Simon_Jester wrote:The main problem I remember hearing about Dragonskin was poor temperature tolerance compared to Interceptor. Was there anything else?
Yes, oh god yes. The person who designed the armor, then left the company, doesn't endorse it and after his non compete clause expired helped explain why it was never that good, rapidly became obsolete, was always heavy and expensive and failed legitimate US Army tests (conducted by an independent lab at behalf of congress and the company claiming the army was rigging its own tests)
Basically everything that wasn't clean drinking water destroyed the glue holding the scales together, and the scales were individually not strong enough to survive the more severe end of the (rated) threat spectrum. The company rigged many of its own tests by placing the armor against flat backplates, which increased the overlap of the scales, and was unrealistic compared to the fact that a human torso is curved. Meanwhile the natural overlap of the scales vastly increased the weight and cost of the armor, making it fundmentally inferior to traditional hard plates. We aren't talking about ounces but as much as 19.5lb (47.5 vs 28lb) differences for the larger armor sizes vs US Army interceptor. Meanwhile against hard cored AP rounds each scale simply wasn't large enough to absorb the energy, leading to common massive failure for the Levei IV vest. And the company always had horrible quality control leading to some samples never subject to temperature or chemical (motor oil, not some exotic Russian nerve gas) tests failing out of the box. The USAF actually adapted the armor and over 25% of the vests supplied had to be recalled for poor quality control. Then it turned out Pinnacle armor lied about the Level III vest's NIJ certification and all remaining vests were recalled and the company sued by the DoD for fraud. its excuse for that? That's the NIJ had given it 'verbal' permission to label the product. Anyone believe that level of BS? It lost that legal case. That was actually before but the cause of Dragonskin's failed but highly reported propaganda blitz when the company's marketing head figured out they were out shit creek, and so ran to the most liberal of the mainstream US media (MSNBC) to rave that the army was murdering men to save a dime. That propaganda managed to get the independent tests ordered by the US congress... which proved the US military was not only correct in rejecting the armor but that nobody should have ever bought the level IV version, and that the level III version was strongly open to question. The guy MSNBC hired to do tests was hauled before congress and admitted that actually, the armor had problems. And that they had conducted the tests in grossly flawed ways....suggested by the armor manufacture.
The guy who actually designed Dragonskin originally (as a first effort he openly says, one not meant to be viable or good for years and years ), and then left the company soon after, Allan D. Bain, now works for another company making a different non overlapping scale armor called Hexar III, but they simply aren't even offering a Level IV version on the market. It just won't work. The US Army and DARPA put out open competitions for Level IV scale armors that would work and nobody could offer one. Probably it will be viable in the future, but right now, not happening. If it did everyone would jump on it. Dragonskin wasn't even all that flexible in the first place, it took months to be broken in.
On reflection this might help explain why there were ridiculous piles of what was then high-end military equipment (Tommy guns, BARs, souped-up vehicle engines) available for use by Prohibition-era gangsters.
[I could be wrong about this]
Pretty much wrong on it. Little of this stuff was sold, it was scrapped. BARs were absurdly rare though you could buy them for a very high price. The Tommy gun was not a WW1 production product and only entered production in 1921. It was also very expensive, something like six weeks ages for the average worker, about 100$. Before 1940 only 10,000 were produced, total. under 1,000 went to all government departments, and most of those to federal police forces rather then the military, while many were exported. US Army adaption was only in 1938. The Liberty engine was massively produced for several years after WW1 but nobody was using those in cars. High performance smuggling cars, and boats, were the product of the 1920s automobile revolution, not WW1 production.
In fact the US army had all its top secret Pedersen devices, which turned Springfield rifles into semi automatic pistols, destroyed even though over 50,000 were produced, specifically to keep them out of criminal and anarchist/communist hands. Today under a hundred, I've heard actually under 50 that work, are known to exist.
The real fact is most stuff about the Prohibition Ganster era is the same as modern media reporting is, exaggerated. Think about how many times you've seen reports of modern day US shootings involving automatic weapons, when it then turns out (looking at Boston) the shooters actually had one handgun for two people. The 1930s were the same, or even worse because the very idea of such powerful weapons even existing was still fairly new. The prohibition gangsters were powerful because they had a huge amount of money to pay bribes with, not because they had unusual firepower. The St. Valentines Day Massacre killed 7 men, against a wall, which could have just as well been done with a seven shot pistol. The gang riots and race riots of earlier decades were probably worse in terms of people actually hurt day to day. Gangs of New York is a highly fictional movie... but those riots really happened and killed 120 people in a couple days, and the US army really did volley fire into armed mobs, and cases existed of privately owned Galting guns and artillery being deployed to defend property. Lots of people died, but the methods did not matter nearly as much as the money that was the reason.
"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
— Field Marshal William Slim 1956