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Why Not A Captain America Shield For Our Troops?

Soldiers Need Cap Shield

Soldiers Need Cap Shield

This Is In Reference To Our Troops In Real Life – Not The Comics

More than 7,000 coalition troops have died in the Middle East; 4,700 in Iraq and 2,600 in Afghanistan. Possibly tens of thousands of US soldiers have had amputees due to IEDs and from combat. As an ex Airborne Ranger, I’ve often wondered, WHY THE HELL aren’t our soldiers issued bullet/fragmentary resistant shields similar to what Captain America wears. Body armor is currently being used, but it does nothing to protect the arms and legs of soldiers exposed to enemy fire. Body armor also transfers a huge amount of force to the body and internal organs.

With standard issue Captain America shields, the term “Double Amputee” would still be used when talking about returning US casualties of war, but hopefully, the incident rate would be far, far less than what we see now.

Cover and Concealment

Cover: Cover is what a soldier hides behind when receiving fire. Bullets are fired at you, you need something in between you and the bullets, something that will stop them. A very thick wall, lots of cyder blocks, a hill, an armored personnel carrier, 50 camels. These things keeps you alive.

Concealment: Concealment is something that prevents a soldier from being seen. Think of all those Vietnam movies you’ve seen. Soldiers in the bush, hiding in the foliage are concealed from enemy eyes. If spotted, and if they have no cover to hide behind, they’re dead meat, depending on how fast they can run and how many rifles are pointed in their direction.

What’s A Shield Do?


Soldiers In The Open

A Captain America shield is portable cover. No matter if a soldier is an urban environment, a desert or even in a jungle, they are exposed when going from point A to point B. Every single time they move from one building to another they are essentially moving from through a “Danger Area” (Danger Area is any “open” area such as a field, river, top of a hill. Any area where the enemy can go, “So, Abdul, there I was dreaming about these virgins and…. HOLY JIHAD! Abdul, Look! There is an infidel out in the open in that goat field! Wake Jafar up and let us shoot these Great Satan dogs! …and don’t forget your sandals Abdul, like you did last time.”

Kneeling Position - Leftie

Kneeling Position - Leftie

Out in the open, in a Danger Area, a soldier is exposed. As he starts receiving enemy fire, he has nothing to hide behind. there is no cover to stop the bullets from hitting any part of his body. His only hope, depending on the size of the enemy with respect to his own unit, is getting in the prone position (decreasing the size of his silhouette), laying down a tremendous amount of suppressive fire (which can’t be sustained for too long), and then strategically getting the hell out of there to a better position (cover) so they can then return targeted fire from a safe position. They can also call for support, which god only knows when that would come. In this instance, the shield would help protect a soldier’s torso, arms and legs until he and his comrades got safely to a better place of permanent cover.

What’s Needed In A Shield?

The shield would need to meet certain conditions in order for it to function properly in the combat theater of operations. Off hand, some of the requirements are:

  • Capable of stopping an AK-47 round. Granted, armor can’t stand up to a hail of bullet fire, but it only takes one bullet to mess up a soldier’s day. If that shield can stop that one bullet, and a couple more, he’ll be able to get a new shield back at base, and have a great story to tell his buddies, wife and little daughter at home.
  • Portable without weighing a ton. A soldier can only carry so much crap before he starts bitching and moaning. .. well… he’s going to be bitching and moaning no matter what (I hear the MREs are only marginally better than they were when I was in) no matter what, especially in the heat, but logistically, he can only carry so much before his performance is hampered which is when his equipment becomes a liability. The shield shouldn’t weigh any more than 14 pounds max.

    On Guard.

