|1965 iteration. Ask me how I know. And still pretty damn |
functional 50+ years later. Read on.
Anybody who studies history, especially during or after military service, learns one immutable fact: there is nothing new under the sun.
The lists and layout of military gear from Caesar's legions to tomorrow have been, and will always be, remarkably similar, even as they differ in the particulars and details.
Don't take my word for it, the UK Telegraph did a remarkable piece covering British soldiers' kits from 1066 to 2016, spanning a paltry 950 years. They're similar because the basic unit of issue for all armies is one soldier, human type, bipedal. We all need the same things: water, food, shelter, clothing and armor for protection, and the tools to both survive afield and wage war on our perceived enemies. All that has changed across the span of millennia is the current technology available to us. And in some cases, it hasn't gotten all that far. There's no infantryman today who would be more poorly served by a Roman field spade from 40 B.C. than by a modern entrenching tool, and a canteen of water is still a canteen of water. And curiously, they have almost infallibly been right around 1 quart capacity in size.
But all that kit can be broken down into components, and summarized under the following categories.
0) Clothing: "So obvious it's before 'first-line' gear", i.e. underwear, shoes, boots, hat, and everthing in between, based on the climactic conditions where you are, and any needs for being anything from camouflaged to merely non-descript.
1) Survival load: "First-line gear", i.e. the stuff you should have on your person 24/7/365, even if your pants are around your ankles answering the call of nature.
2) Fighting load: "Second-line gear", i.e the things you need to move into battle and fight there.
3) Subsistence load: "Third-line gear", i.e. the things you carry on your back to feed, clothe, clean, and shelter yourself, and sleep in far from the creature comforts of normal civilization.
4) Administrative load: "Fourth-line gear", i.e. the things packed, on animals,vehicles, etc. that are nice to have, while not absolutely essential, or to extend the abilities of you beyond levels one through three.
5) Mission-specific load, the things you may need once, but not every day, nor all the time, in order do a given thing.
6) Everything else. Ranging from "this is cool" stuff to the "Gucci gear whore Hall Of Fame" to all the crap you own, and the place you keep it.
A cache (it's pronounced "cash" like "cash money", not "cashay", ever. People who say "cashay" are the same level of illiterate halfwit f**ktards as people who talk about "nucular weapons". You've been put on notice.) may (and should) contain gear from any of the above levels, so is not strictly assigned to any one of them.
What belongs in each of them, for you?
No, not these:
I mean, it depends on what you're doing, or envision having to do.
In short, you have to use your head, as well as your back, to select and carry the stuff required, because that changes, and will do so, all the time.
We'll cover First-line gear in a few days, when we get to Survival.
Second line gear can be summarized:
1) Primary weapon.
This may be a modern carbine or fighting rifle. It may be only your CCW piece. Depending on where you live, your CCW piece may be nothing more than OC spray, a bright flashlight, and a Swiss Army Knife/multitool. Think about it, and give due regard to where you may be and what you're doing; don't assume.
2) Carrying apparatus for everything else.
A sturdy belt and multiple pockets, all the way to a full MOLLE vest, etc.
It has to accommodate everything.
3) Water. And food.
The more the merrier. The lunch you're carrying (or, not) may be the only meal you get today.
4) First aid supplies.
May be just a TQ and an IBD. May even just be band aids, tape, a handkerchief, and some Tylenol/Motrin. Should always include any personal/Rx meds, like epi-pens, asthma inhalers, etc. (Duh!) That's for you to figure out. Just remember, in tough times, I'm probably only using what you brought, on you. So, how much are you worth, to yourself?
5) Resupply/logistics for #1, above.
Bullets, maybe. Cleaning kit, as appropriate. Maybe just another OC can, spare batteries for the bright blinding defense light, and a sharpener for your pocketknife/multitool. Work it out.
6) Any other handy weapons or tools you need all the time, at minimum.
If you want to get an idea of how much we're talking about, turn to page 74, i.e page 3-1, Table 3-2, of FM 21-18 Foot Marches April 2017, and note that for the average soldier in the Army right now, the notional typical fighting load is nearly 70 pounds, and even without the protective vest and SAPI plates, it runs over 56 pounds, before they even put on a pack.
(See if you can cleverly deduce thereby why this is not a game for the weak, the infirm, the elderly, nor women of any kind. But I digress.)
We're going to stop here. If we've just weeded you out, because you can't hack the next steps, you have two choices: either suck it up, PT harder, and get rid of the 50 pound midsection you're already carrying, so you can carry a fighting load;
start reading up on John Mosby's (see column right) lessons on the Auxiliary and the Underground, because that's where you've just been de-selected to for any form of productive service.
Cooks and radio operators are every bit as vital in tough times as trigger-pullers, probably more so, frankly, and there's no shame in undertaking those functions. You should still be the fittest gorram cook or radio operator ever seen, unless you're physically incapable, or else you're still a fat douchebag for not even trying.
And you might still follow along, because to do even those jobs, it will help greatly for you to understand the needs of those doing what you cannot. Without you, they won't be doing much either.