Royal Artillery

Royal Artillery

The Royal Artillery, is the common name for the Royal Regiment of Artillery, is an Arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it is made up of a number of regiments.


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. During the 1720 the title "Royal Artillery" (RA) was first used. On 1 April 1722 these companies were expanded to four, and grouped with independent artillery companies at Gibraltar and Minorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery, commanded by Colonel Albert Bogard. In 1741 the Royal Military Academy formed in the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich (RWA). 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 formed. 1756 saw the creation of the Royal Irish Regiment of Artillery. In 1762 the Royal Artillery Band was formed at Minden to become 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 RA moved to current RA 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, joined by two more in November 1793. All RHA personnel were mounted. The Royal Irish Artillery was absorbed into the RA in 1801. During 1805 RWA moved to Woolwich Common for RA and RE officers. In 1819 the Rotunda was given by Prince Regent the RA to celebrate end of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1832 the Regimental Motto's 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 and Royal Field Artillery comprised one group, while the coastal defence, mountain, siege and heavy batteries were split off into another group named the Royal Garrison Artillery. 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 NavyFact|date=July 2007. In 1947 the Riding Troop RHA was renamed The King's Troop RHA, and in 1951 the appointment of 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 convert|5|ft|4|in|m tall. Men in mechanised units had to be at least convert|5|ft|8|in|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. [War Office, "His Majesty's Army", 1938]

The Royal Artillery Today

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

*Long range observation
*Unmanned air vehicle surveillance
*Amphibious / Airborne artillery
*Armoured Artillery
*Long Range Missile Systems
*Air defence.

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
*King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery is a ceremonial unit equipped with 13 pounder guns for firing salutes, and is located in St John's Wood in Hyde Park.
*1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery - equipped with AS90 self-propelled artillery at Assaye Barracks in Tidworth
*3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (The Liverpool and Manchester Gunners) are equipped with the AS90 self-propelled artillery, based at Caen Barracks in Hohne, Germany.
*7th (Parachute) Regiment Royal Horse Artillery - (The Airborne Gunners) Equipped with L118 105MM light gun and are currently part of 16th Air Assault Brigade based in Colchester

Regular Regiments of the Royal Artillery
*4th Regiment Royal Artillery - (The North East Gunners) are equipped with AS90 self-propelled artillery at Roberts Barracks in Osnabruck
*5th Regiment Royal Artillery - (The North, East & West Yorkshire Gunners) are equipped with Surveillance and Target Acquisition and based at Marne Barracks in Catterick, North Yorkshire
*12th Regiment Royal Artillery - (The Lancashire and Cumbrian Gunners) are equipped with Starstreak HVM and are based at Dempsey Barracks, Sennelager
*14th Regiment Royal Artillery - are the Training and Support Regiment based at Stirling Barracks in Larkhill
*16th Regiment Royal Artillery - (The London and Kent Gunners) are equipped with Rapier and are based at Royal Artillery Barracks, in Woolwich
*19th Regiment Royal Artillery - (The Highland Gunners) are equipped with AS90 self-propelled artillery at Horne Barracks in Larkhill
*26th Regiment Royal Artillery - (The West Midland Gunners) are equipped with AS90 self-propelled artillery at Mansergh Barracks in Gütersloh
*29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery - (The Commando Gunners) are equipped with the (L118 105MM light gun, and are currently part of 3 Commando Brigade, with most batteries based at the Royal Citadel in Plymouth, and one battery based at the same location as the Special Boat Service in Poole
*32nd Regiment Royal Artillery - are equipped with Surveillance and Target Acquisition and Unmanned Air Vehicles and are based in Roberts Barracks in Larkhill
*39th Regiment Royal Artillery - (The Welsh Gunners) are equipped with MLRS and GMLRS and are based at Albermarle Barracks near Ouston, Stamfordham
*40th Regiment Royal Artillery - (The Lowland Gunners) are equipped with AS90 self-propelled artillery at Alanbrooke Barracks in Topcliffe
*47th Regiment Royal Artillery - (The Hampshire and Sussex Gunners) are equipped with Starstreak HVM and are based at Baker Barracks, Thorney Island

The Territorial Army

*Honourable Artillery Company (Surveillance and Target Acquisition) (London) (Not part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery) [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]
*100th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery (Armoured/Field/Airborne Artillery)
*101st (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) (STA & MLRS)
*103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment Royal Artillery (Field Artillery) (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers Band)
*104th Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) (Surveillance and Target Acquisition - Unmanned Air Vehicles)
*105th Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) 'The Scottish & Ulster Gunners' (Field Artillery)
*106th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery (Air Defence Artillery)

The Royal Artillery's traditional home was Woolwich, in south east London but much of their 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 placed into Suspended Animation. See List of Royal Artillery Batteries


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).

urveillance and Target Acquisition

*COBRA, MAMBA, ASP - the COunter Battery RAdar (Cobra), Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset (Mamba) and Advanced Sound ranging Program (ASP) are the main pieces of equipment used in the battlefield surveillance mission by 5 Regiment & 101 Regt RA(V).
*Phoenix UAV - the Phoenix Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is utilised in the surveillance mission by 32 Regiment.
*Desert Hawk UAV - the Desert Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a smaller, more discreet vehicle. Also operated by 32, 47 and 12 Regiment.

Miscellaneous Facts

* The Royal Artillery does not carry Colours. Its guns are its colours and are saluted on parade.
* Since it is present in every campaign in which the British Army fights, the Royal Artillery does not have Battle Honours. Instead, it has the motto and battle honour "Ubique" ("Everywhere"), granted by William IV in 1833. Its 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.
* 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


*CAN - Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery
*AUS - Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery
*NZL - Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
*IND - Regiment of Artillery
*PAK - Regiment of Artillery
*SRI - Sri Lanka Artillery
*SIN - Singapore Volunteer Artillery
*MLT - Armed Forces of Malta
*MAS - Rejimen Artileri Diraja
*GIB - The Royal Gibraltar Regiment
*RSA - South African Artillery Corps


ee also

* Artillery
* Royal Artillery Memorial
* Royal Artillery Barracks
* Royal School of Artillery
* Firepower - The Royal Artillery Museum
* Bermuda Militia Artillery
* Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery
* Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery
* Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
* 79th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery

External links

* [ Royal Regiment of Artillery]
* [ 26th Regiment Royal Artillery Association]
* [ /94 Locating Royal Artillery]
* [ 92nd (Loyals) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA, 1940-1946]
* [ Royal Artillery of the Napoleonic Wars]

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