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Rheinmetall Defence has signed a contract with the German Federal Agency for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) for the delivery of the Gladius soldier system for Germany’s armed forces,” reports. “Which will be deployed in Afghanistan.” Quite why the BWB decided to name the world’s most advanced sharp end infantry information system after a dumb ass (if effective) Roman sword is beyond me. Something to do with Peter Graves’ line to little Johnny in Airplane? Anyway . . .

The Gladius is an advanced system designed to further expand the capabilities of the currently fielded IdZ system (Infanterist der Zukunft = “Infantryman of the Future”) with particular regard to networking, command and control and combat effectiveness.

I know, I know: WTF is it? A bunch of stuff, it seems. More military geek speak in three, two, one . . .

The system brings the ten-man infantry section and vehicle into the network-enabled operational loop, consisting of reconnaissance, command and control components and weapons; it will allow the exchange of information and sharing of situational awareness for conducting operations.

Equipped with a GPS and inertial navigation system (INS) and a magnetic compass, the system provides the individual soldiers with access to all relevant data about the tactical situation and position of friendly forces, as well as mission and system status in the battlefield.

It prevents detection in the visual and infrared spectrum, in addition to providing enhanced protection against biological and chemical agents, as well as from the weather even in extreme climates.

Imagine an enemy capable of sending false information to IdZ ground troops. (I dizzy too.) Now imagine they speak German. Just sayin’. is sold; not that they’re paying €130m for the kit (the equivalent of one half of one Greek bank). They like the Gladius get-up at least to the point where they’re happy to republish the manufacturer’s press release.

More than just the sum of its parts, the Gladius system puts Bundeswehr infantrymen on the global cutting edge, placing them ahead of their peers in terms of networking capabilities, command and control, and operational efficiency.

What about killing people? Does Gladius help with that too? Just curious.

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  1. The Roman Gladius was a tactical innovation of it’s day. It is considered why the Roman army was so effective.

    • And if you have had the pleasure of holding one you would really know why. A friend of mine (blacksmith) used to make these to ship to Europe for collectors. His best he kept and would show it off at times. So well balanced and literally the perfect size and weight for a soldier of the times (5’4″). Not to mention its axe-like thickness when it came to armor smashing…

  2. The Roman Gladius for hundreds of years helped an authoritarian empire conquer, oppress, and crush revolts slaughtering huge numbers of people foreign and domestic. Seems well named to me.

    There are missiles called Harpoon, Tomahawk, and Sidewinder.

      • You must then not have an issue with ReConquista. Never will I admire the actions of an imperial empire and especially not with what the Roman Empire did to my people. You wrote about “my bigoted fear of a blade?” You need to do some work on your rational and logical thought process.

        • the romans seemed nice enough to me. I am old enought to remember that time. lots of people were not to nice to each other back then .

        • “Obviously they didn’t do enough, because you’re still here whining.”

          Just as they are still whining about the holocaust, ignoring that pretty much everyone else got over the genocides which happened to their people.

        • I’m whining? You’re wrong again. I’m remembering and not ignoring lessons from history. Big difference.

        • its a amazing thing that somebody would have the audacity to rant about the atrocities of the roman imperium but would ignore the genocide of native americans.

          “Never forget!” yeah…never forget, as long as those people are jews and other favorites of the west. native americans, not so much.

      • Dex,

        I’m well aware of the massacres and genocides inflicted upon the Native Americans just as I am about so many other people. The post here kicked off with talk of the Galdius Sword which was Roman. No reason why I should have mentioned the NA in my comment. You don’t know how to use the word audacity. In my post I mentioned the sword was used to oppress an empire (many different people) and even domestic people (Romans). Learn to read and think.

        BTW, you forgot to mention the genocides inflicted upon the Rwandans, Armenians, Cambodians, Russians, Chinese, etc by their own governments in the 20th Century.

        • the subject was the gladius and rome, which you used to jump on your soapbox, which you did so “boldly” (one of the definitions of audacious dumbass) without regard to the subject at hand used to talk about atrocities committed by the imperium.

          were not talking about atrocities. were talking about the gladius. if you have the balls to whine about the atrocities committed by rome, then im sure you are aware of much larger atrocities committed (which are coincidentally always selected).

          hmmm, lets go back to a previous comment, native americans being ONE example, “Never forget!” yeah…never forget, as long as those people are jews and other favorites of the west. native americans, not so much.”

          obviously native americans, rwandans, armenians, cambodians, etc, etc are not favorites of the west. i think i covered that.

          nice try, next…

  3. ” I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We’re not holding anything. Let the Hun do that.”. Patton

  4. It is ironic that the Germans would call this the Gladius, since it was Germanic tribes with their own particular weapons and vigor that defeated the western Roman Empire.

    • Actually, it was only after the Romans had already experienced severe decline that the Germans were able to defeat them. In the first century BC, when the Romans were at the height of their power, the Romans wired out entire tribes that were trying to move into Italy, with armies that were an order of magnitude smaller.

      They did it with their gladii and pilii in hand against the much larger German weapons.

      • Yep. Gaul was basically a bad move (much like Hitler’s invasion of Russia). If the Roman did not feel on the decline and the need for a new war to expand their power and rule they would not have bitten off more than they can chew. There is no doubt that had Rome not been on the decline that Germans would be Roman today.

