103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment Royal Artillery
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103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment Royal Artillery is a British Territorial Army Artillery unit, whose purpose is to provide reinforcements for units that use the 105 mm L118 Light Gun and AS90.
The Lancashire Artillery Volunteers were first raised in 1859 as part of the Volunteer Force raised in response to threats of French Invasion. A total of 23 Artillery companies were raised initially. However, in Manchester, numerous units that would later form the Lancashire Artillery Gunners had existed from as early as 1804, when the Duke of Gloucester inspected the Heaton Artillery Volunteers before they were shipped off to the fronts of the Napoleonic Wars. More than half a century later, numerous battalions of the King's Regiment and the Prince of Wales's Volunteers were rebadged as the Lancashire Gunners.
20th Century History
During the First World War, the Lancashire Artillery Volunteers served as a mixed-regiment, consisting of both Artillery Brigades and Infantry Battalions, divided into twenty-five separate units. By World War II, the regiment had been down-sized to just seventeen Artillery Brigades. The Lancashire Artillery Volunteers held a distinguished record, with two Victoria Crosses and numerous other medals and honors to its merit.
In both World Wars the Regiment served in many theatres, including the Western Front, the South-East Asian Front African Front of World War I and the Battle of France, Defense of India, Invasion of Sicily, Invasion of Italy, Operation Overlord, French Campaign, Battle of the Bulge, Ruhr Pocket campaign, Operation Plunder, and Invasion of Germany in the Second World War.
By 1955, the regiment had been expanded to 33 Territorial Gunner Regiments based in north-western England. In 1967, only seven Regiments remained and these were amalgamated to form 103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Light Air Defence Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers), The West Lancashire Regiment (T) Royal Artillery and The South Lancashire Territorials (Prince of Wales' Volunteers) Royal Artillery. Since its re-formation in 1967, Officers, Warrant Officers, NCOs and soldiers of 103rd Regiment have volunteered and served in support of the Regular Army in Bosnia, Borneo, Belize, Canada, Kosovo, Kenya, Latvia, Iraq, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.
In 1977, the Regiment changed its designation to 103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Air Defence Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) upon being equipped with the blowpipe missile air-defense weapon. Consequently, upon the enhancement of the Territorial Army, another Battery of the Home Service Force and a fourth Air Defence Battery were raised. In early 1987, the Regiment converted to the javelin surface-to-air missile, a substantial improvement over the BLOWPIPE. In 1992, as a result of the Options for Change, the Regiment lost one Air-Defence Battery (213 Air-Defense Battery, which was amalgamated with HQ Battery at St Helens) and Regimental Headquarters were moved from Deysbrooke Barracks, Liverpool, to St. Helens to be co-located with 213/HQ Battery.
In 2001, the Regiment was ordered to transfer from Air Defence to the Field Artillery as a Light Gun Regiment. The changes have seen the Light Aid Detachment REME (V) move from Widnes to each Battery having its own REME Fitter Section. 213/HQ Battery has gone into suspended animation, the 209th Battery split into 2 Troops, D Troop in Manchester and G Troop in St. Helens, and its title is to be 209th (The Manchester and St Helens Artillery) Battery Royal Artillery (Volunteers).
- 208th (3rd West Lancashire) Battery Royal Artillery (Volunteers)
- 209th (The Manchester and St Helens Artillery) Battery Royal Artillery (Volunteers)
- 216th (The Bolton Artillery) Battery Royal Artillery (Volunteers)
- Lancashire Artillery Volunteer Band and Pipes and Drums
The 103rd Regiment is equipped with the 105mm Light Gun, a versatile, air-portable and air-mobile artillery piece that can be carried around the battlefield slung under a SA 330 Puma or a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. It has been in service since 1975, when it was developed to replace the 105mm Pack howitzer.
Detachment of 6 personnel, Weight 1,858 kg, Length 8.8m, Width 1.78m, Height 2.13m Ammunition HE, Smoke, Illuminating, Target Marking, Maximum Range (HE) 17.2 km; Anti Tank Range 800m, Muzzle Velocity 709 m/s, Shell Weight 5.1 kg, Rate of Fire 6 rounds per minute.
- Litchfield, Norman E H, and Westlake, R, 1982. The Volunteer Artillery 1859-1908, The Sherwood Press, Nottingham. ISBN 0950820503
- Litchfield, Norman E H, 1992. The Territorial Artillery 1908-1988, The Sherwood Press, Nottingham. ISBN 0950820520