Image: The ballistic side plate that saved Trooper Thorn.

April 2012 Trooper Thorne, aged 20, from the Queen’s Royal Hussars, was shot by an enemy fighter while on operations in Helmand province Afghanistan.

The 7.62mm bullet, fired from an AK-47 assault rifle, struck Trooper Thorne in one of the side plates of his body armour. The plate stopped the round completely, leaving the soldier with only a light bruise underneath.

Tpr Thorne

“I was providing overwatch for an IED clearance team and was lying on the roof of a compound building. We came under fire but obviously cover was pretty limited up on the roof. I knew instantly that I’d been hit – it felt like a very hard punch in the ribs,” he continued…

“The body armour is pretty heavy, especially when combined with all the other kit you are carrying, but it clearly works as it’s supposed to.

I just couldn’t believe the small side plate could stop a 7.62mm bullet at fairly close range – it is very reassuring for all of us”.

‘C’ (Coriano Company) Squadron of the Queen’s Royal Hussars were taking part in Operation ZAMARY TAKHTA, an IED clearance operation in a hostile region of the Lashkar Gah area when the incident occurred.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The Queen’s Royal Hussars
  2. Timeline: Afghanistan 2008-14