  • Easily worn during performance. It has to function while he moves and engages in combat. Which means he needs to be able to lie in the prone, kneeling position, in urban environment (going through doorways) and is not cumbersome while firing his weapon.
  • Can be unencumbered as needed. At some point a soldier needs to do other stuff, remove a rucksack, put on a rucksack, apply a dressing to a wound, get to that hot piece of frag lodged in his rib cage, get behind the wheel of vehicle quickly, grab a pen to take a cute female MP’s phone number down. The shield needs to be rapidly deployed and discarded on an as-needed basis.
  • Camouflaged. Obviously, the shield wouldn’t look like Caps, except for ceremonial dress, and would have a camouflaged cover on it, based on the terrain and the operations involved.
  • Cost effective. What’s the price of a soldier’s life? If you consider that an M4 (M-16) costs somewhere around $500 and a Kevlar helmet around $300, an effective shield should be able to be issued at around $1,000. A while ago we had up to 200,000 troops in Iraq and 20,000 in Afghanistan. If 75% of them were combat assigned, that’s about 165,000 soldiers out in the field susceptible to enemy fire. The tax payer’s price tag would be $165,000,000. Even at $2,000 per shield (which could EASILY be gathered by doing nothing more than passing a hat) the total cost would be $330,00,000. Chump change! US tax payers would be getting a goddamn deal and more troops would be returning, walking off that plane to their wives and kids.

Don’t they deserve it?

Haji At 12:00. OPEN FIRE!

Haji At 12 O'Clock! OPEN FIRE!

- by Ronando

PS: Yes, the photoshopped pics are less than ideal, but since our main graphics guy left to go be a counselor at some summer camp, we’re left on our own to hack and slash our way through making pics. So, no flamers! :P


8 Responses to “Why Not A Captain America Shield For Our Troops?”

  1. If you are fitting 165,000 soldiers with a $1,000 shield the total amount is $165,000,000, not $1,650,000. However I think $165 million for that many soldiers should also be considered essentially chump change if it can significantly reduce the # of injuries or deaths.

  2. nathan says:

    i couldnt agree more with this i beleive this would help out a lotand it would b convienent to use and they could b painted all sorts of different colors to match the camo for the environment and they could b really useful also as a cqc weapon but i think this article should b sent to washington (with alittle better photoshopping skills lol )

  3. Ronando says:

    StillChumpChange – Oopsie. Thanks for the math correction. We corrected the post.

  4. Brendan says:

    the trouble is a 7.62mm round travels at 823 metres per sec and if stopped by the shield (not all will richochet off) it exerts around 360pounds per square inch so you’d be looking at a shattered arm and no way would you be still on your feet and obviuosly if auto is used and you multiple hits then you keep adding the them up. Even with glancing blows you are looking at anywhere up to130 ponds per square inch. So it just wouldn’t work (I asked a physacist the question). Although a 5.56mm round is smaller it actually travels faster so in the end exerts more pounds per square inch when it hits

  5. Ronando says:

    Brendan – A ricochet occurs more often with higher tensile targets, such as steel or concrete. Targets that have give, such as soil, are less likely to generate a ricochet. A shield is hanging on an arm, as a bullet hits the shield, there will be a certain amount of give with the shield itself, if it is designed to absorb the impact (say like with depressed plates) as well as the soldier’s arm itself. The further the arm is from the body, the more shock absorber effect will occur, dampening the force from the bullet, decreasing the amount of force that the arm absorbs, transferring it to the soldiers body armor and body. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricochet

  6. Brendan says:

    Ronando- the depressed plate would have to be able to absorb alot of the impact for the arm to be able to stay intact and also not come back at you with enough force to knock yourself out with the sheild…lol, but if it could do that then it would probably work ok, I’m just trying to work out what you could do so that you could still take up prone fire postiton with it on your arm, standing, sitting and kneeling seems to pose no problems that I can see, without being able to actually try it, and would actually provide some protection just because of the way the weapons is held. I wonder if it’s ever actually been investigated by someone somewhere?

  7. Steeeeeve says:

    They should also give them Thor-like hammers, instead of knives. Someone who is stabbed can still shoot at you, while someone who’s rib-cage you just destoryed cant get up

  8. Rikard says:

    steeeeeve: This isn’t Call of Duty, we don’t run around stabbing people, if you need to use your knife to take someone out you or your CO fucked up somewhere along the line.

    The shield sounds all well and nice but the problem is that unless you’re sitting on it and riding across the terrain it won’t reduce the number of amputees at all. The problem is still pressure-plate IEDs, not the crappy shooting of Pakistani mercernaries working for the local mullah.