Flyers Protective Armor

Acting as a sentinel, a 'poilu' stands guard in a 'Lanciers' cuirass of overlapping steel plates. As protection for the head and face, his 'casque Adrian' is fitted with the third-pattern 'visière système Polack', designed by Médecin Aide-Major Polack.

which saw limited service towards the end of" the Great War. His other equipment is standard French issue, including the 'bidon modèle 1872' (canteen) at his side for 'pinard', the thin red wine essential to sustain the 'poilu', or, if he is lucky, the raw, fiery liquor—'gniole'.

A3: German 'Stosstrupp' with Infanterie-Panier; Western Front, igi8

Although it was rarely worn in the assault because of its weight, some German soldiers, particularly 'grenadiers', did attire themselves in 'Sap-penpanzer' during attacks and raids. This member of an élite 'Sturmkompanie' assault party has the later model which incorporated refinements such as the rifle rest on the right shoulder and equipment hooks 011 the breastplate. His helmet is the 1918 model issued in the closing months of the war.

Bi : USAAF B-ij 'Flying Fortress' waist gunner with Flyer's Armor; European Theatre of Operations, îgfâ Over his electrically heated flying outfit, this .¿ocal. Browning gunner is wearing a 'flak suit' comprising Flyer's Armor Vest M1 providing front and back protection; Flyer's Armor Apron M4 attached to the front of the Mi vest by three quick release fasteners; and Helmet M4 consisting of segments of Hadfield steel in overlapping cloth pockets.

B2: British sergeant, Glider Pilot Regiment with MRC Body Armour; Operation 'Market GardenArnhem, '944

Body armour was rarely worn by ground troops during the Second World War. Expected to fight as an infantryman once on the ground, this sergeant of the Glider Pilot Regt. displays the Medical Research Council Body Armour.

B'j: USAAF B-sg 'Superfortress' pilot with Flyer's

Armor; Pacific Theatre of Operations, igfô By 1945 'flak suits' were in widespread use by the US Army Air Forces. This bomber pilot is encased in Flyer's Armor Vest M2; Flyer's Groin Armor M5, with a skirt over each thigh and a centre-piece upon which he sits; and Helmet M5.

Riot Armor Face

With blood streaming down his face from a hcadwound caused by a bullet that penetrated his helmet, an Israeli soldier wearing an M69 vest tends a wounded companion during an Egyptian attack near the Suez Canal, 6 November 1969. The Israeli Army first procured body armour on a large scale during the War of Attrition, 1967 70. (IDF)

With blood streaming down his face from a hcadwound caused by a bullet that penetrated his helmet, an Israeli soldier wearing an M69 vest tends a wounded companion during an Egyptian attack near the Suez Canal, 6 November 1969. The Israeli Army first procured body armour on a large scale during the War of Attrition, 1967 70. (IDF)

Turkish Brigade gained a fearsome reputation in Korea. This soldier is kitted out entirely with US equipment including an Armor, Vest, Mi2.

C2: US Marine with Vest, Armored, M-rgji; Korea, '953

One of several significant tactical and technical innovations instituted by the US Marine Corps during the Korean War was the 'flak vest' in the form of the Vest, Armored, M-1951, as shown on this rifleman.

Cj: Caporal, French Colonial Artillery, with Armor, Vest,

M-ig$2; Indo-China, April/May ig$4 During the battle of Dien Bien Phu, several consignments of American flak jackets were parachuted into the beleaguered garrison to protect artillerymen and other personnel fighting in fixed positions. This Senegalese corporal of 4./II/4.*" RAC is serving a 105mm howitzer at strongpoint 'Claudine' in an Armor, Vest, M-1952, during the last days of the siege.

Cr: Turkish infantryman with Armor, Vest, Mi2; Korea, Di: US Marine with Vest, Armored, M-ig55; Vietnam,

'953

ig68

Made up for the most part of volunteers, the This Marine hurling a grenade is depicted in the

Armor Body 1952 1st Pattern

Israeli soldiers scan Syrian positions from a military post in the Beka'a Valley, October 1982. They are wearing the first-pattern Israeli-produced flak jacket made of Kevlar. Flak jackets were worn extensively by the Israeli Army during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, so much so that some military observers dubbed it the 'War of the Vest'. (IDF)

Israeli soldiers scan Syrian positions from a military post in the Beka'a Valley, October 1982. They are wearing the first-pattern Israeli-produced flak jacket made of Kevlar. Flak jackets were worn extensively by the Israeli Army during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, so much so that some military observers dubbed it the 'War of the Vest'. (IDF)

battle of Hue during the Tet offensive of 1968. His Vest, Armored, M-1955 is adorned with typical slogans—against regulations, which allowed only name and number to be inscribed on flak jackets and helmets.

