29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery
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29 Commando Regiment is the Commando-trained unit of the British Army's Royal Artillery. The regiment is under the operational control of 3 Commando Brigade providing artillery support and gunnery observation.
29 Field Regiment Royal Artillery became 29 Commando Light Regiment Royal Artillery in 1962. This consisted of three gun batteries numbered 8 (Alma), 79 (Kirkee), and 145 (Maiwand). At that time, each battery consisted of 4 x 105mm pack howitzers (Italian Mountain Gun) and manned with approximately 65 men.
The early commando training was initiated in the Royal Citadel at Plymouth with a four week 'beat up' to select those who would go on to CTCRM Lympstone and complete the five week Commando course (X Troop) with the Royal Marine trainees where all qualified for the Green Beret.
In 1965, 95 Commando Light Regiment Royal Artillery formed with 8 (Alma) moving from 29 and 7 (Sphinx) came out of mothballs. From 1965 until 1970 the two regiments were based alternately in Singapore or The Royal Citadel in Plymouth.
The Naval gunfire support batteries were 20 Battery with 29 Regiment and 148 (Meiktila) Battery with 95 Regiment.
In 1971 the two regiments joined together and formed 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery with four gun batteries. The Naval Gunfire Support batteries became 95 Commando Forward Observation Unit.
The Gun Batteries were then attached to a Royal Marine Commando as part of a Commando Group. For example 45 Commando Group consisted of 45 Commando Royal Marines, 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery Royal Artillery, 45 Commando Air Squadron, Condor Troop Royal Engineers and an Ordnance section.
In 1996, during the celebrations of the regiment's centenary in the Citadel in Plymouth, the honorary Freedom of the City of Plymouth was conferred on the regiment (with the unanimous support of Plymouth City Council).
The regiment consists of an HQ battery, three gun batteries, a Naval Gunfire Support Forward Observation battery and an attached Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers workshop which includes a Royal Logistic Corps stores section. The gun batteries are equipped with six L118 105MM light guns and three Observation Posts each.
- 7 (Sphinx) Battery Royal Artillery – Commando trained L118 gun battery based at RM Condor, Arbroath
- 8 (Alma) Commando Battery Royal Artillery – Commando trained L118 gun battery based at the Royal Citadel, Plymouth
- 23 (Gibraltar 1779–1783) Commando Battery Royal Artillery – The Headquarters Commando Battery, and Radar Troop, for 29 Commando Regiment are based at the Royal Citadel, Plymouth
- 79 (Kirkee) Commando Battery Royal Artillery – Commando trained L118 gun battery based at the Royal Citadel, Plymouth and known as the best battery in the regiment
- 148 (Meiktila) Battery Royal Artillery – The battery are based at RM Poole. Their primary role is as a Naval Gunfire Support Forward Observation (NGSFO) battery. Tasked to direct naval gunfire support from Royal Navy ships, air strikes from Royal Navy and Royal Air Force aircraft and artillery fire from the regiment's gun batteries, when landed in support of 3 Commando Brigade.
- 29 Commando Regiment Workshop Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers – Workshop main HQ is based at the Royal Citadel, Plymouth with battery fitter sections permanently attached to, and based with each battery.
In addition the regiment is supported by 266 (GVA) Commando Battery, their affiliated Territorial Army unit, who train with and support 29 Regiment on operations. This will not be the case under Army 2020.
Selection and training
Soldiers volunteer for 29 Commando Regiment from the regular units of the Royal Artillery, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and other attached arms and services (e.g. chefs, clerks etc.) and are required to undergo Commando training following entry to the regiment.
Personnel are inducted into 'PC Troop' (Potential Commando Troop) and taken through a six week foundation course at Okehampton, covering the basics of field craft, navigation, physical training, skill at arms and commando history. The course teaches anything that may have been missed in Phase One and Phase Two training as well as new commando skills.
After completing foundation, candidates start the four week Commando Conditioning Course (CCC) or otherwise known as 'beat-up'. This is a rigorous phase where personnel are required to pass multiple criteria tests in all aspects of commando training in order to qualify for the All Arms Commando Course (AACC).
Gunners then go on to complete further specialist training as required.
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