British Army: 2300AD
The modern infantry soldier is immensely expensive to recruit, train and deploy into battle. Yet without modern weapons, armour, tactical systems and personal equipment even the best training is a waste of time. The British Army is built around its versatile infantry and is internationally regarded as being one of the best equipped.
Thanks to Peter Grining and David Gillon for feedback and suggestions. The L142 and L144 are by Jason Weiser and the FM P300 is by Peter Grining.
In modern warfare the majority of grenades are rifle launched varieties used primarily to obtain 'hard kills' at range against enemy infantry soldiers. However there is still a role for hand thrown grenades on the modern battlefield, which revolves around the more sophisticated fusing packages and larger warhead. The British Army still uses these weapons in some numbers, primarily for urban warfare and in trench or fortification clearing.
Grenade, Hand, HE Flechette APERS, L88A2
The L88 Hand Grenade is a digitally fused grenade consisting of 50% high explosive, with the remainder being the digital fusing system, proximity system and flechette jacket. The L88 was brought into replace the less versatile L57, which had no proximity mode. The L88 has three modes: contact, time and proximity. These are chosen through the simple interface on the top of the grenade, but for full access to the L88's versatility and functionality a TISS interface is required. The default mode hardwired into the fuse is the time delayed mode.
In contact/time mode, the weapon will go off upon landing or after a set time delay (set at 5 seconds from release, but alterable by a TISS interface to up to 24 hours or instant for booby traps). An activated L88 is set to detonate after 24 hours if not triggered to lessen the problem of fratricide and clearing of unexploded ordnance.
The proximity mode waits a pre-set time (generally a minute) after the 'pin' is pulled and then waits until a target approaches. The trigger setting is variable, but a man within 6m is usual. This mode is frequently used during retreats, a grenade on proximity is slung into the trench the soldiers are abandoning in order to kill the first enemy to enter it. It is also common in urban operations as a quickly set-up booby trap. The proximity mode also has an IFF receiver which will prevent detonation of the grenade should the correct code be transmitted to it. This function was added in the A2 modification to enable local counter-attacks into areas seeded with L88's.
The L88 has been in major use in the Kafer War, proving especially useful in covering the vulnerable flanks or small rearguard parties from Kafer infiltration. The booby trap function also gained rapid respect from Kafer troops, gifting soldiers with a few precious extra moments to complete a retreat.
Grenade, Hand, White Phosphorous, Smoke, L90A2
The L90 uses the same fusing system as the L88, and can perform similar tricks. However, the grenade is 75% filled with white phosphorous and a small bursting charge.
The L90 is a weapon that has become increasingly popular with troops on the French Arm. It combines the versatility of the L88 with the capacity to create instant smoke screens. Most importantly the effectiveness of White Phosphorus as an anti-Kafer weapon is prized by infantry soldiers. Most Kafers have proved capable of taking numerous flechette hits and continue functioning. Homer the persistent burning action of WP fragments reduces combat effectiveness dramatically and makes Kafer 'playing possum' much less likely.
Grenade, Hand, Smoke, Marker (Colour), L77
This is a more conventional hexachloride smoke grenade with coloured smoke, used for marking. Although not much used on the core worlds simple smoke grenades have proved useful on colony worlds without functional Satnav facilities.
Grenade, Rocket, Illumination, L66A2
This is a parachute flare launched from a hand held tube, it illuminates an area 200m x 200m for 90 seconds upon launch. On the modern battlefield where every soldier is equipped with sophisticated night vision optics these have relatively little tactical value. However they are still carried and used for a variety of purposes, such as for sending a pre-arranged visual signal.
Rifle grenades are one of the major infantry killing weapons on the battlefield. They are carried in much larger numbers than hand grenades. The basic mode is to detonate on contact and this is hardwired into the grenade.
When fired from a weapon integrated into TISS, the grenades can be fused to detonate after a set distance rather than on impact, bursting over enemy infantry. In this mode weapon can ranged and fired rapidly with a snap shot taking around a second to acquire. However for this to occur the weapon sight must be in active mode. A more modern types of grenade is the L98 which can also utilise enhanced Directed Detonation modes for more efficient airburst attacks. This allows the firer to chose the primary direction of detonation, either up, down, left or right of the grenade, concentrating the blast on a specific target. This is especially useful when engaging entrenched troops or in urban operations.
