So, it’s long been popular to bitch and moan about how much weight our soldiers carry. Okay. Fine. It sucks to carry all that weight, true. But it’s a lot easier to complain than it is to offer solutions. So, lest you think we are cynical grognards who do nothing but complain, let’s try to offer alternatives.
In that spirit, some rules that I’ll abide by when pondering the problem. Hopefully Fishbreath will also take up the challenge. And you, dear reader, can also feel free to write in with your own ideas.
1.) A loadout should be geared towards a standard area of operations.
This is mostly to avoid nonsense like having to worry about hot and cold weather gear. Since Borgundy is a European country (for some fictitious definition of Europe), I’ll keep this kit focused on a temperate climate loadout. I might also talk changes for winter/desert/jungle, but there it is. Remember, you can focus on one area at a time and leave some things home.
2.) Basic uniform and boot weight doesn’t count
This one is another simplifier. It’s also a huge pain to find uniform weights, and is one of the most likely things to change if you’re switching climates. Plus, it varies a lot, more even than armor. And when most people think “load” they don’t count the clothes on their back or the shoes on their feet. It is assumed your soldiers wear boots and a uniform. You needn’t account for it in the table.
Do note, however, that if you choose to issue protective gear integrated into your uniform (e.g. some combat uniforms have integrated elbow/kneepad pockets) that those protective items count. So if you picked Crye’s combat uniform, say, you would need to list the weight of the elbow- and kneepads, if you chose to issue them. Supplemental stuff (poncho, poncho liner, soft shell jacket, greatcoat, etc.) does count for the weight table. This also goes for extras like spare socks. Those count for weight too.
3.) You may stipulate the sort of infantry your loadout is for (e.g. Light infantry, Motorized infantry, Mechanized infantry, etc.)
Your loadout needn’t work for all situations. You can feel free to assume your soldiers in question have to march everywhere (light infantry), get some trucks to move them (motorized infantry), or get APCs/IFVs to move them about (mechanized infantry). If they have some kind of transport, you can feel free to note things that are carried in the vehicle. These don’t count toward your weight limit (duh), but also don’t count towards the things I’m requiring on the person, like food/water/body armor below (also duh).
4.) You must budget for minimum amounts of water (at least one quart) and food (at least one day’s worth) on the soldier’s person
This is mostly to make the motor/mech guys work a little. You might end up away from your vehicle, so you need to keep some minimums at hand. The above (especially for water) are particularly spartan minimums. But you need to have some food and water on your soldiers, even just a canteen and iron rations.
5.) You must provide a minimum standard of protection (some form of ballistic helmet, AND some form of body armor) on the soldier’s person.
Now I’m being mean. Yes, I know body armor is heavy. Get over it. You have the same political considerations as real military officers. Protect your boys in uniform. I’m not telling you what kind of body armor to wear, that’s up to you and your expected threat. A flak jacket with no plates is ok. A plate carrier with rifle plates and no supplemental soft armor is ok. But you gotta take something protective on the chest. And don’t forget that if you choose SAPI/ESAPI plates, they need soft armor backers to function as advertised. Yes, those count too. As does your plate/armor carrier. Similarly, your helmet must offer some amount of ballistic protection. PASGT is fine. A simple bump/climbing helmet isn’t.
You can always pack more, but some level of head/body protection should be standard and worn at all times.
6.) You must standardize on a weapons supplier, (i.e. choose NATO stuff, or Russian stuff, or Chinese stuff, but no mixing)
This one’s just another real world constraint. You likely have a friend you buy all your small arms from. So do so.
You can have plenty of fun making various specialist loadouts, but you should start with the basic rifleman. Have fun!