In World War II a soldier didn’t have much to carry. In fact the total weight I’d guess would be less than 35 pounds. The equipment in that decade consisted of bare minimum. A soldier typically carried or worn a uniform, steel kevlar, weapon, canteen(s) with cup, bedroll, and a pack. When the soldier stepped onto the battlefield the total cost of his eqiupment was $170.
As the years continue we evolve, and as we evolve manufacturing prices inflate. In the 70s the price inflated from $170 to $1,100. Vietnam, the war at that time demanded improved eqiupment, and so the flak vest and M16a1 was developed for the needs of the soldiers. From Vietnam until the first involvement in the Middle East, the Army’s eqiupment hasn’t been upgraded signficantly. Changes have been made, but not as much from the 40s-70s. The inflation of manufacturing increased from $1,100 to $17,500 for the present day. For battlefield operations presently a soldier is outfitted with: advanced body armor, high-tech flak vests, improved kevlars, M-4 Carbine, NVGs/Thermal Sights, ballistic eye protection, digital print fire-retardant uniforms, tennis shoe styled boots, camel bak, kevlar gloves, and ear plugs. With all this eqiupment it’s difficult to have mobility with the weight of 75 pounds.
In the coming years (2015-?) Soldiers should expect many upgrades ranging from full body armor uniform, visor mounted kevlars with digital landscapes, weapons that shoot around objects (buildings), greatly improved communication ear pieces, and overall lighter packing. The Pentagon has already put a price tag on outfitting the soldiers of tomorrow to be from $30-60k (depending on versions).
The Army of tomorrow:
Just to brainstorm and day dream what civilization would be like in the next century. I believe we’d have full bodied armor that is perfectly balanced to our height and weight. Xray, Thermal, NVG screens. Force Fields for offensive and defensive stances. The possibilities are unlimited.
What do you think we’ll have in the next century whether Military or not? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment area!