D2: US tank commander with Body Armor. Fragmentation Protective, Vest with f Collar, M69; Vietnam, ig68 Over his jungle fatigues, this TC of 11 th Armored Cavalry Regt. is wearing an M69 flak vest surmounted by a Combat Vehicle Crewman's (CVC) helmet with integral communications; composed of plastic resin-coated ballistic nylon, it gives almost equivalent protection as the Mi helmet.

Dj: US infantryman with Variable Armor, Small Arms Fragmentation Protective, for Ground Troops; Vietnam,

The US 9th Div. fought a grim and gruelling campaign among the Rung Sat swamps and the Mekong Delta waterways. As a point man on patrol, this 'Old Reliable' is wearing Variable Body Armor; Mi helmet; and the experimental quick-drying 'Delta Boots' to offset dermatophytosis

(trench foot)—another example of special protective clothing devised for the combat soldier.

Fi: US Army aviator with Body Armor and Leg Armor,

Small Arms Protective, Aircrewman; Vietnam, igyo Laying down suppressive fire, a crewchief leans far out of his Huey helicopter, protected from enemy fire by ceramic body and composite-steel leg armour. The body armour was commonly called 'chicken plate' as a reflection on the wearer's courage. The inset view shows the front of the earlier 'T65-1 frontal torso armor', with a crude bullseye painted on it as an act of bravura; and the rear of the standard item embellished with typical graffito of the period.

F'j: US Navy PBR gunner with Body Armor,

Fragmentation Protective, Titanium I Nylon Composite;

Vietnam, ig6y

The flak jacket of this front gunner on a Patrol Boat River plying the Ca Mao is liberally decorated with bellicose comments: below the articulated shoulder pads is written SAT CONG—'Kill Communists'; LINE LOI is that classic statement of the Vietnam War 'Sorry About That'; and SIN LOI does not bear translation. The configuration of American footballers' protective clothing and helmets has had a significant influence on body armour design; conversely, a torso protector worn by some quarterbacks is commonly referred to as a 'flak jacket' because of their dangerous role on the gridiron football field.

Fi: British infantryman with Fragmentation Vest; Ulster.

1970s

The British Army has devised numerous items of body armour and protective devices to meet the exigencies of the internal security campaign in Northern Ireland. Attired for riot control, this soldier wears an M69 flak jacket with third-pattern protective cover; Anti-Riot Leg Protectors; and an Anti-Riot Topper (ART) helmet, known to troops as the 'Cromwell' after the name of the manufacturers—it was originally to be designated Fragmentation, Anti-Riot, Topper, but the acronym was deemed unseemly. He is further protected by a polycarbonate 'Makrolon' shield, and is armed with a Schermuly 38mm Anti-Riot Gun.

¡•2: British bomb disposal technician with EOD Mark 2

Suit; Ulster, ¡g8os Attached to 321 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 'The Bang Gang', this Ammunition Technician is partially protected against bomb blast and fragmentation by the EOD Mark 2 Suit and EOD Mark 3 Helmet. The suit incorporates rigid armour breast and pelvic plates with separate Kevlar jacket and trousers. Weighing 42lbs, it is worn for only short periods when the AT is actually inspecting a suspect device.

British infantryman with Fragmentation Vest;

Ulster, iy8os

Besides the standard DPM uniform, this soldier on foot patrol has a 'skeleton' webbing consisting of ammunition pouches, two water-bottles, and a poncho liner 'bum roll' with a damp towel wrapped inside to offset petrol and acid bomb attack. His M69 has the last pattern British cover incorporating a field dressing pouch on the right shoulder and pocket fasteners for a two-way radio-phone. In British service the M69 and M-1952 are designated simply 'Fragmentation Vest' or alternatively, 'Flak

Jacket'; troops are currently equipped with a discreet body armour worn under the combat smock.

Gi: SWAT team member with Second Chance Hardcorps j Body Armor; a US metropolitan police department. igSos

Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams are equipped to meet the most dire situations in the law enforcement field. Slightly heavier, but more robust, than ceramics, the laminated steel alloy plates of the Hardcorps 3 body armour arc capable of stopping 7.62 x 51 NATO AP rounds at 100 metres and all Soviet 7.62 x 39 'AK-47' rounds at point blank range: sufficient to defeat nearly all weapons in the hands of criminals or terrorists. This trooper is armed with a Mossberg 500-ATP-8SP pump-action shotgun; his German Shepherd 'K-9' companion is protected by an Armoured Dog Jacket which is resistant to .38 Special rounds.

