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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 9:02:05 AM   
James Fennell


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Canadian Ferret Mk. 1 with ENTAC ATGM.




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 9:10:50 AM   
James Fennell


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There was also a variant of the Saladin with the Swingfire ATGM although it was not adopted, rather the Ferret Mk. 5 was procured.




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 10:14:36 AM   
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1950s Special Forces: modern special forces were a product of this era and were pioneered by the UK.

Several types emerged in the 1950s which formed the foundation of the modern UK special forces:

- 21 SAS (Artists Rifles). After WW2 the 1st and 2nd SAS regiments were combined into a territorial reserve regiment 21 SAS (Artists Rifles), which was formed in 1947. They were volunteer part-time soldiers who specialised in raiding tactics but maintained the SAS's ethos and training regimen and were trained in 'stay behind' missions behind Soviet lines. Many prominent former SAS soldiers, mountaineers and adventurers joined. A company was formed for service in Korea in 1950, but was subsequently sent to Malaya to join the Malayan Scouts.
- Special Boat Section (SBS) parachute-divers. They evolved from Combined Operations Training Centre instructors and were formed in 1950 to carry out infiltration behind the lines in Korea. At this point the SBS was only a small 20 man section trained in airborne, submarine and small boat insertion and scuba-diving using rebreathing equipment. Their job was to recon landing beaches and demolish obstacles in advance of amphibious landings.
- Malayan Scouts/22 SAS. Formed by Brig. 'Mad' Mike Calvert, former Chindit jungle warfare expert and SAS commander in Normandy, with two companies of volunteers from Rhodesia and Britain. The Malayan Scouts was a jungle warfare SF unit which worked with local forces on counter-terrorist missions in Malaya from 1950-52. In 1952 a company from 21 SAS was added to the unit and the Malayan Scouts were renamed 22 SAS Regiment - the only time a reserve unit has been used to form a regular army regiment. The Malayan scouts were armed with a mix of SMLE jungle carbines, Browning M1 carbines, Australian Owen Gun SMGs, Brens and combat shotguns. After 1956, 22 SAS aquired FN FAL SLRs, Stering SMGs, supressed Sterling SMGs and SMLEs and other weapons.
- Reserve Reconaissence Unit/23 SAS: formed in 1946 from MI9 a wartime military intelligence unit used to help airmen escape from occupied Europe, the RRU was a territorial army unit trained in conducting escape and evasion missions to exfiltrate agents and airmen from behind Soviet lines. They had similar training and equipment to the SAS and in 1960 became 23 SAS (Reserve) regiment.
- 22 SAS Rhodesian, New Zeland and Australian Squadrons. In 1953 'C-Squadron' the Rhodesian squadron of 22 SAS returned to Rhodesia after a 3 year tour of duty and formed the Selous Scouts, who would fight in the bush war of the 1960s and 70s. C-Squadron was replaced by a New Zealand Squadron. In 1957 both Australian and New Zealand SAS Regiments were formed from former 22 SAS Squadrons. All these units fought in Malaya and Borneo (and probably Vietnam). Two squadrons of 22 SAS were also deployed to Oman in 1958 for the Jebel Aktar War.

An important difference with some of SAS units in the game is that many recon teams comprised only a few SAS soldiers and a platoon of local fighters, often operating for weeks at a time deep in enemy (Saudi/Yemeni/Malayan/Indonesian) territory. This photo shows such a team led by a young Sir Ranulf Fiennes (later a famous exporer with a more famous actor for a brother) in Oman in 1958. They have landrovers and bedford RL recovery and supply trucks for mobility. The SAS man has a FN FAL SLR while his platoon are armed with SMLE Mk III rifles, Bren LMGs and a 51mm mortar. They also have man pack radios for commucations and forward air control for the RAF Venoms used in the conflict.





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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 10:30:35 AM   
James Fennell


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The SAS did however continue to operate as a full unit, for example during the assault on Jebel Aktar. Here is an New Zealand SAS patrol in Malaya in 1958 armed with FN FAL SLR and Bren Gun. The attached Malayan soldiers have Owen Gun SMGs.




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 12:17:34 PM   
James Fennell


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In the 1960s the special forces comprises:

22 SAS (A, B, D and G (guards) Squadrons)
SBS - now expanded into a full squadron
21 and 23 SAS (Reserve). Six reservist squadrons focussed on long range penetration and stay behind missions in support of NATO in NW Europe.

The SAS squadrons were formed into four 'troops' (patoons) each made up of eight 4 man 'patrols'. Each troop had a specialisation - boat troop in small boats and jungle warfare, mobility troop in using vehicles such as the 'pink panther' landrover and desert warfare, air troop in parachuting and air assault operations from helicopters and mountain troop in climbing, skiing and arctic warfare. All SAS troopers are competent to serve in any troop - the only difference is mission-specific equipment. The SBS squadron kept its combat diver speciality, but also had similar competences to the SAS, especially in jungle, desert and arctic warfare.

