How much body armor is too much?




 
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March 27th, 2006  
Duty Honor Country
 
 

Topic: How much body armor is too much?


I caught this AP story that details that a majority of Marines in Iraq that conduct foot patrols are not wearing the new side armor and larger plates when it is optional to do so.

Some Marines Declining Extra Body Armor

By ANTONIO CASTANEDA, Associated Press Writer Sun Mar 26, 4:20 PM ET

HUSAYBAH, Iraq - Extra body armor — the lack of which caused a political storm in the United States — has flooded in to 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.

"We have to climb over walls and go through windows," said Sgt. Justin Shank of Greencastle, Pa. "I understand the more armor, the safer you are. But it makes you slower. People don't understand that this is combat and people are going to die."

read more at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060326/...q_unused_armor


With all that said, how much body armor is too much?
March 27th, 2006  
Maytime
 
 
I think it depends on the type of mission, and the influx of the extra protection is a sign that it is the right tool for the wrong job. The more we weigh down our men (and women) the less chance they have at going those extra few steps, or reacting quickly enough to save themselves and their comrades. This is even more of a concern in the desert heat as well. I'm curious to hear what PJ24 has to say, since he is an expert in this area.

As for the type of mission, I could see such thigns as force protection that would benefit greatly from the extra protection, while patrolling and direct action would need more mobility. Also, that extra 10 lbs could be a few hundred more rounds that they might need if things go bad.
March 27th, 2006  
Locke
 
 
no matter how fast you move, no one can outrun a bullet.

its thier choice, but if it is available to you and you refuse it and you get hit then you are a dumbass and you dont get a lot of my sympathy.

how effective woudl this extra armour be against IED's??
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March 27th, 2006  
Rabs
 
 
Quote:
how effective woudl this extra armour be against IED's??

Depends on the IED id say some of those things can flip a bradley over i dont think its gona help much.
March 27th, 2006  
5.56X45mm
 
 
Well, that's a hard question.

It depends on the GI and also on the misson.

When I was overseas. I wore the Uncle Sam issued crap (GOD IT WAS HEAVY SOMETIMES) and I also wore what most LEOs wear.

I wore a First Choice Level IIIA Undercover Kevlar Vest with a Pointblank K-30 Chest and Back plate.


The Level IIIA stops most pistol calibers out on the market and the K-30 plate stops all .30 Carbine Ammo and also any armour priecing 9X19mm round. Lastly, it stops a .44mag fired from a 18 inch barreled rifle. It's not designed to stop the Soviet M43 round (7.62X39MM) which is fired from the Ak-47. But it did give me a level of protection that I felt still kept me safe.

It provided less protection, but it gave me more mobility out in the field.
It's a trade off. And it was also a private purchase.
March 27th, 2006  
LeEnfield
 
 
In Iraq it is not only the weight of it, what can be a killer is the heat as well.
March 27th, 2006  
zhjsg
 
mobility is as important as safe
March 27th, 2006  
PJ24
 
 
Someone mentioned the heat over there. I'm not an expert, but I've treated more heat exhaustion/stroke victims than I'd like to count.

Heat exhaustion is one of the biggest training risks the military has to counter. Regardless of the weather. Now put yourself in Iraq, add a different diet, higher temps, more daily exercise, stress, etc and it's the biggest risk you have and that's just in general. Now add all of your combat gear, add more stress, more strenuous activities. See where I'm going?

Damage to your body starts at 99 degrees F, now, we've all had temperatures when we've got a cold or the flu at around 100..even up to 104. At 104 you're starting to run the risk of a stroke. If someone maintains a 105F or higher temperature for extended periods, you can have brain damage, kidney failure, liver failure, blood clotting abnormalities, etc. If you don't cool off, you can die, quickly.

The highest core temp (that's where we strip your trousers off and put a big thermometer up your butt) I personally recorded over in Iraq was 108.1F, this was on my 2d deployment (a while ago) and he's just now regaining liver/kidney functions. The only reason he survived was because myself and a medic happened to be right there as well as an already inbound MEDEVAC. We used the rotors from the helo to help cool him while we checked his core temp, started an IV, and got him ready to load. Had the Gods not fixed it so that everything was in the right place, the guy would have died. I've seen guys die from heat strokes, it isn't pretty.

Heat exhaustion has to be taken just as seriously. Not only does someone that's suffered from heat exhaustion run a higher risk of a heat stroke, it slows you down because you have to treat him, cool him, and wait before he can be active again.

