Tag Archives: M107

The 175mm God of War, or at least Southeast Asia

Official Caption: Ready for Firing – The 30-foot tube of the 175mm gun points the direction. Its 150-pound projectile will travel up to 20 miles. Date: 1969.

That year, the Marine Corps retired the aging M53 gun and converted all the 155mm Fires batteries to 175mm Gun Batteries after the 12th Marines had enjoyed the support of Army 175s in Vietnam in 1967-68.

Note the flak vests and M1 helmets without blouses, and the on-gun rack for the M16A1s. Source: 1stMarDiv [1st Marine Division] Photog: LCpl A. C. Prentiss Defense Dept. Photo (Marine Corps)

The M107 175 mm self-propelled gun was a 28-ton beast that could move over roads at up to 50mph (in theory) and was able to hurtle 147-pound shells to 25 miles, far outclassing 155mm and 105mm pieces and rivaling the impractically large 203mm guns and naval gunfire support from 6- and 8-inch guns on cruisers and 5-inch guns from destroyers/frigates.

SGT Max Cones (gunner) fires an M107, 175mm self-propelled gun, Btry C, 1st Bn, 83rd Arty, 54th Arty Group, Vietnam, January 1968. (U.S. Army photo)

The guns could lay lots of warheads on foreheads so to speak. In 1968’s six-day Operation Thor, Marine artillery averaged 4,000 rounds per day into the target area from 155, 175, and 203mm guns, in addition to 3,300 daily naval gunfire support shells and 2,400 tons of ordnance dropped by aircraft every 24 hours.

Post-Vietnam, the Army updated their remaining M107s to 8-inch guns for use in Europe for another decade along the Fulda Gap, dubbing the new vehicle M110A2s, while the Marines went back to lighter, towed 155mm guns.

Other than use by the IDF against various neighbors and by the Iranians against the Iraqis in the 1980s, the only combat saw by the M107 was by the Army and Marines in Vietnam– where several captured in 1975 are still in arsenal storage.

HITRON hits 500

When the U.S. Coast Guard stood up the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) in late 1998 as an experiment in Airborne Use of Force (AUF), they did so with a handful of volunteers out of Cecil Field and a few leased MD900 and MD902 Enforcer helicopters (dubbed MH-90s) with stock M16A2s and a mounted M240G.

Isn’t it cute

The proof of concept, shooting to warn, then disable go-fasts, led to the squadron going live with eight leased Augusta A109E Power helicopters, type classified as MH-68A Stingrays/Makos and the M16 was swapped out for the more effective bolt-action Robar RC-50 .50-caliber rifle and later the Barrett M107A1 semi-auto with a EBR’d M14 as back up.

Airwolf! Official caption: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Oct. 24 2001)– The HITRON, the Coast Guard’s latest drug enforcement weapon, is out on patrol aiding in port security over St. John’s river. The Coast Guard recently unveiled its new MH-68 Mako helicopter which is specifically designed to encounter the “go-fast” drug smuggling boat. USCG photo by PA3 Dana Warr

By 2008, they had switched to the new and improved version of the SA.365, classed as the MH-65C Dolphin and haven’t looked back. HITRON is the single CG source of forward-deployed armed aircrews and helicopters. Some figures estimate that this one unit has accounted for more than 10 percent of all drugs seized coming into the US since their introduction.

Last week they stopped their 500th drug interdiction when a deployed crew stopped a drug-laden go-fast vessel at 1:30 a.m. in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, March 11, 2017.

From the CG’s presser:

This is a historic benchmark for the Coast Guard as HITRON has successfully interdicted 500 vessels transporting approximately 422,000 kilograms of cocaine and 27,000 kg of marijuana with a wholesale value of more than $16.7 billion.

“This achievement is a direct reflection of the training, perseverance, and teamwork from our aircrews, support personnel and other deployed forces and partner agencies that support this dynamic mission and work together to achieve remarkable results in a joint effort countering illegal drug smuggling,” said Capt. Kevin P. Gavin, commanding officer of HITRON.

The aircrew of the Florida-based Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron stand for a photo after the 500th recorded drug bust in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, March 11, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo. Note the M107A1 with mounted AN/PEQ-15 aiming laser in the foreground, the M110 7.62x51mm sniper rifle with can in the background, and the fact that the crew names and weapons’ serials have been blurred for OPSEC/PERSEC.

A 7-page history of the unit from 1998-2004 via the USCG Historian’s Office is here.

MII Board clears HITRON shoot

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Phillips, a precision marksman at Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, shows a group of VIPs the weaponry used at HITRON during missions Tuesday Feb. 23, 2010. The VIPs were at HITRON to view an advanced screening of an upcoming episode of Top Sniper featuring HITRON on the Military Channel Thursday at 9 p.m. EST. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bobby Nash.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Phillips, a precision marksman at Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, shows a group of VIPs the weaponry used at HITRON during missions Tuesday Feb. 23, 2010. The VIPs were at HITRON to view an advanced screening of an upcoming episode of Top Sniper featuring HITRON on the Military Channel Thursday at 9 p.m. EST. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bobby Nash.)

The U.S. Coast Guard last week announced the fatal shooting of an Ecuadorian man was in accordance with U.S. and international law and fully complied with the agency’s tactics and procedures.

Javier Darwin Licoa Nunez, 35, of Ecuador, was killed during a law enforcement operation 195 miles north of the Galapagos Islands Aug. 30, 2016. The USCG’s Major Incident Investigation Report made public this week found that Nunez, part of the crew of a suspected “go-fast” cocaine smuggling boat, died from fatal internal injuries caused by bullet fragments after a helicopter-borne Coast Guard marksman fired 10 rounds into the engines of the vessel while attempting to stop the craft.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Hunting for Taliban spotters – Barrett M107 .50 BMG Rifle & Mk211 RAUFOSS

U.S. Sniper creating as much standoff distance as possible with the Barrett M107 SASR Sniper Rifle loaded with the Mk211 RAUFOSS ammunition against Taliban IDF spotters and snipers at a Combat Outpost in Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan. The M107 loaded with the Mk211 RAUFOSS is a very effective weapon as the Mk211 is a multi-purpose round that can be used on both soft and hard targets.