Tag Archives: m16

Autumn Forge ’78

NATO’s Historian just posted this, which is awesome for fans of Cold War gear and equipment.

A documentary presented by Robert MacNeil from NATO headquarters in Brussels and showing a 1978 combined NATO exercise, “Autumn Forge”, that took place in September 1978 in the Federal Republic of Germany, testing the capacity for rapid reinforcements to NATO’s central front in Europe, the most vulnerable area the Alliance has to defend.


00:00 Introduction

06:23 Day One

11:49 Day Two

18:07 Day Three

22:42 Day Four

25:50 Epilogue

SACEUR, U.S. Army General Alexander M. Haig, placed great emphasis on improving the “Three Rs” – Readiness, Rationalisation, and Reinforcement – in order to counter-balance the growing military capabilities of the Warsaw Pact. One of SHAPE’s major tasks during this period was to study how to improve the command and control and flexibility of NATO forces in Europe. In 1975, Gen. Haig also introduced a major new NATO exercise program called Autumn Forge, whose best-known element was the REFORGER (Return of Forces to Germany) series. These exercises brought together national and NATO exercises improved their training value and annually tested the ability of the Alliance’s North American members to reinforce Europe rapidly.

Navy blaster

Official caption: ROTA, Spain (March 5, 2017) Ship’s Serviceman 3rd Class Samantha Rivera stands topside rover watch aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) while the ship is pier side at Naval Station Rota, Spain. Porter is forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)

It’s good to see that SH3 Rivera’s M4 is rocking an angled foregrip and a detachable LMT L8A A2 rear sight assembly. Always nice when “commercial off the shelf” works to the advantage.

Good TD as well.

Eugene Stoner may have been on to something

There are hundreds of firearms blogs out there and most of them are crap. One of the really good ones is (wait for it) The Firearms Blog. Of course I am partial to them because they have re-posted a few of my articles, which likely reduced their web traffic for those days due to the influx of shit quality work, but hey.

Anyway, this week over at TFB they have been flooded with vintage-but-still-works M16s that are in hard field service even though they are pushing a half-century.

These include a late 1960s General Motors made M16 that was restamped from an M16A1 to an A2 and still used in the U.S. Army today:


…and a mid-1960s era XEM16E1 in use with the Israeli Nahal infantry battalion

m16 XEM16E1 in use with the Israeli Nahal infantry battalion 2015
But my favorite was a Cambodian XM16E1 that is a half century old and still clicking. It was run upon by Steve Lee, the Aussie “I Like Guns” mate

The rifle is a mixmaster. It’s unknown if the upper is original (off-color upper receivers are common, as anodizing is difficult to match between parts ); the barrel assembly is clearly an alteration of some sort, and the handguard appears to be a local fabrication. What is clear is the full fence lower, and XM16E1 markings make the rifle at least 48 years old. It’s commonly repeated that the full fence lower was introduced with the “M16A1″ designation, but they were two separate developments. In fact, the “M16A1″ designation did not carry with it any design changes at all, and was simply a formalization of the Army’s adoption of the rifle. Incremental improvements were being made during this period, however, which is how we can date this rifle to a period of about nine months in the first half of the Vietnam War.

Which reminds me of this image below of a Philippines Special Police commando with a gently used M16A1 taken last year. It looks clean as a whistle which, in a 101% humidity area like the PI, is a testament to good maintenance.

phillipines special police with m16a1 in 2015 m-16

It seems, despite what you hear in the gun rags about how all the old 1960s and 70s gas impingement military contract M16s are just horrible weapons, they still get some love even 40-50 years later.