Grenade, 30mm, Launched, HE Flechette APERS, L88A3
As Explosion (EP = 2)
The DPV of the fragments is 1.2/0.4, with any remainder halved after penetrating armour.
Grenade, 30mm, Launched, HE Enhanced APERS, L87A3
As explosion (EP = 4)
Grenade, 30mm, Launched,
PP-HE Flechette APERS, L98A1
(EP = 2)
Contact Mode. Standard 60%/20% chance of being hit with 1D6 fragments in burst/twice burst radius.
Directed Detonation Mode. Director's call, but generally 80%/40% chance of 1D6 hits in direction of detonation in burst/twice burst radius. 30%/10% in other directions. 30mm grenade is set to burst 2 metres from target, the direction of detonation covers a 90 degrees arc. For example, a round is set to detonate in Down mode over a trench. It explodes 2 metres above the trench. Targets up to 2 metres either side are hit on a 1-8.
DPV is 1.2/0.4 (burst radius/twice burst radius) against armour. After armour penetration any remaining DPV is halved for damage to target. For example a target wearing a non-rigid vest, is hit in the torso by 1 fragments at a distance of 4 metres (within burst radius). 1.2 (DPV) - 0.8 (vest) = 0.4. This is halved to 0.2. Concussion in directed detonation modes is similar to a tamped explosion. Concussion is per normal into the arc programmed (same 90 degrees as fragmentation above), and halved in other arcs.
Grenade, 30mm, Launched, White Phosphorous, Smoke, L92A3
The breaching charge is a standard issue piece of equipment for urban operations. It somewhat resembles an old Claymore mine in appearance, having a square block of explosive surrounded by a rapid action adhesive. It is applied to a wall or window and then triggered by wire or timer blasting a small entry hole into the surface. It is usual for two to be detonated simultaneously in order to provide an adequate hole for heavily laden infantry to enter. Even more charges can be used if the wall is thicker than usual or the wall can be softened up by plasma fire.
The digging charge is a rapid aid to digging-in in an age where indirect and direct fire can arrive in an instant. The charge is a tandem warhead that when detonated fires a small charge 1m into the ground, this then detonates loosening the soil. The soldier then uses his ETH to rapidly scrape out the earth. Although not tidy, the digging charge is an important part of the soldier's equipment.
Rifle, Gauss, 4.5mm, L142A1
The L142 Enfield finally replaced the venerable General Service Rifle Mk.6 in British service in the early 2290's. Some critics believed it represented a move away from the high standards of marksmanship and the prevailing 'one shot, one kill' philosophy of the British Army. However the L142 has proved successful in service being handy and accurate. There were some initial problems with reliability and soldiers worried about the step down in calibre from the GSR.6, but these have been largely resolved.
The L142 is a bullpup weapon combining a 4.5mm gauss rifle with a 30mm grenade launcher. This combination of rifle with suppressive capability and rifle grenade for hard kills is standard in most militaries. However the British Infantry Weapons Corps' training package emphasises the dual role of the weapons systems, also utilising the grenades to drive enemy out for killing shots from the rifle. The L142 4.5mm rifle is a highly accurate weapon and includes gyro-stabilisation as standard, however soldiers are trained to fire accurately out to 400m without the gyro engaged. Only at longer ranges will it be used.
The weapon fires the standard ESA 4.5mm flechette and can use FAM90 magazines, although if it does performance is decreased due to different charge levels. The L142A3 is a specially modified version used by snipers and sharpshooters.
mm Gauss Rifle with 30mm GL
150m (500m indirect)
Other stats as per the grenade used.
Machine Gun, Gauss, 4.5mm, L144A1
The L144 is the heavier barrelled variant of the L142, designated a Light Support Weapon. It shares many of the characteristics of the L142 including combination 4.5mm/30mm weapon systems. The heavier barrel and light bipod give the weapon slightly increased range, accuracy and muzzle velocity and the ability to sustain fire for longer periods.
Whilst the L142 had a relatively easy introduction into service the L144 has had a more troubled time. The planned 200 round cassette proved unreliable forcing the weapon to use the standard 60 round magazines. More seriously the volume of fire generated by the weapon are deemed to be too low, and the 4.5mm too light a round for the fireteam suppressive fire task. Consequently the L144 is being replaced by the L95 machine gun in most front-line units. The weapon remains in some units as a marksman's rifle and in UKDF units in the LSW role.
mm Gauss Light Support Weapon with 30mm GL
150m (500m indirect)
Other stats as per the grenade used.
