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Farewell to arms - guns retired


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It will be a sad day but a good day to be a Gunner.  Does anyone have a solid lead to whats gonna come in to make up for the loss in firepower yet?    :salute:    :'(  :cdn:
Each Regiment is supposed to look the same for now. That means three batteries: one with LG1. one with C3, and 1 with 81mm mortars.

There is something brewing re: an enhanced TA role. ( Locating Batteries perhaps ?? )

The interim is the C3 ordnance on the back of the MLVW replacement vehicle. This will supposedly addrress the mobility issue somewhat. What it does to counter CB is anyone's guess. (  Bigger gun pits perhaps ?? ).

Doctrine changes. It responds to current flavor. Therefore, a new purchase could be announced before you know it. ( Eg: Mobile Gun System for the Armored Corps....no one at the "sharp end" saw that coming ).

Personally, I'd like to see us buy some new light 155s off the US, or maybe the FH77 off Bofors Defence Systems. The latter took a concept leaf out of the Crusader Program ( on-board ballistic computer, 3 rds burst fire capability, a phenomemal 5 rds per minute, etc. ). Slap the new smart 155 bullies in the breech ( Excalibur etc. ) and we're in business again.

Anyway, just dreaming here......

Hope things are well in The First Regiment !


But let's face it, Bomber ! Your M109's are the same guns I worked on in Lahr back in the early seventies. After several upgrades ( long barrel, improved muzzle brake, new track/suspension etc ), the vehicle is tired. Time to take its' rightful spot, alongside the Iltis, in the Gagetown/Shilo/Wainwright impact areas.
Farewell to arms - guns retired
Marcy Nicholson
Local News
Friday, February 26 2005
1053CFB SHILO - The M-109 howitzer's final shots vibrate through onlookers' winter jackets and toss waves of nostalgia over a chosen few.
Under a clear winter sky, the First Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (1RCHA) batteries A and B fired their 12 M-109 self-propelled howitzers for the last time yesterday. Other regiment members, their families and delegates looked on during a simulated enemy attack on CFB Shilo's training grounds.
"I was pumped up. It increased our capability and ability to survive by 150 per cent," former Canadian Forces Base Shilo commander Rick Wilson recalled about the first time he shot the weapon.
"This gun still has a lot of fight in it."
The Canadian military first acquired the large guns in 1968. While he was deployed in Germany, Wilson was one of the first 1RCHA members to operate the gun, which is carried on tracks and makes it resemble a tank.
The gun requires seven to nine crew members to operate.
"We fired the first round of every gun with a very long lanyard," Wilson said, explaining the 150-foot line was a safety precaution.
But as Wilson observed the old guns often associated with the Cold War era, he felt both nostalgic and sad. The M-109s will be put in storage, and he does not feel they'll be properly replaced.
Winnipeg resident Leonard Amey was the first 1RCHA member to fire the M-109 while he was stationed in Germany. The then-sergeant was not suppose to fire first on that September day 37 years ago.
"In time, it's good for this stuff to go. Everything's done by electronics now," Amey said.
Commander Land Force Western Area Brig.-Gen. Stuart Beare was born at Shilo and returned for the ceremony. His father was the commanding officer of B Battery during the first shoot in Germany.
"Today is all about our legacy. We're just marking the passage of time," he said.
Beare's father had a competitive edge and ordered Amey to fire before the scheduled A Battery, during that first training session.
"He got into a little bit of trouble but he made history," Beare said with a chuckle.
The M-109 can hit targets up to 18 kilometres away and was designed to provide close support to the infantry and armoured forces.
But the modern world requires the military to have weapons which can be easily transported to overseas locations.
"We're looking for those systems that can push firepower where we need it, when we need it," Beare said.
"We're focusing on lighter weight and systems which provide more precision."
The army will continue to train with the 105-millimetre howitzer and 81-mm mortars, he said.
For Sgt. Paul Dolomont, who's been with the artillery for 19 years, yesterday's ceremony was like saying good-bye to an old friend.
"It's served me well over the 19 years," he said.
Still, Dolomont considers this an exciting time to be in the army.
"We've grown into a more lean and faster force," he said.
Dolomont and his crew typically spend up to three months training on the M-109 annually. This time will now be spent training with lighter firearms.
"It's going to be a quicker force, but we're not going to have the same punch."


Gee I recall the final jump and shoot of the Para Bty in Sept of 93 - since the light forces where obsolete  ::)

It was quite an emotional day for some.  I uploaded some pics from that day.    Sad day 4 gunners, but a good shoot anyhow.

