U.S. troops in Afghanistan have discovered
that operating in the steep Afghan hills is, literally, a pain in the butt.
Often, the only way to come down a steep slope is to slide down it. Given the
abundance of rocks and gravel on those slopes, that sliding tends to tear up
trousers. You can see where this is going. So the U.S. Army has a crash program
to come up with heavier duty trousers for troops operating in those conditions.
The simples approach appears to be just adding some tougher fabric to the butt
and crotch area. It isn't just torn up trousers. Early on in Afghanistan, it
was discovered that the standard combat boots very quickly wore out because of
all those rocks, gravel and scrambling up and down hills.
Actually, the problem of uniforms and boots
wearing out quickly in combat is nothing new. It's gotten worse in the last
century, as infantry tactics rely more on troops crawling, sliding and
scrambling about under fire. Unlike training exercises, where no one is trying
to kill you, combat encourages troops to move with more determination and
vigor, and that is hell on the uniforms. Stuff that would last 6-12 months in
peacetime, is often in tatters after only a month or so in combat.