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Posted: 4/18/2017 8:26:33 PM EST
I was doing some reading on Roman warriors and it went into their physical.conditining. They routinely had to march 19 miles in 5 hours or less with about 100 lbs or so of kit on their back.

Is this an extreme feat or is it doable by today's .mil training for combat arms guys?
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:27:05 PM EST
4 mph is decent but doable.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:28:43 PM EST
It would suck wearing sandals, that's for sure.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:30:28 PM EST
But could they stick their hands in their pockets?
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:30:40 PM EST
That's about the standard today, with many high speed types surpassing that.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:31:15 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Masterbagger:
But could they stick their hands in their pockets?
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their skirts didnt have pockets...
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:32:24 PM EST
Were they wearing their reflective belts?
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:32:40 PM EST
Yeah that's doable. EIB road march is 12 miles in 3 hours with about 60 pounds of gear. I know a couple people who did it in 2 1/4 hours. We did a 25 mile in about 7.5 hours once which sucked ass but with enough training it's not too hard.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:34:13 PM EST
It wouldnt be easy for the vast majority of combat arms.

And fighting when the march ended would be damn near impossible without some rest.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:34:52 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/18/2017 8:35:56 PM EST by EvanWilliams]
I'm not a soldier but dad was (Not Roman!!! ) He always asked, when questions like this came up from .civ people, "how much did you guys carry? how far? how fast? etc. "

Dad "road march or over uneven terrain? Weather? How much water do I have"

All the details mattered to him.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:36:23 PM EST
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:36:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/18/2017 8:40:15 PM EST by thomps33]
100 lbs with rough terrain would suck bad at 15 min per mile. Rucking along a road makes it quite a bit easier.

It's possible for those in shape, but it's not fun at all. I would say the majority of combat arms wouldn't be able to do it assuming it was off-road.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:38:33 PM EST
12 miles in 3 hrs is the standard. That's "walking".....not your normal walk, more like a "mall walker"

We used to do it in just a little over 2 hrs. We'd run then walk the run then walk, etc.


Airborne shuffle pace most of the way.


19 miles in 5 hrs is absolutely do-able.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:39:07 PM EST
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Originally Posted By EvanWilliams:
I'm not a soldier but dad was (Not Roman!!! ) He always asked, when questions like this came up from .civ people, "how much did you guys carry? how far? how fast? etc. "

Dad "road march or over uneven terrain? Weather? How much water do I have"

All the details mattered to him.
View Quote
I'm guessing that's a road March because Romans loved their roads.

The weight is pretty high especially considering the average Roman soldier wasn't that big of a guy.

I think the weight may be a sort of "max" and not their typical load.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:39:58 PM EST
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Fantastic book. Read it as a young LT. Might even still have it.




Made me a firm believer in the "pack light, freeze at night" mantra.


pack water and bullets....it's all you need.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:45:06 PM EST
Not sure now, long time ago. All Marine combat arms units had to do at least couple times a year a march 25 miles within 8 hours with weapon and full gear. We usually did 27-28 miles in 7 hours.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:45:12 PM EST
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Originally Posted By TooBigToFail:
It would suck wearing sandals, that's for sure.
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Roman caligae were supposedly pretty comfortable.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:46:40 PM EST
Romans kicked ass.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:48:48 PM EST
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Originally Posted By RANGER_556:


Fantastic book. Read it as a young LT. Might even still have it.




Made me a firm believer in the "pack light, freeze at night" mantra.


pack water and bullets....it's all you need.
View Quote
I have it here next to my books of knowledge from boot camp. read it as a teen.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:49:17 PM EST
Off/sorta on topic... I went through infantry reclass and the ruck 12mi in 3 hours was a go/no-go event on day 2. If you didn't make it you retested on day 6.

I did NO training to prepare for this and used my admin boots on top of it. I started getting hot spots about mile 2, and by the end I had blisters on both heels half and again bigger than half dollars, both big toes, and both little toes.. I made with about 15-20 mins to spare.

