British two-ton ‘Dragon gun’ terrifies Taliban

#1
From The Sunday Times
March 29, 2009
British two-ton ‘Dragon gun’ terrifies Taliban
Michael Smith

BRITISH commandos have hauled a two-ton artillery gun up a 130ft cliff by hand to protect a vital strategic outpost in Afghanistan.

The weapon, which was installed under cover of night, has been so effective in guarding the town of Musa Qala in northern Helmand that the Taliban have nicknamed it “the Dragon” because of the flame that belches out of its barrel when fired.

The 105mm gun was dismantled and rebuilt at the summit of a rocky outcrop, known as the Roshan Tower, using techniques traditionally demonstrated at the Royal Tournament. Gunners from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, normally based in Plymouth, faced a logistical challenge because the cliff face was riddled with deep cracks that threatened to crumble under the weight of the gun.
More on the link
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5992947.ece
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
does the commentator on the story have a point? are we that short of helicopter lift it had to be put in place in this manner?
 
#3
I think he's pitching the stealthy way it was positioned

“The move was done at night to keep the gun secret from the enemy, with Gurkhas providing close protection on the hills and cliffs around. Once in place, the gun was camouflaged to prevent the enemy realising the new threat to them.”

I guess slinging it from a Chinook would have lost them that first shot "oh fook!" effect :)
 
#4
I wondered about the heli option myself at first, but as mentioned above. A heli insertion is not the most stealthy method of getting a gun in their.

Well done, 29, and may the "Dragon Guns" Fire have the desired effect. :D

(New gate guard for the Battery lines in the making?)
 
#6
29 Commando Regiment rumour control has it that the same trick was performed with a 105mm Pack Howitzer in the '60s in Borneo - maybe some of the old boys can confirm this?

The story seems to imply that the gun is a new weapon - I remember 29 equipping with them in the mid-1970s.

Well done to the lads of 'Black 8' anyway.
 
#7
Skynet said:
From The Sunday Times
March 29, 2009
British two-ton ‘Dragon gun’ terrifies Taliban
Michael Smith

The 105mm gun was dismantled and rebuilt at the summit of a rocky outcrop, known as the Roshan Tower, using techniques traditionally demonstrated at the Royal Tournament.
Not wishing to diminish the achievements of the Gunners, I rather fancy the techniques had little to do with those one show by the (now defunct) gun teams of the Royal Tournament.

The gun run is divided into three sections. The first represents the guns being unloaded from HMS Powerful at Durban; the second the overnight transport of the guns from Durban to Ladysmith as the Boers surrounded the town; the third is the guns being put into position at Ladysmith to face the Boers.

The first section is called the run out. The guns are raced from the start position down the sides of the arena and manhandled over a five foot wall. Wooden spars weighing 170lb are erected and wires rigged across the 28 foot chasm. The first men are hauled across, carrying 120lb wheels for the gun carriage. The gun carriage and gun barrels follow, the gun barrels each weigh 900lb. The remainder of the gun carriages’ wheels and limbers are pulled through a hole in the second wall, called the enemy wall. Each gun crew then engages the enemy with three rounds.

The second section is the run back. All the men and the field gun have to be carried over the enemy wall, and back across the chasm. The combined weight of the gun barrel and gun carriage is 1250lb; and it goes over the wall in one piece! As soon as the last man of each gun crew - nicknamed the flying angel - is across the chasm, the rig is collapsed, and three rounds are fired in a rearguard action.

The third section is called the run home. At the sounding of the G on the bugle the final phase is to take all their equipment through the narrow gaps in the home wall. In a matter of seconds the wheels are on, pins are in, and the gun crews race flat-out to the finishing line.
From http://www.royalnavalmuseum.org/info_sheets_gun_run.htm

Also.... did 29 ever compete in the Gun Run? I thought it was a Navy thing. Or are the journos confusing the difference between a Naval Bde and the Royal Marines.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
The Gun run is very much alive the biggy being the play off of Portsmouth, Plymouth and the RNAS but there is a 'minor league' which includes RM and commando teams other army and even crabs.
 
