M16/AR-15 in UK service early 1960's to Late 1980's

#61
PS-Unit.

Northern Ireland issue for Close Observation Troops.
 
#62
Thanks warmonger82 for the video entitled, "What happened to the M16 in Vietnam." If one regards the M16 rifle as a type of engine, one sees the initial problems caused by using ball powder ammunition as being similar to the timing belt slipping or breaking in a car's engine. The engine would not be a pretty sight if that happened because, without timing, all its parts would work against each other.

To continue the metaphor, if in addition to putting the wrong fuel in your car's motor, you used the wrong oil in it, and failed to carry out the most basic maintenance on it, you could not blame the car for breaking down. That this was so was most emphatically NOT the fault of the soldiers who initially used the rifle; as ever, the soldier in the field can only do his best with what he has got. The cynical decision by the US Army not to issue cleaning kits and to tell its soldiers the weapon didn't need cleaning came very close to criminal conduct on the part of whoever made those decisions.

Taken together with the failure to use protective coatings in the chamber of the rifle, the video shows, as its author states, a pretty heavy indictment of the US Army at that period (early to late 1960's) in its history. It also shows a very good reason why the US Army is no longer allowed to design its own weapons.
 
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#63
Yes, Para Regt Patrol Companies including Guards Ind Para Coy, they all had to do the Jungle part of selection to fill in the gaps on the border ridge.
Members of 3 Para Patrol Coy.
View attachment 355240
There were the same or similar rifles ( without forward assists )in the 3 Para armoury in the 1990's, they were kept with BFA's on for use as enemy weapons on exersizes , we were issued them, some manky OG jackets, and dropped off at a farmhouse on Otterburn, and forgotten about for a week.
 
#64
The photo of the guy in the wooly hat and with IWS----------- Falklands?

I reckon Foggin Tor,just down from Dartmoor nick.
The guy kneeling in the urban setting looks familiar.

I may be wrong!

In 79--80, Colt AR15 with prong flash hider and forward assist,some guys had 30 round mags which the Yanks had ditched.

Good post.
Suspiciously clean boots.....
 
#65
That seems to be the general consensus on the thread.

In the US Army and USMC every fourth man in the squad was issued an M79 and later the M203. How were grenade launchers issued in British infantry formations?
I only saw M16's/GL's in Northern Ireland(outside of SF/pathfinder use).
Initially,one M79 per four man brick(team).I had one,it would be carried slung and broken(opened?).
They were withdrawn just as we deployed.Replaced by M203's,one per twelve man multiple.
The marines were far more liberal in their issue of M16's etc,perhaps they look good alongside stilleto heels.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#66
That seems to be the general consensus on the thread.

In the US Army and USMC every fourth man in the squad was issued an M79 and later the M203. How were grenade launchers issued in British infantry formations?
Rural NI patrols we were allowed one per four man team although as the M203 was available we didn't always take the M79. It was deployed when we felt the need, mortar baseplate ambushes etc. We had the really early Colt AR on issue still in the late 80's and during 87/88 we received an additional 3 per platoon of M16A1 with A2 pistol grips these had the heavier barrel but the earlier handguard and some A2's were issued after I left. The original AR's were close on 30 years old by then.
 
#68
It DEFINITELY had forward assist.
mcreature 1.JPG


mcreature 2.JPG

@mcreature, I had a chance to get home and look at photos you posted to the thread. I'm still not seeing the forward assist present on the M16 displayed.

5-ar1.jpg


I'm certainly not doubting that your personal weapon came equipped with one though.

It does raise the interesting question of when did the MoD place and order for the Model 603/M16A1 variants with the forward assists. Most posters on the thread seem to have been issued rifles without the assist but I've seen a few photos where rifles with forward assists can be (barely) made out.

Did the army or armory personnel even make a distinction between rifles with or without the forward assist?

28404d0500000578-0-image-m-11_1430605133272.jpg

The man in the lower left with with the M203 appears to have a forward assist on his rifle
 
#69
View attachment 355404

View attachment 355405
@mcreature, I had a chance to get home and look at photos you posted to the thread. I'm still not seeing the forward assist present on the M16 displayed.

View attachment 355406

I'm certainly not doubting that your personal weapon came equipped with one though.

It does raise the interesting question of when did the MoD place and order for the Model 603/M16A1 variants with the forward assists. Most posters on the thread seem to have been issued rifles without the assist but I've seen a few photos where rifles with forward assists can be (barely) made out.

Did the army or armory personnel even make a distinction between rifles with or without the forward assist?

View attachment 355409
The man in the lower left with with the M203 appears to have a forward assist on his rifle
Must be my age-------- I couldn't see a forward assist either!!! I do recall,when taught the drills for this weapon,that they also ran through the routine for the forward assist. Maybe in my senile state I imagined the presence of the FA.(Sorry for being a twat)
Ref the above photo,I was in the same company as the guy lying down and in the same troop in training as the guy behind him cradling the rifle with the scope and wooden stock.Both were in the SBS when this photo was taken.
 
