The Marines have Lower Physical Requirements for Women they’re Integrating into Combat

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 5th, 2014

Week in Review

Women serving in the military in Iraq were issued rape whistles.  To protect themselves from their fellow soldiers.  They needed the whistle to call for help.  As they could not depend on being strong enough to fight off a rapist.  Or a gang of rapists.  Which illustrates a point about men and women.  They’re different.  Men are bigger and stronger than women.  So women were given rape whistles to call for help when a bigger and stronger man tried to rape her.

Of course, that whistle won’t do much good in combat.  Which is where the left wants to put women in the military.  In roles that have been until now reserved solely for physically strong men.  Who can do 3 pullups.  Or more (see Marines delay female fitness plan after half fail by AP posted 1/2/2014 on USA Today).

Starting with the new year, all female Marines were supposed to be able to do at least three pullups on their annual physical fitness test and eight for a perfect score. The requirement was tested in 2013 on female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., but only 45 percent of women met the minimum, Krebs said.

The Marines had hoped to institute the pullups on the belief that pullups require the muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks such as scaling a wall, climbing up a rope or lifting and carrying heavy munitions.

Officials felt there wasn’t a medical risk to putting the new standard into effect as planned across the service, but that the risk of losing recruits and hurting retention of women already in the service was unacceptably high, she said.

Because the change is being put off, women will be able to choose which test of upper-body strength they will be graded on in their annual physical fitness test. Their choices:

• Pullups, with three the minimum. Three is also the minimum for male Marines, but they need 20 for a perfect rating.

• A flexed-arm hang. The minimum is for 15 seconds; women get a perfect score if they last for 70 seconds. Men don’t do the hang in their test…

Military brass has said repeatedly that physical standards won’t be lowered to accommodate female applicants. Success for women in training for the upcoming openings has come in fits and starts.

But you are.  If you have different requirements for men and women you have lowered the standards for women.  Which will not only put their fellow Marines at risk.  But it will put these women at a disadvantage with the enemy.  Because blowing your rape whistle won’t stop the enemy from beating you to death.

There are many roles women can serve in the armed forces.  Even in combat zones.  From pilots to sappers.  And they have.  So close to the combat that they’ve been getting killed and maimed serving their country just like men.  But putting them into infantry units will get a lot of them killed.  Imagine a wounded Marine outside a foxhole exposed to enemy fire.  Who can drag that Marine safely into the foxhole quicker?  The Marine who can’t do 3 pullups?  Or the Marine that can do 20 pullups?  If a man is in that foxhole he may be able to reach out and grab that wounded Marine with one hand.  And drag him quickly into the foxhole.  While if it’s a woman in that foxhole she may have to get out completely and expose herself to enemy fire as she uses both hands to slowly drag that wounded Marine to safety.  And likely getting shot in the process.

Soldiers need to be strong.  The stronger the better.  And the more likely he or she will kill the enemy before the enemy kills him or her.  There should not be different requirements for men and women.  There should be only one requirement.  For Marines.  If women want to fight in combat they should be as strong as men.  Or they shouldn’t be there.  Just like we don’t have women in the NFL.  Which isn’t as hard as being a soldier.

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Marine Survey raises Concerns about Allowing Women to Serve in Combat Zones

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

Men and women are different.  They notice that difference during school.  In the workplace.  In single bars.  And they will probably notice that difference in a combat zone.  Where normal actions between men and women anywhere else could have drastically different consequences in a combat zone (see Marine survey lists concerns on women in combat by JULIE WATSON, Associated Press, posted 2/1/2013 on Yahoo! News).

Male Marines listed being falsely accused of sexual harassment or assault as a top concern in a survey about moving women into combat jobs, and thousands indicated the change could prompt them to leave the service altogether…

Among the other top concerns listed by male Marines were possible fraternization and preferential treatment of some Marines.

