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Bulwark Re-Ignites A Naval Tradition

Fieldgun Onboard
Fieldgun Onboard
Fieldgun Onboard

HMS Bulwark had turned the clock back and re-ignited a Naval tradition.  The ship, currently deployed to TAURUS 09 held its first ever Flight Deck Field Gun competition  Six departments fielded teams on a scorching hot Saturday afternoon in the Indian Ocean.

The competition is steeped in history: the original Field Gun competition was staged between the three Naval Commands with Gunnery interests (FAA, Plymouth & Portsmouth), with the final held during the Royal Tournament in Earls Court London.  This competition was based on the episode during the Boer War when Naval guns were dismantled and carried inland over a mountainous range, re-assembled & fired upon those laying siege to Ladysmith.  The original field gun competition was last run in 1996, but a similar event has been run at a lower level between individual units, competing over one day at HMS Collingwood.

Those ships with the space to hold a similar event do so when possible.  HMS Bulwark has enough space on the flight deck to include a very testing course, with the classic Out, Back & Home phases, including dismantling, carriage over an obstacle, followed by movement over a chasm on the jackstay, then re-assembly and a pause, and back over the chasm and through a narrow defile to finish with a sprint for home, encouraged throughout by No1 Trainer.  The Bosun and POPT designed and rigged the course over the previous 24 hours, and with only occasional re-tensioning of the jackstay required due to the heat, the sheer legs and other obstacles withstood the efforts and weight of the competitors and the field gun   The competition was held in hot & humid weather with plenty of sunshine, and enthusiastic support from departmental colleagues.  The fastest individual time trophy was won by Bulwark’s Marine detachment, 4ASRM.