Army Group Royal Artillery
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An Army Group Royal Artillery was a British Commonwealth military formation type during the Second World War and shortly thereafter, generally assigned to corps. An AGRA was mainly composed of medium artillery regiments but heavy regiments and field regiments were also used. They were moved at need from corps to corps within an army.
They were created during the war as artillery theory evolved. After the British Expeditionary Force was expelled from France in 1940, the need for flexibility in the control of artillery above the division increased. As the British Army manpower shortage developed, the weight of fire that an AGRA could add to an attack was becoming increasingly important. The idea was to group all artillery above the division in formations which could be switched within the field army at will to meet needs for fire concentration on different parts of the front. For the most part each corps in the line was assigned an AGRA but when especially heavy fire support was needed one corps area could be stripped of its AGRA to support another as happened at the battle for Calais in 1944, or in the initial attack on the Italian mainland when two AGRAs, side-by-side, fired across the Straits of Messina, from Sicily.
Canadian corps-level concentrations of artillery were also referred to as AGRAs, despite the fact they were composed of units of the Royal Canadian Artillery and Royal Artillery regiments. Canada had two AGRAs in the Second World War, one served in Italy as part of I Canadian Corps and NW Europe from March 1945 and the other only in Northwest Europe with II Canadian Corps.
List of AGRAs
Where known, with area of operation and dates formed and disbanded.
- 1st AGRA; Tunisia
- 2nd AGRA
- 3rd AGRA
- 4th AGRA
- 5th AGRA; Italy, north-west Europe
- 6th AGRA; Italy
- 7th AGRA
- 8th AGRA
- 9th AGRA; north-west Europe; formed 1 May 1943.
- 10th AGRA
- 11th AGRA
- 15th AGRA
- 16th AGRA
- 17th AGRA
- 59th AGRA
- 60th AGRA
- 61st AGRA
- 1st Canadian AGRA; Italy & north-west Europe(from Mar 1945)
- 2nd Canadian AGRA; north-west Europe
- Falconer, D.W. (1985). Battery flashes of W.W. II: a thumb-nail sketch of Canadian artillery batteries during the 1939-1945 conflict. Madison: the University of Wisconsin - Madison. ISBN 0-9691865-0-9.
- Dickers, Robin (2012). The History of the 2nd Canadian Army Group Royal Artillery. London: Lonsdale. ISBN 978-0-9569969-9-2.