New for the 2017 Rally – The Portsmouth Action Field Gun Display Team will be performing a truly spectacular event called the South Africa Challenge, when a Command 1 tonne, 12-pounder field gun and limber (a two-wheeled cart designed to support the trail and the stock of a field carriage) will be raced across the main arena.
The South Africa Challenge will involve the teams racing each other to dis-assemble and re-assemble the Field Gun on the carriage and fire (a blank) at each end of the run.
A brief history of the Field Gun Display
The Field Gun display in its present form was started in 1907, inspired by the exploits of the Navy during the Boer War in 1899 and from 2001 the Field Gun crews and staff of Portsmouth Action Field Gun (PAFG) have been committed to continue to train for and display these competitive Field Gun runs.
In 2001 the ‘field gun run’ was resurrected by a crew and staff comprising ex-field gunners and civilians who wanted to prove that a civilian field gun crew had the ability to perform competitive field gun runs using the same drill and equipment over the same course as the former Royal Naval gunners did for a hundred years.
From 2001 the field gun crews and staff of Portsmouth Action Field Gun (PAFG) were committed to achieving competitive field gun runs by 2005, which they did at The International Festival of the Sea (IFOS) in Portsmouth in June 2005.
Six full competitive field gun runs were completed with a fastest time recorded of 3 minutes and 33 seconds.
2010 saw the crew train at Mill Rythe Holiday Centre on Hayling Island, which achieved the target of having 2 running crews by the end of 2010 to coincide with the re-introduced British Military Tournament (BMT) at Earls Court. Portsmouth Action Field Gun have attended this tournament as volunteers annually since 2010, ready to assist the BMT Directors, IMG Events team and the Army Benevolent Fund in any way they can. Once again field gun is being run in its purest form. A wonderful spectacle to behold.