Link drop 5/2018


Some men get bones broken in their feet when their exhausted muscles cannot sufficiently support the bones any more.

I show this because I mentioned the principle a couple times, without backing that up. The BROACH warhead combines a shaped charge with an explosive warhead that follows through the hole or at least penetrated the badly weakened cover. This can be done with anything from big bombs to man-portable munitions (Bunkerfaust, for example). The consequence of this technology is huge, for it devalues hardened aircraft shelters. Those really only protect against blast, fragmentation and the tiniest of munitions (autocannon shells, 70 mm rockets). A Small Diameter Bomb (250 lbs class) can penetrate the weak roof of a hardened aircraft shelter even without a shaped charge. A single cruise missile that dispenses submunitions could penetrate three hardened aircraft shelters if those submunitions use shaped charges to assist the penetrator.

I don't think it's very important for land attack because they would need their Su-34 high end strike fighters and MiG-31 interceptors for different tasks.

It would be interesting to see what's the practical visible range (important for rear area troops who lack night vision and make use of illumination munitions) and how well it works with night vision goggles (likely fine, especially when the luminescent coating is thin).
The cone angle in which this is visible is interesting as well, for tracers also have a communication function. A team or squad leader may use a different tracer colour to point at where to shoot at, controlling the fires of his small unit by visuals.

I would love to have a current Bundeswehr infantryman's gear list in that format, to compare with what ultralight gear is on the market and see what's the difference.
I made a rather comprehensive excel table to see how low you can go in regard to weight with an extremist ultralight approach, but I arrived at about 24.4 kg for a rifleman and 26 kg for a light machinegunner in non-urban summertime missions. That's what the marching load (not fighting load) of a fit 90 kg man should weigh. One might reduce this to about 24 kg for both with even more extreme measures, but I don't see how one could reasonably go lower without polymer cartridge cases (up to 2.1 kg savings for light machinegunner and 0.9 kg for rifleman at 600 and 250 rds respectively).



  1. Some points about the gear list:

    It shows clearly how much todays western tms armies set priorities on clothing and protection and how few weight is invested in firepower and camo.

    With an true extremist ultralight approach you can very easily get the weight down even to 20 kg and that does not mean expensive special ultralight equipment but replacing only a few items with lighter ones and mainly to not use some of the items at all.

    Lets take a closer look and lets take only some of the items:

    Helmet ~ 1kg, Body Armour/Plate Carrier ~ 12 kg, the mags ~ 1 kg (there are much lighter ones), Molle-attached backpack ~ 1 kg, Combat Shirt/Pants (there are much lighter ones) ~ 1,5 kg, 1 radio/pouch/antena ~ 2 kg, Ellbow and Knee-Pads ~ 0,3 kg, Assault Gloves ~ 0,2 kg, Combat Boots ~ 1 kg

    Alltogether: 20 kg

    Now we need to invest some of the weight back in (fewer) ultralightweight mags with higher capacity per mag, in ultralightweight boots with half the weight and an lighter Shirt/Pants Combi, plus some additional camo / sensor stuff and we can spare at least still around 16 kg.

    From an overall weight of 36 kg this reduces it to 20 kg. The main point here is simple to wilful do without protection / helmet / body armour. The same moment you spare them, and other heavy stuff you can simple reduce the weight of many other items too. Only one example: if you do not wear much weight, you do not need heavy boots and light shoes can do instead etc

    Its therefore a spiral: the more weight you spare in not using items, the lighter can other items become because they then must not be that heavy anymore (backpack, Battle Belt etc)

    But moreover it is not only a question of the weight alone but also mainly of the distribution of the weight on the body. The todays chest rigs are for example not very good in carrying weight efficient in comparison to other systems.

    To summarize everything up: The following picture shows clearly everything that is wrong today with our western tm infantry:


    Not much firepower but an incredible amount of protective equipment, Bad Camo but an unbelievable hawkers tray (chest rig) full of redundancy.

