The RCR Association Photographic Database
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1  General Category / Reunion-Trooping Photos / Re: 1972 Farewell to Soest on: February 23, 2012, 08:04:04 am
Oops.  The Farewell actually occurred in 1970, not 1972.  aldi
2  General Category / World War 1 / Re: ross rifle on: January 23, 2012, 07:03:25 am
Good for you!  You've added an important element to this saga.  Well done.  aldi
3  General Category / The Boer War / Re: The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I Rifle on: August 08, 2009, 07:13:05 pm
Oops, sorry.  I meant 'spike-type' bayonet, although the blade bayonet in the photo clearly suffered from the same lack of material to grasp when fixing bayonets. aldi
4  General Category / The Boer War / Re: The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I Rifle on: August 08, 2009, 07:06:01 pm
More Lee Enfield stuff . . . the rifle was also carried by Canadian soldiers in Korea and early in the NATO deployment to Germany in the 1950s.  Later versions WERE able to take a clip, using the guide visible in the photo just ahead of the folded rear sight.  Ammunition came in canvas bandoliers with pockets holding two five-round clips, each properly loaded rim-on-rim, and you tore open a pocket, took out a clip, slotted it into the guide, pushed down on the top round with your thumb to seat five rounds in the mag, discarded the clip and loaded another one.  The magazine could also be detached, using the little lever inside the trigger guard ahead of the trigger, but that was rarely done.  The final versions of the rifle came with a spike bayonet, rather than the blade shown in the photo.  The 'fix bayonet' drill movement with the blade-type was difficult because there was little material to grasp and bayonets were often dropped, sending the miscreant to the awkward squad for remedial training.  aldi.
5  General Category / The FN Generation / Re: Carl Gustav on: August 07, 2009, 04:16:59 pm
This poor thing initially suffered from a confused identity.  When it replaced the 3.5-inch rocket launcher, which replaced the 3.2-inch Heller rocket launcher, it came at a time when no-one knew much about its Swedish origins.  Naturally, the name left lots of room for interpretation on first hearing and so was related it to what was already known, such as the president of the Soviet Union -- "Carl Kruschev" -- or, for those who did their off-duty relaxing In Germany, the "Karl Gastof."   The confusion only lasted until the first formal introduction, after which the proper name began to roll off the tongue, as it has done ever since.  But until then, the new section member was just the kid with the funny name.  aldi.
6  General Category / Korea / Re: Famous Picture--- Korea on: August 02, 2009, 01:32:52 pm
It's encouraging to see that the soldier in this famous picture has finally been recognized and correctly identified.  More than that, this story provides a valuable lesson for those contributing to this site.  Mike has asked, and I will reinforce, how absolutely important it is to provide the maximum amount of information possible with every photo submission.  That Mr. Matthews had to go so long without the recognition he was due is attributable to the 'who', 'what', 'where', 'when', 'why' and 'how' NOT being included, or becoming separated from, the photo when it was filed.  Let us all try to make Mike's goal of establishing a regimental photographic database as attainable as we can by including the identifying information with our submissions so we never see another mistake like this.  Please.  aldi 
7  General Category / World War II / Re: Sten Gun on: July 10, 2009, 07:02:59 pm
"Standard practice was not to fill the magazine . . ." had as much to do with the temperamental spring as anything else.  I recall that the spring would often get hung up in the mag and not feed.  Loading the magazine was a chore as the spring got progressively harder the more it was compressed, such that toward the end of its time in service, the Sten came issued with a magazine loader . . . a sort of reverse can-opener that fit over the mag and you used a rotating handle to push the last few rounds into it.  The balls of your thumbs would get so sore after loading a couple of mags that you eventually just put in 20 rounds, rather than the allowable 30.  Even for one who came to the Sten at the end of its life, it was not a very reliable weapon, was prone to getting dirt into it and, all-in-all, more trouble than it was worth.  aldi
8  General Category / The Boer War / Re: The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I Rifle on: July 08, 2009, 09:40:07 am
The final version of the .303 Lee-Enfield, the Mk.4 No.1*(Number One Star) was a great soldier's weapon.  Once you got over the novelty of the FNC1, many of us came to miss it.  Rugged, perfectly balanced, and a natural fit to the shoulder cup.  It's only drawback was the rimmed cartridge; the magazine had to be loaded rim-on-rim or there would be an inevitable jam.  I liked this rifle so much that my civilian rifle was the jungle carbine version -- shorter barrel, reduced forestock, bell-shaped flash protector -- but in all other respects the same as the standard issue rifle.  aldi 
9  General Category / Korea / Re: Bren Gun on: June 22, 2009, 09:18:48 am
Bren Gun trivia -- the smallest part had the biggest name.  As an air-cooled weapon, the Bren came with two barrels and the crew could swap them, using the supplied asbestos mitt, when one grew so hot as to droop from the heat or cook off a round in the chamber.  The Number One would remove the mag, and disengage the Barrel Locking Nut while the Number Two twisted the hot barrel, removed it and replaced it with the second barrel.  The Barrel Locking Nut was secured in place by the Barrel Locking Nut Retaining Plunger -- a little spring-loaded nipple about the size of the tip of your pinky finger.  Why would I remember that 52 years later but can't recall what I had for breakfast this morning? -- aldi
10  General Category / Veterans Issues / Re: News of Military interest on: June 08, 2009, 09:27:56 am
Historically speaking, the 'civilianization' began earlier than 1972.  It began with Armed Forced Integration in 1965 when MND Paul Hellyer sought to impose "efficiency" by combining functions and eliminating what he could then designate as excesses.  Although there were many instances of the fallacy, the most glaring example happened with the military engineers.  Prior to that there were two general types of Sappers, camp and field, with members of the RCE being posted between them.   In essence, a young Sapper would start in an engineer field squadron, learn the ropes, go through the training and promotion cycle and at some point he'd be given a break by serving a tour at a static base to do the garrison's electrical, plumbing, minor construction etc., and then be posted back to a field squadron.  Under Hellyer's scheme the camp enginer function was handed over to civilians, with the inevitable result.  I had occasion to meet with the president of the civilian workers union in Ottawa a decade or so later and asked him what had become of his membership in the immediate post-Hellyer period and his answer, of course, was that it had increased by precisely the number of military camp engineers that had been cut by Hellyer.  The difference was that where the military engineer functioned exactly the same way as any other soldier -- go where you're sent to do what you're told 24/7 -- the new camp engineer worked under a union contract, with all the benefits that entailed and the "efficiancy" now required three civilians (twenty-four hours divided by three shifts since the union doesn't recognize 24/7) people to do what one Sapper had done.  By 1972 that had been reinforced by the Unification Act of 1968 and the by-then entrenched merger of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces but it had its genesis five years earlier.  aldi
11  General Category / The FN Generation / Re: FN C1 on: May 15, 2009, 09:47:00 pm
I remember the day the FNC1 entered service, at least for me.  When I became an army cadet in 1956 and then a militiaman in 1957 we trained on the entire family of WWII small arms -- .303cal. Lee Enfield Mark 4 Number One Star (my first rifle number was 31L8551), Bren Gun and Sten Gun.  On our first parade after the start of the new training season, likely on or about 15 September, 1957, we were introduced to these long cardboard boxes, bound around both ends by steel bands which, once cut and the box opened, revealed a true marvel of the modern military world.

