Falklands infantry weapons

#1
I need some help clearing up something about the Falklands.

A Dutch guy I was speaking to a Monday was quite insistent that the British army had no "long-range" infantry weapons, whereas the Argentines did. He had apparently "seen on a Discovery Channel documentary" (which is always very dangerous) that the Brits had needed to take some old weapons out of mothballs and fly them down urgently. It started to get ridiculous when he said that these old weapons were "very long one, Lee -Enfield number 4 rifles, of World War II vintage". He also seemed to think that the British soldiers were armed with "that short thing", which he could not name... he mentioned the "H" incident, so he may have been labouring under the impression that most British soldiers were armed with a sterling. For someone who was in the Dutch military at the time, surely he should have known better.

I tried to clear this up by explaining that most soldiers carried the SLR, and each section had a L4 or GPMG as a fire support weapon, and try to fathom exactly what he could mean with regard to these mothballed weapons. The only possibilities that I could think of that he could be referring to would either be L42 snipers rifles (but without the specialist training there would be little point), or M2 Browning heavy machine guns (with which the Argentines certainly had an advantage).

Either:
1. He is totally talking out of his jacksie
2. There is a grain of truth to something (in this case I suspect the L42 or the M2) and he has just got his wires immensely crossed
3. I am totally wrong

Which is it? I'm inclined to think either number one or number two, since he also seemed to think that the Belgrano was steaming at 30 kn when it was hit by an ultramodern torpedo at 60 miles range and it went under like a submarine which was why so many died (at which point I laughed, explaining that it was hit with a World War II design torpedo and took a significant length of time to sink; but he was quite adamant...)

Cheers,
the stoat
 
#2
stoatman said:
... and try to fathom exactly what he could mean with regard to these mothballed weapons. The only possibilities that I could think of that he could be referring to would either be L42 snipers rifles (but without the specialist training there would be little point), or M2 Browning heavy machine guns.
IIRC, they dragged out the M2 Brownings, which had been stuck in stores for a decade or two, and packed them off with 5 Bde to use in the AAAD role. That's probably the best fit to the story.
 
#3
The L42 Sniper rifles were converted wartime build Lee-Enfields so that could have lead to some confusion. The phrase "Discovery channel documentary" speaks volumes.

Wasn't Belgrano hit with a Tigerfish torpedo? I'd though that was a modern design at the time.
 
#4
EX_STAB said:
The L42 Sniper rifles were converted wartime build Lee-Enfields so that could have lead to some confusion. The phrase "Discovery channel documentary" speaks volumes.
That's what I thought, but I had not heard of anything with regard to flying them out before

Wasn't Belgrano hit with a Tigerfish torpedo? I'd though that was a modern design at the time.
No, it was hit with a Mk.VIII mod 4, since there were questions about the tigerfish's reliability. Apparently part of the thinking was "it's a World War II ship, so we'll sink it with a World War II torpedo"

Gravelbelly: AAAD means air defence, right? so not in a ground role to suppress Argentine long-range fire then?
 
#5
As I recall the current obcession with .5" happened after the initial invasion. There was a trend for COs to adorn their landrovers with captured M2s and swan around like Mogadisu technicals... :roll:

In the period following the conflict, .5"s became available as they were being stripped out of Chieftains as they were being fitted with laser sights. The grunts were screaming for additional LLAD as a result of the wonderful performance of Rapier and particularly Blowpipe.. 8O

The initial problem was getting suitable barrels and mounts as the spotting barrels for Chieftain were not that suitable. Initially all the ground mounts and barrels were ex Argie, but eventually RM were scaled and some new(ish) stock was procured.

Never wholly convinced about M2s... Big, heavy, and not really that effective for the effort given the round and rate of fire. I'd rather have a 14.5 dushka or a proper 20 or 23mm cannon given the choice... :twisted:
 
#7
Can't think of anything unusual that your mate might be referring to. There were certainly no "odd" ammunition natures in the dumps at the end of the war (I had to count everything in the San Carlos dump - about a 1/2m rounds of ball loose in opened boxes... 8O ...)

L42s would have been standard issue with the 5 Bde units in any case, and if more were required it wouldn't have made headlines for them to be drawn from depot or other units.

Think there were some No4s already in the Falklands - ex-FIDF weapons held in store or sold as surplus to the bennies. Possible that one or two of these were liberated and flashed around (2 Para padre?), but none show up any of the usual footage.