#10
Ah, lugging artillery up the sides of mountains... finest tradition within the British Army! Right back to the British attack on Fort Ticonderoga -- Mt Defiance was a rocky hill overlooked the fort. The British leader, Major General William Phillips decided to bombard the fort from the heights of Mt Defiance, and when questioned on just how he proposed to get the field guns up the hill answered: "Where a goat can go, a man can go; and where a man can go, he can drag a gun."

Well done 29!
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
Captain Hoste lugged a gun from hias ship up a mountain in Dalmatia to fire down on some Frogs during the Napoleonic Wars - Frogs said it was unfair!

PS the landing of guns from HMS Powerful in S Africa was by no means the first time the RN has bailed out Percy like that - it was also done during the Indian Mutiny to help relieve the Siege of Lucknow.
 
#12
Did not PDLB do something similiar with a .30 BMG on Jebel Akhdar?
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#13
loofkar said:
Did not PDLB do something similiar with a .30 BMG on Jebel Akhdar?
I think PFLA went up a mountain with a pistol once.
 
#14
Not a new idea either as I seem to remember alexander the great put a number of archers up a cliff overlooking a seemingly invincible fort to persuade the defenders to give up and they did. (oh and for those that know me no I was'nt there!)
 
#15
moggy_cattermole said:
Ah, lugging artillery up the sides of mountains... finest tradition within the British Army! Right back to the British attack on Fort Ticonderoga -- Mt Defiance was a rocky hill overlooked the fort. The British leader, Major General William Phillips decided to bombard the fort from the heights of Mt Defiance, and when questioned on just how he proposed to get the field guns up the hill answered: "Where a goat can go, a man can go; and where a man can go, he can drag a gun."
Well done 29!
I take it he wasn't that "man" :)

I bet he was well popular for that idea :D
 
#16
mnairb said:
29 Commando Regiment rumour control has it that the same trick was performed with a 105mm Pack Howitzer in the '60s in Borneo - maybe some of the old boys can confirm this?

The story seems to imply that the gun is a new weapon - I remember 29 equipping with them in the mid-1970s.

Well done to the lads of 'Black 8' anyway.
Aside from the UOTCs are their any Pack Hows left? We sold them all to India or Pakistan, I think. Be the kind of thing that the Afghan National Army might find useful.
 
#17
gobbyidiot said:
mnairb said:
29 Commando Regiment rumour control has it that the same trick was performed with a 105mm Pack Howitzer in the '60s in Borneo - maybe some of the old boys can confirm this?

The story seems to imply that the gun is a new weapon - I remember 29 equipping with them in the mid-1970s.

Well done to the lads of 'Black 8' anyway.
Aside from the UOTCs are their any Pack Hows left? We sold them all to India or Pakistan, I think. Be the kind of thing that the Afghan National Army might find useful.
They're in Cornwall:
http://www.helstongunsmiths.com/mil_mgun.html
 
#18
Certainly not a new idea, but definitely one that displays the best traditions of the Royal Regiment.

Good drills Black 8

UBIQUE
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#19
Still not sure why they needed to lug them up by hand. Couldn't they have been put on a pallet covered in say, hessian and underslung them? I supposse we'll never know - at least not until the memories come out.
 
#20
Also.... did 29 ever compete in the Gun Run? I thought it was a Navy thing. Or are the journos confusing the difference between a Naval Bde and the Royal Marines.

Dont think they have, the nearest I seem to remember is in Scotland in the late 60s 7 (Sphinx) Cdo Bty took part in a KAPE tour(Keep the Army in the Public Eye) and we did a mini gun run in a few places whilst up there. Well done my old bty, Black 8 for keeping the tradition of the Regiment up. Well done guys
 

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