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The Sterling

I suspect as a cadet you were firing the No 4...for which the magazine was not normally removed, except for cleaning and maintenance. The manual for the No 4 would have reflected that.

We didn’t do that silly over the shoulder thing with the No4 but carried out the unload drill which involved cycling the bolt back and forth a few times to ensure there were no rounds left in the magazine, carried out a visual confirmation and then closed the bolt to ease springs. We then stood up keeping the rifle down the range and followed the command ‘for inspection port arms’.

Could the manual have been changed to reflect the L1A1 drill? I suppose so, but there was no reason to. Even during the changeover from No 4 to L1A1, it’s hard to imagine any unit having mixed weapons at the firing point.

As you say, there's no reason to, and the mag was only removed for cleaning (or unloading in the dark, according to the MR1909, although I've also seen archive footage of people in Malaya loading their mag with loose ammo off their No.5 and then inserting it). Given that the action's open topped you can see into the chamber and mag at the same time when checking so can verify clear. Taking mags off unnecessarily would have resulted in them getting mixed up and/or lost with Cadets, and they're not necessarily interchangable between rifles.
 
All ours was in the prone. We weren't trusted to get up and move about with an actual firearm, rounds in or otherwise. We were however allowed to blat away and try and surreptitiously hit the pointers and continue to merrily send rounds downrange when some dickhead at the far end decided to climb up on top of the glacis at the butts and start disco-dancing as 7.62mm hurtled past him.

This was around the time of Michael Ryan. The "big change" on the back of his "just shooting up town for some biscuits, mum" moment?? We were no longer allowed to operate the safety on the SLR with the right thumb (if right-handed). We had to take our left hand off of the fore-end and use it to operate the safety instead. Which when you were as tall as the rifle was long meant a lot of muzzles waving randomly about whilst it was happening so the grown-ups tacitly ignored anyone thumbing the safety so as to keep the barrel pointing at the butts with their left hand firmly on the fore-end.

Crabs, eh?
 

NSP

LE
I’m surprised that they had kept them for cadets when there would have been oodles of No 4s washing around, but every day etc...
Probably the south-west being given the usual stiff ignoring endemic in the public sector.
 
.....and you were expected to go to war.....looking like THAT? o_O


That was "normal" everyday uniform, with the exception of the Bush hat which was worn on the ranges and replaced the standard peaked hat.
The kit below was a mixture of "borrowed/acquired" stuff I wore whilst actually on border patrol. An acquired Camo jacket from a former Katangese mercenary, long uniform drill trousers and a bought pair of non uniform high leg boots, the shotgun was normally the Greener S/G!
This photo was of a river patrol looking for a case of ritual murder. The informant is next to me, between the guy in civvies who was a reserve policeman whose boat e used. The African at the back was a Det. Constable in civvies, the other 2 were A/insps who were there informally to give a bit of back up, should we encounter any problems.
As you can see away from the town & in the bush our outfits were somewhat non regulation.


1600171847625.png
 

Cromarty

Old-Salt
I have a vague memory of a schoolchild being hit by a stray 9mm fired from a Browning from about a mile away. I think it was a Police range but that may be wrong.
Mid 80's.


I can't recall if it was a ricochet or some lemon lobbing them over the butts.

Similar thing happened in Western Australia back in the late 90's(?). A railway track worker got hit in the foot by a stray police pistol round from about 1 kilometre away.
 

