I like the image of heavily armored troops fighting wars. I understand that body armor is very cumbersome, and does not totally protect from damage.
So what about shields?
Imagine we had access to a supermaterial, which is reasonably lightweight to be carried by a soldier, and protective enough to stop bullets (although of course no tank fire, explosions, armor piercing ammunition etc)
Would such a technology even be used?
I think (hope), that shields would change, how we think about modern military tactics. Moving from cover to cover would be much safer, so mobility might not be as important
- weapons are two-handed:
Similar to hoplite shields in ancient Greece, these shields could have a hole on one side to rest your weapon against. If the shield is rested on the ground, this might also stabilize the shot.
- why not use armor:
Armor is probably more costly because it is more intricate. Also, if your armor is hit, you still feel the hit, ribs get broken, etc. Your shield can give in a little and move back. This reduces damage. Also, unlike armor, which is "always-on", you can choose before the engagement, whether a shield is useful or not.
So what do you think, could shields ever become military equipment again, or are they not useful without formations (which make you vulnerable to explosions), and against enemies with access to bombs, snipers, jets, etc.
Would they become standard equipment, or would they only be used by certain troops in special environments (close-quarter fighting, little cover, etc)?