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Frank Hovis

First woman to join infantry regiment quits

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And I'm not remotely surpirsed.  I don't agree with women being front line infantry because IMO they compromise the fighting efficiency however fit and strong they are by being a particular target for the enemy; but that's a different point.

 

For this story:

The stupidly heavy loads that modern soldiers are expected to routinely carry on exercise (IIRC it was ten stone of kit for Bravo Two Zero) are terrible for the skeleton and joints.  Many men have long term damage from such loads and they are generally better able to carry heavy weights; for a woman the negative effect will be magnified.  It is like being ten stone overweight; the body was not built for that.

As I very nearly joined up I've watched most training documentaries to assess how I would have fared.  The major causes of drop-outs are:

  • Injury
  • Deciding it's not worth it - the training makes them reflect properly upon what twenty years in the army will be like, and they decide that having had a taste of it they don't really want to do it
  • Over-idealism - sometimes people from military families or brought up on a diet of Commando & Warlord magazines as I was romanticise the life but find the reality of cold, mud, and lack of sleep doesn't live up to it
  • Isolation from the other recruits - apart in age, education, or background.  And times ten for this woman being in separate accommodation whilst all other recruits are in barrack teams.

I would say the last factor in this case doomed it to failure from the start however much she was determined she was going to do it.  FWIW from watching the programmes I think I would have dropped out as well had I joined; primarily on the "it's not worth it" / over-idealism points.

 

 

First woman to join infantry regiment since defence chiefs lifted ban on females serving in combat units quits after two weeks admitting she underestimated the 18-week course

  • The first woman to join an infantry regiment has quit after two weeks of training
  • The recruit dropped out of an 18-week course this month after falling behind
  • When she resigned, she admitted underestimating physical requirements
  • Her resignation is a huge blow to officials who are determined to integrate women 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5775737/First-woman-join-infantry-regiment-quits-two-weeks.html

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There's a lot to be said of just dropping soldiers into a region with a gun and letting them rob and steal the stuff they need to survive.

The backpack weight is insane. And a massive risk.

The military need to think about where and what they;; be fighting. And think about the logistics.

 

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Posted (edited)

Sounds a bit like my missus. She's always offering to help move stuff, then claims I've fixed stuff to the ground, and is then amazed when I can lift the thing she couldn't even move an inch. I guess men and women are just, well, different.!

But maybe the loads are unsuitable. The kurds have lots of women in the front line, as do the isrealis.

26d0f529-b68d-499f-9af6-4a437c560bfd.jpg

F090531Att38-e1472715507634.jpg

Edited by davidg

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Just now, spygirl said:

There's a lot to be said of just dropping soldiers into a region with a gun and letting them rob and steal the stuff they need to survive.

The backpack weight is insane. And a massive risk.

The military need to think about where and what they;; be fighting. And think about the logistics.

 

And why.

Iraq and Afghanistan were: get in there and smash the current regime.

Then walk around for five years being shot at and blown up for no good reason. 

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5 minutes ago, davidg said:

Sounds a bit like my missus. She's always offering to help move stuff, then claims I've fixed stuff to the ground, and is then amazed when I can lift the thing she couldn't even move an inch. I guess men and women are just, well, different.!

But maybe the loads are unsuitable. The kurds have lots of women in the front line, as do the isrealis.

26d0f529-b68d-499f-9af6-4a437c560bfd.jpg

F090531Att38-e1472715507634.jpg

Frontline is a short bus ride away.

 

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Here's a story on the weight carried, now double that the Royal Marines had in the Falklands, and the injuries it causes:

 

Quote

 

Since last year infantry soldiers, Paras and Royal Marines have had to haul equipment weighing about 10 stone, nearly twice as heavy as the packs yomped by soldiers in the Falklands 28 years ago, according to a report in Jane’s Defence.

An Army Physical Training Instructor told Jane’s: “One of the real killers in Afghanistan is stopping every few yards, going down on to one knee, bringing your weapon up for a look around, and then standing up again, all with a full load. We’re not physically prepared for that and it’s hurting a lot of guys”.

