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So, what do you do on a lazy afternoon...

...you've got a bunch of your mates, a mountain gun, and nothing else to do?

Well, if you're in the Royal Navy, this, of course.  The Royal Navy Field Gun Competition.


If you were a young Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery in the early 80's, you might have found yourself pulling a 25-pounder around the hills and dales of the British Field Artillery training center at Lark Hill.  Maybe.

H/t to The Flea for the article on the Field Gun competition.

16 Comments

Possibly a warm-up compared to the drinking competition that follows.
 
I was in Portsmouth in 1994 and was able to see one of the teams practice. It was one of the most amazing things that I have ever seen.
 
Awesome, what a riot!

Question is, did they hit what they were shooting at?
 
John, this is awesome!  For the very first time, I really caught a sense of what their predecessors went through back "in the olden days" up against the Fuzzy-Wuzzies and others.  Amazing!  Now I can understand even better the accomplishments of our own artillerymen in the battles of the Lava Fields, at Chapultepec and Mexico City, and other such hoary victories.  God bless the Redlegs! 
 
Greetings:

Perhaps it's my ex-infantryman's deathly fear of both artillery and artillerymen, but would someone please explain to me why the Royal Navy has a "field gun".  Is it in case they go aground? 
 
Bully...bully. Good thing they didn't show up at Cowpens, Saratoga or Yorktown.

Oh! 11B40...you can call an artillerymen anything you want...they can't hear worth a damn...so just do it with a smile.
 
[Shakes head and wonders why I bother putting in links...]

From the *linked* article...

This is a competition rooted in that most politically incorrect of imperial conflicts, the Boer War. In 1900, the entire British Empire rejoiced after British forces, besieged inside the South African town of Ladysmith for 119 days, were finally relieved. They owed their salvation, in part, to 280 Royal Navy sailors, even though Ladysmith is 100 miles inland.

The men of the Naval Brigade removed six guns from their warships and placed them on hastily-constructed gun carriages. These were moved inland first by rail, then by mule and, ultimately, by hand and ingenuity. Once in action, they brought down enough withering fire to drive off the Boers and liberate the diseased and starving garrison.

Queen Victoria was most impressed and dispatched a congratulatory telegram to the Naval Brigade, who returned home to a euphoric welcome. They were soon re-enacting their heroics at the Grand Military Tournament which, in due course, became the Royal Tournament, the annual celebration of the British Forces.

Fishmugger - thanks for the warning.  If I see you smiling, I'll punch you in the nose.  If you aren't smiling... I'll punch you in the nose.

 
But John...datz why we hang out wit chew...you do all the leg work (no pun intended, my nose can't take too much) There were a lot of words in that article and I'd rather watch the video.

If you checked out the other videos (The one with the red shirts training) who would have seen two girls on the team...with very big...biceps. Red Leg Girls, John...what is this world coming to?
 
Quaint as it might seem, the Royal Navy  was not only a pioneer in naval artillery, but also in field artillery. Much of what we regard as state of art, was actually invented a century ago. Computers, firing tables? They  had it, and the one genius behind it all was an eccentric admiral named Sir Percy Scott. Undoubtedly, his enemies and they were legio, had other names for him. And he is also responsible for this navy gun running thingie.

I have no doubts Castle Aarghh will find him an interesting theme for an article.
 
The US Army's last big gun, the M110A3, had it's genesis in a US Navy 8-incher, which was itself a copy of a Royal Navy 8-incher, IIRC.

I don't believe he invented range tables, those were in existence before he entered service - range tables were printed in the caissons of artillery during the Civil War.

But he did develop the techincal procedures for controlling the guns by central direction, vice independently by the turret captains. 

He was an excellent Gunner.  I suppose that's a given, what with his command of HMS Excellence...

Oh, and Kaj?  -10 for spelling.... one a, one r, two g's, and three h's, plz.    8^D
 
Random thought in response to 11B40's question: if the Hornblower Saga can be trusted, during the great age of fighting sail it wasn't at all unusual for Royal Navy ships on detached duty to temporarily disembark a few of their smaller guns as artillery for large raiding parties.  Since RN warships didn't usually carry draft animals, it fell to the crews to transport the guns.

Armorer, I seem to recall reading of a bunch of Army guns that were derived from Navy designs ... and even a few that were just taken directly from the Navy.  Like the 16-inch 50-caliber rifles originally meant for the battlecruisers Lexington and Saratoga.  When they were converted to aircraft carriers, the guns were transferred to the Army and turned into coast-defense guns for several East Coast ports during the big coast-defense build-up in 1940-43. 
 
King's Royal Horse Artillery

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTcXUnYuIq0


 
Remembered enjoying watching one of these on the BBC while stationed at RAF Alconbury back in the '70s.  I noted back then that It was interesting the Brits always reminded their public about its military heritage while Americans went out of their way to forget about them.
 
This was amazing! 
 
We had 3 25pdrs at my unit complete with limbers, one was modified as a funeral gun. My old unit has nw restored a FAT to pull them, I will post some pictures. Back the 25pdr and limber was fun, as the ay to keep them straight was the reverse of backing a normal gun. The Limber had a fluid operated brake system, with the master cylinder connected to the drawbar. For awhile there we used the Limbers as mobile field messes with special trays built to hold beer.
 
For awhile there we used the Limbers as mobile field messes with special trays built to hold beer.

My kind of Gunners, that.