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Old 05-21-2020, 01:31 AM
Cypher Cypher is offline
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Default Equipment changes towards 2000 (Brit focused)

As I've been considering a new game for a party of British characters set in Africa, I've been wondering what changes to issue kit would have been seen leading up to/through the Twilight War.

Using the v2.2 timeline, we can say the SA80 would be the main infantry weapon. It's pretty much universally acknowledged the initial version was, to be polite, rubbish. The issues weren't quickly rectified after the 1991 Gulf War, with SA80A2 not coming into service until the first major overhaul in the early 2000's.

Now accepting that this was a huge piece of work to rebuild all the individual weapons, I can see it being unlikely this would have happened in the T2k timeline.

What about other individual changes though, the introduction of the AG36 and the M249 (early 2000's), acquired as part of Urgent Operational Requirements for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan? If Options for Change hadn't slashed the military budget in the early 90's (and I can't remember if its referred to in the books at all) and in the face of increasing Soviet threat, would gaps in capability have been identified and these acquisitions have happened earlier, or would the FN Mag (GPMG) have been issued more widely in it's place?

I think we can be certain that vehicles like Coyote, Mastiff etc would never have been acquired or existed as the need didn't exist before Iraq/Afghanistan, but what of other like the (in)famous Sergeant York, if it looked like tensions were ramping up would this have been dusted off and put into service (iirc by the time it was cancelled most of the kinks had been worked out and it could have functioned at least acceptably enough)?

Just some keyworker working at home musings...
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:30 AM
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Fairly sure the AG36 and minimi would not have been issued to UK troops - for one the supplying countries would have wanted everything they could get their hands on for themselves.
The L85 probably would have been improved on a somewhat quicker time scale that IRL, especially given it's unlikely military spending would have been slashed (at least not to the level it was).
Very unlikely new vehicles and equipment would be introduced unless they were locally designed and produced (for the same reasons the AG36 wouldn't have been available), with more emphasis placed on improving what they already had.

We know that military equipment was in short supply from the numerous references to military units receiving old, even obsolete vehicles as replacements, and some units raised a little later in the war lacking support weaponry much heavier than mortars. The background material also states it was a "come as you are" war, at least for the first year or so (by which time you've got nukes falling from the sky anyway).
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:32 AM
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Thanks Legbreaker!

That's more or less what I had thought but consensus is as good as canon where there are gaps imo 😁

I might give them an extra gimpy then instead of a Minimi, and go and dig out some info on older vehicles that may have either been dug out of mothballs or built in UK factories before things got too bad.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:12 AM
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Why not issue older equipment such as Brens and L1A1's? Give them to support and reserve/TA units though and let the professional fighting troops have the newer stuff.
The Bren was still in service in the British army until the 1990s anyway, re-chambered some decades earlier to the 7.62 x 51mm (7.62N) cartridge.
You could probably expect to see anything still in service during the 80's pulled out of storage and reissued on a fairly large scale. Older stuff may also be issued, but less often and almost certainly to 3rd or even 4th line troops.
http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/List_of_fi...h_Armed_Forces
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:38 AM
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It's also entirely possible that a number of vehicles that were cancelled or didn't go into production etc. etc. due to the "peace dividend" of the ending of the Cold War, would have entered British service. Certain vehicles types may have been ordered in greater numbers than they were in real life.

For example, the AT-105 Saxon Wheeled APC had the following variants designed for it but I believe some variants were only procured in small numbers. If the Cold War had continued, it's entirely possible they would have been acquired in greater numbers: -
APC,
Internal Security Vehicle,
Ambulance,
Armoured Command Vehicle,
81mm Mortar Carrier,
Armoured Recovery Vehicle
and a version with a turret for 1 or 2 machine guns
The Saxon was in no way meant as a frontline APC, it was meant as a protected vehicle to transport personnel & supplies to the frontline and as such has been described by some wags as a "4 Tonner in a tin".

The CVR(T) family has some extra vehicles planned such as the various permutations of the Stormer APC.
The Warrior also had a number of proposed variants that may have entered service if the Cold War hadn't ended.