USAF security police form a cordon at Ramstein Air Force Base as demonstrators protest against the deployment of Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles, August 1983. This view gives a good comparison between the M69 (centre) and the current US Armed Forces PASGT body armour. (USAF)

USAF security police form a cordon at Ramstein Air Force Base as demonstrators protest against the deployment of Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles, August 1983. This view gives a good comparison between the M69 (centre) and the current US Armed Forces PASGT body armour. (USAF)

M1955 Flak Vest Plates1983 Beirut Patrol
US Marines patrol 'Sandbag City', the Marine compound at Beirut Airport in the Lebanon, November 1983. They are wearing Body Armor, Fragmentation Protective Vest, Ground Troops (PASGT)—Personal Armor System for Ground Troops. (USMC)

G2: SAS Trooper with BCME Variable Armour; 'Pagoda' Troop, CRW Team, 22nd Special Air Service Regiment; Operation 'Nimrod', Iranian Embassy, 5 May 1980

The SAS are allowed a wide freedom of choice in their individual weapons and kit. Armed with a Heckler and Koch MP5A3 sub-machine gun with folding stock, nicknamed the 'Kockler', this trooper is equipped, from top to bottom, with a hood cut from an NBC 'Noddy' suit; S6 respirator; black-dyed combat smock and trousers, personally modified with sleeve pockets, knitted cuffs and elbow reinforcement; his boots are Bundeswehr parachutist's issue. He is protected by BCME Variable Armour that can be configured to meet a variety of threat levels; pockets have been added to the front flaps. Attached to his belt at the right hip and strapped to the thigh is a commercial spring-action holster for a 9mm Hi-Power Browning pistol with 20-round magazine. A strap on the right wrist holds a spare 9mm 20-round magazine, and one on the left thigh, a leather holder for two H&K curved magazines, with a further three magazines in a black leather pouch on the belt at the rear left hip. The respirator case at the rear right hip carries 'flash-bang' or stun grenades. The Type 1003 Aiming Projector mounted on the 'Kockler' is a high-intensity illuminating source that enables the firer to acquire, identify, dazzle and engage a target with the 'double-tap' in total darkness or smoky conditions.

Gj: Argentinian Marine with Point Blank NATO/SWAT Model 30 Body Armor; Falkland Islands, 1982

The Argentinian Marine Infantry battalions which served in the Falklands War included a high proportion of career soldiers, and were well-equipped for the campaign. This figure represents a Marine wearing an example of body armour now in the author's collection that once belonged to Sgt. Alfredo Vanzctti. Fitted with ceramic plates in the front and/or back pouches, it will defeat 7.62mm NATO AP rounds.

Hi : Israeli paratrooper with Rabintex Type III RA V 200

Protective Vest; Lebanon, 1982 Israeli-produced Kevlar flak jackets were extensively employed during Operation Peace for Galilee' in the Lebanon. Designed primarily for fragmentation protection, the Rabintex Type III is the standard-issue body armour in the IDF.

H2: US paratrooper with Body Armor, Fragmentation Protective Vest, Ground Troops (PASGT); Grenada, •983

Armed with an M203, a trooper of the 82nd Airborne Division near the Grenada Beach Hotel at Grand Anse during Operation 'Urgent Fury'. The Personal Armor System for Ground Troops PASGT) embraces both the flak jacket and the 'Fritz' helmet, which are covered with 'Woodland' camouflage material.

ff j: Soviet crew commander with Protective Vest;

Afghanistan, 1984 This Soviet BMP commander is depicted during Operation 'Goodbye Massoud' in the Panjshir Valley. His protective vest is composed of steel alloy plates and a synthetic ballistic fibre. Since the mujahideen use few mortars and little artillery, these flak jackets are worn principally by vehicle crewmen, expecially in BMPs, because of the spalling inside the crew compartments when hit by machine gun fire. He is armed with a 5.45mm AKR 'Krinkof', the sub-machine gun variant of the AK-74 family; and carries on a shoulder strap an ShM respirator with an improved filter canister to protect against 'Yellow Rain' (Tricothecene toxin) and other chemical weapons used by the Soviets in Afghanistan.

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