Tag Archives: M777 155 mm howitzer

Hoth, but with 155s

My family hails originally from the Harz Mountains region of Saxony-Anhalt Germany, from the little towns of Quedlinburg and Wernigerode. Following the Soviet occupation in 1945, many members chose to skip town and head west, with one branch settling outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba as the climate was very similar and there was a large German colony there. Hence, I have Canadian cousins with names like Dieter and Wolfgang (or just Wolfie to his friends).

Speaking of cold, the historic 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA) –which was formed originally in 1898 and has a long lineage that includes the Boer Wars, both World Wars, Korea and Afghanistan– has its garrison at CFB Shilo, Manitoba. The typical weather there this time of year has highs in the teens even with Spring just on the horizon, and flurries.

As exemplified in the below in Excercise Frozen Gunner 22:

Via Canadian Forces PAO:

1 RCHA is deployed on exercise in Shilo MB to confirm its ability to fight and win in the cold weather environment. Temperatures were dipping close to -35C with the windchill. In addition to Regt assets, 38 Artillery Tactical Group, 5 Fd Regt, and 15 Fd Regt, deployed to support with an additional firing unit.

The RCHA is the primary Canadian unit fielding the M777 155mm light towed howitzer, obtaining its first battery of still warm “broke in” guns from the U.S. Marines in 2005. Since then, the Canadians have built up a collection of 69 M777s and upgraded them with the DGMS digital management system, which ups the accuracy significantly. RCHA used them to great effect around Kandahar in 2006-07, delivering fire missions danger close to allied troops without breaking hearts.

Note they seem to be practicing direct-fire straight-line cannon work as well. A 155 will certainly ruin the paint job of a T-90 if needed.

I can’t help but wonder if some of their members are first or second-generation German-Canadians.

The more things change, Devil 155 edition, with Idaho tanker bonus

A 155mm howitzer is fired by artillery crewmen of the 11th Marines, Guadalcanal

Marines work a 155mm gun position on Guadalcanal in 1942.

A Marine M777-A2 155mm howitzer at night using tactical red lighting as part of Marine Rotational Force Darwin, 2020

Of course, as Plan 2030 gets underway to “lighten” the Marines and trade assets like tanks, Engineer ABVs, bridging companies, and heavy-lift helo squadrons for things like rockets and UAV squadrons, the number of cannon batteries in the Corps is set to drop from the current 21 to just 5 in the next decade, so USMC-manned 155s will be few and far between in the future.

Marines loss, National Guard’s gain

In related news, 39 former Marine reservists in a recently disbanded M1A1 Abrams tank company of the (C coy, 4th Tanks) have switched teams and were sworn in at a joint ceremony into the Idaho National Guard’s 116th Brigade Combat Team.

In line with a storied Marine tradition, they will be using better mounts after shifting from Devils to Joes, as the Guard operates updated M1A2s.

The Marine Corps Reserve’s Company C, 4th Tank Battalion deactivates at Idaho National Guard Base Gowen Field, Aug. 14, 2020. More than three dozen of the former Marines enlisted in the Idaho Army National Guard on Sept. 13, 2020. THOMAS ALVAREZ/U.S. ARMY