Cape Field Artillery

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Cape Field Artillery
Active 1857–Current
Country South Africa
Branch South African Army
Type Reserve Artillery
Role Field Artillery
Garrison/HQ Fort iKapa
Motto Ubique (Everywhere), Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt (Whither right or glory) and Spes Bona (Good Hope)
Anniversaries 26 August 1857
Artillery Guns GV5 Luiperd 155mm Towed Howitzer, GV1 25-pounder (Ceremonial)
Engagements
Battle honours South-West Africa 1915
Commanders
Current Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel C.A. (Kees) de Haan
Second in Command (2IC) Major Dalene Coetzee

The Cape Field Artillery (CFA) is a reserve artillery regiment of the South African Army and part of the South African Army Artillery Formation. Many of the regiment's gun crew members hail from the town of Robertson, Western Cape, and are all volunteers who train and drill during their own free time. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Territorial Army or United States Army National Guard unit. It is part of the South African Army Artillery Formation.[1]

History[edit]

After news of the Indian Mutiny reached Sir George Grey, Governor of the Cape, he sent every available military unit in the Cape Garrison to India which left the Cape's military forces badly depleted of manpower. The volunteers of the Cape Royal Corps soon found themselves drilling on the guns stationed in Table Bay. As a result of their work on these batteries the Cape Town Volunteer Artillery (CVA) was born on 26 August 1857 at the old Town house in Greenmarket Square, Cape Town.

The regiment is one of the oldest volunteer artillery regiments in the world still in existence today, after it celebrated its 156th anniversary last year on 26 August 2013.[1] Major Duprat was the first Commanding Officer. In 1867 the Duke of Edinburgh was escorted to Cape Town from Simonstown by the Cape Town Cavalry and upon his arrival the Cape Town Volunteer Artillery, drawn up on Caledon Square, fired a Royal Salute as he passed towards Adderley Street. The great occasion of the royal visit was on 24 August, when the Prince laid the foundation stone of the graving dock and the CVO thundered out again in salute on the laying of the stone.

The Duke of Edinburgh was so impressed with the bearing of Cape Town's volunteer soldiers that, a few weeks later on 3 October 1867, a Government Notice No 318 was promulgated to the effect that he had conferred on the gunners the future designation of Prince Alfred's Own Cape Town Volunteer Artillery (PAOCTVA). The words "Cape Town" were later dropped, and the title became Prince Alfred's Own Volunteer Artillery. In 1896, the title was changed again, to Prince Alfred's Own Cape Artillery.[1]

The unit served in several regional campaigns, including the 9th Frontier War of 1877 - 1879 and the Tambookie Campaign of 1880 - 1881 on the Eastern Cape frontier, then the Basutoland Rebellion in Basutoland and the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899 - 1902.[1]

In 1903, the title was changed to Prince Alfred's Own Cape Field Artillery. Ten years later, in 1913, the unit was embodied in the Citizen Force of the new Union Defence Forces as the 6th Citizen Battery (PAOCFA).

World War I[edit]

Although the Regiment did not serve on the European continent during World War I, it did take part in the South-West Africa Campaign. The regiment was mobilised for war in August 1914. They spent three months with General Louis Botha's forces to suppress the Maritz Rebellion, after which they were sent to Upington where they acted as garrison troops while waiting to join Col van Deventer’s Southern Force to move into German South-West Africa. Here they carried out patrols in the region and the artillery guns fought the Germans during a small action at Schuits Drift. While they were garrisoned in Upington the Republican Rebel, Manie Maritz, attempted to attack the town with a force of rebels accompanied by a battery of German artillery guns and two QF 1-pounder pom-poms. After a four hour battle the rebels surrendered.[2]

The unit also took part in the South African invasion of German South-West Africa in 1915 where it earned the battle honour “South West Africa 1915”.

The battery was renumbered "1st" in 1926. In 1932, the name was changed to Cape Field Artillery (Prince Alfred's Own). From 1934 until the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the CFA formed part of the Coast Artillery Brigade.

