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Battle Load

akfanatikakfanatik Member Posts: 580 ✭✭✭
edited March 2011 in Ask the Experts
What is the current standard battle load of our U.S. infantry men overseas, ammunition, grenades, ect...


  • sandwarriorsandwarrior Member Posts: 5,453 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    The standard load is 420 rds. of 5.56. Combat load is 840, 2 grenades, 1 belt for the saw or 1 belt for the 240. non-radio and non-load bearers get a law(if they still use it). Except squad/team leaders. They carry combat load & grenades.
  • akfanatikakfanatik Member Posts: 580 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
  • Fade2GrayFade2Gray Member Posts: 54 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Actually, the combat load is not as glamorous as Sandwarrior describes. Maybe some units are doing that, but the standard Army combat load is (7) 30rd mags. Several of the guys carry much more than that, at least the Infantry and combat arms types. Very few people actually carry hand grenades though, since every team has a grenadier, which carries an M203 that fires farther and more accurately than someone chucking a frag.

    No, we don't use the LAW anymore. It has been out of service for some 10 years. It was replaced by the AT-4, which is an 82mm single-launch anti-tank weapon. Those are not "standard issue", but most combat units have one or two per truck, usually slung over the back of the turret so if it goes "boom", it doesn't blow up the inside of the truck.

    There is an assortment of other weapon systems employed, and that varies from unit to unit. Remember, we aren't dismounted like back in the day. All our forces are motorized now, using armored HMMW-V's to get around. These vehicles all carry one or more (again, depending on the unit) light, medium, or heavy machineguns. There is also the very enjoyable automatic grenade launcher (Mk-19). And, obviously they can carry pretty much all the ammo they want in the trucks.

    At any rate, why do you ask?
  • Mr. GunzMr. Gunz Member Posts: 1,879 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
  • sandwarriorsandwarrior Member Posts: 5,453 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    I'm thinking we may both be a degree. If you check your TO&E you might find I'm closer than you think!
    I carried what you described though, 7 Mags fully loaded (-1) full of lead. or approximately 203 rd.s in magazines. The other seven went in my pocket. The rest were still in bandoliers in my ruck. With a couple/few extra speedloaders. ...still not fast enough if $#!^ hit the fan. Most of us, back in the day, carried one 'can' each. Or 1680 rds. as one ammo can. Still we only had 7 mags...or a few more if you stole some extras. No, we didn't just throw the ammo can in our ruck. We saved that for 'chicken ala claymore'(that's when you don't take the seal out of the lid and it blows up spraying hot water in peoples faces) when out in the field.
    Now, I realize there is a difference between combat infantry units but there is a TO&E standard and I think this is still it. I can't understand not carrying hand grenades as they are a pre-eminant building clearing weapon. Trust me on this one '203's won't arm in a space of ten feet or around a corner when you need a grenade. '203's are great for open battlefield but 75-90% useless in urban combat as most rounds won't arm in the ranges presented to the shooter. However, they are light and enough targets are presented that they fully justify coming on the bottom of one or two M16's! In urban combat a hand grenade (M67) is an amazing weapon. It clears all things in one little open area before you enter. Nevermind the kill zone with them is one wants a part of them if tossed correctly(3 second delay) in any space in which the little shrapnel pieces can tear up all kinds of stuff.
    In today's conflict I have to say that I'm glad to see we pack M2(50's) and Mk19's on our humvees. When I was in we mount a 60 on a jeep and called it good. No amount of talking changed anyone's mind...even if we could be faced with light armour such as the PT-76 that while old, could withstand .30 cal AP but not .50 Cal anything. (Our weapons sections/platoons carried the M67 90mm recoiless rifle of Korean vintage for that though) Someone finally came up with a good idea and put .50's and MK19's(didn't exist when I was in) on our humvees(jeeps when I was in). And they may finally realize you can carry ammo in these and not on your backs... freedom of movement is a wonderful thing.
  • nards444nards444 Member Posts: 3,994 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I dont know where sandwarrior is getting his stuff, cut that in half
  • Fade2GrayFade2Gray Member Posts: 54 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Not sure when you left Active Duty, but things are definitely different now...

