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Wound Ballistics and Body Armor Paper Presentation


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This is the slide deck I used to present my capstone history paper at BGSU.

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Wound Ballistics and Body Armor Paper Presentation

  1. 1. Wound Ballistics and Variables of Body Armor Development Sam Spurlin HIST 480 4 December 2007
  2. 2. Thesis <ul><li>Wound ballistics is the scientific basis of body armor </li></ul><ul><li>However, it fell into a secondary role </li></ul><ul><li>Once the scientific basis was established (wound ballistics) and technology improved, other variables became more important to BA development </li></ul><ul><li>Those variables are, weight/comfort, cost/ease of production, and bureaucracy </li></ul>
  3. 3. Theodor Kocher (1872-1917) <ul><li>“ Father of wound ballistics” </li></ul><ul><li>Swiss-surgeon </li></ul><ul><li>Study gunshot wounds for better surgery </li></ul><ul><li>Full-metal jacketed bullet </li></ul>
  4. 4. Cavitation <ul><li>As tissue moves away from bullet path, a vacuum is formed </li></ul><ul><li>Explains the ‘explosive’ effect of modern wounds </li></ul><ul><li>Permanent vs. temporary cavity </li></ul>
  5. 5. WWII Casualty Surveys Distribution of wounds in 369 battle casualties, by anatomic location “ Perhaps most important of all the conclusions reached by this team concerned the feasibility of body armor…” ( Wound Ballistics, Medical Department of the United States Army, 1962: 723-24)
  6. 6. Wound Ballistics and Weapons <ul><li>Data from wound ballistics studies used to make more effective weapons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fragment size </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Optimal energy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cluster bombs, “daisy cutters”, landmines </li></ul>
  7. 7. Civil War <ul><li>Private acquisition </li></ul><ul><li>Atwater Armor Co. and G&D Cook and Co. </li></ul><ul><li>Weight </li></ul><ul><li>Ridicule </li></ul>
  8. 8. WWI <ul><li>M-1917 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modeled after British (MkI) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ballistic deficiencies, easy to mass produce </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Brewster Body Shield </li></ul><ul><ul><li>40 lbs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited use by snipers, machine gun crews etc. </li></ul></ul>“ Effort should be continued toward development of a satisfactory form of personal body armor.” -General Pershing (1917)
  9. 9. WWII <ul><li>Wisbrod Armored Vest and Armorette </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developed by British </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tested in 1941 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Passed ballistic testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Too heavy </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. WWII (cont.) <ul><li>Ground body armor program basically abandoned </li></ul><ul><li>1943 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Endorsement written to the Army Air Force by the Army Ordnance Dept. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Flak” jackets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>M1, M2, M3, M4, M6 </li></ul></ul>M6 “flak” jacket Brigandine circa 1400
  11. 11. Korean and Vietnam Wars <ul><li>M-12 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>12 lbs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greatly reduced wounding capacity of shrapnel </li></ul></ul><ul><li>M-1952 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>75% all fragments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>25% of small-arms fire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uncomfortable </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Personnel Armor System For Ground Troops (PASGT) & Interceptor Body Armor System <ul><li>PASGT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Early 80’s-2003 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kevlar instead of ballistic-nylon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could not stop most rifle rounds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interceptor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ceramic inserts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One use </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fragile </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political wrongdoing? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dragon Skin </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Conclusion <ul><li>Wound ballistics = basis of body armor + improved munitions makes body armor needed </li></ul><ul><li>Wound ballistics fell into the background because armor weight/comfort, cost/ease of production, and bureaucracy gained importance </li></ul>