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Ranges & PPE in the Butts.

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  • #16
    Should the army not invest what limted financial resources they have into purchasing some new equipment. The force that were recently deployed to Liberia, a lot of those soliders had to purchase pices of kit that they needed but could not get issued. Those soliders got fogged off with the crapiest of sunglass/goggles.. That is just an example that comes to mind.
    The DF has invested hugely in equipment in recent years, but it also has to invest in infrastructure & training. What use is gucchi kit if you can't train due to lack of facilities?

    To build and maintain a system SAAB Scania course would cost a lot of money. A firing range is another asset that is expensive and see little finincial return. Obviously it has major return in people being qualified to shoot. etc etc.
    Unless you know how much it costs to build & run a SAAB Scania, there's no point in commenting on it. And nothing the DF has is meant to generate a financial return, it's not a busness. The benefit that should come from such ranges is soldiers that can operate their weapons effectively. That's how the usefulness of such facilities should be measured.

    if ur smock gets ruined use the chain of command get another one. then u have 2,1 for tactics one for that such a big deal.
    Get another smock? You're joking aren't you?
    "The dolphins were monkeys that didn't like the land, walked back to the water, went back from the sand."


    • #17
      Icarus, I spent time in the butts on camp, it was a great experience, a kinda live fire exercise when you think about it, you could hear the bullet ricochets and the snap of bullets passing overhead, all important things for a soldier, especially in the RDF where its probably the nearest most of us will come to a live fire exercise.

      However, I worked a target for the BREN shoot and i tell you now some of the targets wooden legs do NOT fit the frames. You go to pull up either the front or rear target and it leans against the other one resulting in a target jamming half way up.

      Or the legs are not the correct width apart and when the target jams as described it also ends up lobsided. This actually happened on the range when i was doing my own recruit shoot and we had to stop the firing while four lads using a pointer as a lever had to climb up behind the target and gradually through brute force straighten the thing out and get a good coating of grease on uniforms and palmfulls of splinters to measure.

      Its not funny standing behind a target well above the butts where live rounds were passing only a few minutes before, especially when one realises that the firing detail was a bunch of inexperienced recruits (ie me and my fellow recruits) learning to shoot.

      Your point about investment needed elsewhere however, is true... I noticed that one of the ranges in kilworth have much newer (aluminuim i think) frames which the targets sit in, they are better designed and easier to work on than the old cast iron frames used on some of the other ranges there. Maybe the butts should all be upgraded at least to these lighter frames and pully systems? There should be toilets agreed and in fairness, how the hell are you supposed to point out groupings if you dont step out into the weather? so agreed on the "we are soldiers so stop moaning" point. The flag however is a bloody disaster, there should be a pully system for that anyway. Radios seemed to work fine for us so i see no need for dedicated field phones -unless the batteries fail...- so in retrospect maybe there should be phones :D

      I would also suggest that the wooden frames holding the targets up were redesigned as was the method by which they slot into the metal pully frame to stop them leaning against each other or their legs jerking out of place.

      One point though... next time i go to the butts ill bring a nice flask of tea and a few mars bars...

      and if you think using the chain of command in the RDF for a second smock will work??? you must be mad!!!
      "He is an enemy officer taken in battle and entitled to fair treatment."
      "No, sir. He's a sergeant, and they don't deserve no respect at all, sir. I should know. They're cunning and artful, if they're any good. I wouldn't mind if he was an officer, sir. But sergeants are clever."


      • #18
        RED FLAGS ISSUE....

        There should be two red flags at the butts. One tied on the pole to the very rear of the butt mound. This is is left up for the duration of the live firing practice. The second red flag should be controlled by the officer/nco in charge of the butts, usually it is located by the no. 1 man target.

        Targets not fitting, honestly i am not convinced. i have seen some busted targets in my time and all they require is a bit of brut force. A good cpl or pte 3* would make it fit it.
        you mentioned the targets coming toghter and hitting each other, ive seen that happen before, on windy days and or when some twat firing a gpmg decided to shoot at the wrong target!!

        Should not make a difference who is firing. You should always have the same level of caution. NCO's and 3* i find are bad offenders, they pick out targets before with Steyr when firing warming shots and three of four of them fire at the same pice of wood, or number. Or when firing bren and you are indicating ive seen one guy shoot at the pointer, a nice move for trying to a decent score but scares the crap out of the wee recruit who is manning the pointer.

        The thing about groups is a valid point, it is dangerous but it there is limited danger.. and we have all heard the horror stories about bullets richoeting and hitting people. SH*T happens..


        • #19
          I tend to agree with Icarus on this.

          The butts are a valuable experience to recruits. Doing the butts is probably the first time a recruit has the wear the uniform for 8hrs+ while doing manual labour. And I would say in some cases it’s the first time some recruits have done any manual labour. I have known a couple of recruits who have marched about the square for a few months acting cool, then never coming back after a day in the wind and rain at kilbride. Imagine if their first experience was down in the glen for a week?

          I also find it amazing how many people cannot stand the boredom of doing the butts. And wonder how they would cope with a crap 24hr guard on the ground or in one of the less salubrious guardhouses. Again the boring day in the butts is some preparation for this.

          As for the pulleys jamming and popping out the only time I have seen this happening (This is my experience and I do not want to reflect on others) is when people are pushing them up and down carelessly. Grabbing only one side, or best of all racing with the guy beside them, thus slamming them so hard that they pop out. It you are watching what you are doing there is no problem getting them up and down quickly or efficiently. Do you want to be on a sectional attack with a mag gunner, that cannot lift a simple 4x4 target without throwing it so hard it pulls the rear target out, or pushes so carelessly that it jams.

