Surface Forces: March 2, 2004

Archives

During the 2003 war in Iraq, an Australian frigate (the HMAS Anzac) engaged in the first use of naval gunfire by an Australian ship since the Vietnam war. Seven times, British Royal Marines Commandoes called on the HMAS Anzac to use it's 5 inch (127mm) gun to hit Iraqi units that were resisting. Often, it only took a few shells to cause the Iraqis to surrender. Over forty of the 70 pound shells were fired over two days. The Anzacs Mk 45 Mod 2 gun has a range of 20 kilometers, although the Anzac was a lot closer than that (about four kilometers) to its targets along the al Faw peninsula. The Mk 45 is something of a standard for ships carrying a 5 inch gun. The entire gun system weighs 25 tons, and needs a gun crew of six sailors, although only one is needed to actually operate the gun. The turret is fully automated, with the magazine below (carrying up to 500 rounds). The turret is also is also water tight and climate controlled. The gun crew spends a lot of time maintaining the turret and the ammunition supply system below deck. The only real competition for the Mk 45 is the Italian firm OTO Melara, which produces a 5 inch gun that fires the same ammo as the Mk 45 and basically offers the weapon to the same customers.

Overall, Australian warships fired seventy 5 inch shells during the same period. The naval gunfire was essential to keeping the British casualties down and clearing Iraqi forces out of the area quickly. Air power could have done the jobs just as well, but during the first two days of the war, the bombers were needed inland. The marines had their own artillery with them as well, which fired over 3,000 rounds. 

 


Article Archive

Surface Forces : Current 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close