Wartime developments span whatever from the vehicles come weapons systems to camouflage — several of the most renowned are the Huey helicopter and the jeep. If those fighting vehicles showed highly advantageous during battle, an additional invention the was just as useful in saving the stays of armed forces members — and also that continues to do so — is the flak jacket. The flak jacket underwent number of transformations during its time, every adaptation a testament to time top top the field and also real-world experiences that shaped it into its contemporary iteration. 

Protective equipment had remained in use as early on as the civil War, yet the ax “flak jacket” wasn’t offered until people War II. The M1 Flak coat was combined onto the battlefield and also worn by the US military 8th wait Force. These early vests — an initial created because that the royal Air force by the Wilkinson sword Co. To protect airmen against fragmentation indigenous the anti-aircraft guns — sweet 17 pounds, 6 ounces. Their hefty weight come from 2-inch stole plates the were put inside the vest because that protection. 

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US army soldier wearing a flak jacket, Vietnam, 1971. Picture courtesy of Dwight Burdette/Wikimedia Commons.

A new design, the M69, come out during the Vietnam war that was comparable to the M1952A but with a 3/4-inch collar. It weighed 8.4 pounds and also included Velcro. The M69 to be worn by ground troops who battled in the humid jungles and needed lighter tools to protect them versus shrapnel. More heavier flak jackets v ceramic plates come protect versus .30-caliber bullets to be still issued to aviators and weighed as lot as 28.5 pounds. The brand-new M69 and also the M1952A, quiet in use throughout the Vietnam War, might be worn on top of the aviator vest to stop the ceramic plates from shattering. Ground troops affiliated in vehicle-led patrols and convoys were additionally given flak jackets with insertable ceramic plates. 

Flak jackets emerged throughout a time when extr protection was required to save up with an altering weapons an innovation and warfare. Now they have actually evolved also further and include the boosted Outer Tactical Vest provided by the Army.


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Worn by soldiers because 2006, this vest is compatible v a variety of components, such together the normal plates and neck protection, but likewise protection because that the reduced back, deltoid, and also groin areas. The IOTV additionally guards against pests such as mosquitoes and bedbugs.