80’s 1157 Kit: Did anything work?

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.
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.
 
I wore them loads, mostly on courses. Worn with No2 shirt and wooly pully in Long sleeve order.

For sure.

I remember that being the normal dress for people from the Pay Corp etc.

We never wore them as I imagine it was far better to have Pte's washing their lightweights every night, mostly by hand, iron whilst wet and then hang up to dry.

Character building I think it was classed as.

* This was the days of daily PT being conducted in a combination of lightweights, boots & puttees / PT vest / Combat Jacket. The only PT conducted in civvy PT was the Phys that you carried out in your own time.

** BFT memory jog - Red PT for those under 35, white PT vest for those over 35 ( I think that was the age brackets )
 
It seems the military has form for knackering kit for the sake of looking smart? When were the various Guards Regiments formed again?

PT vests: Red for outside, white for The Chamber of Horrors (gym).

Berets and Officers jumpers. Pity the attached personnel who’d have to buy both and probably other odds and sods every time they got posted on. My JDSC (TA) photo looks like a early attempt at an LGBTQetc logo such is the range of exotically coloured knitwear on display.

On leaving the Regs and going TA, badges on uniforms unique to Regts became a constant game and an opportunity for COs to be silly. Generally if you’d previous service things like 2’s, Mess Kit etc from that service was worn but some COs demanded badges on arms etc were removed or buttons changed. On change of CO it wasn’t unusual (in my experience at least) for it be to demanded you change it all back.

As my civi work moved me around the country I transferred so got to do it all several times as well as buy berets and jumpers etc. To be fair, the last of the jumpers is still doing yeoman service (geddit?) in the garden 25 years on.

My DPM suit also gets an annual airing when the village has its annual charity scarecrow thing. Issued in 1983 and still going strong. The only difference is it fits the scarecrow better than it ever fitted me and he looks more warry than I ever did. As he’s in the prone position in the hedge and gets the sun, the cat sleeps on him so he gets more pussy than I did in uniform too.
 
Can anyone remember the black leather shoes that were issued with no2 dress?
Manufactured by 'bata' they were ugly but well made and sturdy, the clerks seemed to favour them over boots, the shiny arsed gheyers.
Comfy once you got them broken in. Handily I had the same size feet as my (Crab) dad, so wore them as school uniform for years.
 
I loved the "wooly pulley" . . . BUT great care had to be taken washing & drying, to avoid shrinking them :( .

12 x 12 tent, an increase in utility over its predecessors, of a magnitude immeasurable. I never saw the white roof liner fitted.

"Puffing Billy" stove-pipe, used to heat a galvanised dust-bin of water. Had to be used correctly, using a scoop to take the hot water, and use a separate bowl. Some pratt on another thread, confessed to washing his mess-tins in the dust-bin, and so making the contents unusable for everyone else :( !!
The 12 x 12 liner was a decent fit under the canopy of a Bedford RL and helped stop the snow blowing into your bunk bed.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
Being honest with you... The R sigs was utter crap & not real soldiering was it? I say this as a guy who served in another cap badge & also R Sigs. The "YOS" or "FOS" were OK guys but on exercise the R Sigs were "tradesmen" but piss poor basic soldiers. That´s why they had chunkies doing it for them.
Every regiment and corps had stuff they focused on and things they neglected. The R Sigs in 4 ADSR were not great on fieldcraft but they were far better than the RA Regiments I had served with in road discipline and NBC.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Good point made upthread on excessive - and destructive - weapon cleaning. Silly insistence on using mechanical and kinetic means - i.e. scraping away at carbon-on-metal with other bits of metal - and strongly discouraging sensible use of chemical and other non-damaging means - pretty much guaranteed that the entire Army estate of SLR and GPMG had the life of its gas parts very much shortened.

See here also weekly full cleaning of weapons unfired in the interim.
 
When I did my stint at Commcen Hildesheim (in the cellar beneath the SSO office at Tofrek Barracks, for those who remember the place), one the regular messages that we had to deal with were the Rail Movement instructions for any armour - I think there must have been the Railway Movements Liaison Office or something nearby (Hannover - we served Hannover station as well as Hildesheim) - massive signals full of detail about when, where, who, H&S etc - took bloody ages to prepare and, other than any of the incident reports involving the helicopters from 1 AAC Regt, had massive distribution lists as well.
Army (RCT) Warflats. 79 Railway Sqn had at least 120 of them all lost* all over the DB railway network. (*Not lost really, just that no bugger knew where they all were. YES that does mean you Movement Controllers).

The Sqn had a dedicated SGT/CPL responsible for them. (Like herding kittens, you think you have them all in one place then the DB rock up and move them to the other side of the country).

Friday morning was the time to find them all and relocate them to the correct sidings for Monday morning for loading for the next exercise. (Hence the flurry of signals to every man and his dog. I am sure the Easties were included on the signals list in case 1 Warflat or a train load had ended up on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain at Helmstadt).

The Warflats had the DB numbering system, i.e. a long list of numbers and letters where the Sqn only used the last 4 i.e. 123-6, but you have guess it the full numbers were required on the signals!!!!

