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PostSubject: The Royal Regiment of Artillery   7th February 2010, 11:13 pm


The Royal Artillery (RA) is the common name for the Royal Regiment of Artillery.
Due to being the senior branch of the Army since its formation by George 1 the Artillery is the superior regiment of the British Army and holds the title Right of the Line in support of all other branches of the Army.


Origins of The Royal Artillery

Battle of Crecy
The first recorded use of cannon was by Edward III at the Battle of Crecy in 1346 during the Hundred Years War. . Before the 18th century, 'artillery traynes' were raised by Royal Warrant for a specific campaign and disbanded when the campaign was over.
On 26 May 1716, by Royal Warrant of George I, two regular companies of field artillery, each 100 men strong were formed at Woolwich. They were joined by the Gibraltar and Minorca companies in 1722, to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery. By 1771 this had expanded to 32 companies and four battalions.
The artillery was stored in the Tower of London as were all weapons and military stores of the time. [In 1455. Charles II carefully organised the Board of Ordnance from which are descended the RA, RE, RASC, RAOC (now the Royal Logistic Corps since 1993) and REME.] 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.
Each company consisted of 5 officers, 9 NCOs, 30 gunners and 50 matrosses. The duty of a matross was to assist the gunners in traversing, sponging, loading and firing the guns.
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. 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 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 Horse Artillery saved the day while the less mobile guns proved less effective. During the afternoon when French cavalry were sent in wave after wave against the British infantry squares, the artillery was ordered to shelter inside the squares until it was safe enough to return to their guns. The Duke of Wellington wrote after the battle that he was "not very well pleased with the artillery" because he saw some of them leave the field entirely taking limbers and ammunition. But this was unfair because there were many acts of great heroism by both gunners and officers.
On the whole, apart from the galloper guns, artillery was of more use in a siege situation than a battle. The recoil of a gun shifted it's position so much that it had to be re-aimed every time. It wasn't until the development of the French 75mm gun in the 1890s that artillery fire could be accurate in a battle situation.

Royal Field Artillery
At the end of the 19th century The Royal Artillery was divided into Garrison and Field
Artillery. The Royal Field Artillery was then divided into: Horse batteries, Field batteries and Mountain batteries.
The Royal Horse Artillery is dealt with under a seperate section. The field batteries were numbered 1-103 and had their depot at Woolwich. A battery was commanded by a major with a captain as 2nd in command. It was divided into 2 or 3 sections each commanded by a lieutenant and consisting of a detachment of two guns.
The field batteries were stationed around Britain, 2 or 3 being garrisoned together under a lieutenant-colonel. In a war situation 3 batteries would form a brigade division and added to an infantry division.
There were ten Mountain batteries (numbered 1-10) and they served in India. Their uniform was the same as that of the Field Artillery except for their lace boots and gaiters which were brown instead of black.

Royal Garrison Artillery At the end of the 19th century the Royal Garrison Artillery, which was part of the Royal Artillery, was divided into 3 Divisions:
The Eastern Division, HQ at Dover. Depot companies at Dover and Great Yarmouth.
The Southern Division, HQ at Portsmouth. Depot companies at Gosport and Seaforth (near Liverpool).
The Western Division, HQ at Devonport. Depot companies at Plymouth and Scarborough.
The Garrison Artillery was composed of104 service companies in 1900, forty of them in the UK, 37 in various colonies of the Empire and 27 in India. A company was commanded by a major with 6 or so officers, around 10 NCOs and 100 to 200 men.
The uniform of Garrison Artillery was the same as Field Artillery except that they were more likely to wear trousers instead of boots and breeches. On their shoulder straps were the initials of the name of their Division and the number of their company

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. In 1832, the regimental mottoes were granted.
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.

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
History of the Royal Horse Artillery
The royal Horse Artillery is made up of the following elements;
•The King's troop Royal Horse Artillery
•The 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
•The 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
•The 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery known as (7RHA)
The Royal Horse Artillery operates today as part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, there are currently four separate Regiments wearing the cap badge of the Royal Horse Artillery.

The Royal Horse Artillery had, had the privilege of providing the Queen's guard on no less than three occasions in the last twenty thirty years.
•The 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery 1979
•The 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery 1989
•The King’s Troop the Royal Horse artillery 2007
The Royal Horse Artillery began when the 3rd Duke of Richmond, Master General of the Ordnance raised two troops ’A’ and ‘B’ at Goodwood Sussex in January 1793. This was necessary in order to provide artillery fire support for the Cavalry, two further troops joined A and B Troops in November of that year.

Today Kings Troop, Royal horse Artillery located in St Johns Wood which; is convenient for firing salutes in Hyde Park is principally a ceremonial unit, and uses their 13- pounder vintage guns for carrying out these duties.

The 1st and 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery are principally armed with the 155mm self propelled gun.
The 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery was originally formed around 1962 from the 33rd Parachute Regiment royal Horse Artillery. It served up until 1977 as the Artillery support for the 16th Airborne Brigade based in Aldershot.

It is currently part of the 16th Air Assault Brigade based in Colchester which; has done a number of operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are presently armed with the L118 105mm light gun which is fully air portable and can be dropped by parachute into theatre of operations.






To be continued;
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