To give you an idea about the “light” infantry load, I’ll describe it from the perspective “Behind The Gun”.
The M-60 Machine Gun is historically & affectionately referred to as the “pig” in the infantry. It fires a 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge (.308 Winchester) at a rate of up to 650 rounds per minute, at ranges up to 1,100 meters, or “as far as the eye can see”. It’s over 43 inches long and weighs over 23lbs. Mine was also outfitted with an AN/PVS-4 night vision scope, adding over 4lbs including the mount. It was, without question, the most devastating weapon ever carried by a light infantryman for several generations.
The basic load for an M-60 gunner is typically 900-1200 rounds. The ammo weighs over 8lbs per 100 rounds. My “team” (me and Spaceboy) carried 1,200 rounds, or 96lbs of ammunition. Of the 1,200, I personally carried 1,000. My Assistant Gunner (AG), Spaceboy, was about 5’6″ and 155lbs when wet compared to my 6’4″ 225lb frame (which was more like 190lbs when I got home). I also carried the Baretta M9, which weighs over almost 3 lbs fully loaded. We each then carried 8 quarts of water (~17lbs).
According to the manual, the M-60 team ideally consists of 3 men; the gunner (Bravo Charles), the AG (Spaceboy) and an ammunition bearer (never had the luxury of one).
The assistant gunner also carried the M122 tripod (~16 lbs), a spare barrel (~7-8lbs) and an asbestos glove (to change barrels if needed). Approximately 25lbs total.
Before adding the weight of any other gear, including the rucksack which could also weigh a ton, just picking up my weapons, water and ammo, I carried at least 128 lbs of cheer. Without additional gear, Spaceboy carried the M16A2 with M203 grenade launcher (~11 lbs total), 200 rounds or 16 lbs of my ammo, and his AG gear, not counting grenades, Spaceboy carried about 68lbs.
Add in ~20lbs for protective vest, Kevlar helmet ~ 4 lbs and a standard 60 – 70lb rucksack, and on occasion, a 60mm mortar round (~8lbs), and I carried as much as 230lbs while Spaceboy carried as much as 170lbs of gear. At least it was proportionate. That’s……something.
Now fly somewhere in a black hawk and infiltrate to your objective all night. And yes, we did that exact thing more than once in Somalia. Read about it.
Light Infantry. Right. I get it.