Friday, June 23, 2006

on carry loads

Way back when, I was enlisted infantry. Airborne, no less. I remember the loads under which I staggered, and look on the constantly resurfacing discussion of combat loads with amusement. Here's the reality.

A grunt will carry no less than he can, and no more than he has to.

"Has to" deals with what individual items he carries, as ordered (and can't get out of) and beyond that as he's discovered to be useful or important.

"Can" is just that - to his physical limit.

If you reduce the weight of what he's carrying - changing the weight of the weapon, combining several tools into one multitool that weighs less - you'll discover on a subsequent visit that the weight has returned. That's because there are hundreds of things the grunt and his sergeants and officers wish were coming along but are left behind due to sheer physical limits. And since you so obligingly reduced the weight already there, you created space for some of the other stuff. Make a hard limit on how much can be forced on the grunt, and the grunt himself will fill the gap.

It may be bullets or weapons. It may be food or water. It may be gadgets found useful in limited circumstances. But the grunt will always carry as much as he can.

And complain about the weight every step of the distance.


Anonymous Prince Hydrajak said...

For our Honeymood we hiked to Machhu Pichhu.

Salkantay Pass was 14000+ feet.

I didn't use a pack horse... and I didn't trust them over the internet when they said "tents will be provided". At about 13000 feet I felt really stupid for carring that 2.6 lb tent. And I packed too many clothes.

At least no one was shooting at me.

6/26/2006 9:12 AM  

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