Monday, April 27, 2020

Circuit breaker Day 21 pix: 106mm Recoilless Rifle and Scout Jeeps

Gun demo: A106mm Recoilless Rifle crew at the 4 SIR Family Day in the early 1980s. The 106 could be also removed from the jeep and operated as a standalone crew-served weapon. The 106 complemented the 84mm Carl Gustav in infantry battalions. Both were recoilless weapons with a lethal backblast area that made them less suitable for use in urban areas.

My elder brother served his full-time National Service in the early 1980s with the 4th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (SIR), which was then at Bedok Camp (now home of the SAF Guards). These pictures were taken during a 4 SIR family day in Bedok Camp, likely in 1983 or 1984.

I loved attending the 4 SIR family day when the infantry battalion's various companies would introduce their weapons to the spectators. This was followed by a mock attack supported by artillery and armour. Lots of blank rounds would be fired, with thunderflashes and smoke grenades simulating the sound and fury of an infantry assault. All this was done on the parade square surrounded by four-storey barracks blocks.

Before the Spike was the MILAN. And before the Singapore Army upgraded to anti-tank guided missiles, the 106mm Recoilless Rifle (RR) was the heaviest anti-tank weapon organic to SIR battalions. The 106 jeeps were intended as fast, mobile fire support platforms. The gun was aimed using a 0.5 cal spotting rifle attached to the top of the recoilless rifle.

Crash action demos by 4 SIR Support Company were quite exciting to watch. The 106 jeeps entered the parade square one behind the other at high speed, fanned out in a line and screeched to a halt with tyres smoking. Individual gun commanders barked out orders which echoed round the parade square as spectators watched. On each jeep, the long 106 barrel would be released from its gun lock as the crew took up all-round defensive posture. Then the gunner squatting next to the gun would crank the hand wheels to point the barrel at the "enemy" before reporting the weapon ready for action.

The SIR Scout platoon was also jeep mounted. Scout jeeps were lightly armed with a single pintle-mounted 7.62mm GPMG as their role was to observe and report and not to engage in combat. 

Ouch, those elbows. For those of you who've tried it, it's not comfortable maintaining prone firing position on the parade square.
4 SIR soldiers in these pictures would be in their mid-50s by now. Hope they're all keeping well. Thank you for the family day demo which I enjoyed!

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