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10FM68

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  1. I agree - one thing which caught my eye was the number of Centurions maintained in war stocks as late as they were. I wonder when they finally went. I'm always interested in lists of equipment held. When I was in the Sappers in about 1982, among the ubiquitous Mk 1 Millies we had a single Leyland Martian GS. No idea why, we just did. It wasn't particularly reliable and wasn't used a great deal - I think it towed the servicing trailer, but as that was always VOR (usually lacking a test certificate for the compressor tank - because other bits missing precluded its being sent for testing), it didn't get out much. As I recall, the servicing trailer was the only piece of kit in the troop which never worked while I was there (closely followed by the Mk5 Coles cranes which spent so long going through the REME system having the safe load indicator certified that it came out of 37 Rhine Workshops was it(?) and went straight back in again!) The Hydra Husky could be a bit of a pain for the same reason - and they added a boom extension sensor for checking as well! After that the least reliable was the LMD. Muir Hills were generally pretty good as were the Allises - which were also more popular than the Terex. The Barford was also thought more highly of than the Haulamatic with its heated rear loadbed which precluded stowing a lot of stuff in it for deployments. Hey ho - happy days!
  2. Great find, Bryan. Thanks for the link. Fascinating - like you found old units - a number of them actually! But, my goodness, where did it all go? Seemed so solid at the time and that it would last forever.
  3. Nope! Still 3' for the pick helve and 2'4" and 9" for the shovel GS - within the tolerances of different batches and manufacturers, of course. The "RE" in Shovel RE, stands for "Round Edge". It has often been claimed that it stands for "Royal Engineers", but it doesn't, although they are the main user - the shovel GS being the all-arms shovel.
  4. Bringing the list further up to date: the Hillman Husky was replaced by the Morris Traveller and that, in turn by the Ford Escort estate, then the Vauxhall Chevette estate. The Ford Zephyrs were replaced by the Austin 1800 "landcrab", then the Hillman Hunter, the Ford Cortina, the Vauxhall Cavalier and the Austin Montego. After that the "white fleet" was introduced with vehicles being leased from civilian contractors. In Germany, some of these appeared in LHD form, but there were also Opels in place of Vauxhalls and, if memory serves, there were Ford Taunuses in place of the Cortinas. The change-over from gloss dark green to black occurred after the Austin 1800s - so the Hunters onwards were black. Minis also changed from green to black - they lasted quite a long time in the inventory. I am sure I will have missed out others and I can't remember what came after the Montegos. 10 68
  5. How nice to see that one still exists. I can't remember much about them now, except that the minetrain was an impressive sight - the minelayer behind a 4 tonner being towed by a Caterpillar D6 Medium Crawler Tractor. (The drawbar had a sheer pin in case the plough hit something solid enough to risk damaging the towing vehicle). If the mines were being surface laid - ie without using the plough, then the D6 could be dispensed with. If I remember correctly the fuse left the factory as DI, or double impulse, meaning that it required to be driven over twice to detonate. If single-impulse fuses were required - ie so that they would detonate after a single pressure (under the middle of a wheeled vehicle say) then the first pressure had to be taken up in , I think it was called a "cracker" - a cup held the fuse while a weight was drawn onto it manually with a long handle - rather like a large garlic press. Not a pleasant job for the man doing it! There was also a "tilt fuse" for the Mk 7 AT mine which included a long rod designed to detonate the mine if it was missed by the tracks of an approaching enemy tank by being brushed and snapped against the tank's belly plate. The great advance with the barmine as far as exercises was concerned was that the exercise mines were made of sand-filled cardboard so, once laid, could remain in place, whereas the training mines for the Mk7 were made of concrete and had to be lifted once the exercise was completed. 10 68
  6. A brilliant find, thanks for posting. Reminds me of the Matadors towing 40mm Bofors AA guns which I used to see on Salisbury Plain as a boy in the 60s. But the oldest piece of military equipment still in service I came across would have been the RE movement light squadron's searchlight generators used for the RE musical extravaganza at Minley Manor in 1979 or 1980. They had been built by Listers of Dursley in 1937. Their canvases still bore the faded outline of their wartime "Mickey Mouse ear" camouflage. But, wartime vehicles did look good in gloss DBG paint! 10 68
  7. It looks to me as though, at the time the second picture was taken, the number 9 on a red square, arm-of-service sign indicated the King's Regiment. They were in Wavell Barracks, Berlin, 1962 - 64 which seems to fit. The transfer on the Munga is their regimental badge - the Lance Corporal with the SMG and binoculars is wearing the Lancastrian Brigade badge, which would also be correct for that period.