Mufulira

War Hero
During the N Rhodesian/ Zambian Lenshina Rebellion '64 a few scant months before the Union Jack was hauled down that October and much toil and trouble brewed up. The leader, Alice Lenshina, a prophetess well schooled in the Church of Scotland doctrine was very much agin local politics and cautioned her numerous followers to refrain from politics --- this was not to the incoming Gov't party who relied heavily on involuntary contributions from Party Card sales. Then the it hit the fan and Party card sellers were duffed up on their card selling visits to the 'bundu' villages and demands for NRP to put a stop to said beastings from villagers who wanted no part of ambitious pollies. Shortly the NRP and their admirable "Mobile Unit" were outnumbered and could not deal with literally a whole province rising up and the whole army, 2 Reg Bns and 2 under-strength TA Bns were called up. Now the citizens could rest easy at night. The Northern Province featured the Great North Road branching from Kapiri Mposhi to Ft Hill on the Tanganyika border ( built to supply HMF in WWI and to later take on Italians in WWII). It is long dusty road with talc-like powdery laterite dust to clog everything including black or white skin everyone was now similarly coloured! In the long convoy of trucks RL's, J5's, some errant Fords and Land Rovers the tail was brought up by a LAD group. As all readers will attest, being Tail-end Charlie is the most boring task allotted to a fighting man especially if you were a veteran of WWII and had driven this route numerous times and even had gongs to show for it. However as the LAD were hardly expected to do much shooting and we'd now run out of Sterlings to issue we did have a fine collection of Sten Mk V's complete with bayonets and handed these out. Our veteran LAD Sgt as co-driver was heartily snoring long and loud as we reached the Zone 300 miles later and as we passed a fairly large village with fields of crops undergoing tender loving care by the residents they immediately ran toward the convoy to express their gratitude and admiration at our speedy arrival within the month. LAD Sgt is now awaking from his WWII dreams and espies hundreds of people armed with jembela kashus (mattocks) waving and ululating joy and charging the convoy. With a flash the venerable Mk V is charged with a full 28 round mag and emptied straight through the RL windscreen at the imaginary 'maliwongos' ( apparently not Italians) everybody ducking as a spray of 9mm is pattering about the tended crops --- but remarkably, no-one hit. The Driver was somewhat annoyed at having to wear goggles for the remainder of the trip as LAD didn't pack replacement windscreens. So, the moral of the tale use a Sterling if you require accuracy!! Small Metal Gun was champ!
 
That was "normal" everyday uniform, with the exception of the Bush hat which was worn on the ranges and replaced the standard peaked hat.
The kit below was a mixture of "borrowed/acquired" stuff I wore whilst actually on border patrol. An acquired Camo jacket from a former Katangese mercenary, long uniform drill trousers and a bought pair of non uniform high leg boots, the shotgun was normally the Greener S/G!
This photo was of a river patrol looking for a case of ritual murder. The informant is next to me, between the guy in civvies who was a reserve policeman whose boat e used. The African at the back was a Det. Constable in civvies, the other 2 were A/insps who were there informally to give a bit of back up, should we encounter any problems.
As you can see away from the town & in the bush our outfits were somewhat non regulation.


View attachment 504656

You certainly earned your pay!
 

Cromarty

Old-Salt
The features of the Hi Power confused many soldiers, simply because in make safe condition they had to pull the trigger on a gun which had a loaded magazine in place, even though there was no round in the chamber (or shouldn't have been.)

Make safe on all the other weapons involved replacing the mag/belt after all other actions had been performed, and so the pistol drill confused and worried them, because it was the last but one action.
It's why many stuck their walking out finger up the mag well in order to release the magazine safety.
Classic mistake on Pistol Make Safe was shoving a full mag in before releasing the slide instead of the other way round, then pulling the trigger.

We were taught the finger thing as well.
 

Tyk

LE
It may be because of the people who carried them. In the Sappers the Browning only really appeared at Squadron Command level (OC, 2IC, and perhaps the SSM) and with two out of three of these you might be talking about people who have been away from a unit for a couple of years in a staff post, and certainly not getting so much range time. As has been stated here before the SMG was a bit of a REMF weapon and again people like cooks and bedding storeman didn’t get much range time.

I did much more time training with an SLR at RMAS than I did with an SMG - in fact I probably did more time training with a sword than I did with an SMG, and yet, as a Sapper officer I was expected to carry an SMG before moving onto a Browning.

I carried an SLR.

Was/is it possible to request a refresher course if you've not been routinely issued with a particular weapon for a while?
My father was an RAF armourer in National Service and when not arsing about with Bofors he ran quite a lot of ranges. He had some tales of "incidents" that may well be familiar to a few including one Regiment Sqn Leader getting a Sterling jam and turning to the range staff with weapon in hand while he worked the cocking handle and most definitely NOT down range, fortunately the only casualties were 1 range shed and his dislocated jaw when an enraged Flt Sgt applied an educational uppercut.
As @4(T) said the old tried and tested technique of drills works very well (in loads of fields not just soldiering), but out of practice can't be avoided.
 
Serious hat on: there's a massive deficiency in the training materials in that they never fundamentally explain how an SMG works. Sure, in some Sterling Pams there's the cycle of functioning which is an improvement on e.g. the STEN/Thompson materials but at no point is the consequences of having fixed firing pin open bolt operation explained. If you follow the drills to the letter you'll never have a problem, but since some of the operation is backasswards compared to a rifle, as soon as Pte Snuffy departs from the drills due to being flustered, or thinks he knows better about something (e.g. keeping the bolt on a pre-pushthrough-cocking-handle STEN forwards on a loaded mag against the rules cos he wants to keep crap out the action but be ready for Fritzy) that's when accidents happen. I'll do a vid on this deficiency some time, but whenever I'm on a civvy range and letting people have a cabby on something open bolt I insist it's backasswards so if literally anything unexpected happens, the IA is to pull back the cocking handle before doing anything else.


