You What?

So the French Marines have a display day. So they have some fake hostage release exercises as part of that display day. All pretty normal so far.

Fifteen civilians and two soldiers were injured in the incident which involved a demonstration by members of a marines parachute regiment of hostage liberation exercises.

Four of the 17 were seriously injured, with two described as critical, following "incomprehensible" scenes at the barracks near Carcassone, in the country\’s south-west.

The problem? Someone issued live ammo instead of blanks. Or rather, someone used live ammo instead of blanks.

One soldier had been detained last night. Although no explanation was immediately forthcoming for why the wrong ammunition was loaded into weapons, police said there was no suggestion it was a deliberate act.

Military men might want to contest that no suggestion. I can\’t imagine any way that a trained soldier wouldn\’t know the difference.

12 thoughts on “You What?”

  1. No way someone could load a magazine and not know the difference, the two types have a “bullet head” for live and a “snob, crinkled head” for blank. Furthermore, in order for a blank to make a rifle function normally and for safety reasons, you would have a blank firing adaptor screwed onto your muzzle. Firing a live round with that attached might be dangerous to your health


  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Given that it is hard to confuse blanks with real bullets, someone might mess up the purpose of those bullets. Or the occasion. Suppose that someone was busy down in the Depot and was asked for some bullets for training purposes that were not made clear?

    Guns are designed to kill people. They do it very well. There is also an enormous difference between the effort put into firing them and the resulting damage (a little finger pressure soldiers do every week – as opposed to stabbing someone which is a little more confrontational). Shit happens a lot. Not as funny as Auberon Waugh shooting himself, but then more tragic too.

  3. Possibly pre-loaded mags handed out at the start of the exercise. Either some arse in stores didn’t check (or mixed blank/live in a mag) which seeems inconceivable or the French Paras are not a “crack unit” or one of them is a nutter/murderer.

  4. This is a total failure at every level of command. As a soldier, you are meant to know what is in your magazine. As a section leader, you are meant to check your soldiers know what they have in their magazines. As a platoon leader, you are meant to know that your section leaders have checked. As the bloke behind the desk in the quartermaster’s unit, you are meant to know, and check, what you are handing out. As QMS, you are meant to check that your guys have checked.

    Even blank rounds are dangerous. We used to train with old WWII-vintage .303 Lee Enfields, and I remember as a section leader having to stop one of the dreadful heathens under my command from firing a blank at the oncoming ‘enemy’ when not three minutes earlier the twerp had stumbled and plugged the muzzle with mud (he was immediately ordered to clean his gun, which he did not). Whether a chunk of mud would have flown out of the end and done someone a mischief, or the bolt carrier would have come back and taken his eye out was a toss-up.

    As an aside, belt-fed weapons like the L110 or L7 usually have special training rounds which have a wooden bullet in order for them to cycle and feed properly. The weapon is fitted with a ‘bullet masher’ to disrupt the wooden projectiles. Leave this off and you can cause very unpleasant things to happen.

  5. Just a thought on this, but a magazine of blanks must weigh a hell of a lot less than one loaded with live rounds? Wouldn’t that be noticeable even without inspecting the contents? Even if the top round was a blank?

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee was killed by a blank bullet being fired too close to his head.

  7. We must be grateful that the French have such terrible aim, otherwise one of the victims may have been a fatality…

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