A question for ATs older the better

Discussion in 'RLC' started by ugly, Aug 15, 2007.

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  1. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    84mm HEAT ammo in 1984, were there any problems reported with either ammo or weapons. I'm not ambulance chasing but trying to sort the facts out of what rapidly became an Urban myth in our Bn. One of our lads (one of many that day) was firing the 84mm at Sennelager. He was the first to fire that morning and as a lad that had only joined us just before our tour in Belfast earlier that year was given the first shot. He donned his plugs and muffs and tin lid. He fired the 84 and dropped it screaming in pain. Now I haven been priveleged to the reports or spoken to anyone since who was there. He described it as a very loud bang, almost twice what he remebered from firing at the Depot. The Armourer checked the 84 and the tube was found to be tighter at the muzzle end. It seemed it may have been run over on exercise by a 4 tonner the year before but put away quietly. Poor lad was profoundly deafened and earned a medical discharge. It seems that his description of a louder bang might have meant that the blast was held for longer than normal level with his head and thus caused the injuries.
    Now pontificating aside could some sort of double blast/explosion occur?
    I just want to put the myth to bed so I can include it in a story I have been asked to contribute to.
    General Melchett can vouch that I'm not a Journo or a solicitor!
    Edited to add it could have been late in 1983 but very late!
    Edited again to unmong some shpellung!
  2. Dinger.............................Its for you....
  3. I honestly don't know off the top of my head. Might have something to do with venturi's and overpressures. (vague memories of a past long ago).

    Charlie G was just going out as i started in the trade.
  4. I don’t think the weapon damage described would have that type of effect. If the warhead was constrained by the muzzle, the effect would be to increase the tendency for the whole system to go rocket propelled, warhead, launcher, and your mate all trying to be lobbed forwards down range. I don’t believe the venturi would have increased the rate of burning in the cartridge case by such a factor that the guy was deafened without throwing the launcher forwards.

    Any considerable increase in the confinement of the propellant as it burns, would have to be caused by the rear blowout disk of the cartridge failing to "Pop" correctly. If this occurred the pressure build-up would have been greater and he may well have experienced a louder "Bang". That may indicate a problem with the ammo though, not the launcher. If the launcher was so bent out of shape as to pinch the base of the cartridge case and stop the blow out disk from popping, you wouldn't have been able to load a round in the first place. Plus the armourer would have certainly clocked that.

    I seem to remember getting rid of the last stocks of Charlie G in 87/88. That was due to the propellant within the igniter assembly having an adverse reaction with its metal body. This caused a Swedish round to try and launch whilst in storage.

    (Of course the above could be a complete load of rubbish as 20 odd years of alcohol abuse has taken it's toll.)
  5. Unit armourers should check all weapons every 6months as a minimum. This includes the use of a bore gauge to ensure it hasn't been run over ect.(OK I know the L85A2 has changed this before anyone comments)
    I would have also carried out prefiring check back then, at least before the firing camp and especially on my support weapons. There can't be many people left serving who were on the ranges in 1984. Cant say I remember any rumours.
  6. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Well the run over muzzle could be a myth but the defective ammo sounds more likely. Poor lad, they stuck him on telephone orderly at Coy HQ for a couple of weeks. He would sit watching the phone and if no one was there and he could see or feel it vibrate he would pick up the phone and shout "HELLO, DEAF COOKIE HERE, THERE'S NO ONE ELSE SO YOU'LL HAVE TO CALL BACK" in a Yorkshire accent. One too many shifts of that and the Bn Adj had him moved to the Arms Kote pending his MD!
  7. Only the Army would put a deaf bloke in charge of answering the phones :)
  8. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    It was very funny! The advantage of it was in a noisy office he could see or feel the phone so no calls were missed. We didnt get many returned calls either!
  9. Ugly it couldn't be any of the things you described. Even if it was tighter at the muzzle end (and I doubt it) then the slipping nylon drive band would have sheared off and the proj still flown, unless it was so distorted such as to cause projectile retentions (LAW L1A1 anybody?). The blow-out disc at the arrse end would have blown off as normal. I am with APFSDU on his statements on this one.

    APFSDU some 84mm stocks were held in MGO stocks and were only finally disposed of a couple of years ago (Fuzed L42 A1!)

    The arrse end of the 84mm had a rubber band wrapped around the venturi to reduce post-firing weapon vibration and if this was missing some vibration shock could occur to his ears but once again I doubt it.

    The cartridge was filled with (hell I forget the name :D ) Swedish ribbon propellant and some occasions arose with bad fillings (i.e. not filled to correct specification) so if an overfill, bad fill or defective blow-out plate were there then this could cause a louder than normal bnag!

    However if the appropriate ITP were telephoned then the Half Yearly Summary of Ammunition Incidents would record the event, any bans etc imposed (check LUMATs as well) and subsequent investigation results from the Incident Number traced.

    And I am NOT old - I'm off to bed now my concentration isn't what it used to be :twisted:
  10. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator


    Was that OK Ugs?
  11. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Cheers mate, spotter ok much better than a journo. I am trying to put to bed the rumours and urban myths of what happened. I see it could have been ammo over launcher which makes sense, I just could only comment from what I remembered way back in 83-84. I certainly have drunk some ale since then and even slept a little.
    I wonder if there was a report written and where it would be if it was availble!
  12. Have you been on the p1ss? :D

    See my post - then contact the relevant IPT.
  13. diplomat

    diplomat War Hero Book Reviewer

    RM - Late night down town S was it. Mr Grumpy today - have you a hangover or something?
  14. Question?

    What happened to the No2 as he would be closer to the venture then the firer?

    Gun should have been bore sighted before firing so an oval barrel would have shown up.

    And no, never heard of ant problems with ammo in the mid 80s.
  15. I might have been :twisted:

    But I AM NOT OLD - just experienced. I'm off for a nap now :D