Eli was a B/X fighter with the following stats:
S: 18 I: 10 W: 7 D: 13 C: 10 H: 9 HP: 8
He was kitted out with a two-handed sword and chain mail (giving him AC 4)
Eli died when goblins used him for target practice.
Chopper is B/X fighter with the following stats:
S: 18 I: 6 W: 7 D: 16 C: 17 H: 13 HP: 10
He is kitted out with a two-handed sword and splint mail (giving him AC 2).
Both were put in the front rank to be "tanks."
Chopper is going to last a lot longer than Eli because of his low AC and hit points. For low-level characters, low AC is critical. You need to reduce your opponents chance of hitting you as much as you can. Recall that each point on a d20 is a %5 chance.
I am not advocating obsessive min/maxing. I am suggesting you build your tanks correctly.