I used to be petty good with this ...
... the SLR.
Not a marksman, but I was pretty good.
And I wasn't bad with one of these ...
... the 9mm Browning.
I've even been known to hit targets with this ...
... the Sterling Sun-machine gun.
But I could never get the hang of this ...
... The Light Anti-Tank Weapon.
I remember trying to fire that beast at some old tank wrecks on the ranges (not where the buffalo roam) of northern Germany back in the 80's.
It's a relatively simple ... un-clip the covers front and rear, extend the inner tube from the outer until there is an audible click and the sights pop up ... and the weapon is primed and read for use.
They were, as the name suggests, very light. You can't reload the little buggers, so after sending the projectile on it's merry way, the 'tube' can be discarded.
I remembered the first time I fired one of these beasties. I was about 19 years old and very excited. After two years in the Army I was going to be allowed to blow the blazes out of something.
Needless to say, it didn't all go as I expected it to. In fact, the only thing that the blazes blown out of it was that damn weapon!
Not once, but three times!
Indulge me for just a few moments longer and I'll explain.
- you're in the firing pit and have a LAW in your hands.
- the weapons instructor has just given you a final run-down on the weapon you are about to fire.
- he instructs you to arm the weapon
- you pull the inner and outer tubes apart. You hear the 'click' and the sight pops up.
- he tells you to aim ... you do.
- he says "Fire when ready"! You do.
- the weapon goes 'click' instead of "whoosh".
My instructor shout "Hang fire" and exited the pit after telling me not to move.
My brain told me to dump that weapon, which had in actual fact just turned into a bomb, and go with him.
I think I was more scared of our 'gung-ho' instructor than I was of having a 'ready to go' armour piercing shell in my hands, so I stood there, to change the colour of my underwear ready at the least provocation.
The range was cleared then my instructor returned and told me to close (push it back together) and then re-arm it. I did so. Three times!
"No good!" was all he said. "Let's go for a little walk down the range, shall we?"
It wasn't a question.
We left the firing pit and move twenty or so yards down range, whereupon he told me lay the weapon on the ground, still pointing towards the target, and to leave the range to the left. As we stepped away ... WHOOSH!!!
The LAW discharged it's little anti-tank projectile into a small sand bank where upon (because it wasn't an anti-sand projectile) it completely failed to detonate with a 'WHUMP'!
"Damn! F*** it, f*** it, f*** it!" screamed my instructor as he did a little stamping dance. "I was looking forward to packing a bit of PE4* around that bugger and blowing it up!"
All my other firings went without a hitch, although I completely failed to hit the target every time.
*PE4 was a type of explosive (If I remembered the name correctly)