When I was a kid, the only thing we had to play with was dirt, and we were lucky to get it…

Dirt is a natural part of an infantryman’s life. He is coated with it, spends a lot of time rolling around in it, gets it in his hair, all over his skin, in his nostrils and every other orifice. It is the bane of his existence. It is also his best friend.

Dirt does an amazing job of stopping bullets. I spent a fair percentage of my time in the field digging holes with just that property in mind. What your Grandpa called a foxhole, we now call a “fighting position”.

And if you can’t dig a hole, because, say, you are in a city, you can fill sandbags with it.

Sandbags are surprisingly good at stopping bullets. A single properly filled sandbag will stop a 7.62mm round from point-blank range. It takes an enormous number of sandbags to defend a position, however. If you have a fairly large area that needs protection, you can use a Hesco barrier. This is a modern take on sandbagging. Basically, it is a series of open bins that you can fill. It works pretty well, and you can use a front end loader to fill them, making it very quick to set up.

Trust me, it beats filling it by hand...
Trust me, it beats filling it by hand...

In addition to stopping bullets, sandbags and hescos stop RPG rounds, and shell fragments. They also will stop a carbomb by acting as a vehicle barrier, and deflecting most of the blast.

6 thoughts on “When I was a kid, the only thing we had to play with was dirt, and we were lucky to get it…”

  1. Actually come to think of it I wonder how you deal with the great rust stain problem. Here at least quite a bit of dirt is going to stain clothing a rust red. Trust me I know. While it’s not that big a deal green and rust red uniforms aren’t going to look very impressive and that stain is pretty much permanent.

  2. While soldiers must have 4 sets of ACUs, there’s nothing to keep them from having more. Typically, I had about 8 sets of BDUs, four for day to day wear around the base, and the other four (older, rattier looking ones) were for when we went into the field. I bought a new set every other month or so. As I got a new set, I discarded the oldest. Not too many people cared how neat and tidy a uniform looked in the field. Just as long as it wasn’t torn or unserviceable.

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