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Advice from an old guy

Discussion in 'Introductions & Welcome to the Royal Marines Site' started by wyomingpat, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. wyomingpat

    wyomingpat New Member

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    I am now 70 years old. I now live in the USA. I joined in 1970 as a very fit individual. I was running 10 miles a day and gym training. I am now 70 and recovering from failed knee surgery in 2016 and I am getting core fit for hunting next year. I have a 30lb pack and walk 3 miles per day working up to 10 miles in 3 months I hope. I am a certified firearm instructor.

    Joining RM at Deal in April 1970. Moving on to CTCRM with great reports I was recommended by Troop Sgt I apply for officer training. I turned that down. 9 miler was a piece of cake as were 30 foot ropes etc. As I moved on I was getting foot trouble. Our boots were DMS boots (30 shillings a pair I am told). No steel shank and not water proof. I bought a pair of ex USPara boots which helped me out greatly. After 1 week I was caught and fined 10 quid as they were not issue. Eventually withdrawn from training and sent for X-Rays. Turns out I have flat feet and deemed unfit for the 30 miler. I was medically discharged in mid 1971. Now moving on some 10 years I wore those same boots to compete in a pennine mountain 24 mile challenge with a light pack. I completed in under 5 hours wearing those Para boots. I have always regretted not making the grade but convinced I could have done. Turns out DMS boots did for many in the Falklands.
    Still a Bootneck in spirit.
    Moral of the story is you have to work smarter to get through. Good gear though helps greatly.
     
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  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    Welcome to the Potential Royal Marines Commando Forum @wyomingpat, good to have you with us.

    Your story demonstrates clearly that even after 48+ years, your time in the Corps, had a profound influence on your adventurous life, even beyond the bitter disappointment of being deprived the final single element of Royal Marines Commando Training, attributed to poor kit.

    It certainly brings home the importance of having the right kit for the job. I remember hearing that recruits in the 1960:s and 70's had a common injury, which peculiarly predominantly affected the left lower leg, so the story goes. Whether true, I know not, but this was eventually attributed to running on cambered roadways on the left side which supposedly caused uneven impact injuries.

    Nowadays, fortunately orthotic insoles are allowed and the boots far better designed, lighter, waterproof and more yielding, as well as supportive. Sadly, it took the lessons learned in combat to effect change, even though every serviceman already knew the problems caused by inadequate kit.

    As a matter of interest, were you awarded a War Pension or Disability Pension upon discharge or was it attributed to a natural, pre-existing foot abnormality?
     
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  3. wyomingpat

    wyomingpat New Member

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    I got a small lump sum if I remember, maybe £500. I was ashamed I did not make it but in 1978 we moved to Todmorden, West Yorks. My Neighbour we made great friends with was Col.Sgt. Bob Rawlinson RM veteran on Malaysia and Limbaugh 1962. He persuaded me otherwise. He died 2 years ago.

    Re the kit in 1970 - DMS boots had only just been introduced I believe. They were disposable boots. Instructors had better traditional boots with Vibram soles. Most guys went out with knee problems. The webbing/pack/pouches when wet could absorb 20lbs of water (we checked it). Then it would rub huge blisters. In 1982 I was in Blacks of Manchester and it was full of soldiers buying kit before Falklands as they said the issue kit was crap. I had been snow and ice climbing for a few years in Gortex, Helly Hansen etc.

    Dont forget the L1A1 FN FAL weighed 10lbs or so. I was just shooting an Austrian issue version on Sunday and this was heavier having a metal fore end and folding bipod.
    Anything that makes a soldier warmer, drier, better fed, makes them more effective. Apart from the SA80 rifle, the gear is astronomically better. *text deleted* DSARMS.COM make a L1A1 using modern materials. Lighter and still a superior rifle to SA80, M16 and most else.

    Thanks for the note. Much appreciated.
     
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  4. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Metric FAL by any chance?

    Some folk get very misty-eyed about the L1A1. Someone posted a spoof on another forum suggesting that as the bronze from which Victoria Crosses are made is in short supply a decision had been made to make them from melted down SLRs. :)
     
  5. Corona

    Corona Member

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    The internet couldn't find an answer, but are they still made from the cannon captured at Sebastopol? And is there a plan in place for when that bronze runs out?(other than capture some more)
     
  6. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    You'd have to ask someone who was there. :) Even I'm not that old! As for a plan, let's hope that it's better than the BREXIT one.

    But seriously, it's an interesting question. I vaguely remember it being asked by someone on TV's Magpie show in 1970.
    Magpie was the much cooler version of BBC's Blue Peter.

