By Master Bombardier Lynn Danielson, 116th Independent Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery
Master Bombardier Lynn Danielson of 116th Independent Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery in, Kenora, Ontario provided her first-person account to the Shilo Stag newspaper in November
Shilo, Manitoba — I have been on several gun exercises throughout my career, but this was the first time I was going to see the “big guns” in action.
I was part of Exercise FROZEN GUNNER held at CFB Shilo on March 17 and 18, 2017 where 38 Canadian Brigade Group Artillery Tactical Group (38 ATG) and 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (1 RCHA) conducted collective training to co-ordinate live battery and regimental fires.
38 ATG used the C3 105mm Howitzer, while 1 RCHA fired the M777 155mm Howitzer.
Master Bombardier Zach McDermot-Fouts worked as a Reservist on the C3 Howitzer with 38 ATG before joining 1 RCHA, where he works with the M777.
“I guess when it comes down to it, it’s mostly about manpower and manoeuverability,” offered MBdr McDermot-Fouts. “The C3 is a lighter gun and can be manned and manoeuvered quickly by only three to four people if it really came down to it.”
He added, “Rounds alone for the M777 weigh 100 pounds [50 kilograms] apiece and you need at least seven people to be mobile.”
From the C3 gun line, 38 ATG Sergeant Michael Sweatman noted, “Because there are other units watching and depending on the speed and accuracy of our rounds, joint training such as this emulates the sense of urgency in a real-time situation and builds mutual respect for the job we all do as Gunners.”
My head spins when I think of the amount of work which has to be done at the Observation Posts (OP) and the Command Posts (CP).
The OP needs to provide accurate and detailed target information to the CP, where a flurry of activity and constant communication within that small “box” is translated into data the guns can use to get firing “on time and on target.”
“This type of joint training allows for a more technical shoot – a more advanced shoot – as well as the opportunity to engage in different missions that we would not have the option to engage in with just the 105s,” said Lieutenant Joyelle Norris, the 38 ATG Forward Observation Officer on the exercise.
“We are very fortunate to be participating in this training with 1 RCHA,” said Major Paul Haughey, acting CO of 38 ATG.
“It has outstanding training value in that it enables Gunners to achieve a higher Battle Task Standard through joint training with an artillery regiment utilizing indirect live fire through both 105mm and 155mm Howitzers to support the manoeuver of the infantry and armoured units to achieve a mission set forth by the Commander.”