By Denis Morgan, Midleton
“We all have our own time machines, one is called memories, they take us back in time. The other takes us forward, these are called dreams” – Jeremy Irons, actor
I suppose that in all armies, the highlights of a recruit’s life during his 18 weeks infantry training course is the firing of the weapon and weapons systems that he has been training with.
The Irish Army of 1971, which I was a member of, was no different and in the following months, weeks, days and hours of intensive training we as a class passed our T.O.E.T’s (tests of elementary training) and were considered fit to be left loose on the Kilworth Ranges to fire the practices associated with the F.N.7.62 Light Automatic Rifle, our personal weapon and the 7.62 MAG machine gun, the section fire weapon.
A beautiful weapon, the 7.62mm F.N rifle was a much superior firearm than the British standard assault rifle, the SLR (Self Loading Rifle). Magazine fed (20 rounds), gas operated, air cooled, it was accurate up to 600 metres, its best killing range was 100-200 metres. Fitted with a fold up/down sight, you could launch an anti-tank round (called an Energa) at armour up to 75 metres from the combined grenade launcher/flash hider screwed to the muzzle of the barrel.