First aid kits seem to have been appearing on the blog with some regularity over the last few months, and tonight we have what I am reliably informed by a former British Army driver is the first aid kit fitted in heavy army trucks such as those made by MAN. This first aid kit is as simple as they come, consisting of a simple green woven nylon bag with a flap lid:The words ‘First Aid’ are printed on the front in white lettering along with a medical cross so there is no doubt as to the contents:The rear of the bag has four strips of Velcro, presumably to allow the bag to be fastened somewhere inside a lorry’s cab nice and securely until needed- the Velcro would allow it to be removed very quickly in an emergency:Interestingly this bag has also had some additional information written on it in black permanent marker, here stating ‘First Aid Kit, 10 Person, no5’:Quite what the significance of this writing is, unfortunately, remains a mystery. I do not have a packing list for this bag, but typical contents would include bandages, sterilised wipes, field dressing etc. As ever, if you know more about this first aid kit, please leave a comment below.
The British Army’s website gives some information on the level of casualty care provided during operations in Afghanistan, this basic first aid kit being the bottom rung of a well thought out ladder of care:
All soldiers are trained and equipped to provide First Aid, both for everyday situations and to look after each other on the battlefield. Teams of soldiers engaged in high-risk activities will have the support of one or more Army Medics, also known as Combat Medical Technicians. (CMT).
Soldiers also have access to a Regimental Medical Officer (RMO), who is able to provide the same level of medical attention as a General Practitioner. RMOs are trained in the management of trauma and their presence ensures the most seriously injured receive highly skilled medical attention at the earliest opportunity.
The medical training, equipment and facilities are among the best in the world. In addition, individual medical training not only gives extra confidence to the soldiers on patrol, but enables them to react quickly and correctly to situations, meaning they are better equipped to look after each other and save lives.
We have looked at the 1980s and 1990s waterproof equipment on the blog before, but technology has come on dramatically since then and light weight, breathable waterproof fabrics such as Gore-Tex are now available. Modern waterproof is a far cry from the older designs and most importantly- it no longer scrunches like a crisp packet every time you move!
The army was quite slow to recognise the importance of waterproof clothing, but one soldier explains why it’s so important in modern warfare:
The purpose of MVP kit is to keep you dry. It keeps you dry so that you can soldier better, harder and longer. You getting wet and miserable can eventually lead to a) you acting like a mong: b) hypothermia leading to c) you being ineffective – in fact, worse than ineffective because you can rapidly become a no duff casualty requiring casevac.
Odd though it may seem, there was still a need for waterproof clothing during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan- it still rains in these parts of the world! To that end waterproof clothing was made in desert DPM and it is a pair of these trousers we have tonight:These over trousers are made from a lightweight Gore-Tex fabric and are designed to be worn over other items of uniform, as witnessed by the simple design. The waist is secured with an adjustable piece of elastic:There is no fly or other adjustment. The cuffs of each trouser leg have elastic around them as well to seal over the wearer’s boots to prevent water from getting in so easily:As ever there is a label in the waist giving sizing and stores numbers:MVP stands for ‘Moisture Vapour Permeable’- meaning that you don’t get as wet from your own sweat as the water the trousers are repelling would have made you! The Gore-Tex fabric is made from nylon with billions of small pores in it- the pores let water vapour out but are too small to let droplets of water in. Ironically for a piece of desert camouflage, the only time I ever wore DDPM waterproof clothing was during basic training with the RNR on exercise on Dartmoor in the UK in October! As is often the case, the correct kit can be hard for stores men to come by and somehow he had acquired some second-hand DDPM waterproofs and for a small bunch of recruits who were only using them as loan clothing for a couple of days this was seen as being perfectly adequate.
