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16 WORLD NEWS
Army October 15, 2009
GUNNERS from 105 Mdm Bty, 1 Fd Regt, have
been engaged in contacts ranging between 900m to
2000m from the Foward Operating Base (FOB) wall
in Afghanistan's Helmand province while deployed
with the British.
In arduous conditions and temperatures up to 55C,
the gunners have maintained the outstanding standard
set by the previous rotations from 8/12 Mdm Regt and
4 Fd Regt.
Located at FOB Armadillo, the gunners have provid-
ed support to British, Danish and Afghan troops. In four
months they have engaged in 42 fire missions, totalling
1008 rounds, and laid on numerous others.
The range of the contacts has meant they have been
able to observe the fall of shot, watch air support engage
with 500lb bombs, see A10 Warthogs conduct strafing
runs and Danish tanks engage with 120mm rounds from
the desert into the Green Zone.
"One result of the contacts being so close to the FOB
is the high threat of ricochet and 'spill over' rounds com-
ing over the wall. The gun detachments always wear
body armour and helmets when manning the guns due to
this threat, and the fact that the gun platforms are raised,
leaving them exposed above the Hesco wall barriers,"
the battery commander said.
There has been never a dull moment at the gun posi-
tion. On arrival, the troop immediately started re-sight-
ing and reinforcing defensive positions, reorganising gun
platforms and improving accommodation.
Regular patrols were conducted to re-sight the field
defences. As well, ground-dominating patrols by day
and night have been conducted to deter and observe
local national support to the Taliban and identify depth
firing positions used by the Taliban to engage the FOB
from maximum range.
The troop has been involved in some large-scale
operations, including Operation Panthers Claw, which
was designed to increase the ISAF area of influence.
During the operation a high-value target was identi-
fied and engaged with high-explosive (HE) rounds from
the troop, 500lb bombs from F15s and 120mm rounds
from Danish Leopard 2 tanks. The troop fired a 60-round
smoke screen to allow the tank troop to disengage from
On one occasion the FOB was subjected to small-
arms fire from five different points around the gun posi-
tion, as well as co-ordinated indirect fire (IDF). This
included RPGs, which detonated behind and within the
walls of the FOB.
During the contact the troop received a counter-bat-
tery fire mission from the counter-IDF detachment and
the IDF was silenced after 14 HE proximity rounds.
In another highlight of the tour, a multinational quick
reaction force (QRF) commanded by elements of the
Aussie troop assisted a British and Afghan patrol that
was under heavy accurate and sustained fire.
The QRF was drawn from all elements within the
FOB and used Danish vehicles for transport and fire
Gun time in Helmand
SHAUN Gladwell has
been appointed by
the Australian War
Memorial as the latest
official artist to cover
the war in Afghanistan.
Mr Gladwell has
been commissioned to
create a body of work
that includes video and
will become part of the
national collection once
Veterans' Affairs Alan
Griffin said it was
important that the expe-
riences of Australians
serving overseas were
captured by leading art-
ists and photographers.
Busy times: The gunners in Helmand province, Afghanistan, set up the L118 105mm Light Gun to engage a target.
On the front line
Equipped: Gunners from 105 Mdm Bty, 1 Fd Regt,
outside their living quarters.
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