World War II[edit]

The Cape Field Artillery was reorganised as the 1st Field Brigade (CFA) in February 1940 and in January 1941, 1 Field Regiment (V), South African Artillery (P.A.O.C.F.A.). It fought during Operation Crusader at Bardia, Sollum, Halfaya Pass and at Gazala during the Battle of Gazala. 2 Field Battery was lost during the Battle of Gazala when the 1st Field Brigade (CFA) fought as part of the South African 2nd Infantry Division under the command of General Hendrik Klopper. It fired the first and last rounds before the Fortress at Tobruk surrendered on 21 June 1942.

1 and 3 Field Batteries, joined by 14 Field Battery, fought in the First Battle of El Alamein in July 1942 and in the Second Battle of El Alamein that lasted between 23 October to 11 November 1942, as part of 1st South African Division. On one day during the first battle the three batteries fired over 9000 shells to break up several German attacks. After these engagements the regiment returned to South Africa briefly in December 1942.

The regiment returned to North Africa in 1943 where it merged with 6th Field Regiment to form 1/6 Field Regiment (V), South African Artillery (P.A.O.C.F.A.). It joined the South African 6th Armoured Division and moved to Italy in April 1944 where it fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino and all the other battles and engagements in which the 6th Armoured division were involved.[2]

Post War[edit]

The title was changed again, in 1960, to Regiment Tygerberg. This title, imposed on the regiment, was not popular, and in 1963 it was changed back to Cape Field Artillery, but without the princely style, which was no longer appropriate as South Africa had become a republic.

During the post-war period the Regiment was mobilised several times for duty in the South African Border War(1966 to 1989), including Operation Savannah in 1976.[1] In August/September 1988 the Cape Field Artillery provided a 140mm battery for 10 Artillery Brigade in order to counter Cuban Forces who were threatening the South-West African Border.[2]

Role in the 21st Century[edit]

Currently the regiment is classed as a reserve unit in the South African Army. Members of the Cape Field Artillery Regiment regularly undergo refresher training to maintain physical fitness levels and to ensure that they remain well versed with the R4 assault rifle. Members are also required to receive training in computer literacy.

To qualify as an artillery gunner in the Cape Field Artillery, members receive three weeks of decentralised training from the School of Artillery at Fort iKapa in the use of the GV5 Luiperd 155mm Towed Howitzer.

The Regiment also fulfils many ceremonial duties. It's Ceremonial Gun Troop maintains several GV1, 25 pounder guns which it fires on certain occasions such as during the annual Opening of Parliament in central Cape Town, the annual Gun Run and the annual Robertson Agricultural Show.

As part of the opening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Ceremonial Gun Troop fired its 25-pounder guns on Friday 11 June at 18:00 in front of the Castle of Good Hope. The guns were fired once more on Sunday 11 June at 18:40 in front of the Castle, marking the final day of the 2010 World Cup. During the course of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Staff Sergeant Andrew Imrie of the Cape Field Artillery Pipes and Drums played ‘Nightfall in Camp’ from the Leerdam Bastion.

The regiment has received the Freedom of Bellville and of the City of Cape Town, a mark of honour that permits military units to parade through the city streets with fixed bayonets, drawn swords, drums beating and colours flying on all ceremonial and other occasions.[1]

Regimental Symbols[edit]

  • The CFA has received the Freedom of Cape Town.
  • The CFA claims to be the oldest volunteer artillery regiment in the world that is still in existence.
  • Regimental mottos: Ubique (Everywhere), Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt (Whither right or glory), Spes Bona (Good Hope).

Battle honours[edit]

Although artillery units in the South African Army do not usually receive battle honours, the CFA was awarded the honour

Armament[edit]

Weapons[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Cape Field Artillery: 153 years old and Training for the Future". rfdiv.mil.za. Retrieved 2014-04-21. 
  2. ^ a b c d Col (Ret) Lionel Crook. "South African Gunner". rfdiv.mil.za. Retrieved 2014-04-21.