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Infantry: Politically Correct Body Armor Sucks
   Next Article → WARPLANES: A Century of Helicopters
June 20, 2007: While politicians and pundits make a lot of noise about getting the troops better body armor, the troops are asking for less, or at least lighter and less bulky, armor. Anyone who has been in combat will tell you that survival depends, first of all,  on speed and mobility. Body armor helps when you do get hit, but the latest body armor often slows troops down and makes them vulnerable to hits in unarmored areas (the face, and limbs). Troops traveling in vehicles find the body armor a major obstacle to getting out quickly. This can be a matter of life and death. Another problem is fatigue and heat. The heavy armor is cumbersome, and wearing it in action wears you out more quickly.

 

SOCOM troops have a lot of discretion, and sometimes prefer to go into action without their body armor. But regular soldiers and marines must wear the body armor at all times, and they are not happy with the no-win situation they are often put in because of this requirement. The politicians are really paying attention, and the troops are not happy with the results. No one, except the troops who wear the stuff, appear to realize how critical weight and bulk is.

 

One (sort of) bright spot is that the enemy often obtains body armor, either Russian stuff, or police grade protective vests. This does give them some protection, but it also slows them down and wears them down more quickly. In some situations, when Taliban gunmen are being pursued, they have been seen abandoning their body armor, in order to increase their chances of getting away.

 

 

Next Article → WARPLANES: A Century of Helicopters