          As for the flag, On every range there are a number of flags located about the base that signify that there is a range on, these are supplied and set up by the range (and should not be touched). The unit operating the range also supplies there own flags for the butts and the firing point. The one on the butts is normally operated beside number one target. I think ackack658 was talking about operating the large range flag. This should not have been taking down at all.

          Other than that I think the suggestions made by dev are excellent. Apart from the sheep. No range would be complete without at least one sheep hunt ; )



          • #20
            Here, I dont know which army you guys are in, or how long you have joined, but the one im in, your not going to get a 2nd Smock for simply dirtying it on a range

            The cast iron frames are a mess. They are poorly designed. A simple improvement would have some sort of cog to lower and raise (manually) the target. Not a pully which can raise/lower on one side and stick on the other.

            The other design flaw is that the target and move forward and back, why didnt they put supports further up the two feet of the target? That would stop most of the jams when raising and lowering targets.

            Its all very well in saying, ah its the persons fault when the targets dont go up smoothly but thats not the case. Try patching targets quickly and on your own if your in a small unit. It does lead to a lot of annoyance when a better design could easily be put in place.

            Even the state of the Red flags are dodgy, they are usually all ripped and torn, they could buy new ones.

            We have always new radios, but have problems with the batteries and one way communication. A simple copper cable would enable both parties to talk at once ... still need good radios for the soliders out on point.

            Another thing, is the number of targets available, I have went to a good few ranges now that have one of the target broken. In both cases it meant having two details instead of one! ahhh we could have been out of their so much quicker !!


            • #21
              Alot of the time, we don't have the bodies on the ground to have 2 details.


              • #22
                Ive been in it over 8 years. I have done my fair share of butt parties. And it is not something I resent, it is a job that needs doing properly.

                Thanks Jeebus...Good to know I am not alone on this one.

                Andy I think you are blowing the smock thing out of proportion just a little.
                The frames work fine once you show them some respect, and you put both targets in properly.

                About the supports, this is just a guess but I reckon the reason they didnt put more supports further up the pully is because it would make the targets harder to get in and out of, coz then you would need some realy lanky trooper to slot them into place. I think you have the rite idea though, the ranges could do with some adjusting to stop the targets flapping in the wind, but you see its only a matter of time before the supports become weak and start waving all around the place like a flag..

                Patching targets up on your own.... everyone in my unit does it alone? sorry i missed that point to mean when the targets fall down, or actually putting the stickers back up, in both case you should be able to down them on your own.

                The point about communications, I recall not soo long ago my unit used to bring a large role of cable and connect the butts to firing point. It provided better comms than radios and eliminated battery problem, it was messy collecting the cable afterwards. You are meant to have full comms when you are travelling to a range anyway. I often think that we should have a cable permantently rooted underground between the 400 and the butts and just let whatever unit is using bring their own fones and connect to it.


                • #23
                  Tips for the Butts:

                  Keep away from the moving parts (wires etc)
                  Keep away from the grease (don't lean againist the frame)
                  Carry the target on its side around where the target meets the legs
                  Hold the frame down with your foot when your putting the target in
                  Prop the target againist your head (wear a helmet) as you put it in
                  Put both legs into the frame at the same time
                  Kick into place if neccessary & make sure the legs are in the support properly before moving on

                  When you put in the other target, go around the other side, repeat actions above, but:

                  Slowly and carefully lower the frame for the target & stand on it

                  When changing / half masting targets - carefully push up/down the frame from the centre

                  As you are pasting up, make sure the targets are still in place in the supports


                  • #24
                    Someone mentioned when we were in the butts that you are supposed to be issued with flak jackets and helmets for your safety? Is this true?

                    We had 4 helmets between over 20 of us.

                    "He is an enemy officer taken in battle and entitled to fair treatment."
                    "No, sir. He's a sergeant, and they don't deserve no respect at all, sir. I should know. They're cunning and artful, if they're any good. I wouldn't mind if he was an officer, sir. But sergeants are clever."


                    • #25
                      It depends on the Range Orders. In my experience its just helmets, and also in my experience, ALWAYS wear them!

                      If your told to wear a flak jacket, wear it, but its not designed to stop a bullet, just shrapnel.


                      • #26
                        yep. should be issued with both. Helmets can run short though.


                        • #27
                          Helmets, Flakkers and HP in the butts on every range.
                          Say NO to violence against Women

                          Originally posted by hedgehog
                          My favourite moment was when the
                          Originally posted by hedgehog
                          red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head


                          • #28
                            I was in the butts once shortly after I joined up and someone landed down with a sack full of the old piss pot helmets minus inner lining or chinstraps!

                            I think some people used them as seats and thats about it


                            • #29
                              We had 4 helmets between over 20 of us.
                              I knew the DF were underfunded but not to that degree - that is criminal.

                              Marine Corps ranges are different from the Army - shoot from 200, 300 & 500 yards from a variety of positions and include rapid encourages good marksmanship techniques but it's not v. realistic as you have a lot of time to do everything....that's just for rifle qualification though, grunts wd use much more realistic ranges.

                              Flaks and helmets are not required in the Butts.
                              "Hello, Good Evening and Bollocks..."

                              Roger Mellie


                              • #30
                                I was'nt saying I was lying up against the grease, but better engineering could be put into practice. After all, 100 years is an appropiate time to introduce a new housing/frames for the targets.

                                Combatlogo, have you seen the piss pot helmets that we are offically issued (like the ones the Brits used in the second world war:o )