  8. Christmas for the troops in NI should be pretty well documented. The best place to look would be "Visor" which was the monthly Op Banner magazine. It covered most of the off-duty aspects of soldiering in the province, particularly Christmas.
  9. Pleased you solved the problem. I've just bought a 04 Tdi - I'd forgotten how nice they are to drive. Thoroughly enjoying fiddling with it!
  10. I'm not sure why you think it belongs to the RAF as the trailer markings show it to belong to one of the three (a 7, an 8 and a 9 on a red square arm of service sign) infantry battalions of the Berlin Infantry Brigade. I don't think the weapons are being transported - it is more likely that they have simply been left in the trailer while the associated soldiers are doing something without them. One soldier has been left to guard them (wearing a 1960-pattern plain green combat jacket with a regimental lanyard on the left shoulder). The fact that the rifles have magazines still attached suggest that they are certainly not loaded - as they haven't been "cleared" prior to being put down. At the same time the soldiers' early pattern kidney pouches, (with the white label and no additional straps for holding them close to the yoke) and "bum rolls" have been taken off and also dumped in the trailer, leaving the troops, presumably, in "skeleton order" of ammo pouches, yoke and water bottle. Of interest are the helmets which don't look British - they appear to be deeper and more rounded - more like French ones and the rivet close to the front edge of the brim and the high gloss finish also suggest foreign. 10 68
  11. Many thanks, Fascinating reading. 10 68
  12. Don't quite know how I missed this thread, so sorry about the delay in contributing. 26 Engineer Regiment received Spartans to replace its Ferrets in 1981, or possibly early 1982. At that time the field squadrons were 5, 25 and 30 while 2 Sqn had become the field support squadron with Bridge Troop and Plant Troop - it was no longer armoured - but the G1098 still retained many of the armoured bits and pieces - the pixie suits and armoured pattern steel helmets for example. Anyway... As I recall, at that time the Spartans were allocated three per troop - one for the troop commander one for the troop staff sergeant and the third for the troop recce sergeant. I could be wrong about the troop staff sergeant - he may have had an FV432, in which case, the allocation was only two per troop - it was a long time ago. The sections, of course, retained their FV432s. All the Ferrets were parked, unused, at the back of the tank park (along with the rotting flotation screens which had been removed from all the FV432s) prior to being sorted out for backloading. 25 Fd Sqn had a rather dynamic OC, so for the first major exercise (Eternal Triangle, perhaps?) after receiving the Spartans, he ordered that the squadron would also take all its Ferrets on exercise with it as well. Of course, the Spartans soon began to appear beside the road with little yellow flags flying waiting for the arrival of the LAD (ie they had broken down) so the troop "management" were able to take over their Ferrets again and retain their independence of movement. Had they not had their Ferrets with them, their troop leadership would have had, like the other squadrons, to hitch lifts everywhere with the section 432s. Not an easy way to run a troop which constantly requires the troop management to be in different places from the sections. As the unit got more familiar with them and the vehicles were run-in, so the Spartans' reliability improved, but, when they first arrived it was shocking. Reliability, though, with complicated bits of machinery always improved the more it was used. In units with both Ferrets, for example, and Land Rovers, it was all too common to use the Land Rovers for all the domestic travel and the Ferrets would, therefore, sit on the tank park until they were required on exercise when their oil seals would fail after very few miles. If, however, they were run regularly, even when this was inconvenient, they were much better. There were problems after the winter of 1980 in BAOR when there was a moratorium on the use of fuel - once it was eased and vehicles could be used again, so many of them blew seals and hydraulic hoses, which was hugely frustrating. With tracked vehicles it was always a problem as the track-mileage was restricted anyway. This, of course, didn't apply to Ferrets, so they could be used relatively freely for "running about in" - provided you were prepared to go as a pair - you needed a driver and a commander - and were prepared to get wet and cold in inclement weather! There's nothing like a Ferret driver's lap for collecting rain water! 10 68
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