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Thread: Being shot at

  1. #11
    After WW II, soldiers came home with many of their weapons. The weapons apparently were theirs to keep (or did the smuggle them home?). Is it like that today? If you were issued a 1911, was it yours to keep, or did you have to turn it in before returning home.

    A friend of ours, Javier, explained that US soldiers are not allowed to obtain or use their own weapons. Was that true for you as well?

    Also.... when something unusual started to happen, which did you find your hands reaching for - your weapon, or your camera?

    I've got a less exciting question to ask you. On a typical day, let's say you took several hundred photos, presumably in 'jpg' format. Where, and when, were you able to use a computer to review what you had captured? Did you then get to delete what you didn't like, and organize the good stuff, or was everything supposed to be turned in for some supervisor to review? Were you able to keep copies of anything for yourself, or did the images need to go through a censor first?

    I've got a book published by the United States Navy just after WW II. It's filled with fantastic, extremely high-quality US Navy photographs. If I remember correctly, all the photos were credited to the US Navy, rather than to the individual photographer. I'll have to check - I got this book in 198?, and still look it over whenever I find it while going through my books and catalogs. It's physically huge - but by now, it's gotten pretty worn. Some of the photographers gave their lives while capturing the images shown in this book - there was one shot of a bomb exploding on the flight deck of a carrier in the Pacific, and it killed the photographer, but his film survived. Do you now get individual credit for your photo work, or is it just "photos from a serviceman"?

    I think the laws were pretty lax back then. I've always had the impression that soldiers returning from that war could bring back just about anything.......

    Back to guns, and something you just said. I'm not, and never have been, a soldier. Still, I read in so many places that the current handguns (9mm) simply won't stop an attacker, at least not the way a 45 ACP will. What possible reason do people give for their seeming reluctance to allow soldiers to carry the 45? Are these reasons "real", or just "politics"?

  2. #12
    Politics mostly: our current rifle the L85-A2 was a design compromise going back to WW2. When the A1 variant showed several design flaws which manifested in mis-feeds and stove-pipes, H&K were tasked to carry out a review and redesign. This they did and told the British Govt that the cost of re-designing the weapon so that it would actually work would be less that purchasing the new assualt rifle now being issued to the Bundeswehr, the G-36. Govt said it has to be a British designed weapon for political reasons (never mind that the old service rifle, the SLR, was a licenced copy of the 7.62mm Belgian FN, that our current machine-gun the GPMG is a licenced copy of the Belgian FN-MAG, that the pistol then was, you guessed it a copy of the Belgian FN Browning 9mm and our new squad light machine gun is the...wait for it...Belgian made
    So we ended up with the A2, which is actually a bloody good weapon now that the Germans have done a make-over on it.

    In answer to your other questions, no we cannot use private weapons - in the UK there are no private weapons available to own now - which is a good thing - but more of that later. And no we cannot keep them.
    The Marine with the S&W 1911PD may have been evaluating it as a test - those issued Colt 1911A1s are a bit long in the tooth now by anyone's standard, though the platform is as good today as it was 100 years ago...
    We replaced our Browning Hi-Powers 3 years ago with the Sig-Sauer P226 as our SF troops used them, but they have problems with the top slide showing cracks forward of the ejection port after a few thousand rounds fired, so another change might be in the offing based on our Afghan experiences. There would be huge resistance to adopting .45ACP as a standard pistol round as most other NATO members wouldn't bear the cost of swapping over from their current pistols. The US has always done it's own thing - remember the furore when they inssisted on 7.62mm being the standard rifle round (M-14 rifle) when all evidence pointed to smaller rounds being more effective in battle conditions, and then changing to 5.56mm as a result of experiences in Viet-Nam with the M-16, thus pissing off every other NATO country who couldn't now afford to adopt the rifles that they'd actually wanted in the first place.

    As to photos, technically I had to submit all images for scrutiny via MoD in Whitehall, but in practice, I knew what could and couldn't be released and usually just banged them out to Reuters and PA (who we had an agreement with that all images had to show full byline: if you Google Images by "Cpl Rob Knight" or "Sgt Rob Knight", you'll see a fair few of my Iraq and Afghan images...
    I lost a load of work from 2005-2007 when a hard drive was knocked off my desk by another soldier, but apart from that I have copies of most of my imagery shot...

    And yes - as I was fond of telling my bosses, my 'actions-on' virtually any situation was 'take photos', not go for my weapon which was virtually unreachable, slung behind me anyway - hence the pistol you see on the front of my body-armour in the photo above.
    The way I saw things, if it came down to me having to open fire in self-defence, it was because everyone else was dead or injured - two things: one - there'd be plenty of spare rifles lying around for me to use and two - we're probably fucked by then anyway.

  3. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    The Garden State
    Wow Mr. Rob Knight, what an interesting read! Like Mike said, after reading your first post, I was speechless!

    (Hey Mike, did you notice Mr. Knight shoots Nikon? Though I'm sure it was a choice made for him by the British Gov't. I think. )
    f/8 and be there!

  4. #14
    (Sure did, but I think he'd be just as good with a Kiev IV.)

  5. #15
    I've shot Nikon since I was fifteen - it's just a happy coincidence that the majority of the World's Armies (and Law enforcement Agencies) choose Nikon (apart from the USMC who use Canon, those mad, impulsive fools...)

    I'm not really a fan-boy, but I've personally seen four top-end Canon cameras (owned by different news photographers) just lay down and die in Afghanistan for no apparent reason when my kit carried on without a murmur...that in itself is enough to ensure I'd never choose Canon or use one anywhere not within a one-hour drive of an authorised service centre.

  6. #16
    (I was joking about the Keiv 4, but it's a real camera with a real story. After the second world war, the Russians occupied the part of Germany where Zeiss Ikon had manufactured the Contax cameras. The Russians moved the whole factory and everything in it to a location in Russia,where they continued to manufacture the Contax camera with their own name on it. Here's my "first" real camera, now under a Russian name, which was sold in Russia for many years to come.... quality went down, but the basics of the camera remained: )

    I don't know how well I could deal with photography while someone was trying to kill me. As a war photographer I'd probably not have been very good. Documenting our soldiers was one thing. Documenting a fire fight is a whole new thing, that I doubt I could do. I very much respect those people who come home (usually) with fantastic images of what it's like. Sadly, sometimes they don't.

  7. #17
    I'm still overseas in India, and I was thinking I'd like to go to the shooting range, but the only thing I've found is a BB gun booth at the beach in Pondicherry (before it got washed away by the typhoon...). I was reading up on this, and found an article about why it seems nobody over here has guns: which in turn links to this little gem:

    I find I do miss going to the range, but that's going to have to wait until I get back home.
    Have Camera, Will Travel

    Smugmug Photo Gallery:

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