There's a school of thought , for the Smg and Gimpy that it's actually safer to cock the weapon and apply safe, before loading it. I can see the reasoning behind that idea.
 
There's a school of thought , for the Smg and Gimpy that it's actually safer to cock the weapon and apply safe, before loading it. I can see the reasoning behind that idea.

The STEN drill in the 1944 pam for those without the push through cocking handle safety was to cock and hook, then apply mag. The 1942 pam had putting the mag on first and then cocking and hooking (and a note that the gun should not be left mag on bolt forward for any length of time). Cos there's so much that can go wrong there - either Tommy Atkins leaves it in that state and it goes off when jolted, or he slips off the cocking handle when cocking it.

Basically the dangerous state for anything open bolt (which includes GPMG) is if it's in any state where it could legitimately go off without pulling the trigger if something goes wrong (which includes slipping off the cocking handle with numb wet fingers). Which is basically anything other than bolt forward with safety on, or cocked. And that transition from one to the other is the dangerous bit.
 
During the N Rhodesian/ Zambian Lenshina Rebellion '64 a few scant months before the Union Jack was hauled down that October and much toil and trouble brewed up. The leader, Alice Lenshina, a prophetess well schooled in the Church of Scotland doctrine was very much agin local politics and cautioned her numerous followers to refrain from politics --- this was not to the incoming Gov't party who relied heavily on involuntary contributions from Party Card sales. Then the it hit the fan and Party card sellers were duffed up on their card selling visits to the 'bundu' villages and demands for NRP to put a stop to said beastings from villagers who wanted no part of ambitious pollies. Shortly the NRP and their admirable "Mobile Unit" were outnumbered and could not deal with literally a whole province rising up and the whole army, 2 Reg Bns and 2 under-strength TA Bns were called up. Now the citizens could rest easy at night. The Northern Province featured the Great North Road branching from Kapiri Mposhi to Ft Hill on the Tanganyika border ( built to supply HMF in WWI and to later take on Italians in WWII). It is long dusty road with talc-like powdery laterite dust to clog everything including black or white skin everyone was now similarly coloured! In the long convoy of trucks RL's, J5's, some errant Fords and Land Rovers the tail was brought up by a LAD group. As all readers will attest, being Tail-end Charlie is the most boring task allotted to a fighting man especially if you were a veteran of WWII and had driven this route numerous times and even had gongs to show for it. However as the LAD were hardly expected to do much shooting and we'd now run out of Sterlings to issue we did have a fine collection of Sten Mk V's complete with bayonets and handed these out. Our veteran LAD Sgt as co-driver was heartily snoring long and loud as we reached the Zone 300 miles later and as we passed a fairly large village with fields of crops undergoing tender loving care by the residents they immediately ran toward the convoy to express their gratitude and admiration at our speedy arrival within the month. LAD Sgt is now awaking from his WWII dreams and espies hundreds of people armed with jembela kashus (mattocks) waving and ululating joy and charging the convoy. With a flash the venerable Mk V is charged with a full 28 round mag and emptied straight through the RL windscreen at the imaginary 'maliwongos' ( apparently not Italians) everybody ducking as a spray of 9mm is pattering about the tended crops --- but remarkably, no-one hit. The Driver was somewhat annoyed at having to wear goggles for the remainder of the trip as LAD didn't pack replacement windscreens. So, the moral of the tale use a Sterling if you require accuracy!! Small Metal Gun was champ!

My bold, I lost one of my colleagues in that mess, he was speared to death along with one of his constables when investigating a stockaded village.
The guy shown in my riverside scene on the extreme left with no hat or shoes was also involved in the final suppression of that group. He went on to become a barrister here in the UK and we were good friends both in NR & when I moved to London.
Not all guys had the long road trip, some were lucky enough to fly up to Chinsali, like these ...

 

Mufulira

War Hero
My bold, I lost one of my colleagues in that mess, he was speared to death along with one of his constables when investigating a stockaded village.
The guy shown in my riverside scene on the extreme left with no hat or shoes was also involved in the final suppression of that group. He went on to become a barrister here in the UK and we were good friends both in NR & when I moved to London.
Not all guys had the long road trip, some were lucky enough to fly up to Chinsali, like these ...

