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Commandos re-enact Field Gun feat in Afghanistan

From today's edition of The Times (link):

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.

Major James Vigne, commander of 8 (Alma) Commando Battery, said: “The ammunition boxes, each weighing nearly 100lb and containing high explosive shells, also had to be manhandled up the 400-metre track which couldn’t take vehicles.

“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.â€

The gun, which was installed in mid-January and is capable of firing 35lb shells, is so accurate that it can engage and hit a target 1.8 miles away within five seconds.

“The Dragon is the most feared weapon in our area by the Taliban - they are genuinely frightened by it,†added Vigne. “The Gurkhas operating from Musa Qala have been astonished by its speed, pinpoint accuracy and power.â€

My only question echoes the comment below the article, i.e. why wasn't a helo made available? Nonetheless, this bears a distinct similarity to HMS Powerful's guns being hauled to Ladysmith by the ship’s Naval Brigade to defend the town against attack during the Boer War in 1900; the origin of the RN Field Gun competition (link).


Lantern Swinger
Re: Royal Marines re-enact Field Gun feat in Afghanistan

If you want to know more about Field Gun origins ,read "Field Gun Jack versus The Boers".The RN in South Africa 1899 - 1900 ,By Tony Bridgland.
Well researched & a good read.
Looking for any used book try:


War Hero
Re: Royal Marines re-enact Field Gun feat in Afghanistan

Sounds like it was percy that did this and not royal. 29 aint RM.
danny said:
Sounds like it was percy that did this and not royal. 29 aint RM.

Cheers. Quite right although they wear the green lid. Have changed thread title accordingly.

Have also noticed that stealth was required which ruled out using a helo so I've answered my own question.


War Hero
Naval_Gazer said:
My only question echoes the comment below the article, i.e. why wasn't a helo made available?

There seem to be a number of possibilities as to why this could be:

There is currently a huge shortage of helos in Afghanistan?
Surprise may have been lost if they airlifted it? They did move it all at night after all.
Publicity? Good for the old propaganda.

I'm sure the guys on the ground would have come up with a few others (as well as some colourful names to call their commanders) when they were carrying the bugger!
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