Aussie gunners deployed to Afghanistan


Aussie gunners deployed to Afghanistan

Australian artillerymen are off to war for the first time since the Vietnam conflict.

Fifteen soldiers, members of the Darwin-based 8/12 Medium Regiment, will soon head to Afghanistan where they will join a British taskforce.

They will form part of the 7th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery providing artillery support for troops engaged in operations against insurgent forces in Helmand province in the country's south.

Army chief Lieutenant-General Peter Leahy said deployment of artillerymen in their primary role was the first time Australians had manned a gun line on operations since the Vietnam conflict.

"This deployment into a complex operational environment in support of one of our longest-standing military partners is an excellent opportunity for the Royal Australian Artillery, the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force (ADF)," he said in a statement.

Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said the deployment of the artillerymen was a further demonstration of Australia's commitment to restoring security to Afghanistan and the ADF's long-standing relationship with Britain's Ministry of Defence.

"These soldiers have worked extremely hard in the preceding months and have formed a key component of Task Force Helmand's fire support capability," he said.

"I wish them all the best for their deployment and am sure that their proficiency and skills will be highly valued by the UK and International Security Assistance Force personnel they support."

The 15 soldiers have spent the past six months in the UK training for the mission.

The deployment of the Darwin soldiers will be followed by a similar embedding of gunners from the Townsville-based 4th Field Regiment late in 2008.

In Afghanistan, the Australian gunners will operate the British 105mm L118 Light Gun - a similar weapon to the ADF's L119 Hamel Gun - from forward operating bases throughout Helmand Province.

While the principal job of the artillery units is to fire big guns they are also trained as infantrymen and have served in East Timor in that role.

Some also provide the defence capability to evacuate civilians from foreign countries in event of war or natural disaster.
As I mentioned in another post I can't understand why the UK does not have some of the 155 mobile guns out there.
Half a troop, 3 guns with any Raiding party would surely be better then waiting to call in Close Air Support, no need to go out of house and even back in my day the Royal Regt claimed it could put shell into a barrel, admittedly a 70 mtr diameter barrel.
Well done the Diggers

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