war stories - dangerous

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Chickens

I once met an officer who could not visit the frozen foods section of supermarkets without swearing under his breath. This is his story. One very cold winters day a group of soldiers were organising an airlift of food to a group of islands in the far north of Scotland. This was done by throwing pallets of food out of the back of cargo aircraft. Unfortunately one of the pallets slid across the ice and hit one of the soldiers, shattering his arm. His arm was so badly damaged that, although he wasn't invalided out of the Army it certainly put paid to any chance of reaching the giddy heights of promotion. He is the only person I've ever met whose career was wrecked because of a bunch of frozen chickens.

Meeting People

I think everyone has heard the joke, 'Join the Army, meet interesting people, kill them'. I've met some very interesting people during my time, both in and out of uniform. One day I met more people than I really wanted to. The week before I had gotten my first promotion. The stripe still stood bright and new on my uniform, today though things were not going well. I had made a serious error of judgement and to make matters worse I had been found out by another unit. The first thing that happened was that I was picked up by land rover and marched to the unit's Sergeant Major. He said some very hurtful things to me, and didn't bother to let me stand at ease. From him I was marched to see the unit's Commanding Officer. He to had some unkind words to say to me, and neither did he let me relax from attention. From there it was off to the Training Area Commandant, well you can guess what happened and I certainly wasn't invited to stay for tea and biscuits. From him I was taken back to my own unit, where I had to find my own Sergeant Major and explain to him what had happened. He thought it was hilarious, NOT and I got another ear bending, still no tea and biscuits though. From him I was marched off to see my own CO, who by this time had received a few phone calls. Well I thought at least I can say I was a Lance Bombardier for a week or so, fully expecting to lose my stripe. It was quite a relief to be be put on orders - the equivilent of a suspended sentence - with no loss of pay or privileges. Amongst other things I was told I wasn't the first soldier and certainly wouldn't be the last do what I did, and that I should consider myself very lucky to be alive. What had I done wrong? I'd misread a range map and driven across an Artillery impact area whilst live firing was in progress!

FIBUA

FIBUA - fighting in built up areas, a particularly dangerous type of warfare and, even in training fraught with danger and injury. This is the sort of fighting that is very unpredictable. Every room you search gets a grenade thrown into it before you go in and just to make sure you go in firing. If a building is occupied then why bother going through the defended doors or windows when you can blow a hole through a wall or even fight your way down through the roof? On one exercise we attempted going through the roof, it was going quite well until someone fell off and he ended up going down the cellar steps. One building we came to had been surrounded by booby traps, I stepped on a log that when it moved didn't feel right. I threw myself to the ground and the guy behind me got a sandbag full of rocks in the back of the head. Another building had been surrounded by a double row of six foot high razor wire barricades. Although we'd been trained to get over obstacles like this someone still managed to fall into it. At another house someone threw a bunch of pyrotechnics at us, I got myself caught in a load of barbed wire and a small bush trying to get away and got my uniform singed.

Then it was our turn to defend the group of buildings. Whilst in a first floor room someone threw a pyrotechnic into it and I ran into the next room just in time to see another come sailing in through a window and explode a couple of feet in front of my face. After I was able to see and hear properly I went downstairs. As I poked my rifle out through the window someone who was hiding just below grabbed it by the flash eliminator and pulled. As my rifle went forward my finger went back on the trigger, because this guy had his hand round the eliminator, where most of the hot gasses are ejected from the barrel, he very rapidly let go.

All in all it was a very exciting couple of hours, and there were only a dozen or so people in hospital!

Cordite

Cordite is the very fast burning substance that the artillery use to propel it's shells. To reach any given range differing amounts of cordite are needed. If you're firing at targets that are fairly close then at the end of the day you end up with a pile of unused cordite. Regulations say that this extra should be disposed of by burning. For some reason one artillery unit didn't and decided to bury it instead. A while later two APCs (amoured personnel carriers) turned up and as things were quiet the crews decided to have a cigarette. Unfortunately whoever buried the cordite hadn't bothered burying it that deep and pretty soon there was a spectacular fire. When it finally burnt itself out the APCs were reduced to a couple of smouldering ruins.

War Stories | War Pics 1 | War Pics 2 | Recruits 1 | Recruits 2 | Dumps | Exercise 1 | Exercise 2 | Exercise 3 | Exercise 4 | Vehicles | NBC | Danger UXB | Dangerous | By Air and by Sea

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