Another Day with 100 Regiment RA (V)
We (Jen and Chris) from the Royal Navy group HMS, had an invite from Keith and the Garrison to join them for a Range Day on Salisbury Plain with the RA (the modern ones, that is) on the 23rd September.
We were met by the officer of the 100 Regt RA (V) and taken off along rough tracks in Land Rovers. The first area we visited on the Larkhill Range had two 105mm Light Guns under camouflage live firing to targets 7 Km away into the Plain. We were given a safety briefing before we were allowed anywhere near the guns and then once the guns had ceased firing the gun crew explained the function of the gun and the method of fusing the shells.
The crew made us very welcome and were un-phased by us in our WW2 kit. Once everyone established we were ok and were used to taking orders anyone who wanted to fire the gun were allowed to – you have never seen such big smiles! Bit of a chance to get back some of our taxes as they told us each shell was nearly £1000. It was funny to see people juggling the hot shell cases as they were ejected. Both the crews were extremely professional and obviously very committed to what they were doing. They were extremely pleasant and once they realised we were interested and did have some knowledge, which we were keen to develop, they couldn’t do enough to make us welcome. The majority had been on to the Gulf and many of their colleagues were on tours in Asia.
It was really interesting to see the many similarities to the 25 pounders and to hear what live firing sounded like. It was a bit weird not to see the fall of shot but only to hear it a few seconds later as a dull crump. Interestingly when you stood behind the guns it was possible to see the shells leaving the barrel.
After a brew – thanks to the RLC Cooks for that - we again loaded into Landies and driven off into a line of trees further into the Range. We were going to watch our friends from the morning deploy their guns and fire of five rounds rapid before hitching up again and leaving. Eventually they rocked up, deployed and did the business. Fantastic to see and very professional. We also had an officer to give us a commentary and answer any questions. To finish up we were all taken to our start point at the end of a great day for a reasonable meal and a pint at the Bustard.
Both of us were very grateful to the Garrison and 100 Regiment RA for the invitation and actually learned some skills and knowledge which is transferable to naval practice. We finished the day off at Pewsey Carnival – but that’s another story …Chris