We seem to have had quite a number of medical items on the blog recently, and tonight is no exception, with an MTP Medical Trauma Pouch: You might recall we looked at an earlier iteration of this pouch a few weeks back here. This pouch is clearly serving the same purpose, but is a more up to date design that has taken into account some of the shortcomings of the earlier design. One of the problems of the earlier design was that if it was opened whilst still attached to the belt, one of the smaller front pockets was upside down and potentially items could fall out when it was opened. To counter this problem, on the MTP version when opened out only the top half folds down, which then reveals the second smaller pocket with a top flap opening across the pocket so everything remains vertical for access: Two small side pockets have been added to the pouch to separate out items that are needed for easy access. Judging by the shape I would think these were used to hold the morphine syringes: As well as a change in colour from olive green to MTP (there is a DPM version in between that I don’t have yet), the fixings on the rear have changed to allow this pouch to be fully compatible with PLCE web gear: Beneath the top flap are two plastic ‘T’ bars for attaching to the belt: And on the top are the same fasteners you see on PLCE pouches allowing the yoke of the PLCE set to be attached: Note also the medical cross symbol on a printed label on the top flap. The top flap itself has a clear plastic liner that creates another small pocket to allow small items such as alcohol wipes to be easily stowed here: The lid is secured with a black plastic ‘Fastex’ buckle on the front: Interestingly nearly all of these pouches I have seen have an incorrect label sewn to the rear. Although this is an MTP pouch, the labels frequently describe them as DPM: This suggests that the manufacturer’s forgot to update the label printing when they updated the camouflage! The contents of this pouch would be similar to the example we looked at earlier. This is a suggested packing list from the contents card:
1 x Pouch, Medical, 3-compartment
1 x Suction Easy
1 x Resuscitation aid face shield
1 x Adult Triage Label Pack Individual 5 Triage labels 5 Dead
1 x Chest Seal Asherman single use
2 x Morphine auto injector 1 x Pencil, Skin marking
2 x Emergency Bandage Trauma
1 x Tourniquet System Self applied CATS
1 x Scissors bandage universal Tufcut
2 x Bandage triangular calico
4 x Gloves medical examination/procedure size medium
1 x Hemcon Bandage
As MTP (multi terrain pattern) uniforms start appearing on the surplus market more frequently, we will be taking a closer look at items of British Army uniform and equipment more often in the coming years and tonight we have a nice example of the MTP trousers used extensively by the British military:It is fair to say that MTP was not treated with universal acclaim when it was first introduced, with many saying that the old DPM and DDPM were better patterns depending on the area a soldier was deployed to. ARRSEpedia explains the thinking behind the pattern in their usual inimitable style:
Woodland DPM and Desert DPM work very well where they are designed to: in woods and deserts. However, most areas of operation are not just one thing or the other, and patrols and military operations traverse terrain that can vary from light sand to dark woods in a matter of minutes, particularly in Afghanistan, but also worldwide. Desert cam works well in the desert, but once in the Green Zone it works less and less well until you are a light coloured target against a dark green background wishing you could change into Woodland DPM. MTP might not be perfect in either the desert or the Green Zone, but it’s never that bad either: it is good cam for where you actually are, not perfect cam for where your kit hopes you might be.
Returning to the trousers, it is obvious that the design draws heavily on the CS95 pattern, with many of the same details of design and construction. Here the fly can be seen, secured with a zip and single button:Two large cargo pockets are sewn onto the front of the legs:A smaller patch pocket is sewn onto the seat:Note also the belt loops above. A slash pocket is fitted to each hip, with a mesh pocket liner and a separate zipped part:The cuff of each trouser leg is secured with a drawstring:The designers were also mindful of areas of particular wear, and the crotch is reinforced with a second layer of fabric:The sizing and store’s label is sewn into the back of the waistband:As is so often the case these days, the trousers are made in China rather than the UK!
