The British Are Coming

From Fort Bragg.

The British are coming!

Capt. Joseph Bush, 82nd Airborne Division Artillery

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The British are coming! The British are coming! One if by land, two if by sea, three if by air?

On Dec. 2, two 105mm artillery pieces with about a hundred rounds each, and one Pinzguaer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle from the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, British Army, arrived by land to Fort Bragg from Marine Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, North Carolina after a month-long journey across the “pond.” While here, the British L-188 Light Gun will go through testing to later be air-dropped from a U.S. military cargo aircraft.

“Due to the superb support from the 82nd Airborne Division logistics staff and the 82nd Sustainment Brigade, specifically the 8th Ordnance Company, 82nd Division Artillery was able to receive U.K. equipment from the 7th Para in preparation for Exercise Pegasus Cypher from Jan. 9-15 and, as a proof of concept, for larger deliveries of equipment from the U.K. for Joint Operational Access Exercise 15-01,” according to the 82nd DIVARTY logistics officer Maj. Christopher Masson.

The British artillery is here to participate in Operation Pegasus Cypher. It is one of the first joint artillery exercises of its kind designed to integrate both nations’ systems.

Then it will be used in an airfield seizure exercise in April with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div.

“Your [the 82nd Airborne Division’s] platform is perfect for us. There is no platform in England that supports this gun and the Pinzguaer in service now,” said British Sgt. Phil Armitage, gun line section commander with 7th Para.

The artillery piece and truck will undergo several tests by the United States Army Advanced Airborne School to come up with a rigging solution for use in multiple training exercises between now and April. Once complete, the British artillery cannon can be dropped from any American aircraft in the world.

“We haven’t done anything like this since 1996,” said British Sgt. Maj. (CWO2) Carl Andrews, 7th Para Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant. “It’s a small exercise to build on something bigger in the future.”

Although there is little language barrier between the two allies, there is a communications gap between systems that don’t talk to each other. 82nd DIVARTY has come up with several methods to improve communications and work around the non-integrated that can be used in future joint interoperability exercises. 2nd Battalion 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment will be conducting Pegasus Cypher where British and American artillery Paratroopers will be working together to validate the proof of concept and learn how to communicate and fire artillery rounds using those different systems and techniques.

Staff Sgt. Andre Garson, the 82nd DIVARTY movement non-commissioned-officer, said he learned a lot in the last few days about the British military. “It’s been an awesome experience to learn about their Army and how they work.” He said now he can help others in his unit understand how they operate as well.

“When we send blokes in January they will know what to expect from the horse’s mouth,” said Armitage.

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Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, rotates the L188 105mm light gun in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., with the help of the 82nd Division Artillery movement non-commissioned-officer, Staff  Sgt. Andre Garson, in support of  joint exercise Pegasus Cypher in mid January.
Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, rotates the L188 105mm light gun in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., with the help of the 82nd Division Artillery movement non-commissioned-officer, Staff Sgt. Andre Garson, in support of joint exercise Pegasus Cypher in mid January.
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Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, checks the L188 105mm light gun shortly after it arrived in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., with the help of the 82nd Division Artillery movement non-commissioned-officer, Staff Sgt. Andre Garson, in support of joint exercise Pegasus Cypher in mid January
Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, checks the L188 105mm light gun shortly after it arrived in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., with the help of the 82nd Division Artillery movement non-commissioned-officer, Staff Sgt. Andre Garson, in support of joint exercise Pegasus Cypher in mid January
[/tab] [tab title=”Image 3″]
Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, checks the L188 105mm light gun shortly after it arrived in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., with the help of the 82nd Division Artillery movement non-commissioned-officer, Staff Sgt. Andre Garson, in support of joint exercise Pegasus Cypher in mid January
Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, checks the L188 105mm light gun shortly after it arrived in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., with the help of the 82nd Division Artillery movement non-commissioned-officer, Staff Sgt. Andre Garson, in support of joint exercise Pegasus Cypher in mid January
[/tab] [tab title=”Image 4″]
Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, checks the L188 105mm light gun shortly after it arrived in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., with the help of the 82nd Division Artillery movement non-commissioned-officer, Staff Sgt. Andre Garson, in support of joint exercise Pegasus Cypher in mid January
Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, checks the L188 105mm light gun shortly after it arrived in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., with the help of the 82nd Division Artillery movement non-commissioned-officer, Staff Sgt. Andre Garson, in support of joint exercise Pegasus Cypher in mid January
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Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, unloads the L188 105mm light gun with its prime mover, the Pinzguaer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., which will be used in a combined exercise called Pegasus Cypher in mid January
Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, unloads the L188 105mm light gun with its prime mover, the Pinzguaer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., which will be used in a combined exercise called Pegasus Cypher in mid January
[/tab] [tab title=”Image 6″]
Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, unloads the L188 105mm light gun with its prime mover, the Pinzguaer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., which will be used in a combined exercise called Pegasus Cypher in mid January
Sgt. Phil Armitage, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, unloads the L188 105mm light gun with its prime mover, the Pinzguaer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle in the 82nd Division Artillery motor pool on Fort Bragg, N.C., which will be used in a combined exercise called Pegasus Cypher in mid January
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Light Gun 8

