Belfast 1978 - soldier (aiming) holding magazine in standing position

Standard West Belfast and environs in the mid-80s was two magazines of 18 rounds each for the 'ordinary' foot patrollers. More 'windswept and interesting' tasks in cars included 4 x 30 rd mags for the HK53 plus 6 x 13 rd mags for the 9mm pistol plus smoke grenades etc. I've never understood this but some people carried far, far less in the 'plain clothes' (emphatically not 'undercover') role as if it meant you were somehow not trying it on.

Crazy.
hats off to the lot of you. My buckshee ammo was more than that in Afghanistan

edited to add; now I think about it it might’ve been more than the windswept and interesting task cars as well.
 
hats off to the lot of you. My buckshee ammo was more than that in Afghanistan

edited to add; now I think about it it might’ve been more than the windswept and interesting task cars as well.
Different times, different tasks, different targets....

Having done the Afghan/Iraq axis too, there is no way that any kind of equivalent kinetic response would have been accepted or even required, at least in the 80s apart from in an SF environment where they would carry whatever they needed.

You were 'fortunate' to experience a less controlled environment but applying same to NI would have been a disaster.

Of course, in a car you would generally have been lucky to get your finger to the trigger so more than a mag or two would have been luxury.
 
Never heard of varying butt lengths
The geometry of the human form is an odd thing.

If I went to longer butt lengths, my shooting went downhill.

And being a chronic myope with an astigmatic left eye, and unable to tolerate rigid contact lenses (I tried, late '70s, when first based in Palace Bks. Most mornings I looked like Christopher Lee's Dracula, and felt like my eyeballs had been sandblasted ready for a respray ), my options were limited.

Still, only once did a lens actually break (into 2 pieces, at Barton Road, IIRC), and I simply learned to live with it, and always carry a spare pair.

Even if the spare pair was built to "No Sex" design criteria.
 
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apart from in an SF environment where they would carry whatever they needed
Generally speaking, they didn't seek to exchange fire with PIRA :-D

See without being seen, and all that.

With a bit of "Why did you shoot him 18 times?" / "Because I ran out of ammo: why would you need to ask?" thrown in.
 
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Woods and Howe. Food for serious thought.
That'll be Derek Wood and David Howes?

I think they were in Place 'A' when they thought they were in Place 'B'.

See Norman Dixon etc.....
 
If I went to longer butt lengths, my shooting went downhill.
Other way around for me - I preferred an extra-long butt, no more chips out of my glasses :)

Granted, finding the tool you needed to swap them was tricky. As a young 2Lt, I ended up showing our company arms storesman how to swap butts over (because of course butt numbers occasionally reallocated by range and alphanumeric order), not to mention that nice set of double-leaf rearsights currently sitting on an unallocated weapon.

Yes, I confessed all to Barry our Armourer at Bn HQ, a God among Men, willing to tolerate a curious and gobby young Gravelbelly who had sussed that the REME have quiet offices, tea, decent conversation. and lots more 4x2 and scotchbrite than the RQMS is ever going to give you...
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
No idea how many were ever fired in anger. I recall an ‘ND’ in XMG in 1984. A round being fired into a derelict building during the night on a tedious cordon because there was a ‘gunman in it, honest’ . That was followed by several hundred rounds on 7.62. Spiced up the night that was for sure.
After we returned from Omagh in May 76, I heard that one of more were issued to our squadron, but not to my troop. I'm not aware of any fired in anger in that very short time.
 
No idea how many were ever fired in anger. I recall an ‘ND’ in XMG in 1984. A round being fired into a derelict building during the night on a tedious cordon because there was a ‘gunman in it, honest’ . That was followed by several hundred rounds on 7.62. Spiced up the night that was for sure.
I'm sure I once (as a G3 Training sorta staff orrsifer) read a mid-1980s report (the M79 was being withdrawn), that said it had been fired X times, but never once in anger.

Most common cause was loaded/slung M79 trigger mech operated by snagged S Armagh hedgerow twig, resulting in projectile embedded harmlessly near squaddies feet, having been brought to a stop before it could arm.

@dingerr could probably correct any of my misrecollections / failures to understand in the above.
 
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Other way around for me - I preferred an extra-long butt, no more chips out of my glasses :)

Granted, finding the tool you needed to swap them was tricky. As a young 2Lt, I ended up showing our company arms storesman how to swap butts over (because of course butt numbers occasionally reallocated by range and alphanumeric order), not to mention that nice set of double-leaf rearsights currently sitting on an unallocated weapon.

