Packboards were unit items and not individual issue. In some cases they were used to carry the barely man-portable radios of the day for artillery forward observers. Combat medical platoons used them to carry supplies necessary to establish aid stations close to the front. Communications soldiers would carry and rapidly deploy spools of telephone line to link front line positions. Engineers would carry demolition supplies and pioneer tools to support their mission. But in WW II the packboards were most widely used by units habitually operating in mountainous terrain where motor transport couldn’t easily move.
See also my post from 2009: Praxis: Mission Loads -- Sustaining Light Infantry on "Shank's Mare." The Packboard, the ALICE Cargo Frame and the Universal Load Carrying Sling
The last war fought without on demand resupply was Korea. The lesson of Korea and WW2 is that full auto weapons and "hi cap" full and semiauto weapons demand ammunition resupply at such a high volume, that it is nearly impossible for an infantry unit to fight for more than three days without MASSIVE resupply. In WW1 the average ammunition combat expenditure was 200 rounds per man per day with five shot bolt action rifles, or ten thousand rounds per fifty man platoon. In WW2 with the advent of semi and full auto weapons in the hands of the infantry the basic "assault load" for a ww2 USMC landing force (platoon) was 250000 rounds! With the "human wave assaults" by the North Koreans and Chinese that figure doubled. In Vietnam it actually stayed unchanged, but only because of better training and "on demand" resupply. My point? YOU CANNOT RUN LOGISTICS FROM A BACK PACK FOR MORE THAN THREE DAYS. The Airborne tried it in WW2 and got their ass handed to them every time they tried to do more (ever hear of "a bridge too far"?) The "Marauders" tried to do it in Burma with miles long mule trains, and almost starved to death(and repeatedly ran out of ammunition which lead to repeated "bare minimum" airdrops ) in the LESS than 90 days they spent behind enemy lines. AND. Remember that the Japanese had almost no air support in 1944. This is another ridiculous militia fantasy that needs to be killed with fire.---Ray
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