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I am actually so confused. Shouldn’t they just carry a gun and ammo and maybe some rations?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Alex, KorvinStarmast, Steve Bird, Kobunite, LangLangC Feb 27 '18 at 11:22

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Whose soldiers? In what circumstances? On which front? – KillingTime Feb 26 '18 at 20:30
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    If you got sent onto a battlefield to fight for months, would you just want a gun and a can of food? – Jake Feb 26 '18 at 20:57
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    You need, at the very least, a change of clothing, something to bivoac with -- i.e. (parts of) a tent, a sleeping bag, something to cook with (stove, cans), and rations -- gas protection, helmet, a spade, coat for cold weather / rain, water, ammo, your rifle, and a first aid kit. (Just raffling off what I remember lugging around on my time in the army.) That's not including any special equipment -- radio, mortar rounds, belt ammo for the MG, ... -- You might get lucky and get a truck you can toss all that kit on. If you aren't lucky, you've got to carry that and march 30km+ / day. – DevSolar Feb 26 '18 at 21:32
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    Soldiers today often carry more than 45kg so WW1 soldiers had it easy by comparison! – Semaphore Feb 26 '18 at 21:44
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    @DevSolar This could be an answer – Pere Feb 26 '18 at 22:16
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The weight (an average) soldier carries has increased from World War I. If you look at the respective article for the equipment of a World War I soldier, you can ask yourself which items you consider dispensable.

This article probably gives what an average British soldier carried in World War I:

Over the centuries, the equipment has looked like this (there is also World War I British equipment displayed):

Today's problems with overweight:

And what the Romans carried:

The solution for the modern problems seem to be along these lines:

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