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How much weight can a soldier really carry without been a burden to their squad?


  1. MAJ Kev says:

    Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall did a study following the Korean War on the load of a Soldier. His study built on other studies done after the two World Wars. Marshall’s report – which became a book – was enthusiastically accepted by the Army, and is brought up every ten years or so about how we should configure loads, but is essentially ignored by those who believe Soldiers can carry anything.

    The results are that realistically, a Soldier in good shape can only be expected to perform with any chance of success if he carries no more than approximately a third of his physical weight. His performance drops at a steady rate up to half his physical weight, and he is essentially ineffective above that.

    Of course, Soldiers vary in their individual abilities, and there are performance differences expected if a Soldier is carrying a sustainment load or a fighting load, but the studies showed that the results of loads carried were all essentially the same.

    All that said – Soldiers are routinely expected to carry ridiculous amounts of gear for a number of good and bad reasons.

  2. Kelso says:

    They don’t expect to be attacked anytime soon. Usually certain soldiers are choosen to carry the heavy packs. They contain (I think) more rations, communications systems, ammo and more things they might need.

  3. Moto Junky says:

    it depends on what they are doing. But it isn’t uncommon for soldiers to carry 60 pound rucks plus harnesses, ammunition and weapon.

    They could have a tent, a bed pad, and other camping supplies. food, extra clothing, extra water, flint, knives, maps and a compass, med kit, NODs (night vision devices), communications, etc.

    The list just goes on and on

  4. chris10000 says:

    Usually, we don’t run with all the gear you see. We just move from "permanent" settlements with it. It could have anything from clothes, body armor, weapons, tents, communication gear, etc. The heaviest I carried weighed around 80 lbs.

    And it gets VERY tiring!

  5. alexander m says:

    If you’re carrying it chances are your squad needs it. How much you carry depends on the needs of the mission, but 100 or more pounds of gear on mission isn’t a rare thing.

  6. Patrick says:

    While in training the harder you push yourself the more it will pay off on the battlefield. So if you are used to having a hundred pounds on your back and then in combat you only have 60 you feel great. I did a quick daytime mission during training where we flew in got dropped off and flew out. My guys each had over a hundred pounds worth of equipment and ammo in their bags which did not include the weight of the body armor we wore and the rifles we carried. But, I’m an 11C which is a mortarman so we have to carry the full load of a normal infantryman plus a full mortar load. It sucks. Specially climbing mountains like during that exercise.

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