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Royal Regiment of Artillery
Royal Artillery Cap Badge.jpg
Royal Artillery Cap Badge
Active 1716 - Present
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Size 15 Regular regiments, 7 Territorial regiments
Garrison/HQ Various: Larkhill, Catterick, Tidworth, Colchester, Hohne
Motto Ubique (Everywhere)
Commanders
Current
commander
General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman

The Royal Artillery (RA) is the common name for the Royal Regiment of Artillery, an arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.

Contents

History

British Army Arms and Services
Flag of the British Army.svg
Combat Arms
Royal Armoured Corps
Infantry
Army Air Corps
Combat Support Arms
Royal Artillery
Royal Engineers
Royal Corps of Signals
Intelligence Corps
Combat Services
Royal Army Chaplains Department
Royal Logistic Corps
Army Medical Services
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Adjutant General's Corps
Small Arms School Corps
Army Physical Training Corps
General Service Corps
Corps of Army Music
8 in (200 mm) howitzers of the 39th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, in action near Fricourt in WWI.
Officers and senior enlisted men of the Bermuda Contingent, Royal Garrison Artillery (Bermuda Militia Artillery).

Before the 18th century, artillery 'traynes' were raised by royal warrant for specific campaigns and disbanded again when they were over. On 26 May 1716, however, by royal warrant of George I two regular companies of field artillery, each 100 men strong, were raised at Woolwich. The title "Royal Artillery" (RA) was first used in 1720. On 1 April 1722 the two companies were increased to four and grouped with independent artillery companies at Gibraltar and Minorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery, commanded by Colonel Albert Borgard. In 1741 the Royal Military Academy was formed in the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich (RWA) to provide training for RA and Royal Engineers (RE) officers. The regiment expanded rapidly and, by 1757, had 24 companies divided into two battalions, as well as a cadet company formed in 1741. During 1748, the presidential artilleries of Bengal, Madras and Bombay were formed. 1756 saw the creation of the Royal Irish Regiment of Artillery. In 1762 the Royal Artillery Band was formed at Minden—the oldest British military band[citation needed]. By 1771 there were 32 companies in four battalions, as well as two "invalid companies" comprising older and unfit men employed in garrison duties. During 1782, the regiment moved to the current Royal Artillery Barracks (front parade) on Woolwich Common. In January 1793, two troops of Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) were raised to provide fire support for the cavalry, augmented by two more in November 1793. All RHA personnel were mounted. The Royal Irish Artillery was absorbed into the RA in 1801. During 1805, the Royal Arsenal was moved to Woolwich Common. In 1819, the Rotunda was given to the regiment by the Prince Regent to celebrate end of the Napoleonic Wars. (It was originally built in St. James's Park as the outer casing of the tent in which the Prince Regent entertained the Allied sovereigns in 1814.[1]) In 1832, the regimental mottoes were granted.[2]

The regiment was under the control of the Board of Ordnance until the board was abolished in 1855. Thereafter the regiment came under the War Office along with the rest of the army. The School of Gunnery established at Shoeburyness, Essex in 1859. In 1862 the regiment absorbed the artillery of the British East India Company – 21 horse batteries and 48 field batteries – which brought its strength up to 29 horse batteries, 73 field batteries and 88 heavy batteries.

On 1 July 1899, the Royal Artillery was divided into three groups: the Royal Horse Artillery of 21 batteries and the Royal Field Artillery of 95 batteries comprised one group, while the coastal defence, mountain, siege and heavy batteries were split off into another group named the Royal Garrison Artillery of 91 companies. The third group continued to be titled simply Royal Artillery, and was responsible for ammunition storage and supply. Which section a gunner belonged to was indicated by collar badges (R.A., R.F.A., R.H.A., or R.G.A.). The RFA and RHA also dressed as mounted men, whereas the RGA dressed like foot soldiers. In 1920 the rank of Bombardier was instituted in the Royal Artillery. The three sections effectively functioned as separate corps. This arrangement lasted until 1924, when the three amalgamated once more to became one regiment. In 1938, RA Brigades were renamed Regiments. There used to be hundreds of regiments within the Royal Artillery - at the end of the Second World War, the RA was larger than the Royal Navy[citation needed]. In 1947 the Riding Troop RHA was renamed The King's Troop RHA and, in 1951, the title of the regiment's colonel-in-chief became Captain General.

The Royal Horse Artillery, which has always had separate traditions, uniforms and insignia, still retains a separate identity within the regiment, however, and is considered (by its members at least) to be an élite.

Before the Second World War, Royal Artillery recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches (1.63 m) tall. Men in mechanised units had to be at least 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) tall. They initially enlisted for six years with the colours and a further six years with the reserve or four years and eight years. They trained at the Royal Artillery Depot in Woolwich.[3]

The Royal Artillery today

Red and Blue Tactical Recognition Flash of the Royal Artillery

The Royal Artillery is equipped with a variety of equipment and performs a wide range of roles, including:

The Captain General of the regiment is Queen Elizabeth II. The post was previously known as Colonel-in-Chief until King George VI expressed the desire to be known as Captain General. The head of the regiment is the Master Gunner, St. James's Park.