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16 Comments
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RCT(V)
RCT(V)
January 4, 2015 1:28 pm

And . . . enough ISO containers to keep everyone happy !!

monkey
monkey
January 4, 2015 1:43 pm

Good to see us and the US working together.

Podzak
Podzak
January 4, 2015 1:48 pm

I just hope it’s not a live firing exercise.
For the sake of our lads.

as
as
January 4, 2015 2:25 pm

Surprised the Americans don’t have a transport plan for the L118. Does there version, the M119 have different chain mounting points for transport?

Obsvr
Obsvr
January 5, 2015 12:32 am

H’mm I hope the official clearance docs refer to L118 not L188.

Beyond the trunnions L118 and L119 are pretty much identical, but the different ordnances mean there are weight distribution differences. There will be other difference due to the UK use of digital sights, different MV radar and the power supply. However, the US has very recently completed the modification to give their M119 digital sights (a mere 13 years after UK, good to see the US is keeping up with the technology).

The big difference is a fundamental difference in artillery processes, ie UK observers give orders (unless they are unauthorised for multi-battery fire missions) whereas the US observers only ever send fire requests. NATO formally recognises this difference and divides the world in System 1 and System 2. It’s why UK officially uses captains as observers/fire support advisors and the US uses 2Lts. It’s also one of the reasons why UK batteries respond to fire within about 90 secs whereas US take 5 – 10 minutes. (Ignoring delays imposed by the half-baked air clearance system (another great USAF Vietnam invention) – its OK for soldiers to die but we mustn’t remotely endanger our precious pilots).

monkey
monkey
January 5, 2015 9:04 am


“It’s also one of the reasons why UK batteries respond to fire within about 90 secs whereas US take 5 – 10 minutes. (Ignoring delays imposed by the half-baked air clearance system (another great USAF Vietnam invention) – its OK for soldiers to die but we mustn’t remotely endanger our precious pilots).”
Perhaps you should repost this bit on the other thread on keeping the RAF ;-)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
January 5, 2015 9:36 am

Monkey, I am sorry to disagree. If we are talking about an airdropped first wave of an expeditionary force, it is quite relevant to consider all factors that impact on how substitutable CAS and arty will be… => then knowing what is the bare minimum of tubes you will have to be able to airdrop AND resupply.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
January 5, 2015 10:32 am

Interesting, where the early entry forces have ended:
Strykers are not air droppable and have to be partly disassembled to fit in a C-130. The M-8 was, but was canned. MGS commonality vs. AGS meeting a particular need (call it a requirement to be fancy).
– now”they” will have a Pinzgauer driving around, instead

I ignore , at my peril, that the Ex is about interoperability. Just reminded me of this angle
https://www.google.fi/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=s2aqVMjuNZLvaNWCgLAF&url=http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D8Yqxr3tqtog&ved=0CDMQtwIwBw&usg=AFQjCNF1epJQ2Ypwmnu9mR3iuLUTumMOPw

Obsvr
Obsvr
January 6, 2015 2:47 am

The air-clearance system has nothing specific to do with air drops, etc. It applies in all circumstances, ie there could be any type of a/c tooling around somewhere that might be in the neighbourhood of an artillery trajectory.

Although, IIRC, the only post-WW2 incident was when a Belgian mortar shot down a Belgian a/c with a load of Belgian paras about to drop on the DZ at Sennelager in the early or mid 1960s. Whether or not there were incidents in WW2 is unclear, it would be interesting to know, because it would help quantify the actual risk and decide whether or not the current system is justified and if so in what circumstances. For example in the case of arty or mortar fire supporting troops in contact I would tell the assorted air forces to take their chance like everyone else.

