39th Regiment Royal Artillery
|39 Regiment Royal Artillery|
|Active||1947 to present|
|Part of||1st Artillery Brigade|
|Garrison/HQ||Albemarle Barracks, Northumberland|
|Nickname||The Welsh Gunners|
|Equipment||M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System|
39 Regiment Royal Artillery is part of the Royal Artillery. Its name is pronounced "three nine", The Regiment is one of the Depth fire units of 1st Artillery Brigade, part of the British Army. It was formed in 1947. The Regiment is based at Albemarle Barracks in Northumberland.
As of 2011, the regiment was equipped with the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS). They will be the first unit to deploy the new Fire Shadow loitering munition; training has already begun and they were planned to take it to Afghanistan in 2012. The regiment recently deployed Batteries on Op Herrick and have fired the first GMLRS rounds in theatre.
The history of the regiment is as follows:
- 1947 – 39 Regiment RA was formed with the re-designation of 2 Medium Regiment RA. It was originally equipped with BL 5.5 inch Medium Gun and was first stationed in the Middle East and Africa. The Regiment left the Middle East in 1948 after an Emergency Tour to Palestine, where it deployed to Ayrshire and was re-equipped with the M59 155 mm Long Tom Gun.
- 1955 – Converted to a 155mm Self Propelled Regiment.
- 1958 – Deployed to Cyprus to support operations against EOKA with batteries based in Episkopi, Dhekhlia, and Jophinou. In 1960 the Regiment moved to support the BAOR, and was based in Dempsey Barracks in Sennelager for the next 35 years. Here its role was one of three Nuclear Regiments, and was equipped with Honest John Rockets and towed M115 203 mm howitzer
- 1967 – 75 Battery was placed in suspended animation and was replaced by H Battery(Ramsays' Troop) Royal Artillery.
- 1969 – the Regiment was caught up in the Coup d'état by Captain Gaddaffi in Libya, and the Regiment's 2IC was captured and held hostage, but later released unharmed.
- 1972 – Further reorganisation with 39 Medium Regiment now using the M109 Howitzer and M110 Self Propelled Guns, and 132 Bty RA and 176(Abu Klea)Bty RA joining H Battery. The Regiment completed four tours of Northern Ireland over the next seven years.
- 1973 – Changed roles once more when it became a General Support Regiment, and was equipped entirely with the M110 Self Propelled Gun.
- 1982 – 39 Heavy Regiment was joined by 56(Olpherts) Bty RA, 34(Seringapatam)Battery and 76(Maude's)Battery. H Battery was placed into suspended animation and 132 Battery together with 176 Battery departed for the Royal School of Artillery at Larkhill.
- 1987 – 132 Battery and 176 Battery rejoined the Regiment with the M110 Self Propelled Gun role and 56 Battery converted to a special weapons battery, equipped with the M109 Self Propelled Guns.
- 1989 – 39 Heavy Regiment took delivery of the MLRS, and was given a year to convert, complete training and become operational. The Regiment deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of 1st Armoured Division on Operation Granby. In a visit for VIPs it spectacularly failed to hit an island, during a demonstration of its firepower.
- 1993 – The Regiment was joined by 57 (Bhurtpore) Battery Royal Artillery, who were to be equipped with the Phoenix UAV, and deployed to Cyprus, as the British detachment in UNFICYP. This tour saw the Danish and Canadian Contingents leave, with only the Austrians and the British left. Argentina then sent a force to control Sector One, the Austrians were in charge of Sector Three and the British in charge of Sector Two. This was the first time that British and Argentine army units had met since the Falklands war in 1982.
- 1995 – 39 Regiment left Dempsey Barracks, and moved to Albemarle Barracks in Northumberland.
- 1996 – The regiment deployed again to Cyprus in support of UNFICYP. The island experienced some of its highest tension along the buffer zone in 30 years, and two of the Regiments soldiers were shot and wounded by Turkish Troops.
- 1998 – The regiment deployed to Northern Ireland.
- 2001 – The Regiment supported MAFF, in the North-East of the UK, during the Foot and mouth outbreak,
- 2003 – 57 Battery deployed to Kosovo to carry out UAV flights, and this was followed in 2003 with the Battery moving to 32 Regt RA, which was reorganised as one of the Royal Artillery Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiments with its focus on UAVs 74 Bty (The Battle Axe Company) joined 39 Regiment and it was formed as the only Depth Fire Regiment in the British Army. 101 Regiment is the Territorial Army Regiment of MLRS, and is based in Newcastle.
- 1998 to 2004 – 39 Regiment has completed several tours of Northern Ireland from 1998, as the Urban Reinforcement Battalion. It continued to support operations in the province, until the end of Operation Banner in 2007
- 2002 to 2007 – Soldiers of the Regiment have deployed to Kuwait and Iraq as part of Operation Telic.
- 2004 – 35 Bty RA joined 39 Regiment after the disbandment of 22nd Regiment Royal Artillery. The Regiment is now also equipped with GMLRS.
- 2007 and onwards – The Regiment continues to deploy soldiers to Afghanistan to support Op Herrick
39 Regiment changed its recruiting area to cover Wales, and is now known as "The Welsh Gunners". Before this they were known as the Northumberland Gunners, and prior to 1995 the Birmingham Gunners.
The regiment's batteries are as follows:
- 35 Battery
- 56 (Olpherts) Headquarters Battery
- 74 Battery (The Battle Axe Company)
- 132 Battery (The Bengal Rocket Troop)
- 176 (Abu Klea) Battery
- "39 Regiment - The Welsh Gunners". British Army. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- "After Libya, Europe Eyes Precision Arms". 23 September 2011.
- "39th Regiment Royal Artillery". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "39th Regiment Royal Artillery: Batteries". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 10 May 2014.