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NCS, I was thinking of the Keep Museum, Dorchester (http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/), not the one at Devises. It covers the 11th, 39th and 54th Foot as well as mentioning “colours and guidons”, unlike most.
Thanks for the heads up, though.
Thanks for the suggestions.I’ve already got a few suggestions scheduled, but there’s a few more I can pencil in. A night in Dorchester will let me cover Bovington, The Keep and FAA Museum, by the looks of the map.
yourpace, I sent the Manchester’s museum an email and they replied that it should be open in July-August. However I’ll keep tabs on it and see if that’s just a fobbing off.
If only I had another month there. Perhaps next year.
My name’s my user name, so that’s taken care of. Also known as “Spanner” many years ago. I’ve been gaming since I was 13, starting with Airfix figures and Charles Grant rules. Now, too many years later, I mainly use 15mm/18mm for ancients and the mid-18th century (Grant’s rules again). But also have some 28mm stuff for Saga, Napoleonic and SYW skirmish, Wings of War/Wings of Glory WWI and Perry’s excellent Wars of the Roses figures. There’s even some 1/300 WWII, though they haven’t had a run in 10+ years, and some /2400 ironclads. I will have a go at anything, though, and we have a small group in the Canberra area that has played everything from Dark Ages to 1970’s on land, sea and air games.
Then there’s board wargames, though I haven’t played any in years.
Background- Aussie, 24 years in the Army (vast majority in the ARA) as an infantryman then an electronics technician with RAEME. Since retiring from the ARA I’ve tended to stay in the Defence world (aka “The Black Hole” or the “Purple People Eater”), either as a technician or as a technical writer. Failed my first try at retiring (I’m ashamed to say I’m not as lazy as I hoped), so I’m back as a contracted technical writer.
G’day, John, and thanks for the welcome.
Agreed, us old blokes and our memories can be a bore. But in this case it’s something I did for 8 years, so there’s hopefully some relevance (fading memory accepted, hopefully. 🙂 I’ll try to keep this shorter.
It’s not really possible, as I pointed out to grizzlymc, to make direct comparisons between the 1 ATF and Malaya data, given the different circumstances under which they were collected.
Australian battalions were in Malaya and Borneo as well, mate, and indeed we had a reinforced rifle company at Butterworth, doing what is officially described as training, up until Chin Peng surrendered in ’89. There’s still a company there, but now that can be drawn from any arms corps unit or even conglomerated sub-units, from the ARes and ARA and their sole role is training with the Malaysians and Thais.
I don’t know if there have been any studies done that compare the fire effectiveness in each area or not. When I get back to work I’ll see if there’s anything I can find, and post, if you’re interested?
I am sure (and Bob Hall’s article mentions this) that a lot of the apparently high expenditure of ammunition from 1 ATF was due to what the South Africans call “drake shooting”, that is, shooting into areas of the jungle where there was good reason to believe the enemy to be.
That’s possible. It was actually taught as a method of measuring the enemy’s frontage in really close country or bunker systems, the idea being to fire a few rounds rapid and see if there was a response. It was a last resort, though, when eyeballing the position was impractical. Personally I think the use of deliberate ambushes as a primary tactic (each member puts a full mag/belt into the killing ground at rapid on initiation, usually by claymores, and follow up with another at any muzzle flashes from the ground or the flanks), and the tactic of “swamping” bunkers (or even suspected bunkers) to try to suppress them, may have been been more likely- they were definitely more common based on my training and “educational war stories” from various instructors.
At the time, in British service, there was no difference at all between the doctrinal rates of fire for the LMG and the GPMG in the light role.
Much the same here. While the 60’s were sidelined we used the Bren as the section gun, but the need to refill magazines limited the rate of fire. With the 60 we carried seven to 10 belts, but we were lucky to have 500 rounds for the Brens, and rarely more than 15 mag’s to put them in ( at the start we’d be lucky to have six or seven).
They fired the same bullet, and I thought at the same muzzle velocity, although “Jane’s Infantry Weapons” for 1975 credits the GPMG with an edge of 50 ft/s (15 m/s), and a barrel longer by an eighth of an inch (3.2mm).
I think I remember having a memory, once. Taught MV for the SLR and the M-60 I think was the same- 1760fps- but I can’t remember the Bren (or MG-58).
MAG-58 BZ data.