FM P300S High-Cap Suppressed
The ubiquitous FM P300, in its suppressed model, is utilised by British infantry in small numbers in a rather specialist role. They are held for use by troops conducting covert close reconnaissance for self defence purposes. The weapon is very easy to carry and it may allow a soldier to eliminate a suspicious sentry and escape. It is in no way thought of as a battlefield weapon.
Plasma Rifle, 8.9MW, L92A1
The Vickers Light Plasma Weapon is the standard plasma weapon used at the company level in the British Army. It follows the same design school as the German A6; a light, handy weapon used to attack point targets rather than a replacement for the assault rifle.
The LPW uses the same sighting system as the L142 and is equipped with a light bipod. The weapon ejects spent plasma cells to the right and can only be fired from the right shoulder as a result. The weapon has slowly been introduced from the early 90's and is popular with troops. However the relatively slow rate of fire causes some worries amongst troops, although the accuracy of the weapon at all ranges compensates for this.
Vickers-Rockwell Model 5 - L95 7.5mm Multi-Role Weapons System
The current service machine gun of the British Army, the L95 is immensely versatile and thanks to a range of barrels can be used in a variety of roles. The weapon is usually carried with one Short Barrel and one Long Barrel in each infantry sections although this is at the discretion of Platoon and Section Commanders. Actively cooled LBSF kits for the L95 are carried by the CQMS and are usually used in defensive positions and on vehicle mounts. The SBGL grenade launcher is available to callsigns of the Patrols Company within light role and close recce battalions but is other wise very hard to acquire by all except special forces.
The L95 and its heavy 7.5mm rounds are very popular in the fireteams as it is both accurate and gives an excellent level of suppressive fire. The weapon's versatility and reliability are also strong points in its favour.
Advanced Lightweight Powered Tripod
This device can be integrated into any of the above weapons and others although is usually reserved for the L95. It allows the user to fire the weapon via a radio link and also, if the soldiers own TISS is linked into the gun the mount can act as a sentry gun, automatically engaging targets in its arc without the correct IFF signature. The ALPT also acts as a conventional tripod increasing the range and accuracy of the weapon firing from it.
Sustained Fire Kit
The Sustained Fire (SF) kit is available for the L95 machine gun and expands the capability of the L95 in certain roles. The SF kit is usually attached to the L95 when it is mounted on an ALPT or vehicle mount. It comprises a Coolant Unit and a HL7 Sight Unit. The Coolant Unit is a small rectangular device which is attached to a L95's barrel unit by a flexible hose. It contains extra coolant and a reconditioning unit which prolongs the coolant life enabling high rates of fire for vastly extended periods of time. The HL7 is a supplementary sighting unit that can interface with the integral L95 computer and TISS. It is used to pre-register targets and fire tasks and enables long range indirect fire of greatly increased accuracy.
Green Hunter Anti-Vehicle Missile System
The Green Hunter started life as a private venture but was eventually adopted by the British Army and is their standard light anti-vehicle missile and is popular with other colonial militaries. The key to the system is the standard, pre-packed Green Hunter missile tube. This contains the missile and warhead electronics in a long life package which could be fired either from a vehicle launch system, firing post or from the shoulder.
To gain its maximum performance the weapon must be fired from a vehicle system or a firing post. When fired from the shoulder it must be interface to a TISS and can be fired only in 'automatic following gunner lock on' mode with a range of 800m.
The infantry are equipped with the Black Arrow Multiple/Remote Sight Unit firing post. If mounted on a vehicle the M/RSU can fire a single missile from its launch rail. However if dismounted it must be fired from its small integral tripod but can also have up to six Green Hunter tubes remoted into it by W50 cable. It can only fire one missile at a time in 'guided by gunner mode', but may volley fire all six in 'automatic following gunner lock on' mode either at single or multiple targets. The M/RSU also contains sophisticated sensors and is sometimes used for surveillance purposes alone.
Light Anti-tank Weapon 80mm L79A6
The LAW is a lightweight ILAW weapon that is obsolete for its originally intended anti-armour role. It can still engage light vehicles and fortifications and is available in large numbers from war stocks. It is available with HEAT, Thermobaric and Incendiary warheads. The LAW is a single shot disposable weapon.