    Yes, a hand grenade is very effective for clearing a building or those close situations where the M203 would be ineffective. I am NOT saying that we "don't" use/have them, only that they are not readily out there, and certainly not very many people are carrying them. Remember, we are NOT currently fighting a conventional force and clearing buildings which requires frags. First and foremost, a frag grenade would OVER-penetrate about 75% of the structures in that country! I believe this to be one of the big reasons we are not using them on a regular basis. You have to think about what you are going to use, not just blindly throw things. We do have/use flashbags and concussion grenades to use in these situations. Grenades are great if you are employing them, otherwise (like in the current theater of operation) they are little more than paperweights, and a distant second to the M203. As a point of interest, I do believe that the round does arm in 7 meters, which is one complete rotation. If needed in an urban situation that will actually support such munitions, you almost always will have that short of distance. Now, should a specific mission dictate, then squad leaders and/or team leaders might each carry a couple frags, but on a whole, day to day, they would not.

    No one carries rucks on a daily basis anymore because we have vehicles. All the extra ammo, beyond 7 mags, would be in the vehicle. As stated before, several carried as much as double that.

    We are not light infantry living out of rucks for days or months like back in the day. We have trucks, and FOB's, therefore we don't have to worry about how much we can carry on our backs.

    I seriously doubt anyone could carry some 40 lbs of ammo (which is what Sandwarrior's load of ammo approximately equates to) on them, then add the other 50+ pounds of crap you got to carry to that, and actually get very far. Not to mention, we look like damn Storm Troopers these days with all of the new gear they got us wearing. And that doesn't even account for all of the water you have to carry to sustain in this climate. No one would last 2 minutes out there in the desert in those conditions with all that weight.

    Things are definitely different these days...
  • sandwarriorsandwarrior Member Posts: 5,453 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    I do agree with you that it is/was/and always will be way too much weight to carry and fight with. In the event of contact we dropped our rucks and started shooting if we were to stay in the area. If we needed to break contact we applied immediate action drills as required and sprayed a whole lot of ammo out at the enemy force and "chugged" our way out of there. It wasn't pretty and I still think to this day we would have been torn up pretty bad had it been real contact. When I went to Grenada(I was in from '81-85, 1/75th RGR) my ruck weighed so much I could hardly get it on, much less move expediently. I jumped a lot more in than I carried around, but it was still heavy.
    FYI, one can of M193 in bandoliers weighs 38 lbs. Remember that is lighter than the M855 by a tenth of a pound per hundred.
    As for the '203 I think it's a great idea and more usage couldn't be better. Also everybody having mechanized to various degrees more than what we did makes a lot more sense. Having reliable reactionary forces and much more defendable equipment (armored humvees)today. The only mechanization we had was an open jeep. Humvees were just coming in when I left in ' was the SAW. They were wide open with no armor anywhere, and we had a M60 mounted and MK19's were yet to come on board. We had M67 90 mm recoiless rifles still. for any heavier armor that may come our way. Maybe stop a T-72 maybe not. Definately not stop an M1 Abrams.
    All in all I see a lot of better systems and (I think) smarter thinking about what troops can carry and what they need and how to get them resupplied, than when I was in. Reliablility was a key issue why we carried so much ammo and so little else. Remember too we didn't wear any body armor and usually no helmets...that is until after Grenada...still mad about that. All we had were beans and 'bullets' of various forms, a poncho liner and a couple changes of socks. Some theatres still dictate predominant foot patrol. And when you get way past the wire....all that weight feels worth it.
  • nards444nards444 Member Posts: 3,994 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    210 of 5.56 for the M4. 249 SAW is i beleive 400. Grenades are not widely issued.
  • beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by sandwarrior

    The standard load is 420 rds. of 5.56. Combat load is 840, 2 grenades, 1 belt for the saw or 1 belt for the 240. non-radio and non-load bearers get a law(if they still use it). Except squad/team leaders. They carry combat load & grenades.

