thought it would be interesting to share, as it seems to mirror lots of comments made on Lightfighter over the years.
https://soldiersystems dot net/2020/04/27/us-army-issues-leaders-book-for-mountain-warfare-and-cold-weather-operations/#comments
Here are some excerpts:
"LOAD CARRYING EQUIPMENT
Personal load carrying equipment (for example, chest rig, plate carrier, and fighting load carrier [FLC]) should be adjusted or modified in order to be functional in mountain terrain. Essential kit needs to be accessible while moving with the pack on. Kits should be located above the belt line giving Soldiers room for an improvised harness and making room for their legs while climbing.
Operational history and current enemy situation must be considered to determine the optimal amount of equipment required. All non-life preserving equipment should be stowed in the pack. Soldiers use a layered approach by distributing gear between kit, pack, and on body. Ammunition, ordnance, and water can be split between kit on body and in the pack during movements...
ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT AND CONTINGENCY GEAR Day Pack (20 to 30 liters): When a Soldier plans to be away from the bivouac site for the day on a patrol or mountaineering mission, the Soldier carries a light day pack. This pack should contain— • Extra insulating layer such as a polypropylene or waffle and pile top.
- Protective layer such as a waterproof jacket and pants, rain suit, or poncho.
- First aid kit.
- Flashlight or headlamp.
- Water bottle (capable of taking boiling liquids).
- Cold weather hat.
- Rations for the time period away from base camp.
- Survival kit.
- Improvised harness materiel or harness.
- Climbing rope (one per climbing team).
- Climbing rack (one per climbing team).
Squad or team safety pack: When a squad-sized element leaves the bivouac site, squad safety gear should be carried in addition to the individual day packs. This can either be loaded into one rucksack or cross-loaded among the squad members. In the event of an injury, casualty evacuation, or unplanned bivouac, these items may make the difference between success and failure of the mission:
- Sleeping bag.
- Sleeping mat.
- Squad stove.
- Fuel bottle.
MOUNTAIN WARFARE AND COLD WEATHER OPERATIONS The 10 essentials: Regardless of what equipment is carried, the individual military mountaineer should always carry the 10 essentials when moving through the mountains. These essentials are-
- Navigation equipment.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Extra clothing.
- First aid kit.
- Fire starter (tinder or dryer lint ball).
- Matches or lighter.
- Extra food.
Mountain Kit: The type and amount of equipment Soldiers may need to operate in the mountains may change depending on many factors. The gear packing list should always be reviewed and re-evaluated prior to an operation...
Leaders must ask themselves the following questions when creating packing lists and load plans:
- Is every item in your kit necessary?
- Can you share anything with other members of your squad (for example, stove or filter)?
- Can you accomplish multiple tasks with a single item?
- Can you live without a few creature comforts for a short duration?
- Does the packing list have the least amount of gear that does the most?
It is not possible to carry all necessary equipment for all possible contingencies. The Army risk assessment process provides an excellent framework for evaluating what equipment to bring or leave behind. Leaders use the likelihood versus severity model. Equipment falling into the moderate or low risk categories of residual risk should be considered for removal from the gear list....
...Remember, the enemy attacks where friendly forces are vulnerable.
Vulnerabilities lie in our fatigue due to loads carried during combat patrols in austere environments. Every effort must be put forth to reduce the load carried by the Soldier which will have a direct impact on the reduction of vulnerabilities.
Soldiers operating on foot in the mountains and in alpine terrain must pack light and smart to maintain a good balance of mobility and lethality.
Essentially, each piece of equipment a Soldier carries must perform multiple tasks and enhance the mission through lightening the Soldier’s overall load.
Small team mountain warfare is all about mobility and the load’s direct negative impacts on mobility.
Mobility equals lethality. Ounces equal pounds. Pounds equal pain"