Forgetting your firearm


Book Reviewer
An old one. Triumph Spitfire, High St Belfast pull up outside the pram shop. Passenger gets out, Browning under left armpit gets spat into the street where it falls apart on impact. Kindly old folk help him pick the bits up.

'A shoulder holster, really'?
'Shut up and drive'.
Even larger holes are survivable, cases of explosions taking out sections of fuselage and the airframe being landed safely.
Some time ago a US airline over the Pacific experienced the loss of half of the upper fuselage along with one of the trolley dollies. Apparently the only thing holding the rest of the jet together were the passenger seats and associated anchoring. Jet landed safely.
Not quite a lost firearm, merely a 1000 lb bomb ending up in the wrong place.
The scene was the bombing range Capo Frasca on the island of Sardinia. A Jaguar sqn from RAFG was doing the annual lobbing of bombs around, one of the jets had a pilot from Staneval (Standards and Evaluation) his sortie involved 1000 lb HES toss bombing. A quick explanation of bomb delivery methods, retard bomb delivery involves flying over the tgt low level, releasing the bomb and a brake ensures that the bomb hits the ground well behind the jet. Accurate method of delivery, however involves getting uncomfortably close to unfriendly ground troops putting lots of lead into the air, very off putting. Another method is toss bombing, whereby the jet pulls up well before the tgt and releases the bomb which flies in a nice curved trajectory to its intended receiver while the jet turns at max rate away from the tgt. Not so accurate, Jags on a good day got within 200 ft of the tgt although 1000ft was not uncommon, had the advantage that those on the receiving end couldn't shoot at you. Preferred method of delivery for buckets of sunshine, where spot on delivery was not required. So the duty hero is cleared in live into Capo Frasca, the range being italian is of course manned by Italian Air Force staff, so Luigi et al are looking for this 1000 lb bomb to see where it was going to land, they of course were sat in the tower a safe distance away. Well theoretically a safe distance away, however the duty hero had other plans. So there are our italian allies looking for the bomb, but couldn't see it. It was in fact headed for them, they weren't aware of this until it hit the ground a short distance from them. Now 1000lbs of steel and concrete doing X hundred miles an hour release loads of energy on impact. The tower look liked it had been attacked in wing strength by wood and brick eating moths. The bomb was only 6000 ft off target.
Oh almost forgot, Luigi not amused, he and the others downed tools and legged it. I think that the italians have form for that sort of thing.
The bomb was duly recovered, repainted and ready to go again, hopefully on target.
Some time ago a US airline over the Pacific experienced the loss of half of the upper fuselage along with one of the trolley dollies. Apparently the only thing holding the rest of the jet together were the passenger seats and associated anchoring. Jet landed safely.
Aloha Airlines


War Hero
OK. The one I got away with.

I am duty Sergeant at RMP Detmold sometime about 1990. I am just sorting stuff out ready to hand over the Duty Room to the day shift. I have 5 on duty 1 x desk NCO, 2 x on patrol, 1 x dog handler, and me. I know that I have 6 pistols on shift. That is one for each of us plus one in the Duty Room safe. This pistol was allocated to an NCO I had sent home sick about 1 am. The keys to this safe are in my possession and no one goes in the safe with out me opening it for them.

So about 0700 hrs I am getting stuff ready to handover etc. Open the safe. No pistol! That's odd. Quick think, yep I need to have six pistols. Look in safe again. No pistol. Re-think again, yep I need 6. Open safe again. No pistol. by this time I begin to understand that (1) I have lost a pistol, (2) have no idea how I could have lost it, (3) I know no one has had access to the safe except me. (4) Life as I know it is about to end.

So guess what? I do it all again and still the same result. I am now seriously concerned and beginning to sweat. There is only myself and the young WRAC Pro in the Duty Room and so far I have not said anything. I now know exactly what people mean when they refer to "that sinking feeling".

End result. Just when I am thinking "God I am fucked" the NCO I sent home appears at the counter and tells me his wife if complaining about the pistol hanging in his holster on the back of the bedroom door so he thought he better bring it back.

