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Whither the Artillery

sjm

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The Chief of Land Staff just made what I would call the boldest move in Field Artillery since we dumped the 25 pdrs.  The new plan according to the IMPLEMEMTATION DIRECTIVE TRANSFORMATION OF FIELD ARTILLERY, 3185-1 dated 20 July 2005 (If someone xould post it, my link died overnight for some reason.

We are going from a Reg Force capability of 54 guns in 9 Btys of various designs to 24 guns of the 155mm light gun variety still in 6 Btys of Guns and add 1 Bty devoted to STA. Each gun Bty will drop 2 guns but add 1 FOO Party and one Task Force FSCC.  Each Regt will also gain 2 Tps of Mini UAVs and 1 Tp designated for for a Weapon Locating Sensor system as part of the STA Bty.

The Reserves will provide 2 fully formed gun dets per deployment.

It looks like the Army is seriously heading towards deploying fully functional and equiped Battle Groups in the very near future.

THERE IS NO MENTION OF MORTARS ANYWHERE IN THE NEW DIRECTIVE.

Talk softly and carry a big stick!

Oh yeah, all this is supposed to take effect 1 Apr 2006.
 

JackD

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hello! Could you tell me more of this: does this mean that there are 4 guns per battery for a total of 24 guns purchased ? Or will there be extra purchase for war stock and for the schools and say this combat training centre in Wainwright? Does this also mean that the 105 howitzers will be discarded - and what will be the primemover? I'm kind of curious...
 

Observer23

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Currently they are exploring getting M777 towed 155mm.  It is highly mobile (airportable) and light.  There is percision ammuntion today to be fired out of it.  Other nations (US, UK) are currently using this gun.
 

Mountie

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I've read a lot about the possible M777 purchase.  Sounds okay, but I just hope they buy enough.  Three batteries of four guns for each of the three regiments should be the minimun, plus training stock of course.  I'm not necessarily a fan of converting the artillery regiments to purely mortars I just posed the question "is it going to happen".  However, it the RCHA is going to stay artillery then send the mortars back to the infantry.
 

STA Gunner

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The M Triple 7 purchase is for only six guns.  It is an Immediate Operational Requirement for Afghanistan is not directly tied to the future of the field artillery.

There is no official plan afoot right now to outfit a battery, or more than one battery, in each regiment with the M Triple 7.

Afterall, the FIFC requirements stated that we needed a mounted capability...
 

Mountie

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I've read a lot on the Advanced MOrtar System (AMOS) lately.  I see that it has the ability to deliver Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact (MRSI).  A total of 14 120mm mortar rounds can be fired so that they impact at the same time.  This amounts to the destruction of an entire M777 battery or more impacting at once.  Multiply this by 8 mortars in a battery and suddenly you have 112 rounds impacting a target at once.  The AMOS can fire 26 mounds a minute.  Therefore, a battery of 8 mortars can deliver 364 rounds of 120mm ammunition within one minute.  That is an significant amount of firepower available instantly.  This also allows the battery to shoot and scoot before the rounds even impact if there is a danger of counter-battery fire.  The AMOS has a range of 10 km and precision 120mm mortar ammunition exists.  In my opinion this is an excellent compromise to the artillery trying to man both the M777 and the 81mm mortar.  The mortars don't travel with the infantry battalion and therefore aren't readily available.  The AMOS would provide the fire power of an artillery battery, although at a reduced range (10 km), but it would also be integral to the battle group commander. 

The AMOS is pictured on a Patria AMV but can also be mounted on a LAV-III.  The NEMO is a much lighter turret system with a single AMOS barrel that can fire 7 rounds with simultaneous impact.


 

