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.

History[edit]

In 1962, 29 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery re-roled and became 29 Commando Light Regiment, Royal Artillery. The regiment consisted of three gun batteries, 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.

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 nr Exmouth. There they would complete the five week Commando course (X Troop) with the Royal Marine trainees and those who passed the course were awarded the coveted green beret.

In 1964, 95 Commando Light Regiment, Royal Artillery formed with 8 (Alma) moving from 29 and 7 (Sphinx) came out of mothballs. From 1962 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.

During this period the regiments saw action in Aden and Borneo as well as spending time on HMS Albion, HMS Bulwark, HMS Intrepid, and HMS Fearless travelling to trouble spots world wide.

In 1971 the two regiments amalgamated and formed 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery with four gun batteries, 7 & 8 Btys were based in Plymouth, 79 Bty in Malta and 145 Bty in Arbroath, Scotland. The Naval Gunfire Support batteries amalgamated and 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 the 1970s Battery's from the regiment completed operational tours in Northern Ireland.[1]

During the 1982 Falklands War, 29 Commando Regiment accompanied the Royal Marines, providing much needed close support with their L118 Light Guns.[2]

In 1996, the honorary Freedom of the City of Plymouth was conferred on the regiment (with the unanimous support of Plymouth City Council).[3]

They conducted numerous operational tours in Afghanistan to provide artillery support during operations against Al Qaeda and Taliban militants.[4]

In 2012 the regimented celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Royal Citadel

Organisation[edit]

Practice firings by 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery on exercise near Cape Wrath in Scotland.

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[edit]

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 as well as new commando skills and Commando history.

After completing foundation, candidates start the four week Commando Conditioning Course (CCC)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 be selected for the All Arms Commando Course (AACC).

The AACC is an arduous five-week course conducted at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines at Lympstone, Devon culminating in the Commando tests and leading to the award of the Green beret.

Gunners then go on to complete further specialist training as required.

Memorial to member of the Regiment killed in Afghanistan

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "3 April 1973 → Written Answers (Commons) → DEFENCE". Hansard, UK Parliament. 3 April 1973. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  2. ^ Fairhall, David (21 May 1982). "Why British invasion will be risky affair". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-08-12. [dead link]
  3. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 1 Feb 1996 (pt 18)". Hansard, UK Parliament. 1 Feb 1996. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  4. ^ Gall, Carlotta (6 May 2002). "From Hilltop Perch, British Troops Watch for Holdouts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 

External links[edit]