Regiment A-TTEN-TION  to ur colors Salut.......Salut    :salute:
About an enhanced TA role, what can a locating bty do when no ressources are available to engage the acquired targets ?

Also, a TA bty must be linked to the proper HQ to make decisions on which direct or indirect asset would be used to engage. This is way above what a brigade HQ can do.

The CDS just mentioned at his retreat day last week that he wanted the CF to stop preparing for the all spectrum of conflicts. Instead focusing on the kind of fight we may be call on to make.

It will be interesting to see what will be the future of arty in this context, since we all know that using the artillery in a "mortar support" role is just a waste of resources. If we are going to do that, why not just turn all arty bty into mortars and provide a limited indirect fire support to had hoc formations deployed abroad on stronger peace missions, and rely on coalition forces if we engage in higher intensity conflict ?

The CF is currently going forward with changes without a defense policy. We will see where this will lead us.
Yes it was a sad day!!!! i was the TECH WO for E Bty when 2 Guns Retired their M-109's and now i had a chance to see 1 Guns shoot the last round, i think it was the last round there is still more in stock so we will watch and shoot. anyway it was a sad day for all, Canada does not have any medium fire power anymore, and that is a bad feeling to now you don't have that fire power in your back pocket. End of Mission


The TA thing is on the table as we speak. The fire support assets will, indeed, come from coalition sources.

There  was at a recent conference whereupon the Task Force / "Three Block War"concept was rolled out for all to see. Curiously, the architects had lots to say about the armor and infantry assets. The Guns didn't figure prominently. In fact, when prompted about it, the "Wheels" said thatthe Gunner contribution was "under development". This particular Call Sign never did get a satisfactory answer.

( Too bad my crystal ball broke on the last move out of Gagetown ! )

This is the seond time we have taken the M109 out of service in Canada. The first time was in 1970 when 2 RCHA in Gagetown was moved (on paper) to Petawawa and converted to a light regiment with L5s. The long range plan was to get out of the mechanized business altogether and 4 CMBG was to become an airmobile force. This did not happen and we stayed as a partly mechanized army.

Back ground, Canada bought 50 M109s for delivery in 1968. The plan was 25 to Germany, 18 to 2RCHA in Gagetown and four to the school in Shilo, with the rest used for training technicians and engineering purposes. In September 1968 I had just graduated from the Artillery Staff Course and was given the job of bringing the M109s in service at the school and running conversion courses. Instead of four, we were to get ten (four and the extra six originally meant for 2 RCHA). So, I with a MWO, four sergeants and ten bombardiers (a driver for each SP) drew the guns as they arrived in Shilo, brought them into service and after three weeks preparation started running conversion courses for everybody from senior officers to TQ3 new soldiers. We must have been doing a good job, as we were also given the school's L5s when they were delivered and did the same thing with them.

We were given all sorts of freedom to do our own thing once we had proven ourselves and despite the long hours, it was the most fun I have ever had, at least with my pants on. I must admit that much of this was due to my troops, who were great and rose above every challenge that came our way.

A truly sad day for the guns.  This is as bad as the armoured losing tanks.  Perhaps the whole doctrine is being looked at closely - the US has cancelled the Crusader project completely.
Worn Out Grunt said:
A truly sad day for the guns.   This is as bad as the armoured losing tanks.   Perhaps the whole doctrine is being looked at closely - the US has cancelled the Crusader project completely.

Far worse for the artillery I should think, as the guns are, in fact, their colours...
End of mission. Report Guns Empty!

Personally I think its sad that Canada has now no SP guns. Mortars in Artillery, well I think that pathetic. Sorry, but I look at any downsizing as cost cutting, and doing more with less. What's next? Another FRP?

Tell me are the federal MPs now going to get a raise?



If I may humbly add, I always thought that a Regiment of M109s would be our ace in the hole.  I guess not now.
Wesley H. Allen said:
End of mission. Report Guns Empty!

Personally I think its sad that Canada has now no SP guns. Mortars in Artillery, well I think that pathetic. Sorry, but I look at any downsizing as cost cutting, and doing more with less. What's next? Another FRP?

Tell me are the federal MPs now going to get a raise?



I dunno Wes...

I think that Australia is lucky in a way. Being geographically situated the way it is. Your govt is forced to pay attn to the issue of defense.

Like I say, the majority of the Canadian population is somewhat spoiled...We reject the U.S. yet depend on it for defense...No wonder they're a bit browned off with us!