Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Army life in Germany.

Mansergh Barracks, home for awhile. C-Bty part of the 3rd Regiment RHA was attached to the 47th Regiment RA, this wasn't a major problem but the 47 lads were subject to some restrictions that we were not. One was being back in camp at a reasonable time, I believe they had to be back in by 2300, were as we rolled back in when we wanted to. This did cause some friction.

A normal day was, you would be woken at about six, you'd roll out of your pit and get ready for the days ativities. Go up the canteen, have breakfast, come back and do any last things before going on parade at about 0900. You'd check the vehicles over, do the routine maintenance and sometimes the less routine types of maintenance, clean the vehicles, clean the garage and anything else that was needed. All this was usually done by 1200-1300, after which the rest of the day was ours. Back to your room, change into civies, perhaps have a few jars in the C-Bty bar, if not then down town hitting the bars and clubs. Roll back into camp perhaps 1200, perhaps 0100, perhaps 0200, whenever it was we were normally the worse for wear. That was a normal day for a lot of us, and it was near enough every day like that for three quarters of the year with only perhaps a quarter being taken up with training and exercise.

The camp was also shared with the Bundeswehr, and it was always a source of some chagrin that when they undertook guard duty they were issued with a loaded gun and ammo. When we did it, we got a pick-axe handle.

The gym, the place for the more strenuous activities that us squaddies got roped into. I remember a session of boxing that everyone had to go through here, the most disconcerting aspect of it all was that you didnt know who you'd get drawn against, and there were some bloody big blokes in the unit.

C-Bty bar, a retreat situated in the roof of our main barrack block on camp. You could go there and have a good few bevies or two before pushing off down town for a bender proper. Many a good moment was had here.

NAAFI, another place that was a good watering hole, also a shop offering a range merchandise and essential everyday items.

Red Sheild, Gutersloh.

C-bty vehicles parked up out front of the garages, amongst them can be seen a Centurion OP tank used by forward artillery observers. I seen to remember some character taking it for a test drive late one night, when they were a little the worse for wear, and a considerable amount of damage resulted to vehicles around the camp before his escapade was brought to an end.

Vehicles parked up in front the garages for inspection. The regimental inspection's were the worst of the lot, they taught you the true meaning of the word CLEAN. Vehicles had to be absolutely spotless, 100% clean inside and out, including every nook and cranny.

Track bashing, never a pleasant task. Only good thing its not out in the field and pissing down with rain.

Don't look at me mate! I just drive it! I don't know what makes it GO!

Vehicles getting moved about, squaddies milling about, eventually the apparent confusion comes right and it all comes together.

The only picture I have come across showing the vehicle that I was a crew member of, Golf-72-Foxtrot, its a modified version of the FV432 APC and is designated the FV438. Equiped with Swingfire anti tank guided missiles, these were a first generation weapon, controlled all the way to the target with control signals going to the missile via a wire trailing from the missile to the vehicle.

The FV438 ATGM carrier.

Members of the unit undergoing NI training, this shot at night during the winter. I can still clearly remember some night's riding around the German countryside, getting all the feeling in my backside knocked out of it whilst hanging on for dear life in the back of a 4 tonner as it bounced over the rock hard frozen ground. Eventually relief would be reached, when we all baled out in the middle of no-where and into the teeth of a raging blizzard. After 4 or 5 hours of wandering around in the darkness and snow freezing your knacker's off, you eventually found the 4 tonner again and climbed in for another bruising ride back to camp.

Learning the art of patrolling in an urban environment.

Riot practice, part of our NI training. Rubber bricks, rioting mob, petrol bombs all combined to make it very realistic. It wasn't hard to forget it was training and think it was the real thing. The 47 lads gave us a good bit of stick as the rioters, and when we practiced Rhino hunting our snatch squads returned the favour and gave some of them some stick back literally with a riot stick.

Riot practice, part of our NI training at Mansergh Barracks. The 47 lads were very happy to participate in our training, and eagerly undertook the roll of being the rioters. Although the bricks were made of rubber, they still could hurt when they made contact and they were not thrown with any less venom than in a real riot.

1 comment:

Mick Walker said...


was at dc meet up with simon pollack in london, high flying exec now,
i have worked in army 2 years export shipping, now in lux villas in tirkey property desigign would love to hear from anyone, enjoy my time also at p g tylers junior school which was keep secret due to pupils there, i was headboy for 1 year was a shock coming to dc, where had no control
mike walker