Concerning rifle magazines and ammunition issued to Cold War era British Forces.

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Goose Green was the classic advance to contact against a larger enemy force. In theory we shouldn't have won that battle. We did through a combination of luck and grit (Balls not the mnemonic) and that set the standard. The mountain battles were different, a more classic night time deliberate attack with proper support (within the limits) and coordinated across several features to limit mutual defence.
Fire discipline is great, there however is nothing to say that the para with all of those magazines didn't take aimed shots at actual targets rather than just blat off rounds.
I have partaken in large formation attacks where I haven't fired (live firing ex etc) because there wasn't a target to engage and just to blat off to make noise was dangerous and wasteful.

Nothing about not finding a target just makes it far easier to clean at endex, thus ensuring first to the bar!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Nothing about not finding a target just makes it far easier to clean at endex, thus ensuring first to the bar!
That would be a fair one if I was a jack b@stard and didn't help with cleaning the guns.
 
That's my recollection too, plus a bandolier of a further 50 rds?
Two bandolier ? Plus 100 link for gimpy?
Iirc, one dropped off the link with the gimpy team. The idea - or so I was taught - was that you'd just about enough mags to suppress/take the ene position, then once you'd re-org it was odds and evens bombing up in prep for the counter attack.
Some of the old n bold had a spare magazine or two squared away.
I was told that the Falklands caused a rethink on how many rounds a man carried as the rate at which we went through ammo was far greater than was originally thought.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
That has more to do with battles beig fought against enemies who didn't look like Gurkhas and roll over and die when informed by the DS. Enemy positions sited in depth even by what we would have considered amateurs roved tougher to crack by our professional troops than we had ever imagined. Thankfully we did win at GG, anything else would have made the retaking of the islands a much harder affair!
If the enemy had held GG would we have been able to reinforce the task force to divisional strength?
 
I can't remember exactly what we were issued for a platoon-in-defence range at Wathgill in the mid 80s, but I can remember waddling from the CQMS over to my allotted fire trench, falling in and having to unpack myself before I could stand up again. I think we spent about 24 hours there learning valuable lessons about how vital the section NCOs were in controlling ammunition expenditure in a protracted engagement. That, and keeping the handguard screw tight — the lad next to me didn't and was left holding the naked, dull-red barrel while his palm turned to mozzarella.

How we laughed.

Just for comparison, here's a couple of quotes from Maj Howard's coup de main force:
Pte Clark (D Coy | 2 OBLI) said:
Four Bren gun magazines, two bandoliers of .303 ammo, Mills grenades, No 77 phosphorous smoke grenades, a 24 hr ration pack consisting of cubes of tea, soup, oatmeal, toilet paper, sweets and matches and fuel for the little Tommy cookers, and a flotation Mae West.
Lt Todd Sweeney (OC 23 Pl | D Coy | 2 OBLI said:
We were terribly overloaded because every soldier wanted to take an extra grenade and a belt of ammunition which they draped around themselves. The glider pilots came to Major Howard and said “look this is getting to be too much”. They had worked out an average weight with weapons and ammunition of 240 lbs per man. Some of them were way, way above that and they reduced that as much as they could. Major Howard decided to drop two men out, so instead of going in 25 strong we went in with 23 men in each.
I can't begin to imagine what it was like to be one of those two blokes, but it turned out that the glider pilots had a point:
Pte Clark (D Coy | 2 OBLI) said:
About 2250 hrs, the planes started to rev up. Major Howard came around the gliders and thanked us for our help and past cooperation. You could detect the emotion in the chap’s voice — it was a very emotional moment for all of us. I felt sorry for him. I looked across at Lt Wood and I saw he looked a bit tense because he had got a hell of a lot on his mind for that night. He was only a boy like the rest of us. He must have been carrying a lot of responsibility and it was going to be put to the test that night. The doors were shut and we just sat waiting. The time crept by. It must have been 2358 hrs, we could hear the roar of the first glider. This was the glider that Major Howard was in. It contained 25 Platoon with Lt Danny Brotheridge in command. We heard it start down the runway and at exactly 2359 hrs it became airborne. That was the first glider off. At the same time that was going down the runway, we felt our own glider beginning to take the strain as the tow rope tightened we were pulled onto the runway and, I would say, at approximately midnight our glider became airborne. We roared down the runway and the overloading was noticeable because we didn’t rise. We seemed to go on and on. We must have used up practically the whole runway when suddenly we became airborne. We could barely see; it was very dark within the Horsa. There were a few cigarettes going. There wasn’t the usual idle chatter, nobody was singing and there was almost silence within the glider.
Hope this helps.
 

overopensights

ADC
Book Reviewer
I was in a pub near Sennybridge when Mad Mitch came on the Tele for a BBC interview. It was just before the Falklands landings and had featured some Paras in Training. Calmly Mad Mitch said " What those Argies had better learn and very soon, is that those Paras will go through them like cream cheese" which proved right, but a lot of good men lost in the meantime.
 
In the time of 'that' rifle,it was four,twenty round mags with a fifth in reserve with the CQMS.Quite how that would have worked,I don't know.With SA80,four mags of thirty rounds, exception being LSW gunner,who would carry twelve(I think). ISTR that we carried eighty rounds in NI,including LSW.
Bandoliers. Don't forget the bandoliers. From memory, each bandolier = 100 rounds in clips of five
1539949809598.jpeg
to be loaded into your empty mags by hand, because nobody was ever going to carry the 'charger, magazine':

because it was too big to fit pocket or CEFO pouch, and anyway so flimsy it woulda gotten bent outta shape in the first five minutes of a firefight.

ISTR 2 x bandoliers per man on our ACTIVE EDGE kit lists, but I'd lay money troops in the FI war were enthusiastically carrying into contact as many they could drape around themselves.

@warmonger82 - Only when SA80 came along - with its cheapo M16 stylee magazines - did the Brits start thinking about issuing fully loaded, throwaway mags.
 
I have spoken to chaps who were in the Falklands.All useless kit was chucked,wash/shave,boot polish etc,and replaced with ammo.Still not always enough,and ammo was nicked off the Argies.
Did their mags fit the L1A1? Are all FAL type mags interchangeable?
 
Ah, Gentlemen, I think we're forgetting the venerable Energa!
energa.jpg

Jolly useful pouch for my KFS if I remember correctly...
 
Did their mags fit the L1A1? Are all FAL type mags interchangeable?
Yes and yes. But often, Brit troops advancing, under fire, through Argentine positions ditched their issued semi-automatic SLRs, if the opportunity to grab a serviceable full-automatic Argentine FAL presented itself along with ammo to plunder.
 
Yes and yes. But often, Brit troops advancing, under fire, through Argentine positions ditched their issued semi-automatic SLRs, if the opportunity to grab a serviceable full-automatic Argentine FAL presented itself along with ammo to plunder.
I wonder how many found out the hard way that the magazines already in their pouches wouldn't fit.

What about fitting a Bren mag to a FN? Same problem?
 
I wonder how many found out the hard way that the magazines already in their pouches wouldn't fit.

What about fitting a Bren mag to a FN? Same problem?
Well, the LMG mag fitted the SLR, so I would assume that it would therefore not fit an FAL. Spring was too weak to be of much use though.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Well, the LMG mag fitted the SLR, so I would assume that it would therefore not fit an FAL. Spring was too weak to be of much use though.
This has been done to death, they do work well with live ammo, with blanks they aren't as good.
 
This has been done to death, they do work well with live ammo, with blanks they aren't as good.
Meh. This is ARRSE, and the SLR we're talking about here. What hasn't been done to death!?
 

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