I made it but the rest of the course SUCKED! We had to do another 6 mile movement with about 85 -95 lbs of gear to our AA at the end of week 2.

Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:50:44 PM EST
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Originally Posted By TNgan:


Not sure now, long time ago. All Marine combat arms units had to do at least couple times a year a march 25 miles within 8 hours with weapon and full gear. We usually did 27-28 miles in 7 hours.
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'97-99 time frame 8th Comm BN did 4 humps a year. 2 were around 12, 2 at least 20. Full packs and rifles. About 4 mph pace. Thankfully tank trails were flat, with nary a hill in sight.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:51:10 PM EST
They would also train with swords and shields that were 3x heavier than the real ones. This way they would be faster when using them and not tire as easily
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 8:53:28 PM EST
Another big difference is that I'm pretty sure romans didn't have the hig speed rucks that we had. Waste belts really help distribute weight. 100 lbs in a 2000 year old design backpack would suck.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:07:16 PM EST
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Originally Posted By KD5TXX:
Another big difference is that I'm pretty sure romans didn't have the hig speed rucks that we had. Waste belts really help distribute weight. 100 lbs in a 2000 year old design backpack would suck.
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The firka wasn't a backpack, it was a pole with a bunch of their equipment packed on the end. Not too dissimilar from the bindle popular with hobos in the early 1900's. 
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:18:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/18/2017 9:25:04 PM EST by CharlieR]
For training, yes, you could do that.

Thats a little fast for pratical work, as you wanted to be in shape to fight if you got ambushed, and at the end of the day you may need to dig in, build fortifications, etc.

So PT is one thing; on campaign, 20 miles or so in 10 hours, plus fortifying, every day. Over and over again.

Here is a good source:

As the Roman Legionnaires could be expected
to march up to 32 kilometres per day and then
fortify their night camp, they needed to be physically
conditioned for such a task.33 To prepare the
Roman soldier to carry such loads and march long
distances, Flavius Vegetius, in his work Epitoma rei
militaris (Epitome of Military Science), recommended that recruits carry a load of
up to 60 Roman pounds (19.6 kilograms), route marching at the ‘military step’ of
32 kilometres for five hours (a pace of 6.4 kilometres per hour) or at the ‘full step’ of
39 kilometres in the same time (a pace of 7.7 kilometres per hour).34 This load did
not include the soldier’s clothing and weapons, and was designed to condition the
soldier to carry rations as well as arms during campaigns.35

http://103.11.78.168/~/media/Files/Our%20future/LWSC%20Publications/AAJ/2010Winter/07-TheHistoryOfTheSoldiers.pdf
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:30:06 PM EST
Those long ass marches are dumb, at the end of it, no unit could possibly be combat effective.

It does not improve your health and fitness, in any way. It does more harm than good. When you have Infantry and SF guys with backs and knees of a 60 or 70 year old man, when they're only 40 years old.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:33:59 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Miracle_Pants:

The firka wasn't a backpack, it was a pole with a bunch of their equipment packed on the end. Not too dissimilar from the bindle popular with hobos in the early 1900's. 
View Quote
Just googled that. That's 10 times worse than a 2000 year old backpack design. That would REALLY suck. You sure it was 100 lbs?
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:35:01 PM EST


Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:38:57 PM EST
The acronym MCCRES still triggers my tourettes.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:39:39 PM EST
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Originally Posted By KD5TXX:
Just googled that. That's 10 times worse than a 2000 year old backpack design. That would REALLY suck. You sure it was 100 lbs?
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Originally Posted By KD5TXX:
Originally Posted By Miracle_Pants:

The firka wasn't a backpack, it was a pole with a bunch of their equipment packed on the end. Not too dissimilar from the bindle popular with hobos in the early 1900's. 
Just googled that. That's 10 times worse than a 2000 year old backpack design. That would REALLY suck. You sure it was 100 lbs?
A significant portion was their armor and worn gear so it wasn't all on the end of a stick.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:41:03 PM EST
A marching pole?  Damn. 
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:41:07 PM EST
MCCRES was ~26 miles and I don't remember how long it took. We left at night and got back to main side at sunrise.