    Cannot move, cannot use the terrain in the right way, cannot hide, no firepower, but so much additional that the strain and exhaustion will fast kill him without 24/7 nearby vehicle support.

    No way such an "infantry" man could fight an true infantry combat in terrain in which infantry should act.

    1. I have a comprehensive list for a hypothetical ultralight basic fighting load of rifleman, fire team leader and light machinegunner. 20 kg is out of range (the grenadier has 5 kg worth of LAWs, though). That list is rather on the optimistic side - some items would fail too quickly in field testing and be replaced with more durable and thus heavier items.

      I'll likely write more about the UL infantry/scout topic in the 2nd half of June. That theoretical exercise with the excel list gave me an idea, and that one requires some additional research and needs to mature.

  2. I make ultralight trekking since several years and without the consumables i brought the weight of the complete equipment down to around 7 kg (without food/water). And that does not mean starving on cold rations or sleeping on the ground without protection. The whole weight includes a sleeping system and even a cooking device. And i walk realy great distances with that equipment much faster and even saver than the people with the heavier and only feigned more durable items. I started this years ago because of my knees - which after serving in the german mountain infantry began to fail me. Then i find this book:

    Lightweight Backpacking and Camping from Ryan Jordan and it was amazing and become my bible over the years. For your study on this case i therefore highly recommend this book for you.

    Today i march faster, longer distances with all the comfort necessary with so few weight i can often easily outperform much younger and much fitter ones with conventional equipment.

  3. Here a example which is even lighter:



    1. Infantry is not on a hike. I know the 3.5 kg rule for UL hiking and what's done for it. I know there are 2-person tarps that weight less than 150 grams with all necessary accessories, and less if hicking sticks are used as tent poles.

      But infantry needs firearms, munitions (smoke hand grenades are awfully heavy), night vision, radios, batteries and some crossloaded stuff like belted rounds, prybar, entrenching tool. Leaders also need some additional tools like binoculars and pyrotechnics.
      Nobody has yet found a way to make water lighter.
      These things add up quickly.

      In the end a sensible capability basic load sums up to about 25 kg and that's a too heavy fighting load for a 18-20 y.o. who has 70-80 kg body mass. It only gets worse once you add ubrna warfare kit (lockbuster and wallbuster charges), AT load (15 kg heavy AT weapons and munitions), stuff for commando mortar or a M4 Carl Gustav portable infantry gun.

    2. Let us assume a weight of 3,5 kg per Person for complete clothing, camo, cooking, water desinfection, "tent" / sleeping system, then we have 18,5 kg free to the named 20 kg.

      Lets Take moreover 3,5 kg for night vision, radio, entrenching tool (only one for every second soldier!), pouches for the ammunition, when we still have 15 kg left for Weapons and Ammuniton alone.

      Because if you spare helmet and body armour, you can then invest this 15 kg complete in Weapons and Ammunition per Person and still have only reached 20 kg which is possible to carry without any hindrance.

      For example an 8 Men Infantry Group:

      1 x "Anti Tank" - Lets take an Textron 6,5mm Carbine which wheighs around 4 kg with optics, which fire Polymer-Ammunition - which is 40 % lighter - and therefore Ammunition for 1 kg and a Spike SR which wheighs only 10 kg but has a range of 1500 m !

      1 x "Machine Gun" : We take a LWMMG in .338 Norma Magnum which wheighs only around 11 kg and 4 kg of ammunition for this Semi-SMG with an Range up to 1700 m. No Pistol, no Back-Up Weapon - only the MG.

      1 x "Machine Gun Ordnance" : lets take an Textron 6,5mm Carbine with 4 kg and then 1 kg of ammuniton for the carbine and further 10 kg of ammunition for the LWMMG

      2 x "Grenadier" : Textron Carbine 4kg, UBGL (AG-36) 1,5k, 4,5 kg Grenades, 5 kg of Ammunition for the Carbine

      1 x "Explosives Specialist" : Textron Carbine 4 kg, 1 kg of Ammunition, 10 kg of explosives, smoke grenades, wallbuster charges, pyrotechnics etc acts moreover as second in command

      1 x "Leader" : Textron Carbine 4 kg, 4 kg of Ammunition, 7 kg radio, batteries, sensors

      1 x "Scout/Sniper" - AX Rifle in .338 Norma Magnum (Range up to 1700 m) with optics etc around 7,5 kg, Ammunition for this rifle 1,5 kg, an Textron Carbine 6,5mm with 4 kg and Ammunition for that with 2 kg

      And we have a complete infantry group with a much stronger firepower, more round overall and still around only 20 kg per soldier.