The Warflat were normally located at Mark Hamm when not in use.

The Servicing Team would try to hit them all at once. Drive up from MG to MH to service them with all the oils/greases etc to find the siding empty. Where they go!!!!

Drive past a few days later and the sidings are full. Where have they been!!!!

The Warflat was one piece of kit that did work. Upgraded during it's service from carrying Centurion to Chieftain. Soldier proof unless a Tankie drove his battle waggon off the side, FFS the Warflats were wide enough (or not)!!!! (OK your tracks over lapped the sides by a few inches). Simple lift and drop down light brackets, yes that bit of metal at the end of the Warflat you have just driven your Panzer over!!!!!
 

TC20

Old-Salt
Good point made upthread on excessive - and destructive - weapon cleaning. Silly insistence on using mechanical and kinetic means - i.e. scraping away at carbon-on-metal with other bits of metal - and strongly discouraging sensible use of chemical and other non-damaging means - pretty much guaranteed that the entire Army estate of SLR and GPMG had the life of its gas parts very much shortened.

See here also weekly full cleaning of weapons unfired in the interim.


Looking at the state of the weapons in this video from ITC. You can see that the protective coating has been almost entirely removed from the outside of the barrel, I hate to think what they are like internally but can guess If this is the way they are taught in basic it is not going to change any time soon.

 
It’s a Woke thing. The barrels are so worn down that half the gas escapes around the bullet so it doesn’t go as fast and doesn’t hurt people as much.

Or something.
 
Good point made upthread on excessive - and destructive - weapon cleaning. Silly insistence on using mechanical and kinetic means - i.e. scraping away at carbon-on-metal with other bits of metal - and strongly discouraging sensible use of chemical and other non-damaging means - pretty much guaranteed that the entire Army estate of SLR and GPMG had the life of its gas parts very much shortened.

See here also weekly full cleaning of weapons unfired in the interim.
Interestingly, when I joined the French Foreign Legion in 1981, on being issued our rifles, we were told to fashion "curettes" out of wood. These were little wooden tools with a pointy end and a flat end for getting into the nooks and crannies of our rifles to clean them (with flannelette) without damaging them. They were most useful and I always had one in my weapon cleaning kit when I joined the British Army later.
 
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Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Interestingly, when I joined the French Foreign Legion in 1981, on being issued our rifles, we were told to fashion "curettes" out of wood. These were little wooden tools with a pointy end and a flat end for getting into the nooks and crannies of our rifles to clean them (with flanelette) without damaging them. They were most useful and I always had one in my weapon cleaning kit when I joined the British Army later.
Strikes me as thoroughly sensible. As sensible as going to German gun shops and buying sensible, 20th Century, cleaning products which got rid of carbon without damaging the metal. Both, obviously, streng verboten by the Armourer and Skillie Mafia, who preferred to see bare metal and thought protective coatings were for pouffs, to say nothing of deeply scored and eroded gas parts, as long as they were shiny, shiny, shiny.
 

TamH70

MIA
Strikes me as thoroughly sensible. As sensible as going to German gun shops and buying sensible, 20th Century, cleaning products which got rid of carbon without damaging the metal. Both, obviously, streng verboten by the Armourer and Skillie Mafia, who preferred to see bare metal and thought protective coatings were for pouffs, to say nothing of deeply scored and eroded gas parts, as long as they were shiny, shiny, shiny.
Must have been running with the wrong skillies. When I were a baby Scaley in 11 Sigs, Helles Barracks edition, our DS had us dunking the working and gas parts of our rifles in Tupperware containers that had vinegar in. The carbon just fell off after a few minutes marinading time.
All you had to do was make sure that the bits were dry afterwards.

(The gats were SA80's, btw, very much pre- the A1 models.)
 

Big Jim

Old-Salt
Every regiment and corps had stuff they focused on and things they neglected. The R Sigs in 4 ADSR were not great on fieldcraft but they were far better than the RA Regiments I had served with in road discipline and NBC.
No way ! haha what RA Regiments are you talking about? I never once put on an NBC suit on in the R Sigs in Div Main or anywhere else ! RA Regiments were Nuclear capable so we wore them for that & also in the field.
as for Road discipline... the MT was so crap the MT Sgt was RCT ! The MT "Combat Drivers" could not do the job.
 

Big Jim

Old-Salt
I seem to recall that there was a Pioneer Regiment assigned to guard 50 Missile Regiment
i can´t say 100% but i heard they had a Battery who only trained for Infantry duties. Exactly what i can´t say so won´t waffle but i was told they were RA guys not Pioneers. I could be wrong though.
When we did our nuclear thing we did it ourselves.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
No way ! haha what RA Regiments are you talking about? I never once put on an NBC suit on in the R Sigs in Div Main or anywhere else ! RA Regiments were Nuclear capable so we wore them for that & also in the field.
as for Road discipline... the MT was so crap the MT Sgt was RCT ! The MT "Combat Drivers" could not do the job.
You were lucky, in the late 80s, the rest of the Royal Corps, certainly in the Corps forward area ahead of the Divs, lived in NBC suits in the field and spent more time than was comfortable in the full gimp gear.
 

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