The following archived link has some a small amount of info on some of the CVR(T) and Warrior vehicles
https://web.archive.org/web/20190511.../the-eighties/
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:40 AM
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You could also add older equipment that was either dragged out of museums or that was in civilian hands - i.e. Ferrets that would have been sold to civilians

can see them raiding the Tank Museum near Bovington and grabbing the Ferret that is there - after all all they need to do to arm it is mount a machine gun

or for that matter older trucks and Jeeps that are sitting at movie production lots

and there is a precedence - during WWII after so much equipment was lost at Dunkirk they literally raided museums to find anything that they could still use - assume it would be the same for the UK by late 98 after the nuclear strikes finished off any major war production
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:07 AM
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You might even see the odd Centurion popping up.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
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You could also add older equipment that was either dragged out of museums or that was in civilian hands - i.e. Ferrets that would have been sold to civilians
If the military wasn't doing it (or were slow off the starting block) the various militias certainly would! An old tank, even without working weapons or ammo, is still one hell of an asset against opponents without heavy weapons. You may have to stick your head out the hatch with the old double barrel 12 gauge, or perhaps don't even bother with that! 50 odd tonnes of moving metal brooks no argument!
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:26 AM
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aren't there some old battleship guns around the UK? maybe a story centered around the HMS Belfast or HMS Caroline
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legbreaker View Post
If the military wasn't doing it (or were slow off the starting block) the various militias certainly would! An old tank, even without working weapons or ammo, is still one hell of an asset against opponents without heavy weapons. You may have to stick your head out the hatch with the old double barrel 12 gauge, or perhaps don't even bother with that! 50 odd tonnes of moving metal brooks no argument!
And there are working tanks in Britain without operable main guns - but you could easily mount a 50 cal on them. And you are right - it takes a lot of guts to try to stand down a tank when all you have is some double barrel shotguns and a couple of revolvers
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:53 PM
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Some really interesting ideas there, particularly the point about Saxon and other variants. I believe the number sold to Ukraine have actually been really well received (being used in an appropriate role) and have performed much better than expected - if I recall the article about it correctly Sir Richard Dannet considered selling what was seen by the British army as an appalling vehicle to a friendly power as morally wrong - but as said, they've performed much better than expected.

I had been thinking about cadet armouries earlier as well. I believe they were reasonably recently re-equipped with semi-auto SA80s, replacing the bolt action versions they had previously, but I'm not certain what they'd have had earlier (possibly SMLEs?)

It's a pain it's so (understandably) hard to find info about stockpiles/mothballed equipment - even historical, but I'll keep looking.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
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Some really interesting ideas there, particularly the point about Saxon and other variants. I believe the number sold to Ukraine have actually been really well received (being used in an appropriate role) and have performed much better than expected - if I recall the article about it correctly Sir Richard Dannet considered selling what was seen by the British army as an appalling vehicle to a friendly power as morally wrong - but as said, they've performed much better than expected.

I had been thinking about cadet armouries earlier as well. I believe they were reasonably recently re-equipped with semi-auto SA80s, replacing the bolt action versions they had previously, but I'm not certain what they'd have had earlier (possibly SMLEs?)

It's a pain it's so (understandably) hard to find info about stockpiles/mothballed equipment - even historical, but I'll keep looking.
I believe that after the adoption of the L85 by the military, some cadet units had L1A1 SLRs while others still had SMLEs but my info is anecdotal, coming from a bloke I used to know who was British.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:44 PM
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One thing I did in my campaign was to have the BOAR get a lot of the East German's MPAiKS-74N/N (5.56mm) issued out to them, while the German Army mostly used G-36 and G-41 rifles. In either the V1 or V2 timelines, there are a lot of converted AK-74 variants in Germany. Given the truly horrid performance of the L-85, the Brits would have had to get something, and the only rifle available in quantity I could think of were the MPAiKS-74N/N. By 2000, this is the most common rifle in British service.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:28 PM
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As someone who had the opportunity to use the L85A1 during the early 1990s, I am going to dispute the claims that the L85 was "rubbish" and that it suffered "truly horrid performance".