The troops’ misery of the front line is worsened by the searing Afghanistan heat, which tops 122F (50C) in July and August. According to the Ministry of Defence, infantry soldiers carry around 145lb, 20Ib more than their US counterparts.

The report, however, stated: “By early 2009, British soldiers were routinely carrying more than twice the 80lb load carried by the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment on their march across the Falklands in 1982.” Apart from basic sustainment and survivability kit, which weighs around 57Ib, the typical rifleman carries 57lb of “lethality” equipment, including ammunition, hand grenades and two mortar bombs.

Kit introduced as Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR) including thermal weapon sights and other surveillance and target acquisition equipment raises this by 5.5lb. On top of that is the Osprey body armour system, which weighs 20Ib, and helmet, and the load increases for company commanders, because of extra communication equipment, and light machine gunners.

The hostile climate and challenging supply chain in Afghanistan means that soldiers must prepare for every eventuality, carrying as much as 5 litres of water and even cans of oil. In addition, the Taliban use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) has seen British troops adopt the unique position of carrying heavy jamming devices, aimed at blocking all mobile signals and preventing the remote controlled detonation of roadside bombs, in every patrol.

Although the Ministry of Defence does not collate figures regarding skeletal and ankle injuries, Unites States forces have seen a marked increase in “load bearing” injuries. According to the US Armed Forces Health Surveillance Monthly Report, published in April, 7.516 soldiers visited field hospitals for injuries associated with skeletal injuries in 2009 alone. Most of these were categorised as “intervertebral disc disorders”.


 

 

 

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/188986/British-soldiers-suffer-injuries-from-too-heavy-weights

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Posted (edited)

Stupid, stupid amount of weight to pick up never mind carry. Even for a young fit, strong Male. It must compromise fighting effectiveness. The idiots specifying what is carried need to have a long hard think about that aspect.

And yes, the Kurds and Israelis have shown that there is little practical reason why women can’t fight in the front line (if they are willing, as frank indicates, to risk being targeted for ‘special treatment’ by the enemy). Indeed, I believe there is something about the female psyche that leads counter insurgency units to be instructed “shoot the women FIRST’.

Edited by Melchett

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I've met some of the candidates for women on the front-line for the UK.  There's no doubt that they've got the mental toughness required.

IMO women in general are a bit too clever to join up -- I think they say things like 'but I could just train to be an accountant and then go on adventure holidays'.  I think this also accounts for gender differences in many professions (eg, science -- they think women are turned off because of the gender stereotype, I think women are turned off because they can see it would be hard work and the pay and lifestyle just isn't there).

But the comments on loading are correct.  Part of the problem here is the blame culture we've got -- soldiers die in war, but we're prone to saying 'if only they had...', then that gets added to the load.  I'm not sure what could be done about this -- any solution might increase effectiveness, but this would be difficult to measure compared with the easy to measure risk of death.

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We still have this Burma / Malaya / Vietnam mentality of sending men on long patrols into hostile environments just so they can be said to be doing something. They achieve little other than own the ground they are standing on for a short time. Useful targets. As others have pointed out the kit list keeps getting longer but the basic mission is the same.

Or they sit in some 'fort' surrounded by the enemy being targets to lure in the enemy so that very expenisve aircraft can drop very expensive bombs on sheep herders.

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Just now, The Masked Tulip said:

We still have this Burma / Malaya / Vietnam mentality of sending men on long patrols into hostile environments just so they can be said to be doing something. They achieve little other than own the ground they are standing on for a short time. Useful targets. As others have pointed out the kit list keeps getting longer but the basic mission is the same.

Or they sit in some 'fort' surrounded by the enemy being targets to lure in the enemy so that very expenisve aircraft can drop very expensive bombs on sheep herders.

I forget the particular definitions of social organisation but it has been noted that the Roman Empire only conquered and held territories where the level of social organisation was at something approaching kingship because:

i) there was something that could be conquered (if all you have is nomad bands wandering across a steppe what are you actually conquering by moving in troops?)

ii) that territory was already organised to be productive, agriculture, mines, so taking that territory meant a good and ongoing wealth gain that would pay for the militray expense of garrisoning it.