Ordnance, Lightweight, 120mm L55A2
The L55A2 is the standard British mortar system found in the Mortar Platoon of most infantry battalions. In effect it is two separate weapon systems one capable of being fired from a vehicle mounting and one fired dismounted, but both use a common barrel. The weapon system can either be muzzle loaded with single rounds or fed from a three round magazine. Whilst muzzle loading may seem anachronistic it is often the only way to load over-sized smart rounds. The L10 Mounting is a one piece mounting which can be attached to a variety of vehicles or trailers, including the Hover Rover HLUV or a Quad trailer. The L8 Mounting and Baseplate are used when the mortar tube is dismounted from a vehicle, this requires three men to move mount, baseplate and tube packages.
The L55A2 has a dual sight system including conventional optical sights and the L40 electronic sight which is integrated into the Damocles artillery net system and provides automatic laying of the mortar and fusing of rounds in the barrel. Response times for a fire mission will be around 30 seconds from a vehicle mounting, whilst the L10 mounting will support firing on the move British doctrine is to fire from a stationary position to enhance accuracy before moving position. If dismounted it usually takes 5 minutes to set up the mortar, but once established response times are the same. However dismounted mortars must be dug in, or protected in another way as they are very vulnerable to counterbattery fire.
The L55A2 is capable of firing the full range of 120mm ordnance including HE, Smoke, FAE, Anti-Personnel, Smart Anti-Tank, Sensor and SCATMIN rounds. It is also provided with sub-calibre 80mm mortar shells in HE, Smoke and Anti-Personnel. These rounds can be fired in close support of infantry and brought in much closer to friendly positions than with the large 120mm rounds. They are also seen as handy when working with light role battalions as they are more easily manpacked by troops.
Bomb, Mortar, 120mm, HE Flechette APERS, L70
Bomb, Mortar, 120mm, White Phosphorous, Smoke, L71
Bomb, Mortar, 120mm, Smart Anti-Tank, L94
Effect: This carries 6 of the same skeets as used in the Fokker mine, and will target vehicles 200m from the "impact" area. This round must be hand loaded.
Bomb, Mortar, 120mm, Illumination, L59
Bomb, Mortar, 120mm, Sensor, L90
Effect: This round contains a variety of sensors including Thermal, Optical, Millimetre wave radar and ESM which feeds into the TISS or other sensor networks. The round is fired into the target area and deploys a parachute and floats to the ground. It is used to give commanders a literal look 'over the hill' and supplement drones and other sensors. Although expensive, the round can be re-conditioned and re-used if recovered. It must be hand loaded.
Bomb, Mortar, 80mm, HE Flechette APERS, L80A1
Bomb, Mortar, 80mm, White Phosphorous, Smoke, L72A1
Bomb, Mortar, 80mm, Illumination, L92A1
Ordnance, Plasma, 20MW, L97
The British Army was something of a late convert to the man-portable heavy plasma gun, preferring to rely on a combination of machine guns and missile systems for direct fire support. However the increase in performance of the most recent generation of plasma weapons has seen the introduction of the LPW in the rifle sections and the L97 with the Direct Fire Platoons of battalion support companies. The L97 is a version of the Quinn-Darlan M2A2 PGMP licence produced by Quantum Industries in the UK.
The weapon is normally utilised from an ALPT in combination with the HL7 sight unit. In British service this weapon is used to provide long range precision attack on point targets or light vehicles in support of infantry attacks. There are 12 of these weapons in each British infantry battalion but normally only 6 are deployed with the Direct Fire Platoon. It is standard procedure for the L97 to be paired with a HMG or L95 LBSF, however doctrine for the use of this weapon is still in development.
Type: 20 MW
Vickers-DunArmCo Mini-12 - L72A4 12mm Heavy Machine Gun
A Vickers produced, accurised version of the venerable Mini-12 machine gun, the L72A4 is the British Army's current Heavy Machine Gun. The weapon is used in the Direct Fire Platoons of the various light role infantry battalions, other types of unit tend to use the L95 in its LBSF mode. The L72A4 requires the use of the heavy L2 tripod as it is too heavy for the ALPT. The weapon is provided with a Sustained Fire sleeve for the barrel, Coolant Unit and HL7 sight unit as per the L95 SF kit.
