Change is Glacial

I know there’s a few of you out there also in the services in the UK and if you’re here you’re likely interested to some extent in military history, training, equipment, small arms etc etc. If you check those boxes (or even if you don’t) I really can’t recommend Britishmuzzleloaders highly enough, he’s right up there with Forgotten Weapons as far as YouTube channels go in my opinion.

Watching some recent videos on BML combined with what I’ve seen/heard/been taught during my time in has been a serious eye opener with regards a lot of things. I’ve talked a bit about targetry used in the British military now vs in WW1 in my earlier blog post covering the UK NRA Armistice Centenary rifle match. Some other discoveries in the last few months include:

-The flannelette used on the GPMG today is literally the exact same stuff that guys were pulling through their No4 rifles with back in WW2 (almost the exact same calibre barrels of course), maybe even earlier with the No1 SMLE. How nothing better than flannelette has been adopted in to service in this long I cannot imagine.

-The ACMT as we currently shoot it with the L85A2 is really, really similar in many respects to the equivalent rifle marksmanship test that was brought in during 1943. The ranges have gone from mostly 200 and 300 down to 100 and 200, but most combat distances historically have been 200 and closer. They even had specific Close Quarters drills back then with accompanying marksmanship tests, same as we do now.

-Ever wonder what the deal was with the L86 LSW in general? Obviously it’s out now and though it saw a little bit of usage when first adopted it was very quickly supplanted by the Minimi and sat in armoury racks collecting dust for most of its’ time in service. Well the infantry section of WW2 was absolutely built around the section Bren gun and BML has gone over this in conjunction with Bloke on the Range. There was a man in the section back then dedicated to running around the rest of the lads grabbing the extra Bren mags that they all were meant to carry by default; at least where logistics actually allowed.

Just this week on a course I was told the standard doctrinal fighting load has apparently been reduced from 6 down to 4 mags (+ bandoleer) because the extra 2 mags were (by the book) meant to be for the LSW gunner, not that ops have really happened that way for a long time. That system made no sense of course because while there was a real difference in firepower between a No4 and Bren, there is not such difference between an L85 and L86. Supposedly the number of L129s in service is going up and their use is meant to be more common now, but I’d have to ask the the infanteer types out there who’re at the coal face to confirm what’s really going on in that regard.

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