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SHTF & Gear Weight

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by Daev, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. Daev

    Daev Portland, Oregon, United States Member

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    For those who don't view "locking oneself away in a fortress" as a viable tactic for most possible SHTF scenarios

    I recently read SLA Marshall's The Soldier's Load and the Mobility of a Nation and thought it had some decent SHTF ideas.

    For instance, Marshall focuses on the 1/3 body weight rule of thumb for the entire weight of clothing, weapon and gear for mobile infantry troops. In general he recommends that this total be kept below 40 Lbs. He recommends stripping down non-essentials and even keeping on person food supplies to a minimum.

    Using the Red Army and Stonewall Jackson's example of what to do about food:

    "... This came from another witness, General Hasso Eccard Manteuffel, who later commanded the Fifth Panzer Army on the Western Front. "Their advance is unlike anything ever seen in operations between western armies. The Soldier carries a sack on his back with dry crusts and raw vegetables collected on the march. The horses forage where they can. You can't stop them like an ordinary army by cutting their communications, for you rarely find any supply columns to strike." Maybe that is somewhat of an exaggeration. No doubt the Russian mode of warfare ate on Manteuffel's nerves, just as it did on those of every other orthodox Soldier who faced the Red Army for very long. But there is no doubt whatever that operating on a minimum subsistence level is one of the prime factors in Soviet military strength. As in Stonewall Jackson's corps, cooking equipment is of the simplest sort. One large kettle will take care of the needs of 150 men-thick soup for breakfast and a heavy meat stew for supper with rice and barley. The ration of two pounds of black bread per day which the Soldier carries on his back is cooked right at the front in portable ovens. Wherever troops move, they forage, and rations are reduced according to foraging possibilities. As witness, we have this revealing statement by M. F. Kerner, who served as Quartermaster General of the Czech Corps in the Red Army: "When the Corps was advancing in August, 1944, there was allocated to it as its September ration some hundreds of acres of standing wheat. This wheat had to be harvested and milled by the local population." As startling as are these World War II flashbacks of an Army operating as an armed horde, a far more arresting piece of information comes from yet another witness. Brig. Gen. James C. Crockett was United States attache' for intelligence in Moscow for four years, beginning in 1944. He returned to this country in 1948. Said Crockett: "The doctrine of the new Russian Army is to get weight off the back of the combat Soldier and put it on transport-any kind of transport that will carry it, even a donkey cart.This is a main change in operational theory since 1945. The pack-the total weight of it, including all clothing but the great sheep-lined coat-has been reduced to 40 pounds. When I left Moscow all field exercises were being conducted under this weight. It appears to be the Russian intention to aim at this same maximum for combat." Though the horde army seems to have learned the hard way, at least it learned."

    Thoughts?
     
  2. kenno

    kenno eastern WA Active Member

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    As a former soldier my thoughts always turned to weight and bulk. I concidered 35 pounds of pack weight to be the max, with 23 pounds being the nominal weight for weapon, ammo, web gear, clothing.
    The weight of the rifle always tends towards 8.5 pounds no matter how hard you try to reduce weight , invent a 6 pound infantry rifle "something" always bumps the weight up to 8-8.5 pounds, 1 pound less than an M-1 Garand.
    In combat even the weight of a pack is too much and many, given the chance a GI will drop thier LBE and carry water, ammo and weapon just so they can move faster to cover.
    Evacuating a given area with family? Even without the gear, food, Child's comfort items, water, nappies, your a very large, slow, encumbered target.
    River travel at night may afford a better route to safety.
     
  3. Daev

    Daev Portland, Oregon, United States Member

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    That is a good point regarding children, depending on the SHTF scenario.
     
  4. Decker

    Decker My house Active Member

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    On the money. While I try to keep in shape I know there's no way I am going to do anything other then making myself a slow moving target if i have lore then 30ish pounds.
     
  5. kenno

    kenno eastern WA Active Member

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    OBTW
    I just remembered that the Romans equiped each platoon with a donkey to carry about 90? pounds of gear and dry food, doubtless this sometimes reached 100 pounds when authorized but never unauthorized as the punishment was very severe.
    All that effort (breeding, training and feeding 1000's of donkeys) was intended to increase the Legion's speed of response to any threat to the Empire.
    Of course there was a huge Logistic train that followed well behind the Legion to resupply food stuffs as well as material and 'Other' goods.
    So what I am saying is that packing gear "other than on the back" increases speed, if not mobility.
    River transport at night still seems better than 'over the road'
     
  6. Daev

    Daev Portland, Oregon, United States Member

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    Well... According to Marshall (Ibid.):