Finally, just to scare those of you who have got used to not seeing my ugly mug in posts for a while, here is a picture of yours truly sporting a pair of the MTP trousers:
It has been quite some time since we looked at the current British Army GSR here. To accompany the respirator a new haversack was introduced in MTP fabric. This new haversack is in a distinctive ‘wedge’ shape and has a removable shoulder strap:The main flap is secured with press studs and Velcro:Three different press studs are provided to low a number of different positions for the top flap depending on how full the pack is:Two linked zips allow the size of the pack to be expanded to make ti easier to put in or take out the respirator. The rear of the pack has a pair of MOLLE straps allowing it to be connected to body armour or a belt:One user explained:
Point to note though, this haversack should not be attached to webbing. Although it has the capability to be attached, it’s not how it’s meant to be worn or used. Shoulder slung or belt worn and sat on top or outside the webbing, but never fitted on it.
The underside of the top flap is printed with ‘Field Pack’ and an NSN number:Two small pouches are attached to either side of the pack, these being removable:One side would be used for DKPs, the other for other extras needed for the respirator. The same user we heard from earlier explains how the pack is used:
Once the GSR is in, there is no space to store anything else and nothing else should be stored in there anyway. Everything you need can be carried in the side pockets with gloves kept behind the retaining straps under the lid, apart from the DP, cloth piece and combipens which sit inside on the inner pocket. No more room for clunky or spank mags!
There are only four poppers inside for the former, the remaining two are the ones you can see outside that have the webbing straps on them. The elastic strap isn’t so much for the former as you’d only use that if the poppers fail. It’s more a place to store things like sealed gloves, etc, behind the mask.
The side pouches can be removed and replaced with bigger pouches should you deem it necessary, although these aren’t supplied, merely if you happen to have a larger pouch. This is for when things go bad and we’re looking at spending long periods in 4R and need the decon supplies to hand to see us through. It will, with some fiddling, take a utility pouch on each side.
It’s possibly one of the best designed bits of kit I’ve come across in ages and we find that it works very well, is robust and can take a solid beating.
The addition of the former is sheer genius too. No more squished masks that have compromised seals! Although thinking about it, behind the former with the strap is probably where you could stash your clunky and porn mags now. That’d work quite well and they’d be hidden too. No going into 4R and your copy of Razzle flops to the ground
Yesterday we looked at the tier one ballistic underwear, previously we have covered the tier two ‘combat nappy’ in our survey of pelvic armour. Tonight we come to the final layer of armour available to troops, the tier three combat shorts:These shorts are designed to be worn in conjunction with the other two tiers, but are designed for use by those on patrol who need greater levels of protection- the lead man of a patrol or the metal detector operator sweeping for IEDs. Design trials of this armour took place in 2011 and they were then quickly distributed to troops in Afghanistan as an Urgent Operational Requirement. The shorts have separate soft armour fillers that fit inside special pockets around them, Unfortunately I do not have these filler plates, but this illustration shows their shape, as well as the little bag that can be used to store them in:The cover was issued in a sealed clear plastic bag:With a sticker giving stores details:As the shorts are designed to be worn over other clothing, the cut is generous, with a tie strap at the waist to fasten them:Reinforced knee pads are sewn into the cover:The groin region has a piece of mesh to encourage ventilation into an area that can easily overheat:A long pocket with soft armour runs down the outside of each leg:This opens with press studs to reveal a long zip to ease getting into and out of the shorts:The shorts and their armour inserts help to protect, amongst other things, some of the major arteries in the leg, such as the femoral artery. If this artery is severed a soldier can bleed to death very quickly, these shorts are designed to help minimise the risk. The garment was designed to be worn with the tier two armour so a large flexible gusset of plain green material is sewn into the front and back of the shorts over the groin:As with the tier two armour, a standard green label is sewn inside the tier three armour, with a note to ensure it is worn the correct way round:Due to its more specialist nature, fewer sets of shorts were produced than other elements of the pelvic armour system. They were used however, as can be seen in this photograph of a private:My thanks to Michael Fletcher for his help in adding this one to the collection.