A light role battalion usually holds 12 of these weapons, of which 6 are normally deployed with the DF Platoon. As mentioned above they are usually paired with the L97 Plasma Gun. The heavy 12mm rounds of the L72 provide a higher volume of suppressive fire that the L95 LBSF and can be effective against some light armoured vehicles. The main limitation of the weapon is its weight, which requires a three man crew to move when not vehicle mounted.
produced smart munition is the standard British anti-vehicle mine, combining
multi-mode attack and anti-personnel options. It was frequently used in
ambushes and for harassing mine-laying tasks. The only main draw back
of the weapon was its weight. The weapon consists of a circular body with
5 launch tubes with top attack skeets loaded, which when triggered fan
out 100m from the mine with a 100m search radius in a rosette pattern
(all targets within 200m of the mine are liable to attack).
The Lochaber is the standard defensive smart anti-personnel mine. It combines the same sort of detonator and fuse system as found in the L88 hand grenade except with a heavier warhead. The Lochaber is a cylindrical device which can be triggered in two main ways. It can be implanted with the front, which is clearly marked, towards the enemy as a simple directional mine. It can be set to 'bounce' up to around waist height and detonate towards the enemy in whichever direction they happen to be in.
Rules. 100%/50% chance of 2D6 hits in direction of detonation (90 degree arc) in burst/twice burst radius. 30%/10% in other directions.
Helmet, Ballistic, L90A1
The current British service helmet is designed to fit comfortably over the TISS headset and integrates into it through an interface in the top of the helmet's impact web which presses into a corresponding interface in the TISS headset. The helmet includes key elements of the TISS system such as thermal imaging optics and the ESM antennas and systems. There is a L90A2 model for use with support units that don't have TISS on issue, these have a pull-down HUD and in-built comms, however these are significantly heavier than the A1 model.
The L90 is a more lightweight helmet than some in service with other nations, for example the French Mle.2297 or American HTCH, and offers less protection. However is substantially less bulky and easier to manoeuvre in the confines of an armoured vehicle or tilt-rotor or whilst fighting in an urban environment. It is also lighter and easier to wear for longer periods. The L90 comes with an issued DPM cover with loops for vegetation and other camouflage.
Combat Body Armour
Combat Body Armour, or CBA, is the standard British combat protection. It is designed to be proof against a hit from a ESA 4.5mm flechette as well as most normal shrapnel outside the primary blast radius. CBA is worn over the CS 82 and is relatively comfortable although it doesn't offer the protection of rigid armour types in service elsewhere. CBA protects the torso and abdomen. It also has a plate insert on issue to front-line units that provides considerable extra protection to the front torso area.
CBA with Plate Insert
The current issue British Army 2282 Pattern Combat Suit (CS82) is one of the few DPM combat suits still in service, and is regarded as something of an anachronism by many outside of the British Army. As against modern sensors camouflage pattern material is relatively ineffective at aiding concealment and some armies, France especially, have adopted one colour combat suits. The CS82 is a two piece set of non-rigid armour which has numerous pockets on the legs, arms and body. CS82 is both waterproof and offers simple NBC protection, more advanced protection requires the NBC oversuit, whilst remaining breathable and lightweight. The suit also includes basic medical sensors to monitor the health of the soldier.
The TISS is a group of independent systems carried by the soldier that network together to integrate communications, sensors and navigation elements to enhance the soldier's ability to fight and survive on the modern battlefield. The British TISS is a modular system that is constantly being upgraded and revised in the light of experience and the introduction of new modules. The current standard is the TISS-4F, although older systems remain in service with low priority units.
As well as aiding the individual soldier the TISS can also provide an integrated data network with the individual soldier and weapon being used as sensors in the net. This function can be accessed by section and platoon leaders as well as commanders at higher levels. Similarly other sensors such as vehicle or drone mounted suites or remote sensors can feed into the network. However enemy ESM and jamming measures often mean these modes are restricted in their usefulness in high-intensity warfare.
The standard TISS set consists of:
The commanders and signaller have slightly different packages. The commanders package carried by section commanders as well as platoon commanders and sergeants has a Medium Range Radio in lieu of Short Range. Whilst the platoon signaller carries a Long Range Manpack Radio/EW unit.
