Just looking at Lux's first post, he is even discounting Halo canon, Vaz. In the books, no spartan has withstood a direct hit from a hunters fuel rod cannon. James had a jackal shield, and his own shield, and it still took off an arm and left him in complete shock with his armor worse for wear. No spartan has survived atmospheric jumps without armor. Ever.
The flipping a 72 ton tank argument is a gameplay mechanic that is essential if you flip your fucking tank. Look at the elephant. There is no way a spartan could flip that big bastard, and yet if you somehow managed to flip it in game, Bungie thought ahead and added the mechanic to flip it back upright. In the books, they have never flipped a tank. The only vehicles they could flip would be warthogs and smaller.
They weren't even in the upper atmosphere of Reach when their pelican was hit. They were well below the upper atmosphere. They maxed out the gel layer for maximum cushion in their armor, they bumped their shields up to max in all areas, and they aimed for a forest to help break their fall. And yet still several died, and over half were left injured from it, horribly or otherwise. That is about 30 or so combat effective spartans that made that jump. When they landed, they were well below half combat effectiveness. Out in the open, the spartans were slaughtered up against the covenant. This you could tell when one of them commed Fred whom was elsewhere on planet. Not to say they didn't put up a fight though, because they did. They put up a hell of a fight.
Honestly Lux, I don't know where you got the dropping from atmosphere and surviving the fall without armor deal. Never happened. Ever. I remember everything from the books. Nowhere did that ever happen. Also a simple google search would further prove my point, but I digress. Its also pointless to suggest using google since you never seem to use it. You seem to make it up as you go.
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Remember kids: Violence isn't the answer, its the question. The answer is yes.