        There are many historical examples of Roman soldiers being grossly outnumbered and bringing the slaughter regardless. I forget her name but there was a lady who fought them with an army of 100,000 to the Romans 10,000. The opposing army even brought their kids and grandparents to the battle with concession stands and beer! The Romans had 10,000 troops, gladius, pili, and one scorpion (bolt thrower). The Romans killed the lady’s troop as they crash wave after wave after wave into the Roman’s Vanguard formation. When half the soldiers were dead the Romans started to push ahead so that the fresh arms in the back could get to slicing. The battle was so one-sided that the Romans even killed the children and grandparents as the larger British army fled. In a few words… it was not wise to F*C& with the Romans.

        • i think you are talking about Boudicea’s uprising in britain buuurr.

          If anybody gave rome a run for their money, it was carthage. the battle of cannae was history’s greatest example of tactical brilliance against a superior enemy force.

        • Boudica was her name… troop estimates for her range from 230,000 to 100,000… Briton deaths are pretty solid though… 80,000 dead to the Romans 400 dead… nasty…

        • the uprising was equivalent to a protest between a would be violent OWS and armed SWAT teams or the military. the Battle of Watling Street was a slaughter. The uprising wasn’t always so one sided; research the massacre of the Ninth Legion. Fascinating enough, Boudica’s uprising concerned emperor Nero, who had thoughts of abandoning Brittania. Such victories weren’t always one sided. Rome experienced devastating defeats at the hands of the Gauls, Germanic tribes, and the Cartheginians. Oh…look up the Battle of Drepana. Talk about a humilitating naval battle 🙂 (Oh how i love roman history…primarily because it coincides with america’s history)

      • i think you need to go back to school carlos. there is a reason why rome never conquored beyond the rhine. the cost that it would take to secure the whole of germany was too much…certainly, rome decided this after the loss of three legions there during the battle of teutoburg forest during 9 AD. tribes in germania held off the romans long before rome’s decline.

        • In that battle, the Romans were betrayed by one of their own generals (a German by birth) and led into an ambush on a narrow forest trail that prevented them from forming up to meet the enemy. Kind of like that scene in the Last of the Mohicans where they colonists surrender a fort to the French under a safe conduct, then get slaughtered by the Hurons.

        • Dex, there’s a big difference between “not worth the time, effort, and resources to conquer and hold” and “defeated by”. The former was the situation in the first century AD. The latter didn’t start happening until the fourth, and didn’t really get going until the fifth.

          The Roman empire had another 90 or so years of expansion left after the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, reaching its greatest extent under Trajan in the second century AD. It was after this that the decline slowly began to take effect.

        • I think reading comprehension is not a strong suit. let me repeat.

          After the massacre of three legions and subsequent other battles, the Romans determined it wasn’t conducive to risk the men to secure germania. If you really knew the behavior of the Roman empire, if they were never defeated, like you claim so, then they would have marched deeper into Germania. They didn’t because of previous defeats. fact.

          Rome continued to expand elsewhere, certainly not in Germania. there is a reason for this. I suppose Rome was “content with its conquests” LMAO!!!

      • it is settled science, the roman empire’s decline was due to global warming. there can be no discussion . don’t be a hateful “denier”.

    • Well what I’ve read explains that a a lot of the Germanic tribes were “Romanized” and given control of the borderlands. They were also trained in Roman warfare and formed Legions (Sorta like Puerto Rico or Samoa, if that makes sense).
      But what happened was that new tribes came down from the north and started messing with these assimilated tribes. These assimalated tribes asked for help and none was given. So they said “F this, lets conquer those effete ungrateful romans and take their land. They can go live on the border”.
      It was these assimilated tribes that sacked Rome. They were well versed in Roman tactics at that point and spoke in clear Latin. So it wasn’t a bunch of dudes covered in skins and blue paint that conquered Rome. But at that point, a fairly advanced and civilized Germanic culture who picked clean the decayed Western Roman Empire.

  5. Kinda scary to think that an entire infantry unit could be immobilized if not disabled by one good computer hacker, not to mention an electromagnetic pulse.

      • I believe Joseph was referring to an over-reliance on technology. Don’t take my word for it; ask the millions of people who can’t go a day without their smartphone.

    • More-full text, from the press release:
      The modular battle dress uniform, body armour and harness system provide excellent protection from detection in the visual and infrared spectrum… The system is integrated into an “electronic backbone” that contains the radio, core computer, batteries and GPS module.

      What it means is that in addition to the Borg-thing growing out of their helmets, it takes several other pieces to make it work, all of which hang off the soldier’s body. Those pieces are covered in camouflage and (I guess) thermally insulated, thus “protection from detection in the visual and infrared spectrum.”

  6. Ok this is weird, I worked on something similar for QuinetIQ about 5 years ago. The scope was moving in that direction and we actually had a small test deployment. Not sure what ever happened with it though.
    The Israeli’s have also been using technology like this for a while now but never put it together in a package. You don’t want to overwhelm the soldier on information but you need to get the right information to them in the field real time as well. It can be a daunting task to say the least.

  7. Wasn’t the U.S. Army working on something similar only to scrap it? The whole set-up looked like a Power Ranger costume. Does anyone remember the official name?

  8. Your going to bring up a piece of fiction about fighting on the moon to try to demonstrate how this is a bad idea? Really? On top of that, it is supposed to be a horribly inaccurate book, from a Amazon review:

    “Then you have the main hero running and diving on the moon and throwing Hand Grenades it’s like the author forgot where he was. Not to mention heavy armor firing in that enviroment…”


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