Me. "Cheers mate, no problem, You look like crap, go back to bed and I will hand it in". The whole incident probably lasted about four minutes. A very long four minutes and no one ever knew I was about to have a heart attack for loosing a 9mm Browining.
Aaand another lost something. Also many moons ago on detachment to Deci for the annual weapons practice camp, the aircrew practiced lobbing a variety of pracice bombs and 1000 lb HES, plus strafing with 30mm canon.
So there's me in the ops room, all very quiet and nothing going on. Suddenly 2 italian officers come into the room clutching a 30 mm cannon shell. On enquiring as to how I could help them the first one showed me the round and asked if it was ours. I looked at the case head and saw the letters RG. Definitely ours, but I did not say so and referred to them to our weapons officer, a certain FLt Lt Geoff M, who being Welsh had the gift of the gab and could talk the hind legs off a donkey. After what seemed like an eternity the 2 officers emerged from the QWIs office looking very puzzled and muttering something about "non e tedesco, non e italiano, non e inglese" followed by the italian equivalent of WTF. Shortly after Geoff M ermerged and I said nice one sir, he just grinned. From the armourers I knew that the Jaguar could under certain cirumstances eject a live round, in this case the round had been found on the runway.
Could have been worse, the SUU gun ejects several rounds before it starts firing, so the approach to the targets on the range gets littered with live 30 mm rounds.
Ah Deci,went in 85, sunday morning a bloke and a woman turn up on bikes, long dit short it the italin camp co having a right freddy because the lads had set up washing lines on all the room balconies, in the best traditions of the raf the JR blocks were fitted for but not equiped with washing machines and tumble dryers
Anyhow, said mong sergeant had contrived to lock his R4 (full sized rifle) in the safe along with mine during times he wasn't 'patrolling'. I made sure he cleared it and removed the working parts first, stowing them on one side of the safe with my rifle in the same state on the other.
I joined an APU in Namibia and 'borrowed' one:



War Hero
Two tales from the RAF Police. Whilst at RAF Halton doing trade training my course was on guard duty. The RAF police would monitor the guards on the main gate via CCTV and would be very quick to bollock us for anything they could get away with, such as the armed guard being out of his sangar for more than 5 minutes. One night the filth got bored and handcuffed one of their own to an office wheelie chair and pushed her down the hill to the main gate. Said copper had her 9mm in her holster. The guard on the gate rang this through and the Guard Commander turned up pretty quick. The coppers tried to deny she had her gun on her but ended up being charged I believe. They were after our course until we finished.

The second case was when I was at Lyneham. We had changed over to the SA80 instead of the SLR. OC Police comes and does an armoury check. We were something like 80 rounds short when he tallied up how many guards had weapons signed out. The numbers were checked by the guard commander and found correct. OC Police rechecks and found we’re still down. Guard commander then goes through the numbers with him. Each guard has 30 rounds for the SA80, not 20. We‘d only been using the SA80 for a year or so.

I was lucky. The time before on guard my rifle had dropped its magazine and rounds went everywhere. I found them all. The next day my rifle was taken away to have the magazine release catch guard fitted.

One last lost weapon incident for tonight.
RAF Gütersloh, mid 80s and it's Taceval. That involved a team of specialists from Ramstein descending on us no notice at zero dark hundred and hitting the hooter calling us all to war games for 3 days, running around in gazzy gear and generaly playing silly games. Frequent source of amusement were simulated air raids, everyone dives for cover masks up and waits for the all clear. One of the Taceval team a Belgian Air Force, captain, had a VW transit van full of mock ups of soviet bombs, all the correct size, colour and markings and made of fibre glass. During an air raid he would deposit one of his mock bombs somewhere designed to cause max disruption as we then had to deal a UXB.
So there's me on the airfield keeping an eye on the Harriers when the call comes " Red, red, red air raid warning red". For safety reasons I was not required to mask up or take cover. Meanwhile Taceval man deposits a bomb next to the taxyway leading from 3 sqn dispersal to the runway, effectively stopping their jets from going anywhere. I informed the tower and was then distracted by RT from a Harrier just as they wanted confirmation on the location, so I turned round to look at the bomb and check the map reference and there it was, gone, no bomb. WTF? I then spied two masked up figures in gazzy gear legging it back to the sqn line office with the bomb, they no doubt considered it to be the ultimate gizzit, delivered free of charge almost to their front door.
Shortly afterwards higher authority appeared at the sqn explaining gently that if the bomb did not reappear in seconds then armageddon would descend upon them. Apparently the belgian captain was not amused.
What is it with these foreigners, why do they have no sense of humour?
Bit of an empty threat that ;)

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