Petard

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I would agree the AMOS is an interesting design, I don't see it as a viable alternative to the Artillery capability requirements needed for today, let alone near or mid term. This type of capability IMO, for whatever it's worth, would be a great asset if it were part of an Infantry Bn's orbat, and manned by infanteers.
Incidentally I saw a similar type of design at General Dynamics Land about 2 years ago, it is less sophisticated but I think simpler is a better way to go than the fancier, and possibly more integration problematic, AMOS 
http://www.defense-update.com/products/a/amsII.htm
As for the MRSI aspect and double barrel launch, this is intended to try and do more with one platform, but lose that one platform and you lose that much more capability at once. I'm not entirely sold on the benefits of MRSI either, the rounds with the higher angle of fire (and max ord) will definitely have higher dispersion than the ones fired in the lower angles, which will be fired with even less energy and be less accurate than if fired with a higher charge; that kind of area suppression is not such a good thing anymore. AMOS is not the only system that can launch precision guided mortar munitions, so I think that one is a wash. As for the impact of those number of rounds equaling the effect of 155 rounds; that's quite a stretch. There's a lot that goes into the intended terminal effects, and trying to equate the blast and fragment effects between the two I don't think would quite match up, not quite apples to oranges, but maybe bananas and plantains
As for a compromise between more M777's and 81's, this is mixing two very different types of capability, I would say its too much of a compromise. Beginning around the end of 2003 the Artillery has been expected to provide Infantry Bns' with a Mortar platoon, but the math for that doesn't work out too well. In any case Artillery units have once again been employed more as a Brigade asset than a Battle group one, so range does matter, especially when the need may involve providing accurate fire support over 20 kms away for manoeuvre elements that are involved in completely different ops.  But they are a Brigade asset, (although I'm using the term Brigade loosely here to define the employment), which means the Infantry Bn normally affiliated with that gun battery may well go without, if the Bde level decision is to commit that Arty resource to another manoeuvre element, say an indigenous mentored Army unit, within the same Bde. Which is why I think the Infantry Bn should get this type of capability where the relatively short range isn't such a shortcoming because they will be that much closer to where it is needed, and besides giving more depth to our response it also leaves the resource back where it should remain; under Battle group. The firepower of the 120 mortar would be very useful in most cases when indirect or possibly even direct support is needed , and for those when it it is not enough, then tanks (Leopards) for the direct fire task, medium artillery (155's) for the indirect ones, and rockets and/or bombs for the even heavier lifting jobs.
 

Mikeg81

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We used 81mm and the 777 overseas. We (C Troop) also had the honour(?) of being some of the only Canadians to use a 120mm mortar, that was lent to us by some Yanks.

The 120mm mortar bomb weighs about the same as a 105 HE projectile. Its nowhere near as accurate, however, and not as fast to lay back on. If you want accurate fire, tube arty(105, 155) is the way to go IMHO.

I dunno...the fancy 120mm SP stuff looks good...But wasn't the mortar always an infantry Weapon? >:D

I'm of the opinion that 105mm will always have a role. If that wasn't the case, the US wouldn't be trying to buy more of the Light Gun. For every 155mm HE round(JUST the round, no propellant) you can have 3 105 HE rounds with propellant.
 

geo

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Mikeg81 said:
I'm of the opinion that 105mm will always have a role. If that wasn't the case, the US wouldn't be trying to buy more of the Light Gun. For every 155mm HE round(JUST the round, no propellant) you can have 3 105 HE rounds with propellant.
But with the 155 you can reach out and touch someone a lot farther away than with a 105.

WRT 120 tube VS a 120 AMOS or NEMO.... would contend that in spite of their designation as a "mortar", they are more artillery than anything else.
 

Kirkhill

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WRT mortars.

The Original Stokes Mortar was designed to allow troops in a trench to chuck bombs at troops in a neighbouring trench. 

Can you get a LAV in a trench?  Oh all right.  I suppose you can. 

But do you WANT to get a LAV in a trench?
 

geo

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Think there was a bit of a misnomer where Bombards were later called Mortars.
Still a piece of artillery from my perspective...
 

Mikeg81

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geo said:
But with the 155 you can reach out and touch someone a lot farther away than with a 105.

But that is stating the obvious. 155 IS good for reaching out. But for closer in targets, you can saturate a target with 105 big time. In buildup trg. at Centre Lake, 4 105 C3's each doing a 15 round FFE is ALOT of HE downrange. Esp. when you are firing 4 rounds in 10 sec.

There is new gen 105 ammo out there too that raises the lethality of 105. I don't think an 81 or 120 mortar could match that, cause then you have to redesign the round, and at what cost to range/weight?
 

geo

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Mike,
the standard 120 fired from a tube is one thing.... the 120 fired via AMOS or NEMO is another beastie altogether.

Same as talk about the MGS. 
Firing the 105 as an assault gun (direct) is one thing BUT firing the 105 as an artillery piece (indirect) is something altogether different.
 

Mikeg81

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I'm talking indirect.

105mm is cheap. The typical towed gun is simple, very little to break. Its more accurate than 120mm. Heck than any mortar, period. You won't be firing that "smart" ammo all the time, so the argument for it becomes moot.

Besides, you won't see any of those 120 platform in the reserves either. Any more than you would see a 777 or M109. So what do WE do? Keep the C3 for another 20 years?

Now, I'm not saying that these new platforms arn't good. They look like a good weapon. I'm just saying that 105 won't go away that easy. Its been tried before.
 

Old Sweat

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Mike81,

You beat me to the response re the 105mm indirect. It is also quite effective in the direct role against soft targets. It provides gives excellent neutralization of area targets; however if we are faced with a situation such as Afghanistan, that may not be desirable. I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject, given your experience in theatre.

