(I do appreciate, that now all-ranks carry the same weapon. However, in the past, I always did wonder from whom the officers and NCOs were supposed to be protecting themselves, carrying the SMG, when "the lads" were armed with SLRs !! Anyway . . . . ). Serious question - "PENAL BATTALIONS" - how did they work then? Were they trained/employed (the convicts) in specialist roles/skills, RA, RE, REME, etc., or were they just used for laborious tasks (as might have been associated with the Pioneers), and/or as infantry? (With due respect to today's Army, it is appreciated the modern infantry are so highly trained/skilled, that they are now necessarily excluded from this discussion). To what useful, productive, purpose might a "PENAL BATTALION" be used these days??