The L85A1 certainly had issues but they were vastly overblown by the media at the time. Yes it had problems with the plastic furniture deforming/breaking and the magazine catch being exposed and other problems but many of these issues were teething problems that could have been sorted out before issue if the government had not tried to do things on the cheap and tried to push it into service so soon.
If you think the situation is unique to the L85, have a read about the early years of the M16 and I can tell you some of the claims about the first batch of F88 rifles that follow the same sort of "this rifle is crap" soldier's tales.

The rifle was very accurate, with better accuracy than the M16A1, M16A2, F88, L1A1 and M14 I was also able to shoot on the same days. I put this down to the SUSAT sight. With iron sights it probably would have had a comparable accuracy to the others.
It did tend to feel as though it was overheating compared to the other riles and it was heavier than the other 5.56 rifles however that weight tended to be towards the rear so it didn't feel unbalanced to me. As a bullpup, like the F88, it was very quick to "point & shoot".
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:02 PM
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Default Enter the AR-18

We discussed this at length in another thread several years ago (if I remember which one, I'll post the link)- about how the British military would have handled the L85A1's numerous issues. IRL, these were addressed in the early 2000s.

This creates a bit of a timing issue if WW3 kicks off in the mid-'90s and goes nuclear c.'98. You can look at it two ways. Assuming that the Cold War never really ends, perhaps the British Army accelerates a product improvement plan and rolls out the L85A2 as the war is getting underway. This seems a bit ambitious, given that H&K was involved IRL, and the German company would have had its hands full with the soon-to-be-reunified German army.

Scenario 2 is that the L85A1 is still in widespread service come WWIII and its shortcoming come into stark, deadly relief as the war spirals out of control.

In this latter case, the British military has a couple of short-term options. Start reissuing SLRs and Sterlings from reserve or try to replace the SLR with a comparable domestically-produced assault rifle. Enter the AR-18. Apparently it was being manufactured in the UK through the 1980s. As an emergency measure, the British government could expand production and start issuing AR-18s to replace defective L85A1s.

You could also go a combo route and have the British gov't dusting off SLRs and increasing production of the AR-18 to replace/supplement the L85A1.

Or, you could just say that the British military decides to make due with the L85A1 while they attempt to fix its issues by itself.

Personally, I like the idea of the British Army c.2000 being armed with a mix of SLRs, AR-18, and "product-improved" L85A1s.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olefin View Post
You could also add older equipment that was either dragged out of museums or that was in civilian hands - i.e. Ferrets that would have been sold to civilians

can see them raiding the Tank Museum near Bovington and grabbing the Ferret that is there - after all all they need to do to arm it is mount a machine gun

or for that matter older trucks and Jeeps that are sitting at movie production lots

and there is a precedence - during WWII after so much equipment was lost at Dunkirk they literally raided museums to find anything that they could still use - assume it would be the same for the UK by late 98 after the nuclear strikes finished off any major war production
In my gun collection, I have a 1906 1st Issue Navy Luger with British proofs, a British military finish, and apparent weapon issue number also applied. It was evidently issued out in WWII after Dunkirk by the UK, and even has a replaced bolt and other evidence of damage typical of use of "hot" 9mm SMG ammo issued by the British for use in the STEN.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:54 PM
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Regardless of how you handle the L85 question, it's important to remember not to mix ammo types/calibres in a unit if at all possible. I can't imagine any unit smaller than battalion sized having more than a single rifle, SMG, pistol type purely because to do otherwise would put far too much unnecessary strain on the logistics system.
It's not just ammo that is the issue either, but spare parts and repair of damaged weapons. The more variety the armourer has to deal with, the less effective in their job they'll be.
Later in the war of course this situation might change with soldiers using whatever they can get their hands on, but there is still likely to be a concerted effort to try and keep units using the same thing as much as possible.
Also, as has been discussed in earlier threads, the use of enemy weapons can cause serious problems - an AK for example has a distinctive shape and is easily recognisable by just about everyone as a Pact weapon. There's a good chance anyone carrying one could become casualties of a friendly fire incident. Same thing for Pact troops carrying western weapons.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:03 AM
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In regards to the upgrade of the L85A1 to L85A2, it's worth remembering that Heckler & Koch was owned by Royal Ordnance during the 1990s and part of the reason for having H&K do the upgrades was to keep the workers at H&K employed.
If the Cold War had continued, it's probably likely that H&K would have been sufficiently financial (with contracts from the German government) so that they would not have been taken over by Royal Ordnance. There would have been no need for RO to pass the A2 upgrade work over to H&K and it would have in all likelihood been done entirely in the UK.