An integral part of the weapon is its computer. When linked into TISS it adds targeting data to the HUD. The unit includes a millimetric radar for targeting and target painting. Each weapon system usually has its own particular model of computer but all in British service have standardised input/output formats. When working with foreign weapons it is usually necessary to load new software into the TISS to operate this effectively. Sometimes this software is not available, especially for enemy weapons, reducing the effectiveness of the weapon by not allowing TISS access to some of its functions. Using these systems adds + 2 to the chances of hitting a target.
Short Range Encrypted Radio
This is a frequency agile radio, with a range of 4km and a Low Intercept Probability mode. It is vulnerable to detection by EW out to 16km at full power. The radio changes its output automatically to reduce its power output whilst still reaching the intended recipient. If required the signal will be rebroadcast through neighbouring radios to maintain a low signature. The radio also has an integral datalink function, which when in operation increases the broadcast signature significantly and so is used sparingly.
Medium Range Encrypted Radio
This has a 20km range and is detectable out to 80km at full power. It has most of the features of the Short Range radio.
Long Range Encrypted Radio/ EW package
This is a 100km radio, and detectable out to 400km. In addition, the unit can be used to broadcast deceptive and barrage jamming on selected frequencies.
Electronic Support Measures
ESM provides an immediate warning if a laser or millimetric radar is swept over the wearer, giving him a chance to take immediate cover before the inevitable bullets arrive.
Electronic Warfare Package
Whilst not routinely carried individual, fireteam and section level EW packages can be carried and integrated into the TISS. These are normally counter-measure packages to counter electronically detonated booby traps in counter-insurgency warfare or localised communication jammers.
The IFF interrogator is mounted on a weapon, and links into the weapons own millimetric radar system. When a target is illuminated, it immediately interrogates the IFF unit of the target giving a 'don't shoot' indication (a red flashing dot) if friendly. This can be simply overridden by pressing the trigger. This system is most often used with weapons mounted on the ALPT.
This one use beacon broadcasts an emergency message when activated. It can last for 24 hours on its own power although it can take power from the TISS. This is used when the soldier needs emergency evacuation on exercise or on operation. Frequently the SARBE is popped when the soldier is seriously injured, enabling medical staff to locate him quickly.
The entire TISS system is controlled by a solid state, lightweight Black Arrow computer system. This type of computer is about comparable to a typical home computer of the era, but is much smaller. However this compatibility has allowed many soldiers to load unauthorised programmes onto their systems. (By using the TISS datalinks soldiers can play co-operative computer games, something which is frowned on by commanders but has proved impossible to halt in practise.)
Integrated into the TISS a navigation system to aid the movement of soldiers and control of the battle. The system involves a combined SATNAV and Inertial device that combines with map data packages to produce a moving map display viewable through the HUD or Datapad/Display. Navigation and positional data can be included in broadcasts (if allowed by EMCON) for target indication and recovery purposes as well as allowing commanders a better idea of the location of troops. Basic medical data, gathered from sensors within the CS82 is also fed in through this system when it broadcasts.
The input/output device is a flexible plastic mat called a datapad. This acts as both screen and keyboard. This is used to input plans and overlays into the TISS and to display maps.
The TISS, like other systems in UK service is powered by the Swordman series of batteries. The ones carried by the infantry are small and these can power the TISS for 36 hours each. These are available in the standard rechargeable versions or disposable higher capacity batteries that stretch for 48 hours. The latter are usually used only on operations.
(Standard TISS), 2.25kg (Commanders TISS), 3.5kg (Signallers)
Modular Assault Rig System
CIPES is the current standard load bearing system on issue to the British Army. It comes in three different varieties of 'webbing' and a standard Bergen. The Modular Assault Rig System is on issue to the infantry and other front-line troops, the Internal Security Rig System is issued for specific missions whilst the Modular Belt Rig System is provided to rear echelon troops. All these systems include interchangeable pouches and components and can be easily customised by the individual soldier.
The MARS is an all body vest system with numerous attachment points for pouches. The pouches are usually in two standard sizes, the ammunition pouch and the general purpose pouch, but other sizes can be purchased privately. It is usual for four ammo pouches to be worn on the front chest for the carriage of ammunition. Two GP pouches are normally attached to the back of the vest over the kidneys. An ammo pouch for a water bottle with the bayonet frog clipped to the side and a small first aid pouch are usually carried on a hip. A specially marked GP pouch carrying NBC respirator, detection and decontamination kit is also routinely carried.
