The Green Meanie traces the roots, the development, and the distinguished service career of the L96A1 sniper rifle. This fascinating story, meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated by author Steve Houghton, is one of British ingenuity succeeding against all odds.
The revolutionary L96A1 rifle helped to rewrite the rules of modern military sniping. In important British Army theatres of engagement of the late 20th century such as Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, the Green Meanie (as the L96A1 became known) played a crucial role. The weapon’s accuracy, range and usability gave the army a reason to refocus on the importance of the sniper and that process is traced in detail in this book.
This book is also a story of British engineering success. With first-hand recollections from many of the key protagonists, it shows how a small independent engineering business, Accuracy International Ltd, was able to take on established multi-national arms manufacturers and land one of the most significant British Army small arms contracts of the 1980s.
This, then, is the story of three remarkable men: Dave Caig, Dave Walls and Malcolm Cooper. Between them, they had the vision, the engineering know-how, and the knowledge of the requirements of sniping, to create a world-beating weapon, all initially planned and built in Dave Walls’ garage! With no preconceptions of what such a weapon should look like or how it should be constructed, the ‘two Daves’ took on the challenge of creating a weapon with unprecedented accuracy at range. Lightweight, reliable, easy to assemble and use, their approach resulted in a quantum leap in armaments design. Olympic shooting marksman Malcolm Cooper provided the insights of performance and usability which helped them to succeed in the face of British Army tradition and red tape. The end-result, the Green Meanie, changed the face of late 20th century military combat.
The ups and downs, the false starts, the challenges along the way, and the sheer scale of the challenge of a tiny engineering company suddenly fulfilling a major armaments contract, are all vividly portrayed in The Green Meanie, with recollections from the two Daves and researched testimony from the late Malcolm Cooper. The catalyst for change brought about by the Falklands’ conflict; the debate over using the weapon on the streets of Northern Ireland; the vivid first-hand stories of moments of engagement using the Green Meanie in various war-torn locations; the nature of modern urban fighting – all this and more is covered in the book, providing a unique angle on British military history of the eighties, nineties and noughties.
For those readers interested in the minutiae of military hardware, then all that detail is also present in this book supported by over 400 images which include specially prepared technical cutaway illustrations of the rifle and its Schmidt & Bender telescope. Additionally, there is also two commissioned pieces of stunning artwork by official war artist Anthony Cowland. Weapons and parts serial numbers; the exact, detailed evolution of the Green Meanie and its successors; everything associated with the weapon, from the bullets to the telescopes and the sniper’s garments – all have been painstakingly researched documented by Steve Houghton, providing, for the first time, the definitive history of this remarkable sniper weapon. The Green Meanie is still looked back at by service personnel and marksmen with awe, gratitude and affection. The Green Meanie is its fitting tribute.
This beautifully prepared book is limited to a print run of 2000 collector edition copies and will serve as a reference centre for the sniping history enthusiast and collector alike.
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