    3. For the question of water:

      A folding bucket weighs near to nothing and water desinfection weighs only 100 gramms per 10 000 Liter ! And water is nearly everythere available in central and western europe and if every soldier of sad infantry group carries 100 gramms the group can disinfect up to 80 0000 Liters of Water for drinking without cooking it. That should be more than sufficient.

    4. You think so, but thoughts don't make it real.
      I've got my table, it adds up to about 25 kg and is already on an extremist ultralightweight side.

      And there's no reason to not use a helmet when it weighs as little as the lightest ballistic helmet does.
      Chlorine-based water disinfection is diarrhea-inducing crap. Satisfactory water filters can be had for less than 50 grams.

      BTW, you forgot to count clothes and pouches - those weigh more than 2 kg even with an extreme UL approach.

      As I wrote before - that stuff adds up relentlessly. One cannot stay below 20 kg with a satisfactory basic equipment and I'm not even talking about sleeping system or tarp here - just the fighting load.

    5. A couple of years ago a company here in austria sold disposable high-tech water filters you could srew on standard water canister and field bottles that were good for a couple thousand litres of water. Can't remember the name and couldn't find any information on the quick. But I tried the small one for 50€ that I could screw on the plastic water bottle the austrian army used and it worked really well. Tried it on all kind of hikes here in europe for 2-3 years before I got bored and I never had any issues whatsoever with water from puddles and rivers. If I remember correctly it was meant for third world countries and disaster releave in a lot of cases were contaminated water was the only available water source. I always thought this could be really useful for the military to save some weight in a lot of situations.

    6. Sawyer mini is a pretty good choice. No filter is perfect, though.

    7. Yep, don't doubt it. The one they made couldn't handle gasoline contamination and I thought this could be a huge issue in third world countries were it would be necessary to transport both water and gasoline by hand or at least in small containers. Cross-contamination could hardly be avoided.

    8. Just weightet my combat pants (with knee pads ! included and run into the pants) and my jacket with hood, both in pencott greenzone and together the weight 720 gramms (and i am a very tall person). Very lightweight, i feel them like nothing and the dry around 4 to 6 times faster than my BW Cotton uniform if they get wet. For comparison: the combat uniform in the list you linked weighs more than 1,4 kg, so my camo uniform is 50% lighter than the one in the list and such a solution is available to nearly every item mentioned there.

      The boots in the list have around 0,7 kg, i know Gore Tex Boots with under 300 gramms.
      And a battle belt with some suspenders and a few pouches does also not weigh so much, there are very lightweight ones etc etc

      The reason to not use an helmet is, that it only hinders you and even the lightest helmets weigh at least 1,2 kg (for example the ACH Gen II). This 1,2 kg and the problem of heat and water loss because you sweat and your head overheats are more a problem than a solution.

      To the question of water: it is absolutly no problem to carry some filters too, of cause, but the main point is especially: the lighter the clothes, the fewer body armour you were, the less you sweat and therefore you do not need as much water as an conventional western tm armies infantryman. Especially the clothes, the boots, the helmet and the body armour all trap heat and make you sweat tremendous amounts of water. And as there is water nearly everythere available in central and western europe (rifers, creeks, ground water, fountains and also the civilian infrastructure which should provide some water i do not see water as a problem as long as the equipment you wear on your body is as light as possible and as breathable as possible. Most times you could drink even in germany right out of the stream for longer periods without becoming sick. And against diarrhea you eat some coal powder and it will not become a problem. Moreover one can neutralize the chlorine in the water chemically and then it is not an problem anymore. I have drunk such water for weeks without any problems.

