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    Contributing Member Flying10uk's Avatar
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    British Airborne Forces Drop No4 rifles in containers?

    Over the weekend, by chance, I just happened to catch the very tail end of a 1960's made WW2 film involving Britishicon airborne forces. I didn't catch the name of the film but it did show a jump onto a hot drop zone with a number of British soldiers jumping without weapons and then running to a container, on landing, to pick up their No4 rifles.



    It seemed like an obvious mistake for the film to make as I was under the impression that British airborne forces always dropped with their personal weapons.

    Looking on the net it would seem that the film is correct in that during the early days rifles were dropped in containers before padded cases that could be lowered during the drop, by the soldier, were developed.


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    We went through lots of various airborne delivery of personal equipment into battle, and certainly lots of changes occurred during WW2 alone. Men jumped in with their sten guns under their chest straps of the parachute harness with magazine fitted until N/D's occurred on landing and that idea was scrapped, and trialled without mags fitted.
    The container started life to house PIAT guns and BREN's, the more heavier pieces, but also Lee Enfield Riflesicon, which were too rigid to jump safely with. The more serious and urgent operations, techniques changed.
    Take for example the glider attack on Pegasus Bridge. Had they used the container concept they would not have had their weapons to hand on landing as an example, so every operation was different.

    During the mid 60's and to date, each UKicon Paratrooper adapts his bergen to carry not only his own personal kit, but also Platoon ammunition and mortar bombs, bandoliers etc on behalf of others, the rifle was strapped to the outside of that bergen, and the barrel cradled by your arm as you left the aircraft. Once the chute was opened, you lowered the "bergen" aptly named container, 15 feet below you on a rope, so you could commit safley to a parachute roll without injury.

    However, I landed on my container a number of times, and it is not something you would want to repeat I can assure you!!
    I have a photo somewhere of a statue in our museum which I will post carrying a sten.
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    Last edited by Gil Boyd; 02-16-2021 at 04:54 AM.
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    Really Senior Member Mk VII's Avatar
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    In the early days no one knew very much about parachuting, and some of what they did was more-or-less copied from the Germans, who jumped with pistols-only and had to find their containers first thing.

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    And as on Crete, sometimes others found it first, or covered it with fire and picked off those drawn to the bait.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

    "None need deceive a people determined to deceive themselves."

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    Thanks for the replies and information, chaps.

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