Respondents also worried that women would be limited because of pregnancy or personal issues that could affect a unit before it’s sent to the battlefield…

Some, however, said the survey shows the need for sensitivity training and guidance from leadership so the change goes smoothly, as occurred when the military ended its policy that barred openly gay troops…

Just as the Marine Corps adjusted to the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” despite being the most resistant among the military branches, troops will likely fall in line again with this latest historical milestone, said Frakt, a visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Gay men and heterosexual women are different.  Heterosexual men may be attracted to the heterosexual women in their units.  They’re not going to be attracted to gay men.  And no relationship that can result in a pregnancy is going to result between heterosexual men and gay men.  So this is not the same as repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.

About 17 percent of male Marine respondents and 4 percent of female respondents who planned to stay in the service or were undecided said they would likely leave if women move into combat positions. That number jumped to 22 percent for male Marines and 17 percent for female Marines if women are assigned involuntarily to those jobs, according to the survey.

Interesting.  Some 17% of active duty female Marines would leave the Corps if assigned to a combat position against their will.  Like they assigned men to all of the time.   So not all women are on board with putting women into combat.

Both sexes mentioned intimate relationships between Marines and feeling obligated to protect female Marines among their top five concerns about the change.

Female Marines also said they worried about being targeted by enemies as POWs, the risk of sexual harassment or assault, and hygiene facilities, according to the survey, which did not give specifics.

One can guess.  Marines in a combat zone are in the field.  They sleep on the ground.  They don’t bathe.  And don’t use bathrooms.  The ground is their toilet. Where there are no toilet stalls with disposal bins for soiled feminine hygiene products.  Or dispensers for new ones.  So all of those things women do when they go off to powder their nose behind closed doors they will be doing in the field.  At a very short distance from their fellow Marines.  Many of whom will be men.

Over the past decade, many male service members already have been fighting alongside women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Women who serve in supply units, as clerks and with military police have ended up on the unmarked front lines of modern warfare.

Some active duty women have gotten pregnant.  So there is some fraternization going on.  Also, pilots, air crews, supply personnel and military police typically work out of bases.  Where they have segregated living quarters, toilets and showers.  Things you don’t have when deployed in the field.  So you can’t really say that women are already serving in combat zones as if they are already serving in the infantry.

Yes, women are serving heroically in combat zones.  Some have been wounded.  And some have died.  But they haven’t served in the infantry.  Where they live and fight like animals.  With no propriety about any bodily functions.  Where you may have to poop in your helmet while hunkered down next to someone in a foxhole.  Then risk getting your hands shot off while dumping your helmet outside of your foxhole.  Or you just crap in your foxhole.  For the filth and stench in your foxhole is a whole lot better than what is happening outside of your foxhole.  Unable to go someplace to powder her nose a woman would have to do this next to whoever is in her foxhole with her.  As well as attend to her other needs.  Such as her feminine hygiene needs.  No doubt a concern of some female Marines who were concerned about hygiene facilities.

In a combat zone there is strength in numbers.  And individuals cut off from the main body of troops are easy pickings for the enemy.  So while some ladies would like a modicum of privacy to powder their nose they do so at their own risk.  For the farther she wonders off the greater the chance the enemy will capture her.  Unless a detail of women go with her to provide protection.  Which could weaken the unit.  Or cause an unnecessary rescue mission should the enemy capture them all.  Especially when her fellow Marines worry about what the enemy may do to them.  Which could weaken the unit even more should the rescue mission fail.  Things that just wouldn’t happen if there were only men in combat zones.  Even if some of those men were gay.

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Smooth-Bore Musket, Napoleonic Tactics, Rifling, Minié Ball, Percussion Cap, Breech-Loading, Brass Cartridge, Machine Gun and Indirect Fire

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 14th, 2012

Technology 101

A Muzzle-Loading Smooth-Bore Musket had an Effective Range of about 50-70 Yards and was Slow to Reload

Why do quarterbacks spin the football when throwing a pass?  Because a good spiral will make the football act like a gyroscope.  Stabilizing the ball in the air.  Giving it better aerodynamic stability.  Allowing the quarterback to throw it farther.  Faster.  And more accurately.  In tight traffic.   Threading the needle between defenders.  And into the hands of his receiver.  The quarterback’s target.

