INDIVIDUAL SOLDIER LOADS AND THE EFFECTS ON COMBAT PERFORMANCE
Sasala, Jeremiah M.
Blais, Curtis L.
Balogh Imre L.
Smith, Anthony D.
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The goal of this research is to determine how load affects the performance of individual Soldiers. In this context, performance means speed; speed is estimated (not predicted) through the use of a mathematical model. This model calculates speed given a number of factors, including body weight, load, terrain surface, and terrain steepness. The mathematical model produces realistic movement rates and further reveals several important relationships. First, when load increases, speed decreases. Second, as the terrain becomes more difficult to traverse, speed also decreases. Finally, loads can become so heavy that movement stops altogether. In other words, this model recognizes that there is a point at which any additional load is simply too much. As part of this research, the model’s usefulness is demonstrated using an A* search algorithm that determines the path of least resistance when considering human capabilities; this means that the quickest path can be identified, and not just the shortest. The model also provides a means to examine the trade-offs between added weight and added capabilities within combat simulations. Ultimately, this model demonstrates how load and terrain affect individual-level performance.
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