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Thread: Small arms

  1. #1
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    Default Small arms

    I believe both the British military, and the Argentines, used similar rifles of Belgian FN origin. I know the Brits SLR-1(?) was semi-auto, and had a longer barrel and was used in conjunction with the Sterling SMG. I also know that at that time, they used small numbers of Armalite/Colt M-16A1s in some units such as the Gurkhas.

    The Argentines issued a more conventional FN FAL rifle which was very similar except for a shorter barrel and it may have been full auto capable. I was wondering if they also issued a SMG to supplement the rifle with close range fire-power?

    I was also wondering what was the overall effectiveness of these weapons in close in infantry engagements... Was there a decided small arms advantage on either side?

  2. #2
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    At this time Pl wpns in the UK force were

    GPMG (in light and SF role)
    SLR
    SMG
    84mm A/T
    66mm A/T
    2 inch mortar (I do not think any HE was in use only illum and smok)
    L2 gren
    83 gren WP



    This is a good illustration but is not quite right, the 84 is the wrong one.

    Night vision was by IWS one per section? And NOD at Bn level (MFC OOF recce)

    At Bn/coy level you had 81 mm mortar and Milan (used extensively for attacking bunkers). Sniper rifle may have gone down to platoons but probably a Bn/coy asset.

    I was not aware that any M16s were issued to the Gurkhas only SF. Ammo problems.

    As for the Argentinean wpns if believe they were very similar. I have seen picture of SF with the silenced SMG so it would be possible to assume that the troops had them as well.

    And illustration of captured weapons. I cannot see and other than FNs



    I spent 12 weeks sharing a room with a 2 para soldier in 83 and he reported that they had so much ammo they were standing on it in the trenches.

    One thing I will say about the Argentinean ammo which I had extensive use of. It was very very poor. The ammo was in 20 rd cardboard boxes in plastic containers of 200 rds in wooden boxes of 1000. You could not open the boxes because the screws were rusted so we had to drop them on the corner to break them open. The individual rds were stuck to the sides of the cartons and had to be cleaned with a knife before use. This is the first and only time I had had split cases. The ammo would not work in the brens and it was almost impossible to group at 100m. My 4-6 inch standard was now 12 inches and some round off the target. Hitting at 300m was by luck only.

    I was lead to believe that the Argentinean night viewing equipment was very good.
    The \'eathen

    The \'eathen in \'is blindness bows down to wood an\' stone;
    \'E don\'t obey no orders unless they is \'is own;
    \'E keeps \'is side-arms awful: \'e leaves \'em all about,
    An\' then comes up the regiment an\' pokes the \'eathen out.

    Rudyard Kipling

  3. #3
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    Pistols

    The standard British army pistol was the Browning Hi Power also in 9 x 19, issued to offrs and some SF sldrs.

    The Argentines had both the 9 mm BHP and the Ballester-Molina in 45 ACP.


    Submachineguns

    Brit rdo ops, Sp Wpn crews, medics, some offrs, etc. carried the L2A3 Stirling SMG in 9 mm NATO.
    A moderated version the L34A1 was available for issue to SF units but saw extremely limited use.

    The Argentine forces used the 9 mm PA3-DM (FMK 3) which operates similarly to the Czech ZK 476 and it's decendants the 23 and 25 in that it has a bolt that extends over the bbl and houses the magazine in the pistol grip.
    It has a retractable stock á la the US M3/M3A1 'Grease Gun.'
    Sterling L34A1's were carried by certain members of 601 and I believe 602 Cdo. It was far more popular amongst the Argentine troops than the British.


    Rifles

    The main British weapon was the L1A1 SLR, by far the best developent of the many models based on the FN FAL.
    It is capable of semiautomatic fire only.

    The M16 in various guises was carried by certain members of the RM and of course by some SF troops. A number of the SF M16's also carried the M203 40 mm gren launcher.

    RM and army snipers carried the L42A1 Enfield bolt action rifle in 7.62. It is basically a rebarreled No4(T) with the foreend cut back to a half stock.


    The Argentine army carried three locally poduced versions of the Belgian rifle, FAL II, FAL PARA and the FAP - the standard, folding stock and the heavy bbl light support versions.
    All Argentine FAL versions were selective fire.
    As far as I'm aware there were a few M16's within the Argentine forces but their SF made considerably more use of the FAL PARA and the SMGs.

    I am led to believe that the Argie SF had some scoped M21's or M1A's but have not seen them myself.


    Machineguns

    Both sides used the FN MAG in 7.62 NATO, although the the L7A2 GPMG as used by the Brits has some small differences, the most notable being the lack of a Stellite bbl liner that the MAG had.

    The Brits also used the L4A4 'Bren' also in 7.62 x 51, despite it haing been officially withdrawn from service. This weapon was still very much in evidence during Op Granby in the Gulf in '91.

    Argentina, having based their forces on the American model had a plethora of 50 cal M2 BMG's, some with state-of-theart night vision sights which led to effective night sharpshooting over distance.
    The Brits somehow managed to dig up a fair few M2's from mothballs for the Op, and from 'Lessons Learned' have now kept this wonderful brainchild of John Moses on the inventory and even extended it's use.


    The Argentine forces had the capability of laying down devastating automatic fire, fighting as they were from well prepared positions.
    They also had considerably more, and more modern night vision eqpt while the best a Brit inf section could hope for was an IWS if it was lucky !