Last edited by StainlessSteelCynic; 05-22-2020 at 04:04 AM. Reason: spelling correction for Koch
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:12 AM
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I always find the range of opinions on the SA80A1 fascinating. Guys who I've spoken to who used it in the early days (and even a few more recent ) are generally not fond of it (I really should ask my father in law what he thought, but he spent most of career with SLR so I can probably guess! Generally I gather the A2 is a much more refined weapon, but I can see there being a much more hasty refit program in the T2k timeline and by circa 98 a mix of A1's and A2's in service.

A question for those with maintenance knowledge - could the refits have been done in a field workshop by the REME, if the factories were destroyed?

I can see militia, ad hoc scratch forces etc being armed with a much wider assorted random mix of whatever is available with preference being given to keep regular and TA units in much more standardised equipment sets. It's a no-brainer to have SLR and LMG common to reserves, any sa80's being switched out to the regs.

The AR 18 is interesting, I wasn't aware of that.
I might throw some in for the oddity value. Maybe a container ready to be shipped out has been found on the back of an abandoned truck on the way to Dover and seized by a local warlord...

I know there were quite a few Stalwarts in private hands - a mate of my dad's had one early 90's iirc, he loved it, and I remember seeing quite a few at vehicle rallies etc - so they plus the ferrets sold privately (of which there were a lot) would be fair game. There's even a guy who has a 432 parked on the roadside in Manchester...
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:18 AM
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If you scroll forward to Appendix B (page 113) in my document I list equipment holdings (and planned equipment holdings/orders) circa July 1989. I added a page long dissertation on British MBTs. I will add more whenever The Kew re-opens as I have found documents regarding Equipment holdings and plans for the 1990s
https://www.orbat85.nl/documents/BAOR-July-1989.pdf
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:00 PM
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If you scroll forward to Appendix B (page 113) in my document I list equipment holdings (and planned equipment holdings/orders) circa July 1989. I added a page long dissertation on British MBTs. I will add more whenever The Kew re-opens as I have found documents regarding Equipment holdings and plans for the 1990s
https://www.orbat85.nl/documents/BAOR-July-1989.pdf
The information that you and your co-authors compiled is worthy of a book release. Have you ever considered submitting it to say, Osprey Publishing or similar?
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:28 PM
.45cultist .45cultist is offline
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Quote:
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As someone who had the opportunity to use the L85A1 during the early 1990s, I am going to dispute the claims that the L85 was "rubbish" and that it suffered "truly horrid performance".

The L85A1 certainly had issues but they were vastly overblown by the media at the time. Yes it had problems with the plastic furniture deforming/breaking and the magazine catch being exposed and other problems but many of these issues were teething problems that could have been sorted out before issue if the government had not tried to do things on the cheap and tried to push it into service so soon.
If you think the situation is unique to the L85, have a read about the early years of the M16 and I can tell you some of the claims about the first batch of F88 rifles that follow the same sort of "this rifle is crap" soldier's tales.

The rifle was very accurate, with better accuracy than the M16A1, M16A2, F88, L1A1 and M14 I was also able to shoot on the same days. I put this down to the SUSAT sight. With iron sights it probably would have had a comparable accuracy to the others.
It did tend to feel as though it was overheating compared to the other riles and it was heavier than the other 5.56 rifles however that weight tended to be towards the rear so it didn't feel unbalanced to me. As a bullpup, like the F88, it was very quick to "point & shoot".
The L85 also had a free floating barrel that adds to accuracy.
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