    I've always assumed that the bronze was from the barrels of the guns but bronze-barrelled guns seem a bit extravagant when cast iron did the same job. Pondering if the bronze was from the locks and firing actions which would explain the small quantity of material.
     
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  7. Illustrious

    Illustrious Royal Marines Commando - Moderator

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    Calling @Ninja_Stoker :D
     
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  8. Corona

    Corona Member

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    Understandably many doubt the credibility of Wikipedia, but it may be of help understanding here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Sevastopol_(1854–1855)#Fate_of_Sevastopol_cannon

    Interestingly, what is said after the bold is in great contrast to what information is supplied by this website: https://www.hancocks-london.com/the-victoria-cross/

    The bronze from which all Victoria Crosses are made is supplied by the Central Ordnance Depot in Donnington. This metal is cut from cannons captured from the Russians at Sebastopol during the Crimean War. When more Crosses are required Hancocks requests a supply of metal and this is then delivered to them by COD Donnington.
     
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  9. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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  10. Caversham

    Caversham Former RM Commando, Moderator

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    Not only did the enemy drop when hit, they went down 6ft from where they were originally hit and stayed down.

    Alan
     
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  11. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    So I hear. The lighter round of the 5.56 apparently has far less stopping power than the 7.62 - to the extent more are needed to achieve the same goal, so a completely false premise with regard weight of ammunition carried.

    The story I was told was the 5.56 was designed to maim rather than kill as one person injured = 4 stretcher bearers and lowers morale for longer. In hindsight, I decided that was utter nonsense.
     
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  12. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    The image has been posted elsewhere on this forum but this cover of a Commando Comic clearly illustrates how an L1A1 (peace be upon it) is capable of shooting down an Argentine chopper even when the weapon is pointed 180° off aim. :)

    commando_comics.jpg

    Oddly enough, I occasionally bump into old farts who insist that marksmanship and rifle drill died when the .303 Lee Enfield was replaced by the L1A1 in the 1950s. Some people just can't be pleased. :(
     
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  13. TheRents

    TheRents Active Member

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    Yep that is still the line being given!
     
  14. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    The flaw being an injured combatant can still use lethal force, hence the introduction of the C8 Carbine.

    Another example of inadequate kit, I wonder?
     
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  15. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    From my armchair it's a fascinating topic. So often the adoption of both calibre and weapon system are more about economics and politics than about the weapon system being fit for its strategic purpose in diverse environments.
     
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  16. wyomingpat

    wyomingpat New Member

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    Yes the Austrian one was. The DSArms version was originally made on the equipment purchased from Portugal but I guess that has been upgraded/replaced by now. It is a genuine FAL but with modern materials so is lighter and they make versions that can compete with any AR10 you may find.
     
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  17. JWJ

    JWJ Active Member

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    It’s quite interesting, a lot of people across the pond feel the 5.56 has greater maiming effects on the enemy, as the round doesn’t fly straight through and instead tumbles and fragments inside.

    You can also consider the ballistics involved, a 5.56 round will fly with less drop.

    There is a lot to talk of moving to a intermediate cartridge like a 6.5mm round to try to have the best of both worlds
     
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  18. wyomingpat

    wyomingpat New Member

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    6.5 Creedmore has become very popular but the 7.62 standard bullet weight here for military is 175grains. I think ours were in 1971, 168 Grain. I run with 168 Grain boat tail in my precision rifle and load my own. Shoots great at 1000yds and sniper shots of 1300yds have been successful by US Army. 5.56 was not enough in Afghanistan for example when the USMC called for M14s to be sent out due to range and hitting power.
     
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  19. PPLLOOFF

    PPLLOOFF New Member

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    As far as I'm aware there were 3 main reasons. The tumbling would cause guaranteed serious internal injuries if it hits centre mass, better penetration of body armour, massive weight reduction.

    As early as the late 60's and throughout the early SA-80 project we were trying to use an even smaller round, 4.85x49mm.

    The .280 British ( what the FAL was originally designed to use) was "improved" by the Americans into 7.62. Unfortunately it was then seen as far too powerful to be used in automatic fire. This also killed the EM-2 project as it couldn't be easily modified. Thus we got the FAL that was originally designed to use the round we were already using but more easily modified to use the 7.62. :confused:

    I find all this stuff far too interesting and it can take you down some serious rabbit holes. 90% political and 10% science.
     
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  20. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Some old fuddsters on this forum took part in the evaluation of 4.85 x 49mm round in the 1970s. :(
    Here's a comparison visual I knocked up and posted in a similar topic thread about five years ago.

    Copy of DSCN1572.jpg
     
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