A Simple Way to Lighten the Loadinds us that U.S. troops are overloaded with stuff they carry into battle. We nod our institutional heads and produce ever-heavier gear, calling it the cost of minimizing battlefield deaths. This discussion goes way back. I suspect that every generation of Marines has addressed the issue.
In Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, summer 1969, we learned a formula for calculating how much weight a Marine could hump: one-third of body weight or 50 pounds, whichever was lighter. During follow-on training at the Basic School, lieutenants were taught to estimate weight for helicopter rides based on the assumption that an average Marine plus gear weighs 225 pounds. I still do not understand how this works out, given people’s different body masses.
In Southeast Asia, Murphy’s Law pretty much assured that the smallest guy in the platoon humped the radio (and extra batteries and a 60-mm mortar round, unless it was the machine gun and 200 rounds of ammo). I led both rifle and weapons platoons in those days, so had ample opportunity to overload my Marines.