    "There is reason to think, however, that the British research was in error on this finding. My friend and colleague, Col. Hugh M. Cole, has checked most of the ancient sources on this subject and has been guided largely by the reasoning and conclusions of Delbrueck, the great German military historian. Delbrueck worked according to the principle that what the sources said about operations should be challenged if they did not square with "physical possibility"; this means applying to history the same rule by which we measured the phenomena of the battlefield in Europe and Central Pacific, and which I now say should be applied to all that we do logistically. Delbrueck was well acquainted with the German test marches of 1896 and what they indicated as to the limits of men's powers. He held that the Roman Legion must have operated within these weight limits, else it would have been impossible to explain its extraordinary mobility. Even this was a generous conclusion, since we know now that the Mediterranean man of that period was smaller in weight and in frame than modern man. Working with a seminar of German officers, Delbrueck found that many of the classical texts had been misinterpreted, as to what they purported to say about the Legion's weight carrying ability. As one example, Livy's text had been corrupted from "supply for a few days" to "supply for 30 days" this referring to the rations carried by one man. And again, the much cited single reference to a man load of 80 pounds refers to a specific punishment march, like the British sand bag drill. By the time he had completed his research, Delbrueck had decided that the legionary carried only his arms, an iron ration and a stake, used for fortifying the camp. Such things as hand-mills, cooking utensils, tentage and entrenching tools were carried in the trains. In other words, it was soundness in logistics, and lightness in the individual, which made the Legion the most mobile force the world has ever known.The Roman carried so little excess into battle that he was able to engage in bodily physicalcombat, man to man, for an entire day. No foot formations since have ever marched as far and fought as many battles in so short a time as did the veteran legions at the height of Roman power. And the secret of their mobility as a force came of that exquisite combination of discipline and economy which kept the Roman individual light of foot and united to his comrades. By a series of calculations which need not be here explained, Colonel Cole has concluded that the individual weights carried within the legions were as follows:

    Total for road marching 57.2 lbs.
    Total for approach march 44 lbs.
    Tactical load in combat zone 33 Ibs."
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  7. kenno

    kenno eastern WA Active Member

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    So, though we Moderns are taller and 'healthier' we prefer to carry almost the same weights into combat. From and capabilities of our human mind does dictate function!
    As an aside: The German race has explored and studied war far more than any other european nation yet in the history of "Germany" as a nation, can any one name a single WAR that Germany has ever 'won'?
     
  8. Daev

    Daev Portland, Oregon, United States Member

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    Franco-Prussian War
    East African Arab Rising
    Wahehe War
    Hottentot Uprising
    Maji Maji Uprising in East Africa
     
  9. Boats

    Boats Flicking A Switch To Open My Third Eye Well-Known Member

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    This is why I am always bemused by SHTF/TEOTWAWKI threads as regards weapons and why the "tactical wheelbarrow" is a minor gun board legend.

    Almost any healthy adult can hump 30 pounds of gear for the 72-96 hours the typical disaster will go on before substantial National Guard or other relief/security efforts arrive to help.

    Anyone thinking they are going to lug 30 extra pounds for a month or a year while suffering nutritional/caloric deprivation and losing sleep is frankly already doing such things for a living or is an individual with an overactive imagination.

    "I'll just take a rifle, shotgun, and pistol, 10 mags for the AR/AK, 100 rounds of mixed buck, slug, and bird shot, and about 50 rounds of .45 ACP. Don't forget the optics, the spare uppers for the AR, food, water, sleeping bag, oops can't forget the batteries, or the Busse Battle Mistress, spare clothes, a tarp or a tent, the first aid kit, a pocket survival guide, a flashlight, hmmm, maybe I need a bolt rifle and scope too."

    People are totally unrealistic. Mostly they are unrealistic about their own imagined response to a problem of the magnitude they envision. Is anyone really going to bust 180+ 5.56 rounds in a crisis like the law ain't coming back? If order will be restored, any gun becomes more important than the black rifle and a proper load out, or taking along a mix of guns as if they were golf clubs.

    And if law and order are never coming back, how important is a high capacity rifle and the ability to carry a lot of increasingly scarce ammo rather than something that is more miserly and will force you to think about what you are going to shoot rather than to react with suppressive fire?

    I have a neighbor who stores a 55 gallon barrel of water in his garage. He doesn't seem to care that his 75 gallon water heater is already storing more than that and cycling through new fresh water every day, nor that it rains a lot here and he could do catchment with a MSR pump filter in a fraction of the weight and space as his barrel if his water heater and toilet/bathtub reservoirs ran dry after turning off the main in an emergency.

    People remake reality to fit more neatly with their preconceptions.