Those sucked but the pace was manageable. The workups for MCMWTC sucked much ass. Those were some of the hardest foot movements I have ever done.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:41:35 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Masterbagger:
But could they stick their hands in their pockets?
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Not possible. The Romans didn't have an Air Force
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:45:59 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/18/2017 9:46:19 PM EST by RustedAce]
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:51:21 PM EST
A roman mile was a thousand steps. That's where we got the word 'mile' from. I would want to double check the writers sources about how they did translations and conversions.

The one section comes to 20 U.S. miles per day with 43 pounds of gear plus armor and weapons. That's doable day after day.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 9:58:37 PM EST
Totally doable by modern infantry. I've done 12 miles in under 3 hours many times when I was in.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:00:05 PM EST
It's doable, but it's a different type of fitness.  I knew PT studs who would smoke me constantly on 2-5 mile runs but always fell behind on the longer ruck marches.  My best 2 mile time was a 13:10, but I could really "embrace the suck" when the shitty physical stuff came around.  Probably why my back mirrors that of a ww2 veteran .
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:09:31 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Bthorn:
It's doable, but it's a different type of fitness.  I knew PT studs who would smoke me constantly on 2-5 mile runs but always fell behind on the longer ruck marches.  My best 2 mile time was a 13:10, but I could really "embrace the suck" when the shitty physical stuff came around.  Probably why my back mirrors that of a ww2 veteran .
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I noticed the same thing. Saw a couple guys that were cheetahs on runs and didn't even look like they were phased after 6-8 miles but they struggled with roadmarch days.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:09:32 PM EST
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THIS. The Legionnaires didn't carry the crippling rucks and weapons load our soldiers (like my cousin had to in Afghanistan) carry, they marched with their weapons and a basic bivouac loadout. They had supply trains and camp followers.

The soldier's load in WWII was a lot closer to the Roman load than the shit we pile on infantry today.

The WWII Soldier's Load
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:09:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/18/2017 10:14:17 PM EST by ArmyInfantryVet]
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Originally Posted By MarkHatfield:
A roman mile was a thousand steps. That's where we got the word 'mile' from. I would want to double check the writers sources about how they did translations and conversions.

The one section comes to 20 U.S. miles per day with 43 pounds of gear plus armor and weapons. That's doable day after day.
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Good observation. Their measurements weren't the same as ours.

Also, I think today's foot soldiers are bigger, better and faster then they have EVER been. We have so much better understanding of exercise, food and fighting disease.

Not to mention, those crazy fuckers ATE lead, it was a popular "spice" in Roman culture.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:10:54 PM EST
Its doable for sure.  Not fun, but achievable.

Would straight suck cock carrying a pole though.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:14:23 PM EST
Originally Posted By HuskyHK:
I was doing some reading on Roman warriors and it went into their physical.conditining. They routinely had to march 19 miles in 5 hours or less with about 100 lbs or so of kit on their back.

Is this an extreme feat or is it doable by today's .mil training for combat arms guys?
View Quote


What were you reading that claimed 100lbs?