But we didn’t confine spinning things to hit targets to only football.  We use it someplace else, too.  And have for quite awhile.  In rifles.  And guns.  Which had a profound impact on the battlefield.  Rifling dates back to the fifteenth century.  But it didn’t really enter the battlefield until the 19th century.  But before we started cutting grooves in rifle barrels to spin projectiles smooth-bore weapons ruled the battlefield.  And shaped the tactics of the day.  What we generally call Napoleonic tactics.  Mastered by Napoleon Bonaparte.  But used before him.  When we used large formations of soldiers on the battlefield.  That we moved in formation thanks to intense drilling and discipline.

A smooth-bore musket had an effective range of about 50-70 yards.  Or little longer than an NFL quarterback could throw a football.  They weren’t extremely accurate because the ball they fired was smaller than the barrel.  Which let the ball bounce off the walls of the barrels before exiting.  So they didn’t always fly perfectly straight.  Also, because the ball was smaller than the barrel there was blow-by of the expanding gasses that forced the ball out of the barrel.  Reducing the muzzle velocity of the weapon.  These muzzle-loading weapons were also slow to reload.  They required many steps to reload after firing.  Taking some 15 to seconds for a good infantryman to reload.  While standing up in the middle of the field of battle.  This short effective range and slow reloading time led to the Napoleonic tactics.  Maneuvering large formations of infantry into long lines.  Where they stood shoulder-to-shoulder to concentrate their fire.  They moved in formation to within effective range of the enemy and fired on command to hit the opposing line of soldiers with a large volley of fire.  When they reloaded opposing cavalry tried to charge their line to break up their formation before they could fire again.  If the infantry brought down effective fire on the opposing line of infantry they might break the enemy’s ranks.  If so, cavalry would charge to route them off the battlefield.  If not, the infantry would close ranks with the enemy after a few volleys and charge with fixed bayonets.  If a wall of approaching gleaming steel bayonets did not break the enemy’s ranks the lines came to gather and they engaged in hand to hand combat.

A Rifled Musket firing the Minié Ball increased the Effective Range of the Infantryman to about 300 Yards

Smooth-bore muskets gave way to rifled muskets.  Which helped with accuracy.  But didn’t make much difference on the battlefield.  Until Claude-Étienne Minié developed a new conical shaped bullet with a hollow base.  The Minié ball.  Made from soft lead it expanded when fired.  The expanding gases pressing the base of the Minié ball into the grooved barrel of a rifle.  Preventing the gas blow-by.  And imparting a spin on the bullet.  Greatly increasing the effective range of an infantryman’s rifle.  Approximately 4 times the range of the smooth-bore musket.  Which meant you could be 4 times as far away from the enemy and still be able to hit your target.  So instead of about a half of a football field you could hit an enemy reliably from 3 football fields away.  Also, they delivered these new bullets to the infantryman wrapped in a paper cartridge that also included gunpowder.  The soldier bit off the end of the cartridge, poured the premeasured amount of powder into the muzzle, followed by the Minié ball, rammed it home and placed a percussion cap (a small metal cap with a shock-sensitive explosive in it) on a hollow nipple above the packed powder.  When the infantryman pulled the trigger the hammer fell on the percussion cap.  This ignition source then spread through the nipple to the packed powder in the barrel.  Igniting the powder.  Expanding the soft lead of the base.  Pushing it and spinning it out of the barrel.  A soft, fat projectile.  That when it found its mark made big holes.  Tore through muscle.  And shattered bone.  Most wounds in the chest or abdomen were fatal.  Wounds in arm or a leg usually resulted with the amputation of that limb.