In addition to the pouches the MARS also has a number of internal pockets for a variety of devices. Most of the main elements of the TISS are secreted in the MARS with the computer over the heart and datapad/display in the left map pocket. The back of the assault vest includes a 2 litre water reservoir contained within a kevlar pocket and linked to a drinking valve allowing the soldier to drink on the move.
The MARS usually comes in temperate DPM although other colours can be obtained through private companies or on issue if deployed to an appropriate region. The assault vest is worn over the CBA. It is SOP across the British Army for the MARS to carry enough food, water and equipment to enable the soldier to survive comfortably for 24 hours without outside support.
Bergen is the term the British Army has historically used for its large rucksacks. The modern Bergen is a lightweight 100 litre backpack, with internal waterproof linings which both keep equipment dry and enable it to be used as a floatation pack during river crossings. Also part of the Bergen is a 35 litre Daysack which is clipped onto the outside of the Bergen and can be rapidly removed when needed. In general terms the Bergen contains enough equipment and food for the soldier to survive for 72 hours without resupply. The Daysack is used to carry important equipment when the Bergens are not required.
Mk.9 Daily Combat Ration
The question of feeding troops on operations has one that has tasked logisticians for years. Getting freshly cooked food forward into the combat area is difficult at best and often suicidal. Troops require strongly packaged food that is high in calorific value while still remaining edible for long periods. Logistically it is best for these to be already cooked and treated to have a shelf life of an extreme duration, especially for expeditionary operations in the colonies.
The Mk.9 DCR is the current standard British combat ration. They are delivered with 10 DCRs in a single box and each DCR is individually packaged in flexible plastic which allows it to be quickly and easily stowed away in a Bergen, Daysack or pouch GP. The DCR includes four meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner and a desert contained in large self-heating sachets. It also has a range of powdered drinks including tea, coffee, hot chocolate and soups which are mixed with water and heated in the issue Mug General Purpose with its integral heating elements. A number of snacks, including the famous Ares Bar and Narvik Mint Bar, are also a part of the DCR. Although the food in the DCR has additives designed to reduce the individual soldier's need to go to the toilet an amount of toilet paper is included. To improve the taste of the meals there are also a number of flavouring sachets such as curry and Sterlingshire spicy sauce.
The DCR comes in no fewer than 15 different menus and other marks of DCR are on issue to other Commonwealth forces and can sometimes be issued to British forces. The Char and Herring Duck Hash breakfast in Wellon Army packs makes them especially sought after, but Alicia Defence Force DCRs are regarded almost with horror due to their poor taste and texture. The British soldier however always likes to trade rations with the French, as their ration packs include a small bottle of wine.
In general terms the practical sustainable load level for a soldier operating tactically is around 30% of body weight, whilst for non-tactical movement is 45%. Given the current average weight of the soldier is 80kg these figures translate as 24kg and 36kg. Although these figures are usually exceeded, commanders at all levels must take steps to ensure troops are not overloaded.
The British recognise two main Fighting Orders, or levels of equipment. Combat Order is all tactical equipment required to fight and survive for 24 hours without re-supply. Combat Order may be modified in contact with the enemy when equipment not immediately required can be cached. Marching Order includes Combat Order and additionally all equipment required for the soldier to survive for two weeks except for resupply of food, water and ammunition.
As per current doctrine laid down in PAM13 the light role soldier equipped with L142 Enfield will carry the following:
This obviously does not include such items as command kit, Green Hunter or LAWs and extra personal equipment. However it is already higher than the load figure recommended. The conflict between weight and equipment required to complete a task is a never-ending one. High standards of physical fitness are required to overcome this difficulty.
The usual distribution of the equipment on operations is as follows:
Right front ammo
pouch: 3 x 60 round 4.5mm magazines
1 x Lochaber mine
Marching order includes Combat Order and the addition of the Bergen, to which the Daysack is attached. Extra equipment carried includes: spare CS82 combat suit, sleeping system, spare underwear, more spare socks, Cold Weather Shirt, Towel, 2 x DCR and uniform and boot maintenance equipment. This adds at least an extra 10kg to the load.