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Feel the wrath of HMS Monmouth as she completes weapons training with two days of gunnery

24 October 2016
The north-western most tip of mainland Britain came under a two-day hammering from HMS Monmouth's main 4.5in gun as the gun bay team were given the order 'empty the magazine'.

And they did.

175 rounds crashed down on the Cape Wrath range in 15 shoots - high-explosive, practice, star shells - in a coordinated eight and half hours of fire and fury bringing lead and steel down on the barren Scottish headland, culminating in a ten-round 'fire for effect' salvo - ten 46lb shells landing in close proximity one after another at around the speed of sound.

And just for good measure, France's FS Primauguet and Spain's EPS Victoria were dropping rounds on the range with their 100mm and 76mm main guns respectively.

Directing the fall of shots both ashore and aboard Monmouth were the expert observers/spotters of 148 Battery Royal Artillery from Poole, who've guided the guns of the Fleet successfully in Iraq and Libya in recent years.

Joining them for the second Joint Warrior exercise of 2016 were their US counterparts from 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (2nd ANGLICO), normally found at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

The shoot at Cape Wrath was the undoubted highlight of Joint Warrior, something for which the gunnery team had been drilling for since we left Canada.

Lt Cdr Simon Shaw

Earlier this year, the Poole-based gunners - drawn from the Army, RN and RM - were invited to California to train with 1st Anglico, making use of their hi-tech indoor and extensive outdoor ranges.

This month's Joint Warrior war games provided the perfect opportunity for 148 Battery to repay the hospitality shown by their American cousins and invite them to Scotland for some gunnery funnery.

They directed the second day of the shoot - bringing to an end two months of work with the Americans for Monmouth, which was most recently found off Nova Scotia at the largest naval exercise Canada has hosted in a couple of decades.

And the shoot also completed the Black Duke's weapons workout before deployment.

Every one of her weapons systems has to be fired before she can be permitted to head out on operations.

Just 24 hours before the gunnery shoot, the Devonport-based warship was off the Outer Hebrides firing her Seawolf missile at a drone target.

The ship then made a beeline for Cape Wrath, battling 30kt winds and a choppy Sea State 4 (waves of up to 8ft) to take her position on the gunline for the shoot.

Her gunnery officer Lt Cdr Simon Shaw was delighted with the way his team - and his gun - performed.

"The shoot at Cape Wrath was the undoubted highlight of Joint Warrior, something for which the gunnery team had been drilling for since we left Canada.

"It was also a pleasure working with 148 Battery."

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