Yes, I confessed all to Barry our Armourer at Bn HQ, a God among Men, willing to tolerate a curious and gobby young Gravelbelly who had sussed that the REME have quiet offices, tea, decent conversation. and lots more 4x2 and scotchbrite than the RQMS is ever going to give you...
Wouldn't it be good, if infantry officers in training got some of that informal education early in their professional lives.

Instead of, at end of their Special To Arms training, being no better-versed in small arms than a Crow in week 6.

Just a thought.
 
Different times, different tasks, different targets....

Having done the Afghan/Iraq axis too, there is no way that any kind of equivalent kinetic response would have been accepted or even required, at least in the 80s apart from in an SF environment where they would carry whatever they needed.

You were 'fortunate' to experience a less controlled environment but applying same to NI would have been a disaster.

Of course, in a car you would generally have been lucky to get your finger to the trigger so more than a mag or two would have been luxury.
I wouldn’t disagree and as I’ve said elsewhere I’m not sure the different approach used in Afghanistan/some Iraq tours was to our benefit.

As I’ve said elsewhere I think that with a few exceptions what was done in NI by the army is and example of some of the most professional soldiering your likely to find.

ETA; Admittedly written as someone who needs to learn more about it
 
I'm sure I once (as a G3 Training sorta staff orrsifer) read a mid-1980s report (the M79 was being withdrawn), that said it had been fired X times, but never once in anger.

Most common cause was loaded/slung M79 trigger mech operated by snagged S Armagh hedgerow twig, resulting in projectile embedded harmlessly near squaddies feet, having been brought to a stop before it could arm.

@dingerr could probably correct any of my misrecollections / failures to understand in the above.
One was fired through the window of the Carlton Hotel in Belleek. It hit a wall before reaching the arming distance.
 
Never heard of varying butt lengths on your rifle?

No - me neither until I'd been using that rifle for years. Contact lenses are for winners mind, by that stage.
Being a shortarse, my SLR had the shortest of butt length, and I was an ok shot.

Circumstances dictated that I had to borrow one with a BFO butt length, and the difference was unreal.

All in the eye relief, apparently.

I went from average to being a kind of a big deal overnight.

big-deal.png
 
The sheer number of former SF bases that have now been abandoned and sold/gifted in recent years has ensured that local contractors now have their ripping out and deconstruction down to a fine, and very quick art. Didn’t take too long for Coalisland cop shop to disappear and become flats. Many of these former bases have been turned into housing, community buildings, playgrounds and the like. Dungiven RUC station is now a church building. Mortar proof roof, blast walls, all still intact. The local neighbourhood peelers now patrol such areas in soft skinned, liveried cars instead of being dropped off by chopper and dandering around the square with a multiple or two of squaddies in support. Still not perfect peace but a fcuk load more progress than I’d personally have ever thought possible when I did a Banner tour around the same time you mentioned.
Swords into ploughshares. Or something.
 

Euclid

Old-Salt
Standard West Belfast and environs in the mid-80s was two magazines of 18 rounds each for the 'ordinary' foot patrollers. More 'windswept and interesting' tasks in cars included 4 x 30 rd mags for the HK53 plus 6 x 13 rd mags for the 9mm pistol plus smoke grenades etc. I've never understood this but some people carried far, far less in the 'plain clothes' (emphatically not 'undercover') role as if it meant you were somehow not trying it on.

Crazy.
But do you remember the 15 round mag for the SMG? That was fcking bizarre, along with the chocolate brown 4 tonners, and CPVs (WTF came up with that?) in which the drivers were equipped with such a bollox piece of kit.

Mind you, back then a shite Bde Comd or CO trying to make a name for himself couldn’t do too much damage. Unlike Herrick.
 
I'd have thought someone would have moaned about the undone pocket in post #101 as well.
And the six bottles of dodgyness (one open) in the drawer and two rolls of black nasty on the dresser, bra on radiator less occupant ..... plus loaded armalite. Fcuking Buffalo Bill's bedroom less the funky skin suit
 
But do you remember the 15 round mag for the SMG? That was fcking bizarre, along with the chocolate brown 4 tonners, and CPVs (WTF came up with that?) in which the drivers were equipped with such a bollox piece of kit.

Mind you, back then a shite Bde Comd or CO trying to make a name for himself couldn’t do too much damage. Unlike Herrick.
Certainly had shortened SMG mags (and extended pistol versions). Didn’t like either. Many early (and not so early) ‘civilianised’ vehicles were simply hand painted in blue or red or whatever over the NATO green. ‘Real’ cars were often just bought in primary rather than metallic colours. I had to fight to get money to buy sun strips and other paraphernalia to make them stand out less.
 

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