      I and for sure many other too would be very interested in your list. Perhaps i find several items which can be spared or which exist in a even lighter form. Moreover going ultralight is not primarly about ultralight equipment but about replacing equipment with skills and not use some equipment at all. Therefore for example no helmets and many other of the named items in the list.

      Of cause a helmet is a great advantage for some things, but to the opposite a great disadvantage in other areas. To go ultralight means to not use equipment, therefore one could win advantages from not using a helmet, not using any body armour, not using 2 radios but 1, and not using 2 pairs of gloves but 1 etc etc and in the rest to use equipment which weighs only half so much.

      But i am awaiting with suspense your post about this matter and especially your list in which i am very interested.

      I will also prepare a detailled exact list and will send it to you, with exact data not the mere gueses which i made until now.

    9. Check out the LJD Aire helmet. You need some headgear to mount night goggles and a hood or hat anyway, so the savings are down to maybe 600 grams without helmet.

      There are actually many places without ground water at useful depths in Central Europe, but there are usually spots at buildings that accumulate rain water. I suppose NE Europe should still be wet enough.

      On my preliminary list I have 2,338 g for all clothes (no spares) incl. balaclava, gloves and knee pads. I calculate with some clothes that would more likely than not be rejected in troops tests on grounds of durability. All underwear is no melt/no drip, or at least more than 50% non-synthetic (that's an issue for the arms where the shirt is synthetic and has no no-melt base layer).

      I estimate 1,200 g for a hypothetical load-bearing belt that includes all the pouches needed (and that's a lot since I despise chest rigs and don't consider backpacks to be part of a fighting load). It might be 1,000...1,500 g depending on features and design.

      One of the really big issues with researching lightweight clothing is that even when makers praise "lightweight" they do not offer the weight info, or rather tell about the area weight of the fabric instead of total weight. I'm not going to buy all that stuff to weigh it myself.

    10. 600 gramms are 600 gramms. And there are new ultralight night googles you can easily carry without a helmet.

      To the question of the clothes: the named in my list i weigh for myself (interestingly the weight differs from what the maker claims which you said here also). By load-bearing belt has 1350 gramm so also here your weight is realistic imo.

      IMO you do not need a balaclava and also knee pads are only a luxury. The clothes i included in the list have a relativly high durability, i have worn them under worst conditions and in dense bushes. The synthetic / melting issue is an important thing. The clothes of mine are 100 % synthetic and would melt in contact with flames. This is an disadvantage of cause in an military context and would lead to problematic wounds if you are burned. To the opposite this offers weight savings and also it drys very fast and this last point is of outmost importance. Clothes will get wet in central/eastern europe and there perhaps not be the possibiity to dry them out in dry rooms with a heater or near a fire (because of opsec no fire). Fast drying clothes are warmer and much better. They are also much better in very humid / tropic climate. I regard this lightweight / fast drying capacity as more important than the question if clothes are melting or not.

  4. Sven,
    I am curious as to what you think about the situation in the Horn of Africa. Do you have any particular thoughts about the fact that the world may have its first long-prophesied war over water?
    A Reader

    1. http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2017/07/somaliland-and-puntland.html

      Nothing new since on my part. I don't pay much attention to most of Africa.

  5. OK, you'll probably laugh, but what about delegating much of the firepower of the unit to small drones carried in a trailer towed by a quadbike or even in a rudiementary self-driving transport UGV. Rather than carrying a Carl Gustav or GPMG, the squad only take rifles and UGLs and instead use hand held devices to cue the explosive laden drones onto targets.

    1. It's not infantry but AFV terrain if that makes much sense.

      There's an in-between kind of terrain where infantry or scouts can do very well as defending forward observers with support by arty et cetera, but then it would only need to hide, not move much.

  6. Ok here a complete list of basic equipment including rifle, rounds and grenades:

    The original list linked here from last dingo:


    leads to a overall weight of 36,32 kg

    My list leads to a overall weight of only 18 kg, which was my target: to half the basic load !