#70
Must be my age-------- I couldn't see a forward assist either!!! I do recall,when taught the drills for this weapon,that they also ran through the routine for the forward assist. Maybe in my senile state I imagined the presence of the FA.(Sorry for being a twat)
Ref the above photo,I was in the same company as the guy lying down and in the same troop in training as the guy behind him cradling the rifle with the scope and wooden stock.Both were in the SBS when this photo was taken.
No worries, at 36 things from my Afghanistan tour in '04 are getting hazy. I'm sure it just goes downhill from here to senility...

As an aside, what sort of training was provided for the AR-15/M16?
 
#71
Strip and assemble/cleaning/IA drills-------- similar to SLR,so easy to pick up in a short period.
 
#72
Belize '79 I got run off the road by a truck and had to pull into a Gurkha base to get the tyre fixed. I saw a rack of ratty, well used M-16s in the guardroom when I went to write up my accident report. This was near Punta Gorda.
 
#73
Did anyone ever actually fire a 40mm HE round in NI?
Letter A Company 1RGJ had a contact early in their deployment out of Crossmaglen in 1980. It was a 600m plus snipe against a three brick (multiple) rural patrol. The NCOs each had an M79 and 25 rounds which they used to no good effect, falling so short that the Pl Commander was heard on the radio claiming that he was under incoming RPG fire.

Letter C Company meantime, reduced to two platoons and designated "Patrol Company" issued brick commanders with AR15s. These were much sought after as the battalion had experience of them on their previous deployment in Hong Kong.

 
#74
Thanks warmonger82 for the video entitled, "What happened to the M16 in Vietnam." If one regards the M16 rifle as a type of engine, one sees the initial problems caused by using ball powder ammunition as being similar to the timing belt slipping or breaking in a car's engine. The engine would not be a pretty sight if that happened because, without timing, all its parts would work against each other.

To continue the metaphor, if in addition to putting the wrong fuel in your car's motor, you used the wrong oil in it, and failed to carry out the most basic maintenance on it, you could not blame the car for breaking down. That this was so was most emphatically NOT the fault of the soldiers who initially used the rifle; as ever, the soldier in the field can only do his best with what he has got. The cynical decision by the US Army not to issue cleaning kits and to tell its soldiers the weapon didn't need cleaning came very close to criminal conduct on the part of whoever made those decisions.

Taken together with the failure to use protective coatings in the chamber of the rifle, the video shows, as its author states, a pretty heavy indictment of the US Army at that period (early to late 1960's) in its history. It also shows a very good reason why the US Army is no longer allowed to design its own weapons.
Jim Sullivan on the M16 in Vietnam

Jim Sullivan interviewed by Ian McCollum

The really sad fact is that in its early years the AR-15/M16 was extremely highly regarded by the men who carried it(SAS, US Army Special Forces advisors, and South Vietnamese special units). Lt Col (later Lieut. Gen) Hal Moore, the CO of 1st battalion 7th Cavalry during the battle of Ia Drang, in Nov '65 stated that the M16 was a critical factor in his battalion being able to hold off the two NVA regiments. The M16 received such glowing accolades after Ia Drang that Gen. Westmoreland, (Commanding General, MACV) ordered enough M16's for every infantryman in theater. The problems the weapon experienced in 1966 and early 1967 were wholly attributed to when the US Army rushed to meet the demand for the rifle and cut corners on the powder and (most shocking of all) neglected to send cleaning kits. I've read accounts of US Marines writing home asking their families to send them commercial .22 cal cleaning kits from the States...
 
#75
That seems to be the general consensus on the thread.

In the US Army and USMC every fourth man in the squad was issued an M79 and later the M203. How were grenade launchers issued in British infantry formations?
According to Mark Adkin's book on Goose Green, 2 PARA in the Falklands war had only one M79 per platoon, usually in lieu of the second GPMG in one of the rifle sections ( the battalion had taken double the normal number of GPMGs down south ).
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#76

ugly

LE
Moderator
#77
According to Mark Adkin's book on Goose Green, 2 PARA in the Falklands war had only one M79 per platoon, usually in lieu of the second GPMG in one of the rifle sections ( the battalion had taken double the normal number of GPMGs down south ).
2 Para was going to Belize and only because the CO badgered the MoD were they sent south! They would have had UK and Belize scale of weapons available so M16, M79 and LMG (L4) were available along with Wombat.
 
#78
2 Para was going to Belize and only because the CO badgered the MoD were they sent south! They would have had UK and Belize scale of weapons available so M16, M79 and LMG (L4) were available along with Wombat.
Thanks yeah he does also mention that C (Patrols) Coy had twelve LMGs (as well as some GPMGs).
 
#79
#80
I can't add anything concrete to the the 'Falklands photo' some of you are suggesting wasn't in the Falklands but was always under the impression it was a staged photo taken for combat and survival magazine, or a combat based book.
 

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