Crossing the Weser in 432s

Twas just after Napoleon was beaten back from the gates of Moscow by Arsenal supporters and a certain Fd Amb was practising crossing the Weser at a place called Ohr, just south of Hameln. "Ginge" was driving and Bugsy was doing the Rommel number on the top. We had the front chamber set up and the flotation screen rigged and checked, so we felt pretty confident. But Ginge muffed the change as our tracks came off the bank and we were stuck in 1-2 with no fluckin' shteam!

As the current carried us serenely past our mates still waiting to enter the water, we saw them all falling about laughing and slapping their thighs with mirth, while the RSM was doing the highest on-the-spot jumps I've ever seen. We couldn't hear all of what he shouted, but we did catch things like"fückin' idiots", "stupid bästards", "guts for garters" and similar terms of endearment.

Then Ginge panicked. He leapt out of the driver's hole, stripped off down to his Y-fronts, dumped all his gear down into the back through the open mortar-hole and dived over the side. A strong swimmer, he was soon in trouble and was picked up by the Sappers in their steel boat thingy, who were on the way to rescue us. He was bare-arrsed by this time, since he'd dived out of his shreddies on his way into the water. The Sappers (bless 'em) towed the 432 back up the river and Ginge, sitting there harry starkers, drove it back onto dry land. Oh the shame of it!!!

At the end of the same scheme, Sapper TM from our LAD and I had to dig a big hole to bury all the rubbish. Our Cook Sgt also wanted to dump the rest of the unused compo into it, since it had "Support the Boer War" printed on the sides of the cartons. That's why the hole had to be very big. And deep.

Now this was about 0600 hours on a Sunday morning and there'd been a "Schützenfest" in the village. A member of the band from this Schützenfest was staggering home totally Brahms, saw us digging and came over to have a butcher's. He spoke excellent English, which surprised us a bit. One of our comrades standing on the edge of this very deep hole watching us work told this Kraut that two of our number had been drowned and we were burying them. This Kraut's grid became suddenly very serious. He snapped to attention, put his trumpet to his lips and started to play "The Last Post", Well, that's what it was meant to be, but it actually sounded like somebody strangling sheep.

Sapper TM, my co-digger, became highly irate at this, swung with his shovel and blatted the trumpet out of the Kraut's hands, thereby crumpling the flared bit on the end. But it turned out that this Kraut was in reality a former Luftwaffe pilot in WWII, who was shot down over England and badly wounded. He pulled away the support around his stomach and showed us the four bullet wounds he'd received courtesy of the RAF.

So never judge by appearances, and don't muff your gearchanges when you're fording rivers. :D :D

you tried using the flotation equipment on a 432?!!!!!!!!!!

Are you a pioneer? That crapp never worked. The guy who told you to try was a moron! The only way to cross the weser is by a bridge, civvy built or NO.!! or 12 courtesy of the RE


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gundog said:
you tried using the flotation equipment on a 432?!!!!!!!!!!

Are you a pioneer? That crapp never worked. The guy who told you to try was a moron! The only way to cross the weser is by a bridge, civvy built or NO.!! or 12 courtesy of the RE
In 1977 I was Squadron Leader's driver. "Jump in, Trooper Alien and let's go to Ludgershall where the squadron are swimming their Scorpions. It ought to be a larf to watch." S we arrived at Ludgershall and peered over the side of this huge water-filled pit and had a larf watching the squadron swim the Scorpions all of about 20 yards.

"Come on, Trooper Alien, fancy a cabby? I'll command." There was no way to let him down nicely so I did. I have to say. it's a good job the pit was only a few inches wider than a Chieftain cos otherwise we'd have been going round in circles all bliddy day. Pleased to report that a short time later we deployed to BAOR and promptly removed our skirts (from our CVR(T)s FFS: what do you think I am? A Sweaty?).

As for courtesy the RE, the following year we exercised for a week and a bit and culminated in an assault (where we have stopped the Commies ... I mean Orange Forces and start to push them back. Yes it was only an exercise: wouldn't have really happened I know).

As Command Troop Rebro Ferret driver I just drove where I was told. Mushroom, me: kept in the dark and fed on shit. We spent all evening well into the wee small hours queued up in rest areas as the whole Division edged forward to the bridge being put in by the engineers. Being Recce, we were right up the front, behind our own two Medium Recce Squadrons.

Eventually we rolled quietly into a village. I was aware of a slipway to our left (we were tactical). Tp Sgt gingerly steered me down to the waterside, then I started up the ramp. I followed instructions to stop and park foot on brake. I did so. All was pitch black except for a couple of street lights out of the corner of me eye. Headset on, engine running and wrecked as the exercise came to a close (I was in a period of no sleep between 0400 Wednesday when I went on radio stag and Saturday lunchtime when head hit pillow back in camp), I was in a world of me own.

Suddenly I felt movement and saw the street lights move. Bugger: it felt as though I was falling off the bridge. I all but bent the brake pedal as I stamped on it. The Sarge was in grave danger of being pushed out the top as I prepared to exit the vehicle in a hurry. When the pontoon ferry struck the other side I realised that I had never been on a bridge at all, and started to give him grief. He told me to keep the noise down cos we were now sharp.

I never did figure that out: B and C Squadrons were supposed to have gone over forst: how could Command Troop be sharp?!?!?

Er, I cannot think how to end this story so

* edited once for losing 20 years in a typo

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