Sometimes to win a war or battle a nation must conduct amphibious operations and such, that require soldiers to enter water. Experiencing this, "X" nation decided to create a branch of marines/naval fusiliers in their army/navy.

However, they've run into an obstacle: water is incredibly harmful to military equipment and these soldiers are required to enter bodies of water all the time.

How could the military high command work around this? I fear the equipment that will need the most protection will be:

  1. Gunpowder & Muskets

  2. Bow/Crossbow strings (yes, for a number of reasons, mostly involving fantasy, they're still being used)

  3. Food

  4. Metal armor (same as n. 2)

Would there be any way with the available technology to protect this equipment from water or, if possible (but very unlikely), make it water proof?

P.S. Having the marines/naval fusiliers and their equipment not go into water is out of question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ On this Earth various powers have had marines since the 18th century, and they have always used boats. Why don't your marines use boats? $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 4 '18 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ The same way that Marines of the various maritime European powers did it in the 18th century. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Mar 4 '18 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP Read the P.S. my friend, circumstances demand they go into water more often than not. $\endgroup$ – Jedboo Mar 4 '18 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn Don't mean to be mean, but can you elaborate? $\endgroup$ – Jedboo Mar 4 '18 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ Aify's answer is perfectly adequate. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Mar 4 '18 at 20:52

Wrap your equipment in waterproofed cloth which existed in several forms during the 18th century or put it in a waterproofed bag, and seal the openings with wax.

Possible methods for waterproofing in the 18th century:

  • Oiled Silk
  • Waterproof Varnish
  • (For wood) Boiled oil and finely-powdered charcoal; mix to the consistence of paint, and give the wood two or three coats with this composition.
  • Indian Rubber Varnish
  • Oilskin
  • Cloth may be rendered waterproof by rubbing the under side with a lump of beeswax
  • isinglass, alum, soap, and water mixture used in a specific process

(All above methods are described in more detail in the link in this post)

It's easy to break the seal when you get out of the water, and retrieve the equipment they were lugging around. If the seal wasn't used or isn't breakable, it's easy to cut the bags - it's just cloth, after all.

The best solutions are often the easiest ones.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Nice! That's an excellent answer, specially because of it's simplicity and cheapness, I was afraid at first that the workaround to my question would be simply too complicated and expensive to mass produce and equip, thank God you proved me wrong. I should mark your answer as definitive right now, but the mods told me to wait 24 hours before doing so. Thanks a lot! $\endgroup$ – Jedboo Mar 4 '18 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ This also gives you a reason to keep crossbows - they are available for use even when in the water, while firearms and gunpowder have to be sealed. $\endgroup$ – Bald Bear Mar 4 '18 at 21:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Bald Bear I don't think so although modern bow strings are treated to make them waterproof, bow strings from earlier centuries were badly affected by moisture. The Genoese crossbow men at the battle of Crecy were said to have lost because their strings were wet but the English Longbowmen kept theirs dry until needed. $\endgroup$ – Sarriesfan Mar 5 '18 at 0:51

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