From 1964-70 SAS and SBS squadrons deployed in Borneo and did secondments to US and Australian SF units in Vietnam and received the US made M16A1 assault rifle, claymore mine and 40mm grenade launcher as well as the rechambered L7 7.62mm Bren LMG, the new 7.62 FN MAG GPMG machine gun, 84mm Carl Gustav RCL and L72 LAW and Sterling SMG (including a supressed version) and combat shotguns. They retained the 2" mortar and adopted the new L16 81mm mortar and the man portable Vigilant ATGM system. SAS units in Aden and Oman from 1960-69 retained the FN FAL SLR as it had longer range, and continued to use the SMLE sniper rifle.

This is an Australian SAS patrol in Borneo in 1966, but the weapons are typical for all SAS units in theatre - M16A1, FN FAL SLR, supressed Sterling 9mm SMG, M72 LAW.






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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 12:59:29 PM   
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The 1970s and 80s saw an uptick in urban operations and counter-terrorist operations for the special forces and new tasks such as covert intelligence gathering and protection of nuclear facilities and offshore oil and gas assets in the North Sea. Three new SF units were created from 1972.

- the Counter-Revolutionary Warfare Wing within 22 SAS, introduced new training and equipment for urban warfare and hostage situations
- Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre, Royal Marines, a specialist marine recon unit formed to support operations on NATO's northern flank - they were all expert climbers, mountaineers and skiiers had SF equipment and were deployed to the Falklands.
- 14 Intelligence Company (14 Int.) which was created to carry out undercover surveillance ops in Northern Ireland. They operated in plain clothes and unmarked vehicles and used concealed weapons such as the MAC-10 SMG.

New operations were undertaken in Dhofar (Oman) 1970-74, Northern Ireland 1969-85, Belize 1976-7, Mogadishu 1978, Iran 1979, Afghanistan 1979-85, Gambia 1981, the Falklands 1982, Libya 1985 and for the first time the SAS was used to target terrorists operating on the mainland in Britain. New weapons included the C4 5.56mm assault rifle, MAC-10 and Heckler and Koch MP5 SMGs, L42 and L92 7.62mm sniper rifles, German G3 7.62mm designated marksman rifle, 40mm UGLs, Stinger MANPADS, MILAN ATGM. They were also issued with laser target designators to coordinate close air support and were assigned dedicated RAF and Army Air Corps squadrons with C-130 transports, CH-47 Chinook, Westland Scout, Westland Lynx and Augusta A109 helicopters. The picture shows SAS troopers in the Falklands in 1982.




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 2:00:23 PM   
James Fennell


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Another picture of the L5 105mm pack howitzer, this time in the Caribbean towards the end of its career in the mid-1970s. The guns had had their shields removed by this time.




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 2:20:25 PM   
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Armoured Reconaissance Regiments. The Alvis Saladin was the standard heavy armoured car from 1958 to 76.

Armour - up to 32 mm (1.3 in)
Main armament - 76 mm L5A1 gun with 42 rounds
Secondary armament - 2 × M1919A4 machine guns with 3,500 rounds
Engine - Rolls-Royce B80 Mk.6A, 8 cyl petrol 170 hp (127 kW)
Power/weight- 15.5 hp/tonne
Suspension- 6x6 wheel
Operational range- 400 km (250 mi)
Maximum speed- 72 km/h (45 mph)

A 1960s-70s armoured car squadron would normally have three troops each with two Saladin and two Ferret Mk. 2 armoured cars, plus a HQ troop with three Ferret Mk 2/6 or Mk. 5 ATGM vehicles, with either Vigilant or Swingfire ATGMs for overwatch and a Saracen company command vehicle.

An armoured recce regiment would have two or three such armoured car squadrons and an armoured infantry squadron, with three platoons of recce infantry in Saracen wheeled APCs, plus a HQ troop with three Saracens with WOMBAT 120mm RCLs for overwatch and a Saracen company command vehicle.

A close support logistics platoon would be attached to the regiment HQ with six Stalwart load carriers and 6 landrovers w/trailers. A REME LAD would provide repair and recovery with M5 Halftracks and Bedford RL recovery trucks, which were replaced by Stalwart 6x6 repair vehicles in 1966.

Tactically the armoured car squadrons were used to scout ahead and on the flanks of armoured thrusts, while the armoured infantry squadron was used to take and hold important forward objectives like high ground, villages, bridges and road junctions. The ATGMs and RCLs were used to provide overwatch as part of fire and movement doctrine.