Your lost colleague "Pink Ball" Smith, NRP Mobile Unit (who hailed from Essex, maybe Colchester? --- a pretty daunting scenario greeted him & his squad when he entered that hostile village --- certainly gave a good account of himself. The stockaded villages sometimes were damnably hard to spot as in some cases the stockade logs had taken root and leaves flourished to screen the construction. The only sign of habitation was sometimes a gunshot or three upon approach , the hi-jacked Government Game Dept rifles .404 Jeffrey were quite distinctive in their loud muzzle blast and ability to penetrate several people if clumped together!
 
Your lost colleague "Pink Ball" Smith, NRP Mobile Unit (who hailed from Essex, maybe Colchester? --- a pretty daunting scenario greeted him & his squad when he entered that hostile village --- certainly gave a good account of himself. The stockaded villages sometimes were damnably hard to spot as in some cases the stockade logs had taken root and leaves flourished to screen the construction. The only sign of habitation was sometimes a gunshot or three upon approach , the hi-jacked Government Game Dept rifles .404 Jeffrey were quite distinctive in their loud muzzle blast and ability to penetrate several people if clumped together!



My bold, yes that was the guy, although I only knew him as Derek Smith, his MU platoon were based at Bancroft for a while when we had a prolonged period of rioting,
There were a few other Inspectors killed & wounded in the Lumpa problems and several African Police and a few NRR men as well.
Spearing was the main cause but pangas, axes, arrows and the odd muzzle loader were also used. Thankfully I was long gone but from what I understand UNIP had been the original cause by attempting to use their normal strong arm tactics to intimidate people who wouldn't become party members. The Lumpas being a fanatical religious cult, paid them back with interest, causing Kaunda, who went on a year or so later to declare a one party state where all opposition was crushed without mercy. Something we have seen all over sub Saharan Africa.
In fact in the early days most Police had some sympathy for the Lumpas but after a while because the police acting on Kaunda's orders began suppressing them, they became seen as the Lumpas enemy as well!
 

Mufulira

War Hero
My bold, yes that was the guy, although I only knew him as Derek Smith, his MU platoon were based at Bancroft for a while when we had a prolonged period of rioting,
There were a few other Inspectors killed & wounded in the Lumpa problems and several African Police and a few NRR men as well.
Spearing was the main cause but pangas, axes, arrows and the odd muzzle loader were also used. Thankfully I was long gone but from what I understand UNIP had been the original cause by attempting to use their normal strong arm tactics to intimidate people who wouldn't become party members. The Lumpas being a fanatical religious cult, paid them back with interest, causing Kaunda, who went on a year or so later to declare a one party state where all opposition was crushed without mercy. Something we have seen all over sub Saharan Africa.
In fact in the early days most Police had some sympathy for the Lumpas but after a while because the police acting on Kaunda's orders began suppressing them, they became seen as the Lumpas enemy as well!
My Company D Coy 3RRR were mainly based at Mulanga Mission, (run by Belgian White Fathers) for several weeks. The grouping of Kimberley Brick houses were reinforced by an encircling stockade to protect the refugees in a sort of cohesive mob. Otherwise we couldn't shield them from attack. The Ambush site where Inspectors Hopwood (WIA) and Jordan (KIA) were attacked was well chosen. The approach was a corduroy track across a 'dambo' (swamp) ending at a grassy low 3m anthill -- the RL driven by Hopwood made it across the track and stopped short of he anthill -- now relatively dry ground. They paused to see if the following J5 with kit, supernumeraries and supplies could safely navigate the corduroy track. As both Insp's were dismounting from the cab of the RL was when the ambush was sprung. Hopwood took a glancing blow on the head from a musket slug and Jordan received several fatal spear thrusts in the back. Both officers now out of the scene so the platoon Sgt immediately opened fire thro' the ports on the Screened cargo deck of the RL with No4's and Greener GP shotguns. The Bren Gunner across the entrance to the 'dambo' delivered several bursts to dissuade any further attacks in the open. With the platoon dispersed across a few hundred metres of exposed track the Sgt gathered his men and fought a retreat back to the J5 and laid down covering fire. We picked up bits of uniform and ctg cases aplenty to speculate what occurred. The ambush party approached the site from an unseen way so nothing indicated any tracks thro' long grass etc. The departure from that site looked as if a tornado had passed as grass was flattened down in the now urgent flight from the scene. The Pl Sgt acted in a very cool, calm, collected manner and saved his men any further harm plus rescued his Officers. It later was found that Jordan was speared by a mere youngster, mid teens, Hopwood recovered from his wound. It was significant to learn that there was a fair number of teen age ( now called Minors and not subject to full penalties) who took up arms and some where shot by return fire. It was not a great Pre-Independence year was 1964! NRP did sterling work and many were not recipients of any gratitude or due recognition. 'Twas ever thus.l
 

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