Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Monmouth was joined by French FS Primauguet and Spain’s EPS Victoria for two days of naval gun firing at the Cape Wrath range on mainland Britain.
175 rounds crashed down on the Cape Wrath 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.
HMS Monmouth used its main 4.5in gun while its French and Spanish counterparts fired 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.
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.
The U.S. personnel directed the second day of the shoot – bringing to an end two months of work with the Americans for Monmouth.
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.