The EU has now ruled that all ammunition is to carry “Best Before” and “Use By” dates as well as other usage advice. The Army has ground to a halt despite having one of the biggest stockpiles for 20 years. Trooper Gary Kealy explains
"I was laying down suppressing fire from the heavy machine gun when the ammo went. I picked up the next canister but it was already open. I shouted Charlie "did you open this" he said yes, turns out he’d opened it on Monday and it had a "once opened use within 3 days" and it was Saturday so I had to put it at the back of the pile. Two others had gone past their Use By dates and it took 10 minutes to find some that were just on the Best Before dates so I used them. Hope the Taliban didn’t mind but I looked again and I’d just gone over the date by accident"
Quarter masters are now reallocating ammunition but this will take time. The biggest drawback in the 40 degree heat of an Afghan summer is the advice "do not store above 25 Celsius". Bosch and Neff are now supplying in-Land Rover fridges to keep the ordnance at optimum conditions
British Ministers have taken the ruling back to Brussels to see if we could replace the guidance with health warnings such as on cigarettes. They say that they may be able to bargain that pictures of bullet riddled corpses on the ammunition boxes will suffice instead