Regarding mortars, the experiment of transferring to the 81mm to the gunners probably was driven by manpower issues. It was also based on it being an alternate choice to the LG1; with the M777 replacing the light gun, the gun positions have not always provided base plate positions within range of the forward troops. It could be, if and when manpower allows, that the 81s will be back with their rightful owners.

I frankly have not addressed the issue of an equipment for the reserves, other than perhaps the C3 or the LG1 in the near and interim time frames. After that, I would love to see a modern gun in the militia field regiments. Wishful thinking and a couple of bucks will get me a cup of coffee, but SFA else.
 

Mikeg81

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Old Sweat said:
Mike81,

You beat me to the response re the 105mm indirect. It is also quite effective in the direct role against soft targets. It provides gives excellent neutralization of area targets; however if we are faced with a situation such as Afghanistan, that may not be desirable. I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject, given your experience in theatre.

Regarding mortars, the experiment of transferring to the 81mm to the gunners probably was driven by manpower issues. It was also based on it being an alternate choice to the LG1; with the M777 replacing the light gun, the gun positions have not always provided base plate positions within range of the forward troops. It could be, if and when manpower allows, that the 81s will be back with their rightful owners.

I frankly have not addressed the issue of an equipment for the reserves, other than perhaps the C3 or the LG1 in the near and interim time frames. After that, I would love to see a modern gun in the militia field regiments. Wishful thinking and a couple of bucks will get me a cup of coffee, but SFA else.

All artillery is an area weapon, no matter what calibre it is. If that was the issue, than why is the 777 over there?

As for range, 10k out of a 120 mortar is indeed good, but a Light Gun will go 17k. So you have 155 to reach out and touch, 105 intermediate, and mortars close in. Just the way its been for almost 100 years. Just that the capabilites of the weapons have changed.

As for the C3, its being adressed in the m109 thread.
 

Old Sweat

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From some information I have seen, the M777 is very consistent, that is it has a very small beaten zone. This, again from second hand information, is attributed to the stability of the gun itself and the digitization, which produces better results than even quadrant laying. Obviously it still does not have the ability to put all the rounds in the same hole, nor should it.

To get 17 km out of the light gun, one needs the British ammunition system which was originally developed for the Abbott SP. It is separate loading and fired electrically. To fire the American ammunition such as we use with the C1 and C3, the barrel and breech must be changed. With this system I believe the maximum range that can be achieved is about 11.5 km. For whatever it is worth, I was on the Canadian trail of the light gun in Shilo in 1969. While the model we had was a preproduction one with the barrel for American ammunition, there were a number of features that could only be described as the products of British engineering at its worst.

I suspect the grown ups will opt for one calibre and that will be 155mm.
 

Mikeg81

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Old Sweat said:
From some information I have seen, the M777 is very consistent, that is it has a very small beaten zone. This, again from second hand information, is attributed to the stability of the gun itself and the digitization, which produces better results than even quadrant laying. Obviously it still does not have the ability to put all the rounds in the same hole, nor should it.

To get 17 km out of the light gun, one needs the British ammunition system which was originally developed for the Abbott SP. It is separate loading and fired electrically. To fire the American ammunition such as we use with the C1 and C3, the barrel and breech must be changed. With this system I believe the maximum range that can be achieved is about 11.5 km. For whatever it is worth, I was on the Canadian trail of the light gun in Shilo in 1969. While the model we had was a preproduction one with the barrel for American ammunition, there were a number of features that could only be described as the products of British engineering at its worst.

I suspect the grown ups will opt for one calibre and that will be 155mm.

Yup, the 777 is very stable. And the digital system adds to the accuracy. Fast laying and recording.

As for the Light Gun, times have changed from 1969. That wasn't the best year for British industry anyway. Its now grown that the Light Gun is one of the most widely used guns, the Yanks are getting more. AND it can be digitized as well...AND is combat proven.

The LG1 hasn't done much better in terms of reliability.

Although I wasn't aware of the need to fire the fancy ammo with electrics. Maybe RAP would eleminate that need? (Wasn't that why the C3 was made? To get 18k with a RAP 105 round?)

And again, my question, if 155 is the Way of the Future(tm), where does that leave Resverve Regiments? Mortars? Screw that...
 

Kirkhill

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Does this have any bearing on this discussion?

In WW2 the Allies feared the German 88mm as a multi-purpose direct fired weapon.  It could be used in Anti-Air and Area Suppression mode but its primary advantage was in eliminating point targets like tanks and strongpoints.

According to George Blackburn's trilogy on the RCA in WW2 the Germans feared the 25pdr as a super-gun.  Not because of its point capabilities, or its weight of shell , but because of its quick firing, indirect fire abilities.  With a lot of guns firing an easily handled round and variable fuses it was possible to saturate an enemy position to the extent that the enemy didn't know whether to s**t or go blind.

Does the 105 Lt supply a similar capability?
 
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