So other than punitive raids Scotland, mostly comprising of wandering bands like the Picts, was like Ireland not worth conquering at that time.

And what they recognised as being important was that they left the existing productive social structure in place; at least initially.  So you had client kings paying tribute and allowing Roman forts on their land and paying taxes.

If they had just gone in and smashed everything then you end up with a conquered territory not worth holding.

Unless it has, of course, oil. 

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Paras and Royal Marines have had to haul equipment weighing about 10 stone

That's crazy, 10 stone = 63kg = 'widowmaker'  2' x 3' 'council' pressed granite paving slab. Most people can barely move those. Imagine running over difficult terrain whilst someone is shooting at you with one of those on your back. Surely they should be patrolling from armoured vehicles, especially when the main dangers are from roadside bombs and snipers.

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It's got to be that much so you stand a chance of moving an injured comrade should the need arise.

"Sorry mate you're too heavy I'm going to leave you to get slaughtered"

And I know the average squaddie weighs more than that.

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1 hour ago, sarahbell said:

It's got to be that much so you stand a chance of moving an injured comrade should the need arise.

"Sorry mate you're too heavy I'm going to leave you to get slaughtered"

And I know the average squaddie weighs more than that.

That was the tough bit of my physical training, Battle PT. A combination of leopard crawling, fast walking with 2x 20kg jerrycans, dummy drags, tyre flipping and stretcher runs. 

 

It does need to be done for casualty extraction and for yomping with heavy loads. 

One of my fingers will never be 100% after a soft tissue injury from carrying jerrycans. 

A decent chunk of the women struggled with their less stringent fitness requirement and I struggled a bit with my less stringent "old man" fitness requirement. 

When you are running with a stretcher, you're all running at the same speed over the same distance and different fitness levels stick out like a sore thumb. 

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2 hours ago, sarahbell said:

It's got to be that much so you stand a chance of moving an injured comrade should the need arise.

"Sorry mate you're too heavy I'm going to leave you to get slaughtered"

And I know the average squaddie weighs more than that.

That's not my objection Sarah; it's their (men and now potentially women) having to carry such weights continually whilst on patrol that causes the damage.

I'm absolutely fine with, and would expect, a decent minimum standard of fitness and strength.

I am very much not fine however with turning the fittest young men and women of this country into people with bad backs and gone knees at the age of thirty five or younger.

When I used to do hillwalking with camping I was pretty careful with what I took owing to its weight; people more hardcore than me would literally weigh everything and look for a lighter alternative.

I would expect the army to take a similar duty of care to its troops.  Lightweight breathable materials, reducing the weight of rifles.

The old idea of it not mattering that your coat was heavy cotton was ok when you were carrying five stone; when it's ten stone you are slowly but permanently crippling yourself.  So you have a lightweight modern fibre coat that wicks sweat.

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In Afghanistan they are fighting blokes in pyjamas on a cheap Honda moped with an AK-47 over their shoulder and a few grenades in their pockets. 

100lbs on your back sounds rather excessive considering.

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32 minutes ago, ccc said:

In Afghanistan they are fighting blokes in pyjamas on a cheap Honda moped with an AK-47 over their shoulder and a few grenades in their pockets. 

100lbs on your back sounds rather excessive considering.

It has to include a copy of the british army GDPR code to give anyone they come across before they can take names and other personal data.

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17 minutes ago, sarahbell said:

It has to include a copy of the british army GDPR code to give anyone they come across before they can take names and other personal data.

It's ok because the "rules of war" are vehemently adhered to by both sides.:ph34r:

All war is utter pish to be fair. 

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11 minutes ago, MrPin said:

Good on her for "having a go". I almost became an accountant once, but is was not for me!:Old:

I self identify as an accountant.

It stops people wanting to talk to you at parties.

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1 minute ago, Cunning Plan said:

I self identify as an accountant.

It stops people wanting to talk to you at parties.

I sir, am a mathematician of dubious quality. I think about numbers, but I don't make much out of it.

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