Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fitness III. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:

"We were like slow moving turtles. My rucksack weighed 120 pounds. I would get up and rush for 10 yards, throw myself down and couldn't get up. I'd rest for 10 to 15 minutes, struggle to get up, go 10 yards, and collapse. After a few rushes, I was physically unable to move, and I am in great shape. Finally . . . I shucked my rucksack and was able to fight, but I was totally drained." - - an American Ranger - - Grenada.

"Not all...were physically capable of enduring the long marches with heavy loads which were constant features of the Falklands War. An interesting and quite surprising occurrence was the number of physical training cadre that fell out of the marches. In garrison these cadre ran company physical training. It was determined that some of these cadre were unable to complete the force marches with such heavy loads because they were not able to maintain a high-protein diet."

Here again from the web site and article entitled:

The English training cadre, those persons that during peace-time are responsible for maintaining the combat ready physical fitness of the British Parachute Regiment, were themselves not able to maintain the pace during the Falklands campaign?

And the reason given for this unexpected occurrence is the inability to maintain a high-protein diet?

NO! Other reasons are to blame.

* The cadre was unaccustomed to intense physical exertions WHILE WEARING GEAR AND CARRYING FIGHTING LOAD OR ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT!


* FEAR from the presence of danger on the battlefield engendered physical weakness among the cadre.

The involuntary flow of chemicals [adrenaline] in the body that occurs when one is subjected to a situation of great danger is good in the short term - - but is bad in the long term. The body can become weakened and unable to perform physical activity that is ordinarily routine.

[those American troops wading ashore at Omaha Beach, D-Day, took, in some instances, three hours to cover several hundred years of beach while carrying an eighty pound load. A distance they had trained to cover in less than a minute while NOT UNDER FIRE! Those men, sea-sick, sodden wet, scared, just collapsed where they stood and could not move forward - - from no fault of their own!!]

American troops currently trying to chase the Taliban in the mountains of Afghan, are well advised to shed as much load as possible and go "lean". Carry the minimum of fighting load and that is that.

When I see the photos from the latest U.S. Marine offensive in Afghan, the first and primary thought that enters my mind is: "how heavily loaded down are those troops!!"

I know this is easy for me to say - - but if the U.S. military intends to fight AND DEFEAT the Taliban, the stripped down soldier is only way to go. If the American fighting man has to be cold, hungry, be thirsty and carefully husband his ammo, that is the soldiery way!! I don't see anything else succeeding. I know - easy to say, but that is how I see it!

Everyone on active duty reading this post, if possible, please obtain and read the famous pamphlet by the General S.L.A. Marshall: "The Soldier's Load and the Mobility of a Nation (Paperback)"

And from a comment to the pamphlet by Marshall:

"Anyone who leads troops and has not read this book should be dismissed from the service, and anyone who does not reread it every two years should be put in charge of nothing more challenging than changing the marquee at the base theater. Unfortunately my own experience has led me to believe that it remains unread by many who consider themselves professional soldiers"


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