It's a serious thing, and you can't say "drink more water," but there's only so much you can drink in a day before hyponatremia becomes a risk.


It's defininately a concern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Locke
no matter how fast you move, no one can outrun a bullet.
No, but a zig and a zag and running to cover has saved my life more than once.

Quote:
its thier choice, but if it is available to you and you refuse it and you get hit then you are a dumbass and you dont get a lot of my sympathy.
I don't mean to be a dick here, but this comment to me is way out of line.

Do you say this as someone that's actually had to wear all of that stuff day in and day out on patrols in upwards of 155 degree heat sporting the entire IBA ensemble? Ever tried to swim across the river in that shit, tried to run for cover, had to scale a wall, carry/drag a guy out of the line of fire, or climb five flights of stairs in a hurry? Naw, don't answer, if you had you wouldn't be calling anyone a dumbass, you'd know exactly what it is like and you would also know what's more practical and tactical for different situations.

I don't wear all of that heavy stuff, that may make me a dumbass to you. To me, it makes me better able to do my job, and that's why we're there. For guys to do their jobs.

Quote:
how effective woudl this extra armour be against IED's??
It depends, if you're in the blast radius, luck and a prayer are about the only things that are going to help you. I have yet to see a SAPI stop a 120mm or 150 IED.

Speed and mobility are definitely two of the main factors you need, especially in an urban enviroment. Body armor needs to be mission dependent (it is for us, and it works out nicely), if you're manning the turret, you can get away with wearing the entire system. If you're trying to clear those tiny houses in Iraq, you better at least be able to fit through those itty bitty doors, lest you get stuck in the door and bottleneck when you're attempting a rapid entry. (yeah, it's happened)

Everything is a compromise. Do you want to be armored from head to toe and defensive, or armored just enough so that you can be offensive? Again, mission dependant.

War is a dangerous business, people will die. You can't change that no matter what. We're already taking more casualties because of the outside pressure to uparmor everything, keep everything nice, tidy and safe. It just can't be done.
March 27th, 2006  
Marinerhodes
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJ24
We're already taking more casualties because of the outside pressure to uparmor everything, keep everything nice, tidy and safe. It just can't be done.
Exactly, had a buddy of mine in a Humvee get hit by an RPG. His humvee got stuck because it was too heavy. Another guy I know (This is what he has told me) said that because of the uparmor the acceleration and agility of the humvee is severely impaired. Not, all of that and then apply it to the individual person as well, like PJ24 said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Locke
its thier choice, but if it is available to you and you refuse it and you get hit then you are a dumbass and you dont get a lot of my sympathy.
I agree with PJ24, that comment was entirely out of line Locke.

Apparently you don't know that a 7.62 or 5.56 round can go in your leg (since there is no leg armor) and ricochet off the bone and up into the armor where instead of exiting it bounces around. Perhaps you are looking up and the person fires down on you, now you can possibly get a round in the armpit and have it bouncing around. If you have not "been there done that" please refrain from making ignorant comments like the above.
March 28th, 2006  
Locke
 
 
yup that comment was made in ignorance, ill admit that.
i didn't even think about heat stroke and you made some damn good points PJ.

i retract what i said. (but will keep it there so people reading the thread can follow)

so let me get this straight:
the main type of body armour given to soldiers in iraq is guaranteed to stop a round from a pistol, but not one from an AK, which (from what iv heard) is the most common gun overthere. is it worth having bodyarmour that wont stop most rounds and impedes mobility or are they used mainly to stop the soldier being injured by shrapnel and to give the soldier a sense of personal safety (which may be a false one)?? and why, with all out technological advances, haven't we been able to make something which is bulletproof against higher calibre rounds, and breathable and able to be mass produced.
(id just like to point out a bit of aussie history, the bushranger Ned Kelly covered himself in iron plates when he went out and did his business. i understand this made him essentially bulletproof and scared the shite out of the cops who couldn't kill him. eventually he was hit in an unprotected area in the end and captured. But yeah, slow and bulletproof actually worked for a whlie for him!)


re bullet tumbling, is it a myth or reality, i would have thought at the speeds they were travelling once a bullet hit a body it would have gone straight through. it would take something pretty dense to be able to deflect a bullet through human flesh, right? im asking this with no knowledge of the subject, please inform me!