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Old 14th May 2020, 17:03
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Hampshire
Age: 73
Posts: 798
I can't agree with you there VP. Training did indeed focus on killing and avoiding being killed. It was clear to all that making a judgement call as to whether or not someone was trying to kill you was incumbent on the soldier on the ground, whether that was yourself or someone of higher rank. And, to reinforce this, in areas of conflict soldiers were issued with "Instructions for opening fire", tailored to the locale in which you were operating. Have a look at a copy of the same card I was issued with in Aden:
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The following year, as the terrorism was ramped up and we drew nearer to our withdrawal, this card was superseded by a red one with slightly different wording, mainly telling you to open fire if you thought you were about to be attacked.
Notice how the instructions place great emphasis on the need to use minimum force. But, once an attempt at using minimum force has failed, then open fire to kill. (That too was part of the training; you only ever pointed a weapon at a person if you intended to open fire and you only opened fire to kill).
Re the SA80, I was quite glad to have missed that episode. Most people don't understand the logic of going from the 7.62mm SLR to the SA80. It was down to a veteran of Arnhem (Gen Horrocks, I think) who had noticed how a wounded soldier took up a lot more of the enemy's assets dealing with injured soldiers. So, just wound the buggers and tie up thousands of their comrades, dealing with bandages, administering blood, carrying stretchers etc. forgetting that likely enemies of NATO (Russia or China) tend to treat their wounded as duck boards over which the following hordes can gallop! I have heard people say the replacement of the SLR was a good idea as the SA80 was smaller and lighter. Not really, I remember weighing mine on night and it was 10.25 lbs with loaded magazine. I believe the SA80 comes out broadly similar.

Re the mention of Bloody Sunday; I, as an ex soldier (so open to accusations of bias) would say we have had enough of that! How many millions of the UK tax payer's money have been squandered on inquiries? Particularly the second one, set up presumably because the first one didn't produce the outcome certain parties didn't want. Put yourself in the position of the Paras on that day. When in an urban setting and on edge and a shot is heard 2 things happen:
1. You have no real idea of the origin of the shot. A shot fired in a built up area produces sounds that are almost impossible to pin point.
2. Your self preservation sense goes into overdrive and you could quite possibly convince yourself that something is happening when it really isn't. You would say to your mates "Did you hear that? Rifle shot from that building etc". Even if you are mistaken, you find yourself and your mates agreeing on what happened and where, and the whole incident can quickly snowball with a lot of confirmation bias going on. In a matter of milliseconds, the incident takes on a life of its own and becomes fact to those involved.
It may sound glib but the best way for that particular incident may have been for the IRA to have told people not to go out there and wind up the soldiers. The bottom line there was the victims were set up and the IRA got just what they wanted. And now Gerry Adams's lawyer is looking for vengeance via other means.
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