It was like stepping into a science fiction movie, moving from the old reliable Lee Enfield, with its bolt-action, 10-round box magazine of rimmed cartridges and spike bayonet to this new wonder.  Putting it to use required a whole new approach because, although it weighed about the same as the rifle it replaced, it was different in every respect.  Training seemed to take forever because there was so much to learn -- safety precautions, stripping and assembly, care and cleaning, holding, aiming and firing, fixing and unfixing the bayonet, and especially rifle drill, were all new.  I had been a marksman with the Lee Enfield and after much practice I was finally able to achieve the same results with the new weapon -- but not until I traded my first rifle for one with the proper butt length.  I had grown some and didn't realize I now needed and extra-long, which put the rear sight at the proper distance from the eyeball and made the aim more precise.  The drill got easier, too, because after I got over no longer sloping arms, I no longer had to bend over on my right side to grasp the foresight while standing at attention or at ease or preparing the first shoulder-arms movement.  And on the range, the new weapon was a thing of beauty, especially when used in mass rapid fire.  Where we used to be able to get away 10 rounds of aimed fire from the Lee Enfield as fast as we could work the bolt before having to recharge the magazine, with the new weapon we could fire 20 rounds, change the magazine and let go another 20 rounds, in the same or less time.  Compared to the old rifle, it made you feel like Superman.

I retired just as the new family of 5.56mm small arms was being issued so I consider myself fortunate to have seen three entirely different sets of weapons carried by the Canadian Army.  aldi
12  General Category / Reunion-Trooping Photos / Re: 1983 Centenial 3RCR CFB Baden-Soellingen on: May 10, 2009, 05:48:43 pm
Mike, Wayne et al . . . the battalion Pioneer Platoon was stricken from the order of battle in 1970, confirmed in the 1971 Defence White Paper.  The rationale given at the time was that the minor engineering tasks performed by the unit pioneers up until then would henceforth be performed by the brigade's Field Engineer Squadron.  And then, in a stroke of brilliance only an NDHQ wonk could understand, the brigade's engineer squadron was reduced by one troop.  It was all part of the same reduction in force that lost one rifle company from each Infantry battalion, one squadron from each Armoured Regiment and one battery from each Artillery Regiment.  If the mathematics are hard to follow, just try finding the entire battalion that was lost when 3 Mech Cdo was formed from two former battalions and the Colours and name of 2RCR went from Germany to be taken over by TWO battalions of The Black Watch.  The year 1970 was a terrible time for the shrinking army and the loss of the Pioneer Platoon was just the tip of the iceberg.  Their spirit never left, though, and that's why there were "unofficial" pioneers ever after.  aldi
13  General Category / The FN Generation / Re: C1 Submachine Gun on: April 29, 2009, 04:31:23 pm

Do you have any pictures of the Canadian SMG including the optional 10-round mag?  aldi
14  General Category / The FN Generation / Re: C1 Submachine Gun on: April 27, 2009, 07:11:16 pm
Sharp-eyed viewers will note that long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, this was the weapon of choice, minus the magazine, of the Imperial Storm Troopers in the first three Star Wars movies.  Amazing! aldi
15  General Category / World War 1 / Re: Ross Rifle on: April 25, 2009, 09:28:47 am

Besides his advocacy of the Ross Rifle, Sam Hughes also promoted the 'Canadian shovel' for the Canadian soldiers.  His belief was that the shovel would not only dig trenches but would also provide protection so he provided it with a slot in the foot pad on one side upon which the rifle could be rested while also providing the firer with metal to hide behind.  Alas, once planted the handle sticking up in the air was a perfect designation for enemy fire, the one-eighth inch steel provided no protection at all and the slot destroyed the integrity of the design, causing the metal to fold around it when it encounted hard-pack earth.  Sam Hughes remains one of the villains of Canadian military history, for good reason.  aldi
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