Army boots under fire

16 February 2003

According to the Daily Telegraph, more than half of the British soldiers due to go to Iraq are likely to buy their own boots and other equipment because the issued kit is not good enough. A Ministry of Defence survey showed that 55% of soldiers and 42% of officers needed to buy additional kit. Less than half of all soldiers polled expressed any confidence in army equipment. Highly critical reports followed a major exercise in Oman in September 2001 when the army had insufficient desert clothing and boots to issue to most of the troops. A report by the 4th Armoured Brigade, who are expected to go to Kuwait, was scathing about the MOD's claims that European boots would be fine in the desert. It said: 'The official line that troops deploying in the cooler months of the autumn did not require [desert boots] was disingenuous when temperatures were regularly over 45°C, boots were melting and foot rot was a major issue.' As many as 30,000 British troops could go to the Gulf.

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