What is in a British Army tank crewman’s kit?

Harry Lye 7 October 2019 (Last Updated June 8th, 2020 11:25)

NATO has released a video unpacking the kit carried by the British Army King’s Royal Hussars, but what to do tankers carry on patrol?

What is in a British Army tank crewman’s kit?
British Army King’s Royal Hussars. Credits: MOD Crown Copyright.

Currently deployed on operation in Estonia, the British Army King’s Royal Hussars, an armoured regiment, are in the country as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup.

According to the British Army, the unit is designed to seek “seek out and destroy the enemy through shock action: the sudden and overwhelming application of violence”.

In a video released by NATO, Lance Corporal Ashfield walks through what the tankers carry when they aren’t inside their Challenger 2 main battle tanks or Scimitar armoured reconnaissance vehicles.

Starting with the firearms, the Hussars carry a British Army standard L22A2 carbine. The compact assault carbine is part of the SA80 family of weapons that have been the standard firearms platform of the UK’s Armed Forces since the 1980s. The carbine is mainly issued to vehicle crews, aircraft pilots and artillery crews due to its portability and size. The weapon provides tankers with enough firepower in out-of-vehicle operations. The weapon also uses the standard NATO cartridge, packing a bigger punch than comparable carbines or similar sized submachine guns.

Hussars also carry on patrol a medical pouch for any injuries sustained whilst on patrol. The video doesn’t go into details on what is carried in the pouch, but most British Army soldiers on patrol carry field dressings, tourniquets, morphine in case things get serious, and chest seals for bullet wounds. Other than that a typical kit will usually include plasters, bandages and painkillers.

Less high-tech but just as important bits of equipment carried by the Hussar include one-litre canteens for water and captured person kits. The kit, essentially a plastic bag of cable ties, allows the troops on patrol to neutralise potential threats without resorting to lethal means. Equally important is the rifle cleaning kit carried by personnel, allowing soldiers to maintain weapon condition in any conditions.

The Hussars also carry a handheld Garmin GPS unit for location services and planning movements whilst on patrol. This is fixed in a pouch attached to the soldiers’ Virtus body armour. The Virtus armour replaced the Osprey armour previously used by the army and comes with accompanying Virtus helmet. The system is designed to be lighter than previous armour plating whilst providing personnel with the same level of protection.

Overall the patrol kit of a King’s Royal Hussar is much lighter than that of infantry personnel due to their usually mechanised deployment. In total, the Hussar’s kit includes 11 main items with a total weight of 12kg.