    Here it is:

    Kleidung (bei einer Körpergröße von 199 cm)

    BE-X Softshell Jacke in Pencott Greenzone 300
    BE-X Softshell Hose/Knee Pads in Pencott Greenzone 420
    BE-X Reflective Poncho in Pencott Greenzone 450
    BE-X Poncho Liner in Pencott Greenzone 995
    Gtx Stiefel – Inov-8 Roclite 286 – Größe 48,5 700
    Handschuhe 230
    2 Paar Seidensocken 80
    2 Paar Quechua Unterhosen 120


    Relags Iso-Matte 195cmx49cmx0,9cm 146

    Schutz, Kommunikation und Sensorik

    Peltor Ohrschützer mit Funkanschluss 220
    Oakley M-Frame ballistic eyewear 110
    Nachtzielgerät 440
    Funkgerät mit Kabeln/Headset usw 1700

    Wirkmittel und Verbrauchsmittel

    Textron Carbine 6,5mm mit Polymermun 3900
    7 Magazine für je 30 Schuß 950
    210 Schuß mit Polymerhülsen 1516
    5 Extra Batterien 100
    1,5 Liter Isotonisches Sportgetränk 1500
    4 Handgranaten 2000


    Battle Belt, Suspender, Pouches 1350
    Gossamer Gear Murmur Rucksack – 36 Lt / max 9 kg 240
    PET-Flasche für 1,5 Liter 45


    Relags Erste Hilfe Set 98
    Wasserfestes Papier und Bleistifte 90
    Ohrstöpsel 6
    Leatherman MUT Multitool 317

    Gesamtgewicht 18023 gramm

    All named equipment would be available at the spot, and is even not the most ultralight one i know of. All of the clothes i used under heavy and difficult weather conditions in foreign countries with extreme enviroment.

    The poncho, the liner which can be worn alone as a kind of coat and the iso-mat over you a complete sleeping system in which you can sustain even nights down to 5 Degree Celsius without problem.

    Even Water and a Bottle i included in this list.

    Critics highly welcomed !

    1. Half of fighting load items is missing IMO, and some items aren't fighting load (sleep stuff).

  7. Specialised sleep stuff is only 146 gramms and moreover useful for fighting too because if you ly longer on the ground or you want to trench, an sleeping pad is immensly useful. Therefore such an sleeping pad (iso-matte) should be included in the fighting load.

    And the poncho / ponch liner were also dual used as camo, against colder/rainy weather and can also camouflage one against thermal vision (reflective poncho). The substitute a coat, thermal camo, and a tent, and also give you a complete sleeping system, all in one.

    And of cause many items are missing, but this is designedly. I canceled them because i am not regarding them as basic fighting equipment and/or even necessary. This load includes imo everything you realy need for even a longer period of time, including over 200 rounds and a high performance rifle and 4 high output grenades.

    What do you regard as absolutly necessary and a basic load that is missing here ?

    1. My idea of basic fighting load includes items needed by stragglers to find their way back to friendlies over several days, for example.

      You're missing
      map of general area
      basic NBC mask (more escape hood-like to save weight)
      small LED flashlight
      different bandages for normal and burn wounds
      IR beacon with battery
      mini lighter
      750 ml pot, UL knife, UL spork, toothbrush
      multitool should be a custom one with can opener and skeletonised frames
      camo paint (one colour, due to crossloading)
      caffeine pills
      energy bars (soldier fuel)
      Esbit UL burner, Esbit bars
      one instant smoke hand grenade
      some crossloaded stuff (prybar, mineclearing probe, entrenchment tool, wire saw)

      Your radio and hand grenades are way too heavy, old-fashioned types. One set of underwear suffices for fighting load, even socks. Your gloves are way too heavy - no kind of gloves is truly durable and you should know the pair you use is too heavy if there's a decent pair weighing less than half as much.
      Roclite 286 isn't in production any more
      hence I chose the 325 GTX model.