The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises both Regular(full-time) and Territorial (part-time) units. The current regiments of the Royal Artillery are:

Regular Army

The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises the Royal Artillery and the Royal Horse Artillery. The Regular Army units are:

Regular regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery

Regular regiments of the Royal Artillery

The Territorial Army

The Royal Artillery's traditional home has been Woolwich, in south-east London but much of the training activity takes place at the Royal School of Artillery at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. The Royal Regiment of Artillery is unique in that it has sub-units that often move between regiments, or are placed into suspended animation. See List of Royal Artillery Batteries

Equipment

Air defence

The Royal Artillery is equipped with two main weapons in the air defence mission;

  • Rapier FSC - Rapier is the standard Low Level Air Defence (LLAD) weapon in the British Army. In the Royal Artillery, it equips 16 Regiment, and a battery of 106 Regiment RA(V).
  • Starstreak HVM - Starstreak is a continuation of the Blowpipe and Javelin series. In the RA it can be used as a shoulder-launched weapon, in the Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) or mounted on a Stormer armoured vehicle. The weapon equips 12 Regiment, 47 Regiment, 104 Regiment RA(V), 105 Regiment RA(V), and two batteries of 106 Regiment RA(V).

Close support

In the support mission, the Royal Artillery has three types of weapon;

  • MLRS - the Multiple Launch Rocket System equips the "heavy" regiments of the Royal Artillery, 39 Regiment and 101(V) Regiment.
  • AS90 - the AS90 is a self-propelled gun that equips five field regiments, 1 RHA, 3 RHA, 4 Regiment, 19 Regiment and 26 Regiment.
  • Light gun - the Light Gun is a 105 mm gun used in the close support mission in support of light or specialist forces. It equips three Regular regiments, 7 (Para) RHA, 29 (Commando) Regt RA and 40 Regiment RA, as well as three Territorial Army Regiments - 100 Regt RA(V), 103 Regt RA(V) and 105 Regt RA(V).

Surveillance and Target Acquisition

Miscellaneous facts

  • The Royal Artillery does not carry colours. Its guns are its colours and are saluted on parade.
  • Many Regular Army batteries bear an honour title (in parentheses) commemorating an exceptional act of service.
  • Battalions and Companies were renamed Brigades and Batteries in 1859.
  • Until 1794, the Royal Artillery hired civilian horses and drivers to haul its guns. In that year, the Corps of Captains' Commissaries and Drivers was formed to provide these services. This was reformed as the Corps of Gunner Drivers in 1801. In 1806 these became the Royal Artillery Drivers. In 1822 these were disbanded and from that date all men enlisted into the Royal Artillery as "Gunner and Driver"; until 1918, when they simply became Gunners. None of this applied to the Royal Horse Artillery, which had always had its own drivers.
  • On 1 April 1947, all Royal Artillery units (except the Royal Horse Artillery) were placed on a single roll. This meant that each battery and regiment carried a unique number (whereas before there could have been, for instance, a 10th Field Battery, 10th Heavy Battery, 10th Coastal Battery etc). The numbers of the batteries within a regiment bear no relation to the regiment or each other. Royal Horse Artillery batteries (and batteries that used to be RHA) bear letters instead of numbers.
  • All British coast-defence artillery units were disbanded in the 1950s.
  • When on parade with its guns, the Royal Horse Artillery takes precedence over every other regiment and corps in the British Regular Army (and parades at the right of the line). Otherwise it immediately follows the Household Cavalry. The rest of the Royal Artillery takes precedence immediately after the regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps. If the Territorial Army were included in the parade, the honour of parading at right of the line of the Territorials would fall to the HAC as the oldest regiment which has guns as colours. The Territorial Army itself ranks after Regular units in precedence.
  • In 1871 the Royal Regiment formed two batteries of garrison artillery which became the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.
  • During World War II, the Royal Artillery created a new type of formation, the Army Group Royal Artillery to command artillery assets at levels higher than division.
  • In recognition of its history, 25/170 (Imjin) Battery of 47 Regiment wears the United States Distinguished Unit Citation that was awarded to 170 Battery for its service at the Battle of the Imjin River during the Korean War (see Non-U.S. recipients of U.S. gallantry awards).

Order of precedence

Preceded by:
Royal Armoured Corps
Order of Precedence Succeeded by:
Corps of Royal Engineers

Affiliations

References

  1. ^ Woolwich Common in Garden and Landscape Guide
  2. ^ The Royal Artillery has the motto and battle honour Ubique ("Everywhere"), granted by William IV in 1833. The subsidiary motto is Quo fas et gloria ducunt ("Where right and glory lead"). Both mottoes are shared with the Royal Engineers, due to the shared Board of Ordnance history.
  3. ^ War Office, His Majesty's Army, 1938
  4. ^ 39 Regt RA - British Army website
  5. ^ Although the Honourable Artillery Company currently has an artillery role, it is a separate regiment in its own right, with its own colours, uniforms and traditions
  • Graham C A L DSO psc, Brig Gen The Story of the Royal Regiment of Artillery RA Institution, Woolwich 1939

See also

External links








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