These were great advancements in weaponry.  Making the infantryman a much more powerful and lethal force on the battlefield.  If used in battle with the proper tactics.  Unfortunately, when armies first used the new Minié ball rifle they still used Napoleonic tactics.  Europeans in the Crimean War (1853 –1856).  And the Americans in the Civil War (1861–1865).  The first modern wars.  That killed hundreds of thousands of soldiers.  About 600,000 each.  And maimed more.  Because they still fought shoulder to shoulder.  Marching forward under a hail of long-range and accurate enemy fire.  Of soft, fat projectiles.  That just decimated their ranks.  Soon the Americans learned to build fortified defensive positions.  On the high ground.  And let the enemy attack them.  Because an offensive attack against a fortified defensive position proved suicidal.  As Union soldiers learned.  So before some of the later battles these soldiers invented something that became standard issue in following wars.  The dog tag.  So someone could identify them after they died in combat.  So their families could bury them at home.  These fortified defensive positions evolved into trenches.  Such as used during the Siege of Petersburg.  A siege because offensive attacks against infantry in a trench proved suicidal.  A lesson, sadly, that few learned.

By the end of the Civil War the tactics finally caught up to the technology.  Napoleonic tactics were out.  And modern war was in.  Infantry didn’t mass on the field of battle.  Resplendent in their uniform behind their colors.  Instead they were filthy and firing from behind cover.  And battles weren’t a Sunday afternoon in the park.  But lasted days.  Where soldiers often went hungry.  Endured constant shelling.   And kept their heads down for fear of snipers.  Also, it was now total war.  War against the soldiers in the field.  And the resources that kept them in the field.  Rail lines.  Telegraph lines.  Factories.  Ports and harbors.  Food supplies.  And even the morale of the enemy combatant’s citizens.  Because attacks against all of these made it difficult to continue to wage war.  Which ultimately shortened war.  But making war truly hell.  And most cruel.  But hopefully ending it quicker and saving lives in the long run.

The Brass Cartridge with Bullet and Percussion Cap allowed Breech-Loading and much higher Rates of Fire 

There are a lot of lessons to learn from the Crimean War.  And the American Civil War.  Which they quickly forgot by 1914.  With the outbreak of World War I.  Where combatants went off in the spirit of a Napoleonic war.  Resplendent in their colors.  Full of patriotic fervor.  But not for long.  For in this most modern of all wars to date they still foolishly massed infantry on the field of battle.  And attacked fortified defensive positions.  A war that still used horses for cavalry charges.  Despite massive advancements in technology.  Like breech-loading rifles that fired ammunition consisting of a bullet pressed into a brass cartridge full of gunpowder.  Also pressed into this cartridge was a percussion cap.  Making a self-contained round.  That they could press into a clip or a magazine.  Which could be loaded into a rifle while lying down behind cover.  Greatly increasing the rate of fire.  Without having to expose the rifleman to enemy fire.  These new cartridges could also be loaded into canvas belts.  And fed into a new weapon.  The machine gun.  A horrific killing machine in WWI.  Where a gun crew could maintain a rate of fire great enough to wipe out companies of infantry at a time.  Who were foolishly advancing over open ground against an entrenched defensive position.  As if the Crimean and American Civil War never happened.

Artillery was bigger and more accurate, too.  And unlike their Civil War ancestors, you didn’t have to see what you were firing at.  Artillery batteries could be miles from the battlefield.  Out of sight of the enemy.  Instead aiming at them with geometry and maps.  By calculating azimuth (left and right) and elevation angles (up and down) to adjust the gun for an accurate but indirect fire.  Forward observers used new electronic communication to adjust this indirect fire onto target.  Breech-loading and recoil dampening devices (also unlike their civil war ancestors where the recoil threw the cannon backwards) made these not only rapid firing but accurate.  Raining hell down on that advancing line of infantry advancing into a hail of machine gun fire.  Meaning that when the order was given to go over the top of their safe (but miserable) trenches to assault the enemy’s trenches many would die.  Giving the huge death toll of World War I.  Where some 10 million combatants died.

WWI is perhaps the greatest man-made disaster in history.  And not just for the horrific death toll.  But what that death toll did.  WWI changed the world.  Not just the lines on the map.  But the very nature of nations.  The size of governments.  And economics.  Not because of the advancing technology.  But for the misunderstanding, and misuse of, that technology.  Because for some fifty years their tactics played catch up to the technology of the day.  Which, sadly, is more of the rule than the exception.  Because it’s senior military personnel that make policy.  And these generals are still planning to fight the last war.  Instead of the next war.

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