JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Earlier in blog I wrote a post ("Things They Took to War, 1915") about what the soldiers of the U.K. carried into battle. In many ways it was inspirational and heartbreaking to see what there soldiers marched off with to meet their fate. I've stumbled into another visual record like this, though this time for the U.S. just before our involvement in WWII, appearing in the July 1941 issue of Popular Mechanics.
I reckon that this soldier weighs 148 pounds. which means that his gear amounted to about a third of his body weight. I suspect that one of the first things these soldiers learned was what they actually needed to carry, and how to make whatever that was to be quiet and non-reflective. Of course this gear would change in about six months, and change again shortly after that.
- For example this private was using the M1917 helmet, which would within months be replaced by the steel M-1 helmet--over 22 million of these helmets would be made by September 1945.
- That's a lot of helmets. End-to-end in a line they'd stretch from NYC to L.A. and halfway back. On the other hand that number represents about 1/3 of the total war dead in WWII.
The outfitted solider of the British Army, 1915: