Royal Canadian Artillery Test Steel Target

According to the video, this was done back in 2011. They are testing a sustainable steel target against a 105mm HE round.

I am not familiar with artillery but they seem to miss a lot. Also on what basis is this target sustainable? Sure it took a few hits however they were all hit in different areas. How well would this target be able to take multiple hits in the same spot?  What targets do artillery usually practice shooting at and are they not usually this robust?

The slow motion of the HE round is fun to watch.

Canada target 1

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • SCW

    Looks like they were pretty close to the target. I would imagine that the target is made to withstand hits from long distance.

  • BattleshipGrey

    Artillery is usually dropping shells into the target (up to) 7 miles away, rather than direct line of sight. I’d be surprised if they didn’t train for line of sight though.

    This was a blast to watch. Thanks for posting. Video inbound with various targets downrange, including another howitzer.

    • BattleshipGrey

    • Lt_Scrounge

      7 miles? That’s pop gun range. With MLRS that was pretty close to our minimum range. Our maximum range if the weather was right was an unclassified 18 miles, note I said the unclassified range. If you want to see impressive, watch a video of an MLRS round hitting a target area. Each rocket covers an area the size of 6 foot ball fields with 644 half pound shaped charges that shoot a plasma jet out of the bottom that will burn a hole through 4 inches of cold rolled steel AND throws hot steel shrapnel 5 meters in all directions. At least that’s what we were using in the mid 80s. God only knows what new ammo they have come up with in the last 30 years. They were supposedly developing a JDAM round for it back then.

      • gregge

        I know a guy who was in the US Army during Vietnam, but spent his whole tour stateside in Arizona. One job he had was on an artillery testing range. One day he was told to tow an old tank out to the range. After positioning it, he popped the hatch to get inside so he could use the manual crank and point the gun straight ahead.

        He wasn’t all the way back when he got called on the radio to go out and retrieve the tank. When he got back out to it, the turret was turned again but there wasn’t a mark on the outside of the tank. He opened the hatch to turn the turret back straight and everything inside had been burned black.

        He never asked what the heck had been fired at it. Way above his need to know.

        • Lt_Scrounge

          Probably a High Explosive Anti Tank or HEAT round or a depleted uranium one. The HEAT rounds wouldn’t physically penetrate the hull. They would detonate and send a multiple thousand degree plasma jet through the hull and into the interior. The inside of the tank would get VERY hot VERY fast. It would only leave a hole about 2 inches in diameter so it wouldn’t be hard to miss it. The depleted uranium rounds would blow completely through the hull, and the force of the round going through did a lot of nasty things to the inside including heating the air and causing a vacuum. At least that’s what my buddy the Air Force Engineer told me about the depleted uranium rounds for the A-10.

          Outside of OBC, I never dealt with anything smaller than a 155mm self propelled. About a year after I got out I got a call from a former CO telling me to watch the news because two morons from the battalion had decided that they wanted to go to a bar in Denver but neither had a car so they took an M109A2 self propelled howitzer for a drive up I-25. Of course the news crew called it a tank, but it was a howitzer. I have no idea how drunk you would have to be to think that was a good idea. They were getting a police escort. The police couldn’t stop them because of the size of the vehicle, all they could do was box it in on four sides and wait for the idiots to stop or run out of fuel.

          • jcitizen

            I remember seeing that on the news!

      • Ron

        MLRS and the HIMARS MFOM is going all guided, we still have ICM in the war stocks but that will go away in about 2 years. So all you will see is M31 GMLRS rounds both with a unitary warhead (200lbs class) and beehive type round for enhanced AP capability.

        • Lt_Scrounge

          So they will have a guided warhead with the blast potential of an 8 inch gun but with an even greater range and accuracy…. SWEET. Did they ever fully field the FASCAM rounds? They were looking at rounds that would spread mines that could be set to go inert in up to 72 hours. That way you could set a mine field behind the enemy and then advance towards them forcing them back into it and have the mines be inert by the time friendly forces reached them.

          • Ron

            FASCAM was fielded and almost universally withdrawn from service. both because of dud munitions treaty and most of their batteries now needing replacement. GATOR is the last of it and that probably will go away too.
            We are actually converting Aty FASCAM rounds to training ammo by removing the mines and putting 3 lbs HE charges and concrete ballast in them.
            GATOR was used in Desert Storm and OIF 1 and 5th Battalion, 11th Marines used Arty FASCAM in Desert Storm, but for most part FASCAM has seen little usage.

          • Lt_Scrounge

            Sounds like another one of those things that sounds good on paper but getting it to actually work right was another story. The greatest ideas in the world that simply can not be executed are nothing more than pipe dreams. Sort of like Communism and Socialism, both sound good on paper but can’t be made to work in the real world. Too bad the politicians in DC don’t have the common sense to look at the failures of the two of them around the world and figure that out.

          • jcitizen

            I still read a lot, that new developments for MLRS are coming down the pike. The long range and instant readiness it provides in the type of warfare we are in, is just too valuable to ignore.

  • MrSatyre

    Aside from BattleshipGrey’s video below, I’m not seeing a video for this article. Did it disappear back into 2015?

    • BattleshipGrey

      Looks like it’s a FB formatted video instead of youtube. Not sure if that matters for your software or not. I reloaded the page and I can still watch it.

      • USMC03Vet

        FB vids don’t load in Mozilla apparently if they are embed. It doesn’t show up at all for me. On mobile it does though.

        • MrSatyre


          • Rich

            I didn’t see it in my Firefox browser either but it appeared in Edge when I tried it like suggested here. Just learning my way around W 10 so I’m actually glad to see this post. I would have wondered forever.

      • MrSatyre

        Thanks! I’ve never not been able to watch a video here on TFB via Mozilla before, so I was scratching my head. But if I open it in Edge, the video appears and I can watch it fine.

        • jcitizen

          Edge uses the latest HTML-5 encoding for flash. That is what all the browsers will be going to, when Adobe finally drops the ball on flash as an NPAPI extension. You might try downloading the Mozilla version of flash from the Adobe site. You will need to keep it updated though, or you might be the victim of an internet drive by eventually.

  • Maxcoseti

    Man! The Jawas are not going to be happy about this!

    • Anakin

      Haha! Awesome!

    • Gavin Greaves

      This isnt by Sandpeople, the Blaster fire is to precise…

  • Robert Rodriguez

    I am not an artilleryman; my MOS was metalworking, but I have talked to people in the trade, so hopefully I can provide some insight. However, I think that an actual arty guy could be more useful.

    1) Artillery is more useful for area targets as they are primarily used to hit targets that measure in many meters than a couple feet with accurate and consistent fire. Expecting rifle type accuracy with a gun that big is unrealistic.

    The benefit to artillery is that they can accomplish both high trajectory (indirect) and low trajectory (direct) fires compared to mortars, which can only fire in a high trajectory and cannot hit close range targets by directly aiming the tube at the target, and rifles which fire at a low trajectory, but may not damage the target because the projectile is not large enough or carries enough explosive to deal significant damage, or the target is out of the range of the gun altogether. Arty guns can provide both indirect and direct fire.

    2) Direct fire is usually done when a target is within visual range of the gun crew and this was demonstrated in the video. I am not familiar with any modern examples or accounts of arty crews using direct fire but then again, I have not really looked into it.

    3) The fact that the target being used was able to withstand multiple hits with direct fire is impressive and I think that’s what they mean by it being sustainable. I think people have a lot of gun related misconceptions that carry over into larger caliber stuff. The thing you gotta remember is that it is carrying high explosives, which through impact shock alone can damage steel and cause spalling on both sides of the target or just shred it to pieces, not to mention the secondary effects of fragments and splinters of metal being flung in multiple directions, some of which have enough energy and velocity to punch through lightly armored targets as well.

    Also, the rounds they were firing were not only HE rounds, but HEDP (High Explosive Dual Purpose) rounds, which means not only will it fling fragments around to hit soft targets near the main target, like people and such, but it has a shape charge as well so it can defeat armored targets as well. The fact that it could take that many hits with many different types of rounds was pretty impressive to me.

    4) Not a lot of places have many vehicles or other types of targets that they can just lob rounds at continuously that will stand up to that kind of abuse. It would seem that those types of targets that were used in the video would be more economical for the military to use than to acquire an APC, tank or armored car and use it for target practice.

    5) The thickness of the target, angle of the armor and the types of metal used in them seem more realistic and representative of the armor thicknesses on targets of that size that they might encounter and would also be good for the arty crews to study so they can know what their guns and loadings are capable of.

    Different metals react differently to sudden shock and impact, which is why they showed which kinds of targets they were firing at. I know in US armored vehicles, they do not use hardened steel or RHA that much, but use a type of steel known as Hardox, which unlike other types or armor grade steel will deform and mushroom when hit with a sabot type penetrator or HE munitions rather than shatter and splinter like RHA or hardened steel will, and does not require a spall liner in the vehicle like the other two.

  • Green Hell


    • Saferight

      Naw BTR

  • mosinman

    maybe they’re missing because they don’t practice direct fire as much

    • Kivaari

      Notice it was the first round out, in each gun. A ranging shot? Had to see what atmospherics did, air temp-density?

    • Al Brautigam

      Almost never.

  • MPWS

    What are those people doing? Looks that any child’s play is a master act in comparison.

  • TC

    Arty not used for direct fire? Tell that to the German 88mm crews from WWII.

    • Robert Rodriguez

      I meant from the current conflicts going on. I do not recall seeing German 88mm crews from WWII in Iraq in 2007, nor have I heard about them being in Afghanistan as well.

    • kyphe

      Considering the 88mm was dual purpose flack and AT I would have used the

      15 cm sFH 18 which was often used in close support direct fire as a better example. when people say Artillery they are mostly talking about howitzers as technically all big guns are artillery.

    • Kivaari

      Those German WW2 88mm guns were not such great guns. Yes, they could out shoot lots of other arty. But they needed to be towed into place and they had a high profile. The Canadian video shows, the low profile in modern arty is a good thing to have.

  • Tom – UK

    “Also on what basis is this target sustainable?”

    I’ve yet to see many targets that can receive 12 direct or very near miss hits from heavy artillery. The target appears to be highly mobile I.e. it doesn’t weigh the equivalent of a full tank or main target and can most likely be moved in placed with a simple mobile crane.

  • Tom Currie

    TFB at its best! – An article by someone who starts out by admitting he knows nothing about the subject — that way we don;t have to wait for the obvious

    • Bobby McKellar

      I thought exactly the same thing! It’s not like we’re trying to be a jackass about it, but I often want to tell some of the ‘author’s’ that “Google is your friend”!
      A bit of constructive criticism here:
      In this case the OP got a fantastic, knowledgeable and nice response from someone with experience in the matter… There are plenty of good dudes out there like “Beasting” who was a 13 series MOS/Career Field that would help out with research BEFORE writing a story. TFB seems to have quite a few “amateur hour” moments and it makes the website look kind of silly at times.

  • Beasting

    I’m a 13a (artillery officer) it is very impressive that it survived those hits. We typically shoot at old hummers and trucks that get helicoptered onto the range. After a half dozen hits they look like a 2 foot tall metal modern art sculpture. As for direct fire, it’s definitely a standard that we train to and is still used routinely in Afghanistan. Fobs in valleys direct fire onto hillsides regularly. There is also a technique called a killer junior where you fire a time fuzed HE round at the min setting. It functions at its minimum arming distance and acts like canister shot. The 105 is especially effective in direct fire since it’s so easy to move around.

    • Robert Rodriguez

      Good to know! I wasn’t aware that direct fire was still actively used nowadays. 🙂

      What are the usual loadings on some of the guns you use, or does the HE work pretty well for most fire missions?

      • Beasting

        Without getting into a class on manual gunnery (which we still use) there are three things that really determine effects down range. Angle of fall, fuze, and projectile.

        Artillery can fire either high angle like a mortar or low angle (more like a rifle). Both of these modes primarily indirect fire. High angle fire lets the round impact from a near vertical angle and caused the effects to spread out in a more circular pattern. Where as in low angle fire the effects radius is more elliptical.

        As far as projectiles, there are several types we use routinely. For 155 systems the M107 HE, M795 HE, M110 WP (gets a bad rap but is very useful and widely available), M825 Smoke are the most common. M107 is very old and being phased out for the M795 which has a higher explosive yield and is more consistent. There are other more specialty rounds like DPICM (which is going away) and illum but those are less widely issued.

        Where artillery really makes its money is with fuzes. Fuze selection determines how the round functions down range and is based on the type of target. Most common are point detonating, delay, Variable time (proximity), time (both mecahnical and electronic), and PGK (jdam for artillery). These allow those standard HE rounds to bury themselves deep and kill bunkers (delay). Detonate on the ground and create a wall of frag (Point detonating). Kill troops in trenches (proximity and time) or Take out specific buildings (PGK).

        • Robert Rodriguez

          Ahhh yes, I had not taken fuzes into account.Thank you for your input!

          • Ron

            If you mean PGK fuze is an add on to dumb munitions and that is an analogous to JDAM for artillery than your right. But PGK does not have JDAM like capabilities, the EXCAL does. PGK give limited trajectory correction to eliminate some aspects of ballistics effects

          • jcitizen

            I’m surprised the M982 made it through the budget cuts!

        • Lt_Scrounge

          They brought back manual gunnery? I was in the last class that they taught how to use the slide rule type sticks to calculate elevation and drift back in 1984. That and manual MET. It sounds like they have added a couple of new fuse configurations as well.

          • jcitizen

            We had Hewlett Packard BUCs computers, but we had to do both the manual and computer. I always laughed that we were required to take along our Freddy FADACs, which were basically in bad condition and inoperable. Our fire direction section was one of the best – good troopers every one.

      • The_Champ

        Some Canadian Forces arty guys I served with had the chance to direct fire their M777 in the early days of Task Force Kandahar before our forces were well established there. Their target was a building with insurgents approximately 500 meters away, and the effect on target was quite good according to them.

        I later got to see the artillery in action (indirect) during my tour, and it’s quite impressive, and surely terrifying to be on the receiving end.

        Also got to see the use of one of those fancy GPS guided Excalibur rounds. It was a great long process to request it(due to their cost I guess?), and worked brilliantly in that it landed on the exact corner of the exact building where an RPG team was. “Was” being the key word as they happened to slip out before the shell arrived.

        • kgallerno

          Those Excaliber rounds are bloody expensive. Over 100000$ a round. The Canadian military has to also keep track of every single round fired and unfired and report the usage of spent rounds to the American government do to end users agreements and the technology involved. I can see why it is a process to ask for its use.

          • avconsumer2

            “Click OK to accept EULA & arm ordnance”

          • gregge

            Sounds like time for Canada to establish its own skunk works to develop shells for the artillery it buys from the USA.

            Or is the warranty void for not using OEM shells like HP does if you use non-HP ink in their printers?

          • Secundius

            @ kgallerno.

            Actually closer to ~$258,800.00 USD./each with a 30.78nmi. range. LRLAP, is slowly replacing it at ~$400,000.00 USD./each with a 100nmi. range…

          • jcitizen

            Supposedly as of September 2015 – 770 rounds of M982 fired in combat!

          • Ron

            LRLAP is gun launched missile. Instead of guided Artillery round.

          • jcitizen

            Yeah – we called that ‘rocket assisted’ in the nuclear artillery.

          • Ron

            Are you referring to US Artillery? Because those numbers are incorrect for M982 costs and range (Marines have been to kill targets at 36KM with the block 1A M982 round) and LRLAP was Navy project and not being fielded to Marine or Army M777A2 units.

  • robo kruck

    Man!! Iam impressed by the comments of these people. I was a flyboy in the 60s. Love TFB and donated money to the cause.

  • swissfreek

    Direct fire with artillery is really more art than science. It’s something we practice, but not really what the gun was designed to do, so even aiming it is more of an educated guess. There is a gunner’s sight, but part of the methodology involves looking down the bore to line up on the target. In most cases the gun is also traversed and elevated by hand crank. I grant you that in this video the target is an inanimate piece of steel, but imagine doing that with the enemy bearing down on you, especially enemy armor.

    Direct fire is generally considered a last-ditch situation for defending your own position, and is intended for close ranges by artillery standards (a few hundred meters). We’re much more likely to displace unless the bad guys show up right on top of us and out of nowhere.

    • jcitizen

      We never practiced direct fire with the M110, but we hit the target spot on so many times, that range control couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

  • Kivaari

    I am impressed. Misses a lot? First round, a ranging shot, from each caliber arty. Many armored vehicles would be DRT with the other rounds. I find that rather thin steel to have performed well. Any hit that bends the metal as those rounds did would really screw up the crew.

  • Bud

    This is exactly right – I worked with the company that developed these. The targets are considered sustainable because they’re made of recycled steel, and are easily recycled. They don’t have all the environmental hazards of using a discarded vehicle (like oil, antifreeze and radium dial instruments). Another benefit is that there are no internal voids where dud rounds can be trapped, making extraction and replacement safer.

  • jay

    “I am not familiar with artillery but they seem to miss a lot.”

    If you looked at the specs of the shells they shoot, this are pretty slow heavy shells. Just a little over 500 m/s. that around 1700fps. This things have a rainbow trajectory, even in this “direct fire” scenarios.

    AT and tank guns are made for accurate direct fire, and they shoot very fast projectiles. Most tank guns this days, shoot even full caliber shells at over 1000m/s and sub-caliber penetrates at 1700+m/s. Those shoot really flat.

    Even back in ww2 tank and AT guns, were much easier to shoot accurately with. I remember reading about the KwK 42 L/70, (gun on the German Panther tank), that up to 2500 meters, the trajectory of the AP shell wouldn’t rise above the tank they were shooting at.

    This howitzers, made to shoot heavy slow shells in indirect fire are not the best tools to shoot accurately.

    • FarmerB

      Thanks for that – the 105 is interesting, but the 155 is on a whole new level – it turned that ‘target’ into scrap. Did I notice that in the second series, the target was Ti? Also interesting is how much smoke the 155 charge develops.

  • Evan

    In the Corps, I never liked the arty guys. They were pompous with their “Kings of Battle” . nonsense, and we used to pick fights with them out of principle. But the first time I heard the battery at Camp Fallujah shoot a mission (I was over a mile away and could feel the ground shake), I became glad I was on the same side with these guys, however I felt about the culture of an arty unit vs. infantry.

  • Simcha M.

    Great video, thanks for posting this, TFB!
    To the uploader: I think anything from Rush or another Canadian group would have been more suitable, eh?

  • Kivaari

    I have to tell another story. While in Vietnam 1970 we were on the gun line at the DMZ. Cua Viet area. Three VC ran onto the beach an planted a flag. The CO told the GM(G)1 to engage the target at under a mile. It was a 5″-54 cannon, of the older pattern where men could be inside the mount, and use a telescopic sight. Unfortunately I was in CIC as the GM fired at and around the flag. After 25 rounds of HE, the CO came over the net, commanding cease fire, in a rather grumpy voice. The flag was still flying. I would not doubt the VC mooned us. It shows that it took large computers to accurately hit at 9-12 miles, and shooting at close range with a scope, from a moving ship (3 knots steerage) in gentle seas, wasn’t much help. We could hit drones with canon or missile fire miles away, but those VC had to get a big laugh out of us and all our might and glory.

  • Ron

    Both 05 and 155 have the equivalent accuracy of a rifle fired off of a fixed mount when used in the direct fire mode, the shells weight contribute to minimal effects of winds at close range. They rejected an automated sight during the M777 development modeled off the M1 tank, it allowed 1st round hits on moving targets to several thousand meters. Since the weapon is primarily meant for indirect fire, the investment in each gun for an advanced direct fire sight was deemed not required.
    During the Yom Kippur war, the IDF would fire 155m with eye bolt lifting plugs in place the fuze on max charge to kill tanks. The kinetic effect of a 95lb HE round hitting tanks at supersonic speed was actually greater than the effect of the fuze functioning over the 13-14 lbs of explosives which would lessen the lethality of the round on armor.

  • Mystick

    Still shooting at BTR’s, I see…

  • jrdeahl

    The only thing I can complain about is the music was just to damn load !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 2hotel9

    Nic? Having watched the vid I see one miss, an over on first rd, and each successive rd was a hit which would knock out the vehicle and incapacitate or kill the crew. For the 155 rds all the hits were vehicle destroying and crew killing hits. As for the overs, had they been fuse VT and set to detonate at the range of the target both would have been damaging shots. Hell, the 155 going off less than a meter above vehicle would have taken it out. And yes, I was a 13B and trained/worked as an FO, US Army.

  • SpareMeTheBS

    I do know a lot about artillery having served as a member of Army artillery 45 years ago. In fact it doesn’t miss a lot.

  • Steve

    Such munitions were common under the true PM Harper.
    Banned now under the Mussie loving, socialist dildo Turdeau.
    And what’s with the Australian rock music?
    The Tea Party, and a pile of Tim Hortons doughnuts, halal, of course, would have been more appropriate.

  • Bronson

    Am I the only one who can’t see the video?

  • CountryBoy

    Those Canucks know how to party!

  • jcitizen

    We had 8 inch M110 howitzer practice with indirect fire. Our targets were typically concrete blocks about 5 meter cubed. We were so good, we quite often hit the target 1st round! Now this made for a pretty boring training day, because we either had to move to a new range or wait for range control to helicopter in another target for practice. Then we’d hit it direct again! HA! There wasn’t much left after an 8 inch round hit directly on target!