Visit Olive-Drab.com's sister site for
over 7,500 free military vehicle photos!
Body armor is nothing new in the military. Far back in history, shields or armored suits have been used to protect fragile human flesh from blows and penetration by weapons. With the development of firearms and explosives the threat became less from direct contact weapons and more from high speed, small projectiles and fragments, i.e. bullets or shrapnel.
Body armor development began with an active program in World War I, both by the U.S. and the British, as well as other countries on all sides of the conflict. The photo above shows the results of U.S. Army Ordnance Department tests of body armor at Fort de la Peigney, Langres, France in 1918. Heavy weight body armor was subjected to pistol, rifle and machine gun fire. The armor withstood the bullets, but was too heavy for practical field use.
Body Armor (Flak Jackets) in the U.S. Military
Body armor today is primarily in the form of flak jackets (also called flak vests) made of modern composite materials that are light weight but stronger and more effective than metals. Modern body armor development, like so many other technologies, came of age in the context of World War II. The first plastic materials, the use of multiple layers of fabrics instead of metal plates, and other innovations began at that time.
Details of the story of U.S. Military Body Armor and its evolution into the Flak Vests and Body Armor of today, are in these Olive-Drab.com pages:
Find More Information on the Internet
There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.
For good results, try entering this: body armor. Then click the Search button.