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 3:00:10 PM   
James Fennell


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In the early 1980s Type A armoured infantry battalions in Germany had 24 Milan ATGM posts in each support company anti-tank platoon including three FV120 Spartan MCTs (MILAN Compact Turret) for overwatch. The Spartan MCT carried two MILAN launchers and 12 reloads were carried in the vehicle. The Spartan MCT is avaialable from 1983-5.





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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 3:22:22 PM   
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In the early 1980s Type A armoured infantry battalions had three Rifle Companies in Warrior IFVs or FV432(T) APCs and a support company with:
- an anti-tank platoon with three sections of 6 x MILAN ATGM posts in FV432 APCs and one section with 3 x Spartan MCT.
- an armoured recce platoon with 6 x Scimitar light tanks
- a mortar platoon with 8 x FV432 APC with L16 81mm mortars.

Type A mechanised infantry battalions had three Rifle Companies in Saxon APCs and a support company with:
- an anti-tank platoon with four sections with 6 x MILAN posts in Saxon APCs
- an armoured recce platoon with 8 x Fox armoured cars
- a mortar platoon with 8 x Saxon with 81mm L16 Mortars.

Although no beauty the Saxon proved tough and reliable with good off road performance and is still in suprisingly successful service in Ukraine.





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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 4:38:33 PM   
James Fennell


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From 1948-58 armoured reconnaissance regiments continued to use WW2 equipment - namely the Daimler Armoured Car, Daimler Dingo Scout Car, AEC Armoured Car and Staghound Armoured Car.

The new Saracen 6x6 APC was rushed into service in 1952 for use in Malaya and the Ferret Mk 1 scout car also entered service in 1952. The improved Ferret Mk 2 followed suit in 1954. But it was not until 1958 that the Saladin heavy armoured car entered service and the ATGM Ferret 2/6s followed in 1960.

Post-war Daimler Armoured Cars were armed with the 2 pounder gun with the 'littlejohn' squeezebore adapter. The The muzzle velocity of the Littlejohn APSV Mark II shell was 1,143 m/s compared with the 792 m/s of the normal 1.2 kg APCBC shell. The APSV shell was capable of penetrating 88 mm of armour at 450 m at a 30-degree angle of impact.

The picture shows a Daimler with Littlejohn adapter in Germany around 1948.






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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 4:51:28 PM   
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The Staghound was used both as a company command vehicle and for overwatch. The Mk. III, with a Crusader-like turret and the 75mm gun from the Cromwell was used by company HQs for overwatch from 1948-58. Some Staghounds were given the 57mm and 75mm turrets from the AEC armoured car.




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 4:58:12 PM   
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The Daimler Dingo and Daimler Armoured Car combination was used in Korea and in Germany from 1948-1954. Each armoured car Squadron had three troops each with 4 x daimler Dingo scout cars (each armed with a Bren) and two Daimler Armoured Cars with 2 pounder/Littlejohn adapter. The picture shows a Dingo and Daimler Armoured Car of an armoured recce troop in Korea during the winter of 1950-1.




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 5:33:44 PM   
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Roadside bombs (IEDs) were a major problem in Malaya and required shipping many armoured vehicles to the theatre. Apart from Daimler Dingos and Ferrets, Saracen APCs and improvised armoured trucks (based on Quads and Beford RLs) were commonplace. This is a Humber Light Reconnaissance Car in use by a Ghurka unit. These were used from 1948-54.




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 5:42:05 PM   
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This is the Bedford RL Pig, an armoured truck developed in Malaya in 1953 where it was used by Ghurka, New Zealand and Rhodesian units. They were later sent to Aden and used from 1960-7 (where this one was photographed).




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 5:46:47 PM   
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Another vehicle used in Malaya was the Canadian CT4 armoured truck (based on a Quad chassis). These dated from WW2 and were used from 1948-58 by the Malayan Police after which they were replaced by the Humber Pig.




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RE: Improving the UK OOB - 8/15/2020 7:47:20 PM   
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The Centurion Mk. 10 was the definative British variant, manufactured from 1958 with the L7 105mm gun and a new 120mm thick armour on the glacis plate (up from 76mm on the Mk III and protection against the Soviet 100mm gun). The Mk. 10 also included the increased fuel capacity and thus range introduced on the Mk. 7. The Mk 8/2 was a similar upgrade to the Mk. 8, while the Mk. III's & Mk 5s were upgrade with 120mm armour and L7 gun as the Mk 6. By 1965 all British Army Centurions had been upgraded with 120mm frontal armour and L7 105mm gun, thermal sleeve and received IR night fighting lights and 12.7mm rangfing machine guns, new cupolas and 7.62mm cupola machine gun mounts.




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