Sunday, 2 March 2008

Heavy firepower?

Another week, another pile of steaming drivel from our local press.

I do not have a link to any of the articles, but at least two papers this week said that our diggers in Afghanistan have been using their heaviest firepower yet - some 81mm mortars.

Heavy firepower - pffft!

When I was a chocko, we had a couple of these in our Regiment, and they were assigned to the support platoon, which got all the heavy stuff like the mortars and the anti-tank weapons. It was heavy in the sense that if you had to carry it, it weighed a tonne. But it was "man portable", which essentially means some poor bastard trudging along with a big lump of stuff being carried in the least uncomfortable manner.

There was no comfortable way to carry it - it was simply a matter of lugging it in a manner which hurt the least.

We never really got to use the mortars, the excuse being that we did not have enough grunts to properly fill out our infantry companies, so there was no point in having a support platoon as well.

I think the real reason is because that Fat Bastard Beasley was Defence Fuckup at the time, and we didn't have any money for shooting off training rounds, let alone the real thing.

Anyway, I would not be describing them as a heavy weapon. Big arsed artillery of the 155mm range? Yes, that's heavy. 500lb or 1000lb bombs? That's heavy. An 81mm mortar is just a grenade launcher that packs a bit more punch and shoots a bit further.

I wonder if there is a single working journalist in this country today who has ever had any connection, however, tenuous, with the military.

Doubt it.

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