    The IWS - large, heavy, ungainly and outdated in '82...

    On a basis of that elusive term which I detest, 'firepower' then the advantage lie with the Argentine troops.
    As has been shown, eqpt does not do the winning for you, it is the man on the gnd and his determination to succeed.
    Each battle stands as a testament to the trg, regtl system and grit of the men involved.
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  4. #4
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    I am led to believe that the Argie SF had some scoped M21's or M1A's but have not seen them myself.
    Actually those were Garands-Berettas .308 with 20 round detachable magazine.

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    Any reports I've read on firing the FN-FAL on auto, state that it was less than satisfactory, to say the least, due to the use of a full power cartridge in a relatively light weight battle rifle.
    The pile of discarded weapons in the photo is shown elsewhere on the 'net & contains more than a few items not mentioned(IIRC there is at least one M3 there).
    Things are going to get a whole lot worse from now on.......

  6. #6
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    Generally the FAL in R&R is a bugger to control, but less so than many other battle rifles of a similar cal.
    Having said that I had my sweaty little puddies on one where the armourer had made his own muzzle brake and 20 rds fired from the standing unspported position, (mg rested on a flat hand,) produced no appreciable muzzle rise !

    We were picking up Argie M3A1's overseas about five years back, they'd all been rebarreled to 9 x 19.
    I believe the M3A1's were mainly issued to their armd crews.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzerknacker
    I am led to believe that the Argie SF had some scoped M21's or M1A's but have not seen them myself.
    Actually those were Garands-Berettas .308 with 20 round detachable magazine.
    Which would make them BM59's.
    Panzerknacker were all the Argentine M14 type rifles Beretta produced ?

    The M14 was merely a Garand in 7.62 with a detatchable mag, the Beretta BM59 was the Italian produced model.
    The M1A is a Springfield Armoury version of the M21 - an accurised M14, (Vietnam era ones often had the ART II glass mounted.)


    The 20 rd magazines are standard and interchangable across the various types.
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    The BM -59 is not exactly a M-14, it is simply a garand M1 rechambered to 7,62x51mm, the M-14 had a diferent barrel and gas port.

    The argentines BM-59 were made in italy and acording to my uncle that was a marine in the 70s, it was prone to jam.

    The rifle was only issued to the Argentine marines wich always had an armament different to the army forces.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzerknacker
    The BM -59 is not exactly a M-14, it is simply a garand M1 rechambered to 7,62x51mm, the M-14 had a diferent barrel and gas port.
    ...


    Correct.

    Although, they would be very similar since an M-14 was also an update of the M-1 Garand, recalibrated to fire the standard NATO 7.62X51mm cartridge, and giving it a 20-round box mag...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzerknacker
    The BM -59 is not exactly a M-14, it is simply a garand M1 rechambered to 7,62x51mm, the M-14 had a diferent barrel and gas port.

    The argentines BM-59 were made in italy and acording to my uncle that was a marine in the 70s, it was prone to jam.

    The rifle was only issued to the Argentine marines wich always had an armament different to the army forces.


    The M-14 used the same gas regulating system as the M1 Garand, the bolt is only different in that it is connected to the operating rod by a roller rather than the lug system on the M1.
    The BM-59 also had a different bbl, op rod and gas cyl from the Garand.

    Argentina herself modified a number of M1's to take the BM59 magazines.


    The BM59 mags are not the same as the M14 type, which could well be the source of the problem to which your uncle refers.
    There are BM59's in circulation which do take the M14 mags but as far as I'm aware this modification was not carried out by Beretta.
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    The M-14 used the same gas regulating system as the M1 Garand, the bolt is only different in that it is connected to the operating rod by a roller rather than the lug system on the M1.
    The BM-59 also had a different bbl, op rod and gas cyl from the Garand.

    Argentina herself modified a number of M1's to take the BM59 magazines.
    That is correct.


    The BM59 mags are not the same as the M14 type, which could well be the source of the problem to which your uncle refers.
    Probably it was, my uncle also say that when the officers participated in some shooting contest with the BM, they lubricated the .308 cases to ensure the proper feeding, pretty scary thing to do because that increase the stress in the bolts face.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzerknacker
    The BM -59 is not exactly a M-14, it is simply a garand M1 rechambered to 7,62x51mm, the M-14 had a diferent barrel and gas port.

    The argentines BM-59 were made in italy and acording to my uncle that was a marine in the 70s, it was prone to jam.

    The rifle was only issued to the Argentine marines wich always had an armament different to the army forces.

    How did the BM-59 fair in combat conditions of the Falklands/Malvinas War? Did the Argentine Marines like the weapon overall? Did it jam frequently?

    Why did the Marines use the weapon instead of the FAL?

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    Not too good, in the final days all the BIMs ( Marines battallions) were equipped with the FAL made by FM Argentina.

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    An interesting plate from Ospreys "Military snipers from 1914", the rifle used by the argentine soldier is an original Springfield Armory M-14 with a Night vision scope.


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    Interesting. The US "accuratized" the M14, and re-designated it as the M21 for a time. It mostly withdrawn by th late 1990s. The weapon has been essentially been rebuilt by USMC gunsmiths into a modernized version, and is now used as an intermediate sniper weapon to counter the Dragunov...


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