    840 rounds?

    I find it hard to believe that the standard combat load out includes 28(!!) loaded magazines that weight about a pound each.

    Sure you don't mean the standard load 210 rounds (7 mags) with some carrying more than that?
  • nononsensenononsense Member Posts: 10,932 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    Here is a reasonably current copy of the Combat Load Report:

    Simply listed out is as follows:

    Equipment Common to Riflemen:
    A. Worn on Body/Uniform:

    M4 Carbine with PEQ-2 Laser/PAQ-4 Laser, ACOG/CCO, and 30 rounds of 5.56mm ball
    Desert Camouflage Uniform with Infrared Tape on left sleeve (1"x1").
    Desert Combat Boots.
    Dog Tags.
    ID Card.
    Tactical gloves.
    Interceptor Body Armor with two Small Arms Protective Inserts.
    Advanced Combat Helmet with night vision mounting plate.
    Rigger belt.
    Notebook and pen.
    Knee and elbow pads.
    Sun, Sand, and Dust type Goggles or Wiley-X Goggles.
    Folding Knife/Multi-tool.

    B. Worn on Fighting Load Carrier/Interceptor Body Armor:

    MOLLE Fighting Load Carrier with modular MOLLE pouches.
    180 rounds of 5.56mm ball ammunition.
    Fragmentation grenade.
    64 ounces of water in two 1-quart canteens.
    100 ounces of water in a hydration bladder.
    Casualty and witness cards.
    Flex cuffs for personnel under custody.
    Night vision equipment (PVS-14/PVS-7).
    Iodine tablets.
    Lensatic compass.
    First Aid dressing and pouch.
    Canteen Cup.

    C. Carried in Assault Rucksack:

    MOLLE Assault Rucksack or commercial assault rucksack, with MOLLE attachments.
    500ml intravenous fluids bag with starter kit.
    70 ounces of water in a second hydration bladder.
    Two Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs).
    Poncho and/or Bivy Sack.
    Poncho liner.
    Spare batteries.
    Two pair of socks.
    Polypropylene or silk long sleeve undershirt.
    M4/M16 Rifle Cleaning Kit.
    Personal hygiene kit.
    Rubber gloves.
    Sling rope with two snap links.

    D. Carried in Main Rucksack: (Main rucksacks were rarely taken on operations during

    MOLLE main rucksack with Sleeping Bag Carrier or Large ALICE rucksack.
    Modular Sleeping Bag (one bag per two men).
    Long Polypropylene Underwear of Fleece Jacket and Bibs.
    Two Undershirts.
    Two pairs of socks.
    Cold Weather Gloves.
    Knit/Fleece Cap.
    Additional ammunition.
    Two Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs).
    Sleeping pad.

    Special Equipment:

    Lock pick (B).
    Collapsible Riot Baton (B).
    Bolt cutters (C or D).
    Metal detecting wand (C or D).
    60mm mortar round (C or D).
    Combat Lifesaver Kit (C).
    Personnel Under Custody (PUC) Kit (sand bags, flex cuffs, trash bags, PUC cards, rubber
    gloves) (C).
    AT4 Anti-armor Weapon. (C or D).
    SMAW-D Bunker Defeat Weapon. (C or D).
    Hooligan Tool. (C or D).
    Sledgehammer. (C or D).
    Entrenching Tool. (C or D).
    M18 Claymore Mine. (C or D).
    Pole-less Litter. (C or D).
    200 rounds of 5.56mm linked ammunition for M249 SAW. (C or D).

    All of the above is subject to the mission description of course. The most oft made comment though from my friends in combat is, 'you can always carry more water and ammo!'

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