war stories - UXB

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Mortar Bombs

One day, shortly after my basic training we were on a firing range, a NCO decided he'd take some of us into the 'Danger Area'. When we got there we found a couple of half buried unexploded mortar shells. The NCO thought they'd make a nice momento so tried to pull them out of the ground. While he was tugging on the shells the rest of us quietly slipped away. A couple of minutes later the NCO finally decided what we had already figured out - that what he was doing was far too dangerous.

Shell

Another time, I was driving a land rover and stopped at the edge of one of the training areas. As we got out I realised that one of the wheels was perched on top of a half buried unexploded artillery shell - oops.

Fire

It had been a long hot day, we'd been firing into the target area since early morning and now darkness was falling. Time to start illuminating the area with starshells. Sure enough within a couple of hours the whole area was ablaze. How come these areas are far too dangerous to let any old Tom, Dick or Harry go through, but it's alright for us to go in there and fight fires?

Starlight

The type of shells we used to illuminate an area produces several thousand lumens of light. One evening we were firing these when there was a misfire. The shell, instead of hurtling into the sky at the speed of sound described a short arc and fell about twelve feet in front of the position. Goodbye to our night vision for a couple of hours. Good thing it wasn't a High Explosive round or it would have just been Goodbye.

Grenade

The first time I ever threw a grenade, I'm sorry to say I made a hash of it. The idea was to throw it as hard as you could over a 6ft wall. For some reason I didn't throw it hard enough and it hit the top of the wall where it stayed, spinning. I remember thinking "Oops" when it made up it's mind about which side of the wall it wanted to be and quietly disappeared on the other side before it exploded. All that happened to me was I got my ears burned by the instructor for trying to blow up his nice beautiful wall, I wonder what he would have said if my nice beautiful body had ended up with more holes in than it was designed to have?

By the way, only very stupid people with a death wish go around with grenades attached to the outside of their uniforms (imagine catching the loop of the pin on a branch), also if the pin is in loose enough to pull out with your teeth, it's loose enough to come out on its own in your pocket. Don't believe all you see in the films!

Danger Close

It's alright chucking these things around around, but what's it like being on the receiving end? Well the Army likes to give you a taste of what it's like. You enter a big reinforced concrete building. The building has windows about 3 inches square and 3ft thick. Bolted to the outside of the building is a layer of wooden railway sleepers. The ends and roof of the building are protected by several tons of earth. In front of the building are placed the targets, dummies and old armoured vehicles. One inside they fire artillery shells at the targets. Even though you're well protected the noise is deafening, looking through the tiny windows you can see shrapnel melting it's way through the glass, railway sleepers being blasted from the walls and 20 ton vehicles thrown through the air and ripped apart.

End of Course

At the end of one of the courses I went on the following closing address was made to those of us who had passed :-

"Well done gentlemen, you are now qualified to send red hot pieces of metal travelling at twice the speed of sound into our enemies' warm throbbing flesh . . .". Great eh?

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

HomePage | Optical Illusions | War Stories | QBasic | Dads Navy Days | Bristol | Bristol, USA | Bristol, Canada | Terre Haute | Miscellany | Web Stuff | About Ray | Site Map | Site Search | Messages | Credits | Links | Web Rings