An officer who had served in 1 DERR told me that in the late eighties when they exchanged their SLR's for the SA80 most of their SLR's were knackered by this stage and it was put down to excessive cleaning of the weapons in Infantry units.Indeed.
As an interested civvy my observation from this and other threads are that the military through the application of spit and polish and wanting to look like gleaming examples of soldiery, for generations have been ruining equipment and clothing. And this is also based on ‘stuff’ i’ve Heard and read about over the years, not just on Arrse. Not an exhaustive list, and some of it may be misremembered and misunderstood facts, and maybe even urban myths, but:
Flintlock musket barrels made super shiny by rubbing with brick dust, but also dangerous and unusable since the polishing thinned the barrel walls.
Back in Nelsons or whenever period, Royal Navy making the ropes used to control gun recoil and heaving them out again presentable by wrapping them in canvas and pipe claying them white. Looked nice, but found, probably when they needed them most, that the rope had rotted due to the constant damp conditions created.
Historic and valuable bronze cannon barrels on loan from Royal Armouries ruined. The inscriptions and mouldings worn down by constant polishing so the barrels would gleam. Can’t have the protective green verdigris left on can we?
As a nipper, remember a TV documentary, possibly late 60s, early 70s, about a submarine sunk during trials (or could have been a ship, can’t remember). But I do remember that one of the contributory factors was the brasswork around the watertight doors was so polished that it no longer sealed properly. Not sure about that one being true, but it’s what I recall being said on the programme.
On YouTube a couple of years ago, a PTI instructor has a channel and he followed a bunch of new recruits on the first few days. The PTI corporal instructing them said something along the lines of ‘turn your irons up to 1,000,000 degrees and iron the wrinkles out on your elasticated waistbands to get them flat’. Presumably the ironing symbol on the shorts either had do not iron, or at most one or two dots as a max setting.
And the posters on this and other threads have brought up other bellendery as well, over polishing metalwork on rifles, creases in JHW (what the f@ck for?), ironing goretexes (though a warm iron is needed to reinstate the water repellency on some,but I can imagine as it’s the army the temp dial gets turned to 11).
Could be wrong but it seems to be a combination of not knowing the maintenance and care regimes for equipment/clothing, not bothering to read instructions, and if they did, doing what they always do to get gleaming shiny kit and smart shiny turnout.