Don't think any .5 sniper rifles were in use at that time with UKSF - I'm sure they wouldn't have wanted to tab around with them in any case.
 
#8
HE117 said:
> In the period following the conflict, .5"s became available as they were being stripped out of Chieftains as they were being fitted with laser sights. <
Did the Chieftain use the short cased M1 .50" Spotting Rifle not the M2 HMG?
 
#9
Mike_2817 said:
HE117 said:
> In the period following the conflict, .5"s became available as they were being stripped out of Chieftains as they were being fitted with laser sights. <
Did the Chieftain use the short cased M1 .50" Spotting Rifle not the M2 HMG?
No Mike, That was for the WOMBAT - Chiefies used a conventional M2, solonoid fired, with spotter tracer ammo..
 
#10
stoatman said:
I need some help clearing up something about the Falklands.

A Dutch guy

Either:
1. He is totally talking out of his jacksie
2. There is a grain of truth to something (in this case I suspect the L42 or the M2) and he has just got his wires immensely crossed
3. I am totally wrong

the stoat
your answer is '1'
 
#11
I could never uderstand why the infantry didn´t have the .5 Browning years before the Falklands war,there wasn´t a more reliable weapon;On Chieftain they never gave problems.

They were pretty complicated though,the headspace and timing had to be spot on.And that BOLT,it was a bast*rd and very easy to put cams(?) etc in the wrong way especially if you had to do it at night!
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#12
HE117 said:
As I recall the current obcession with .5" happened after the initial invasion. There was a trend for COs to adorn their landrovers with captured M2s and swan around like Mogadisu technicals... :roll:
Various pictures show the BMG on AA ground mounts over San Carlos while kit & pers were still getting ashore before Goose Green.

HE117 said:
In the period following the conflict, .5"s became available as they were being stripped out of Chieftains as they were being fitted with laser sights. The grunts were screaming for additional LLAD as a result of the wonderful performance of Rapier and particularly Blowpipe.. 8O

The initial problem was getting suitable barrels and mounts as the spotting barrels for Chieftain were not that suitable. Initially all the ground mounts and barrels were ex Argie, but eventually RM were scaled and some new(ish) stock was procured.
I'm positive that the mounts were mothballed stock, unless there were dozens of them on South Georgia.

HE117 said:
Never wholly convinced about M2s... Big, heavy, and not really that effective for the effort given the round and rate of fire. I'd rather have a 14.5 dushka or a proper 20 or 23mm cannon given the choice... :twisted:
The DShK and DShKM are in 12.7 x 107/9 (given variously), and weighs in at more than the BMG.
You may be thinking of the KPV (14.5 x 115.) This mother generally needs a vehicle or a horde of Slavs to move it as it weighs over 350lbs. (IIRC)
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#13
midnight said:
I could never uderstand why the infantry didn´t have the .5 Browning years before the Falklands war,there wasn´t a more reliable weapon;On Chieftain they never gave problems.

They were pretty complicated though,the headspace and timing had to be spot on.And that BOLT,it was a bast*rd and very easy to put cams(?) etc in the wrong way especially if you had to do it at night!
At push you can use the 'screw right in then back off 2-3 clicks' theory, but with the CHS/timing gauge it takes just a few seconds to check the two distances.
Reference locking the bolt in place because the cocking lever faces the rear, it's only due to lack of trg or moronic brainfade.
(In trg or on ex both causes are multi-slabable. On Ops it's a different matter.)
 
#14
brettarider said:
I did read a few years ago that 1 or 2 of the .5's were sourced from the IMW! :D
IWM?

I seem to recall that it was reported in the press at the time that some .5" Brownings had been procured at the insistence of the OC of 5 Bde for air defence; there was a picture of a very smug looking Guardsman posing with his new toy.

I think there was also a paragraph near the start of Bravo Two Zero where They asked for, but didn't get, WW2 de Lisle silenced carbines prior to GW1. The de Lisle fired .45" ACP and was built from much modified Lee Enfields. The de Lisle was/is reputed to be completely silent, but in reality it was louder than the silenced Mk 5 Sterling SMG which They (and the Argies) already had.
 
#15
midnight said:
I could never uderstand why the infantry didn´t have the .5 Browning years before the Falklands war,there wasn´t a more reliable weapon;On Chieftain they never gave problems.
Its because the army of the early 80s was even more badly-equipped - due to budget constraints - than that of today. In BAOR, which in theory was facing a "real" soviet threat, very few UK vehicles had any sort of pintle-mount AAAD weapon. Where there was one - usually an L4 - the weapon was usually scaled as someone's personal weapon, rather than as vehicle equipment. The level of firepower in most non-teeth units was pathetic - a fraction of what it had been at the end of WW2.

