Women in the Front Line

Women do a fantastic job throughout the Army. On the operations the Army has undertaken over the past twenty years, women have been vital. There are things a woman can do – dealing with survivors of rape for example – where a man would be inappropriate. And they are in harm’s way while they have been doing their jobs; nearly every job in the military is open to women, and rightly so. An army should reflect the society it protects. But I don’t think women should be allowed  to serve in the infantry or Royal Armoured Corps.

This is certainly not a slur on the female soldiers’ courage, or desire to fight. But it is a simple fact that women are not as strong as men. The job of a combat infantryman involves carrying weight, fast, over rough ground. The loads are enormous, especially in these days of Osprey body-armour.

Despite the TV fantasy of 8-stone martial arts-trained women hurting fit 16-stone men, in a fight, a good big-un beats a good little-un. I am nearly 18 stone. I know of no woman who could lift me out of a fire-trench, let alone carry me, were I wounded, to a Company Aid Post. A woman in the platoon would always be the weakest link, because she would always be the weakest.

Women’s bodies do not respond to training in the same way as men’s. Women lay down muscle slower, and never get as strong. I went through basic training when “gender neutral” tests were in force. Less than 10% of the intake were women, yet they made up well over half of those back-squadded through injury. The vast majority of women strong enough, will not be fast enough over the ground when carrying kit. The vast majority of women fast enough over the ground will not be strong enough to carry the kit. There will be a tiny number, both fit and strong enough to keep up with the boys, but too few to make it worthwhile building the barracks and facilities to house them separately.

Do women’s rights trump those of the big boys to have comrades capable of lifting them when they catch a bullet for queen and country?

There is a reason adult women don’t play rugby with adult men. Combat is tougher than rugby.

7 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you Jackart for stating the obvious without being patronising to women. I think it's worth saying that many men are also hampered by lack of strength, and a few women might make the cut due to their unusual strength and size. It's not a straightforward male/female issue but common sense tells us that more men than women, are up to that particular job. How many women really want to be on the front line? Anyway, no soldier would want to be a liability. I assume that the army would place people according to their capabilities, thus avoiding six stone women, or eight stone men being put into a situation that they cannot deal with.

    Sometimes you make a lot of sense.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Common sense needs to come into play. If a few women can do it, everything that is required, then let them. No favours, no quotas, just an ability to do the job.

  3. bob
    bob says:

    Does it matter?

    Any war where this really matters is going to be nuclear.

    Otherwise we are talking minor skirmishes (falklands 2.0), or running about in some backwater bumhole where the whole 'war' will just be nothing but a political construct like the gan or iraq.

    Not getting into whether we should be there or not, practically speaking what difference would it make if our effectivness was reduced by 10% to accomodate some women.

    The men in the unit just need to be clear that if the women can't carry them, then they will just leave them to bleed to death if they are out in the feild, I would.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    *new anon*

    Jackart I think it's a bit daft to just assume that someone is with UKIP just because they said something negative about Cameron, Labour dislike Cameron just as much.

    That's not the first time that you have jumped to a conclusion about someone's political ideology.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Well said, sir. No amount of legislation and manipulation of the population’s psyche will undo over 5 million years of evolution. The male Homo sapien is the muscle that provides protection and sustenance, the female ensures reproduction and the more complex, subtle necessities involved in the care of the nest; it is a complementray arrangement. Why one should be considered superior to the other has always confounded me.

    Radical Rodent


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