20 miles per Day with ~70lbs has been a standard since Roman times. Which is hardcore enough. No need to exaggerate anything.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:19:00 PM EST
You got to think about the times also. They walked everywhere. My father walked 6 miles to school school and 6 miles back. Not flat land but over a mountain as it was closer then around. It was normal for him. My 5 year old can't walk around the mall without complaining.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:24:46 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Bettendorf:
A marching pole?  Damn. 
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I wonder if that's as uncomfortable as it sounds? We're talking about an era where every leather or textile craftsman would be considered an artist by our standards. They had satchels and the like. There must've been some reason for them to choose the pole over a pack. The Romans prized efficiency, maybe there was something to there method that we dismiss so easily. Then again, it could be like native Americans never discovering a practical use for the wheel...
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:34:59 PM EST
The must have been itching to chuck those pilums at the enemy after carrying them for weeks on march.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:42:31 PM EST
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Originally Posted By BillythePoet:
I wonder if that's as uncomfortable as it sounds? We're talking about an era where every leather or textile craftsman would be considered an artist by our standards. They had satchels and the like. There must've been some reason for them to choose the pole over a pack. The Romans prized efficiency, maybe there was something to there method that we dismiss so easily. Then again, it could be like native Americans never discovering a practical use for the wheel...
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Originally Posted By BillythePoet:
Originally Posted By Bettendorf:
A marching pole?  Damn. 
I wonder if that's as uncomfortable as it sounds? We're talking about an era where every leather or textile craftsman would be considered an artist by our standards. They had satchels and the like. There must've been some reason for them to choose the pole over a pack. The Romans prized efficiency, maybe there was something to there method that we dismiss so easily. Then again, it could be like native Americans never discovering a practical use for the wheel...
Well, the shield acted as the backpack frame. Maybe the stick hooked onto it somehow. You can be sure the Romans didn't just fail to think of the backpack, in the same way that Stone Age cultures failed to invent the wheel.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:49:41 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Thunder_Stick:
You got to think about the times also. They walked everywhere. My father walked 6 miles to school school and 6 miles back. Not flat land but over a mountain as it was closer then around. It was normal for him. My 5 year old can't walk around the mall without complaining.
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In every measurable way modern soldiers physically dominate their predecessors. Todays PT test minimums aren't really far from the WWII era maximums. 42 mimum pushups today where as in WWII 54 was the max score and 27 the minimum.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 10:53:49 PM EST
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Originally Posted By RustedAce:


Minimum height for Legionaries was 5'5" so they weren't tiny.

(Minimum in US military for males is 5 foot.)
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Driving past a column of marching soldiers today I would swear they had a 10y/o girl in the formation.  Her head didn't reach the shoulder of the soldier next to her.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 11:01:45 PM EST
4mph with 100 pounds of gear, crappy load bearing equipment, and in sandals doesn't sound like it was a regular standard/realistic. Roman soldiers weren't as big as your average American soldier either nor did they have as healthy a diet. 100 pounds in gear would have been a very big deal.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 11:02:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/18/2017 11:03:08 PM EST by RenegadeJack]
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Originally Posted By Jame_Retief:
Driving past a column of marching soldiers today I would swear they had a 10y/o girl in the formation.  Her head didn't reach the shoulder of the soldier next to her.
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Originally Posted By Jame_Retief:
Originally Posted By RustedAce:


Minimum height for Legionaries was 5'5" so they weren't tiny.

(Minimum in US military for males is 5 foot.)
Driving past a column of marching soldiers today I would swear they had a 10y/o girl in the formation.  Her head didn't reach the shoulder of the soldier next to her.
One of the guys in my ITB class was a no shit dwarf, he must have barely made the height cut off and he had those disproportioned appendages characteristic of dwarfism.

So I guess he was a giant dwarf.
Link Posted: 4/18/2017 11:04:40 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Jame_Retief:

Driving past a column of marching soldiers today I would swear they had a 10y/o girl in the formation.  Her head didn't reach the shoulder of the soldier next to her.
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One of the most hardcore PT studs I ever met was a manlet.  My short ass old lady is taller than that dude.......but he carried all 225 pounds of my ass uphill at a dead run with zero hesitation.  I hated that bastard.  Fuckin' prick.  Still hate him......but that dude was a beast, and could pull much, much more than his own weight, turn the world into a blur, and make that shit happen. 

Yeah, you're still a prick......and I hate you.   But you have me respect, sir.
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