GAB
GAB
January 6, 2015 1:47 pm

“The big difference is a fundamental difference in artillery processes…”

You might want to clarify that this is a USA process for artillery, USMC/USN processes are different and appear to be more aligned with the RA.

GAB

Podzak
Podzak
January 6, 2015 2:56 pm

I’m surprised a civvy would be interested in this site.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
January 6, 2015 4:37 pm

Podzak, if your ref was to me, I am only doing some innocent research to write a piece (call it a scenario) on what happens to the civilized world when there is a military coup in the good old USA.

Can I now collect my prize for the most irrelevant comment for the year?

Podzak
Podzak
January 6, 2015 5:03 pm

No m8, I already won it.
Tbh. I was probing as I was curious as to why someone I thought would be an ex serviceman was calling himself a “civvy”.
Good luck with the writing.

Obsvr
Obsvr
January 7, 2015 2:58 am

@ GAB
Naval Gunfire is not my thing, but IIRC the procedures are standard throughout NATO and beyond, why they are a bit different to field arty has always puzzled me, but I’ve put it down to naval insularity (and that fact that it is not notably effective compared to the real thing – accuracy and dispersion is pretty terrible and ship’s captain’s can remove their ships if they don’t like the risk of hostile fire, which means NGS can never be guaranteed – a lesson that was a bit shocking to UK arty in the Falklands – they’d never been told about that bit, obviously RN Eyes Only!).

My understanding is also that USFA and USMC follow identical field arty procedures, not least because both are trained at Fort Sill.

The original 1965 QSTAG and subsequent STANAG identified two different field artillery systems – 1 & 2.

The system used by UK (& AS, CA & NZ) was that all observers can ORDER fire missions to their battery and ORDER FM to any other group of btys (eg regt/division/corps) that they were pre-authorised for. The ordered fire mission included the amount of ammo to be used, subject to SOP or any other constraints. To this end these observers were supposed to be Captains in rank, ie the more senior officers in the battery, leaving the junior ones to run the gun position. The battery commander (major) went with a supported arm unit CO/HQ (and may advise on the use of other arty such as UAS and Air Defence). Both BCs and observers can also create offensive and defensive Fire Plans for up to several batteries and available infantry mortars to meet supported arm needs.

Fire missions outside an observer’s authorisation are REQUESTED, but it’s a command responsibility to ensure that observers expected to need massed fire have the authority to ORDER it. REQUESTS for massed fire went to the Regt CP, run by the adjutant (the CO being with the supported bde comd), Arty SO2 Div HQRA, and Corps Arty HQ as applicable to the REQUEST.

In the US system the more senior officers, led by the battery comd, run the gun position and the most junior are the observers. These observers can only REQUEST a fire mission, via the battalion FDC, and granting the request includes an ammo allocation.

These two systems are fundamentally different, it is not a matter of semantics, putting the more senior officers with the supported arm means that arty fire is used to best meet their needs, without a remote arty HQ thinking they know better. That said I believe that operations in the last decade or so have led the US to get a bit closer to the UK system, but I suspect this is due to the nature of COIN and little if any need to mass fire.

WW
WW
January 7, 2015 12:10 pm

@ Obsrv

“Although, IIRC, the only post-WW2 incident was when a Belgian mortar shot down a Belgian a/c with a load of Belgian paras about to drop on the DZ at Sennelager in the early or mid 1960s.”

It was a British 3-inch mortar.
The Belgian C119 was cleared to fly in the dropzone by air traffic control at RAF Gutersloh shortly after 12 o’clock. British infantry mortar sections practising their skills in the approach zone to the actual DZ were told to stop at 12. One of the crews still had three rounds left when the order came and quickly fired them.

All a matter of a few minutes and bad luck. An aircraft too quick to enter the DZ after clearance and a mortar crew too slow to stop firing after the order to stop.
38 casulaties (32 para, 5 crew, 1 dispatcher). 9 para’s managed to jump out in time.

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
January 8, 2015 12:21 pm

WW

Thanks that’s what make TD so good, knowledgeable posts by experts.

Unbelievably bad luck.