Accurate anatomical location of war injuries: analysis of the Lebanon war fatal casualties and the proposition of new principles for the design of military personal armour system

Injury. 1996 Oct;27(8):577-81. doi: 10.1016/s0020-1383(96)00072-1.


In this study we present a new approach to the design of the military personal armour system (MPAS). This approach is based on a computerized analysis of the exact anatomical location of 405 penetrating war injuries (290 shrapnel and 115 bullet injuries) in 164 soldiers killed in the Lebanon war. All the penetrating injuries (hits) were plotted on a computerized image of the human body. About 90 per cent of all hits were to the front of the body; 55 per cent of all hits were to the left side. About 45 per cent of all hits were to the torso, which is slightly more than the torso's proportion of total body-surface area (36 per cent). Of all hits to the torso, 64 per cent of the shrapnel hits and 73.3 per cent of the bullet hits were limited to the front mid torso (T4 to T9). The head at the level of the helmet received 9 per cent of all hits, most of which were over the frontal bones (72.4 per cent). The body part with the greatest density of penetrating injuries was the face, with 22.2 per cent of all penetrating wounds, and in particular the mid face, from the level of the lips to the level of the zygomatic bones, was especially vulnerable, sustaining 10 per cent of all the penetrating wounds. These findings suggest several possible modifications in the standard MPAS: an additional protective device over the front mid torso may be incorporated; the face may be protected by a transparent and lightweight face-shield; a horizontal margin added to the standard helmet may protect the upper face from missiles from above; a chin cover may protect the lower face.

MeSH terms

  • Blast Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Lebanon
  • Military Personnel
  • Protective Clothing*
  • Warfare*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / prevention & control*