Thank you, mate! I had a look but couldn’t find the data. The BZ on the MAG-58 made it very, very good SFMG weapon, though we only used it out to 2400m I think. They used to do an GPMG demo’ at Singleton, when George Mansford was the CI of the DFS Wing (or whatever it was called then) in the mid-late 70’s. There were about 30 figure 11 targets, tactically spaced, with a couple of balloons taped to each one and a section of two SFMG would each fire 300 rounds sustained from 2 km away (one gun fires it’s burst and then the next fires its, so there’s constant rounds on target). The balloons and the ground strikes gave a good indication of the beaten zone and what it meant. The demo’ also included the effects of grazing fire, plunging fire, etc, on different target groups on different terrain, from guns on bipods. I hope they still do something similar.
Cheers and all the best for Xmas and the new year, mate.
Happy Friday, Gents.
Dal, I believe you are an aussie. I wasn’t aware that we used the 7.62 Bren after Vietnam, did we not have enough M60s?
Yes, mate, I’m Aussie. The L4A4 was issued to non-combat arms units, I think, with 60’s going to arms corps units. And support units, such as Base Workshops and Supply Battalions only got L1A2 AR’s, not even the Bren.
In the early to mid 80’s all the M-60’s were withdrawn as well. The operating rods were badly enough worn that guns would run away if you just took the safety off. The MAG-58 was “coming in” (as usual, late) so some idiot staff officer had probably decided not to buy spares. As a result, at least in 6TF (now 7BDE), we got L4A4’s instead. We had M-60’s back by mid ’80 in 8/9, but even in 2/4 admin company, BN HQ and int section still had Brens until the MAG-58’s finally started to show up. Some CMF battalions probably kept Brens unto the MAG-58’s came in- 51 RQR (before it became FNQR) still had them in late ’82, when we supplied a couple of instructors for their subject courses.
Also in ’81 Barry Caligary was CO 1 RAR and he introduced L4A4’s as the No 2 rifleman’s weapon, to give the rifle group some automatic capability. It didn’t work that well, from what my mates in 1 were saying.
We had issues with our version, the M-240G, with the chamber swelling and making it very difficult to change barrels. More than once I had to stand up and present my backside to the enemy in order to grab the barrel release and kick the muzzle in order to free it.
Blow that for a game of soldiers, mate! Most stoppages are bad enough, but having to play silly games to get the barrel out is going a bit far. I hadn’t heard of that one, but I didn’t have much to do with the MAG-58- just enough to miss the ’60. The MAG-58 came in, in late ’82 or so, and I had to leave infantry in ’83.
Did they solve that problem?
John, having used the M-60 and L4A4 Bren (and the MAG-58), the discrepancies you noted are more about the design philosophy of the weapons than anything else.
The M-60 was a General Purpose Machine Gun. It was designed to maximise dangerous space and to create a useful Beaten Zone (BZ) at normal engagement ranges, ie out to 600m. So with the sights set at 600m the culminating point (ie highest point) of the round was 1.2 m and the beaten zone was 1m X 67 m. Being belt fed, at a sustained RoF (200 rdpm bursts of 20 rounds) was feasible and that allowed the formation of the BZ. At the section/squad level the gun was used to either put suppressing fire on the enemy or, when in a defensive position engaging the enemy using fixed lines or limits, so as to maximise the dangerous space and therefore number of casualties.
The Bren was a Light Machine Gun. It was a magazine fed weapon (30 rounds per mag’) that was unable to provide sustained fire for very long. By the book we carried 10 mag’s, but 15 to 20 in real life (getting extra mag’s was getting difficult by 1980) and they got used up quickly. Once they were empty it meant reloading the mag’s- not something you want to do when in contact, so the No 1 was constantly getting slapped on the head and told to keep the bursts down below 10 rounds. The Bren was designed to suppress the enemy as well, by putting concentrated and accurate burst fire onto a specific location. The stat’s speak for themselves- the culminating point was about the same as the M-60 at 1.1m (from memory- it may have been 1.3) but the beaten zone was 0.5m by 93m (again from memory- if someone has different data I’ll be glad to be corrected) and took about a full mag to get a BZ to form. Great for putting bursts into slits or embrasures, or enemy LMG pits, less good for for interlocking arcs or firing on fixed limits.
The VN veterans in the battalion (and in ’75 there were a lot of them, about 30% of the battalion) also made the point that after Claymores “the gun”- an M-60 from 1965 to when the last blokes left in 1973- was the main killer in ambushes (if it was well sited- if it wasn’t it still made some useful noise). The SLR’s and Owen/M-16 (which replaced the Owen in ’67) were best used for double tapping when clearing the killing zone. So while the M-60 may have taken more rounds to cause a casualty, it was also causing more casualties than the other weapons combined.
IMHO we took a step backward going to the MAG-58m (less well balanced- so you needed a sling to patrol with it, no forehand guard to protect left hand and fingers from a hot gas chamber and a pain to keep clean) at section level, although the MAG-58 was a much better sustained fire (ie tripod mounted) GPMG.