One of my units actually had US-supplied M113-based vehicles that came complete with all the pintle kit needed for .50s, and apparently the purchase price had included the M2s as well. However, the (properly boarded) case for establishment of .50s, sent up the CoC, were laughed out of the MoD - on the grounds that the bullets cost too much. I was fresh into the army, and it was a salutary lesson that the CoC/Mod didn't give a f**k about planning for operational reality - it was the bean-counting that was the main effort.....
 
#16
I remember reading that the 50 cal HMG used for LLAD fired over 19,000 rounds against argentinian planes during the latter stage of the campaign.
 
#17
HE117 said:
Mike_2817 said:
HE117 said:
> In the period following the conflict, .5"s became available as they were being stripped out of Chieftains as they were being fitted with laser sights. <
Did the Chieftain use the short cased M1 .50" Spotting Rifle not the M2 HMG?
No Mike, That was for the WOMBAT - Chiefies used a conventional M2, solonoid fired, with spotter tracer ammo..
Ah, I stand corrected.

Yes I have seen the M1 Spotter in use on the 120mm BAT Anti-Tank Gun with M1 .50" with a Box Magazine. I also seem to remember it useing a 7.62mm LMG at one time as well.

Was not sure about the Chieftain, hence the question rather than a statement..
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#18
Onetap said:
...

The de Lisle was/is reputed to be completely silent, but in reality it was louder than the silenced Mk 5 Sterling SMG which They (and the Argies) already had.
I've only had range experince with De Lisles especially the LEI versions, but those I have fired were definitely quieter than the L34.
 
#19
Cutaway said:
midnight said:
I could never uderstand why the infantry didn´t have the .5 Browning years before the Falklands war,there wasn´t a more reliable weapon;On Chieftain they never gave problems.

They were pretty complicated though,the headspace and timing had to be spot on.And that BOLT,it was a bast*rd and very easy to put cams(?) etc in the wrong way especially if you had to do it at night!
At push you can use the 'screw right in then back off 2-3 clicks' theory, but with the CHS/timing gauge it takes just a few seconds to check the two distances.
Reference locking the bolt in place because the cocking lever faces the rear, it's only due to lack of trg or moronic brainfade.
(In trg or on ex both causes are multi-slabable. On Ops it's a different matter.)
As an ex Gunner Mech,I know the gun very well.It had nothing to do with the cocking lever,try taking the bolt apart ie in all its different parts at night!

As for `screw right in then back off 2-3 clicks`theory,what if it doesn´t work,the cartridge splits and you´re left with a useless gun and an enemy still shooting.And before you start your Know All attitude I know the drill to clear the seperated case,but I wouldn´t want to take such a stupid chance.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#20
midnight said:
Cutaway said:
midnight said:
I could never uderstand why the infantry didn´t have the .5 Browning years before the Falklands war,there wasn´t a more reliable weapon;On Chieftain they never gave problems.

They were pretty complicated though,the headspace and timing had to be spot on.And that BOLT,it was a bast*rd and very easy to put cams(?) etc in the wrong way especially if you had to do it at night!
At push you can use the 'screw right in then back off 2-3 clicks' theory, but with the CHS/timing gauge it takes just a few seconds to check the two distances.
Reference locking the bolt in place because the cocking lever faces the rear, it's only due to lack of trg or moronic brainfade.
(In trg or on ex both causes are multi-slabable. On Ops it's a different matter.)
As an ex Gunner Mech,I know the gun very well.It had nothing to do with the cocking lever,try taking the bolt apart ie in all its different parts at night!
The cocking lever example was precisely that, an example.
As it happens I too am quite familiar with stripping the wpn down to component parts.

midnight said:
As for `screw right in then back off 2-3 clicks`theory,what if it doesn´t work,the cartridge splits and you´re left with a useless gun and an enemy still shooting.
Which is why I said "at a push."
Furthermore I believe I did mention using the CHS gauge and the speed with which it can be used.
Should the BMG be thought too slow to change bbls perhaps a fixed headspace gun like the S'porean 50 is more to your taste ?

midnight said:
And before you start your Know All attitude I know the drill to clear the seperated case,but I wouldn´t want to take such a stupid chance.
You seem to have some problems you need to work out with youself. Best of luck.
 

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