Transvaal Horse Artillery
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|Transvaal Horse Artillery|
|Branch||South African Army|
|Engagements||World War I
World War II
South African Border War
|Battle honours||South West Africa 1914 - 1915|
|Officer Commanding||Major A Pestana|
The Transvaal Horse Artillery (usually abbreviated to THA) is an artillery regiment of the South African Army. 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.
The Transvaal Horse Artillery is currently located in Johannesburg. The main ordnance of the regiment is the G6 Self-propelled 155mm Gun/Howitzer. The THA consists of four batteries: Regimental Headquarters Battery, 7 Battery, 8 Battery and 9 Battery.
The Transvaal Horse Artillery was formed on 17 March 1904 as Lys' Volunteer Corps (after its first commanding officer, Major Godfrey Lys) and was a regiment dependent on horse transport from the start. The regiment's name was changed six months later to the Transvaal Horse Artillery Volunteers, which it retained until 1911, when the present name was adopted.
World War I
The regiment was part of the Northern Force sent to invade (the then) German South West Africa at the outbreak World War I. It first saw action in September 1914 at Sandfontein and later distinguished itself at Riet and Namutoni. Volunteers from the Transvaal Horse Artillery also later fought as part of the South African Heavy Artillery in Palestine, Egypt and Europe.
In the inter-war period the regiment grew from a single battery to a three battery brigade; it was also mechanised by the introduction of trucks. During the 1922 strike the THA took part in the Battle of Brixton Bridge and in the clearing of Fordsburg.
The unit was renumbered "3rd" in 1926, and reverted to the name Transvaal Horse Artillery in 1932. On the outbreak of World War II in 1939, it became the 3rd Field Brigade (THA).
World War II
The regiment's most memorable action during the war was during the battle of Sidi Rezegh in the Western Desert on 23 November 1941. As a part of 5 South African Infantry Brigade Group, the THA suffered considerable losses during heavy action which saw it firing over open sights at the panzers of the Afrika Korps.
After the collapse of Tobruk in June 1942, the regiment lost its headquarters unit as well as its 8th and 9th batteries, except for one troop of 8th Battery. This troop, together with the Coldstream Guards, were the only units to drive out in formation. The remaining (7th) battery of the regiment was first attached to 7 Field Regiment and took part in the fighting at El Alamein in October 1942. It subsequently joined 4/22nd Field Regiment, South African Artillery and saw action throughout the Italian Campaign.
From 1960 to 1968, the THA was affiliated to the University of the Witwatersrand and was known as the Witwatersrand University Regiment.
South African Border War
During the post-war period, the regiment was often mobilised to take part in South Africa's Border War, including:
- 1976 - In South West Africa and Angola.
- 1979 - In South West Africa during Exercise Eagle Hill, as infantry.
- 1981 - In Angola during Operation Protea.
- 1985 - In South West Africa, again as infantry.
- Cap Badge: A Field Gun in the centre, with the word "Transvaal" above it and the words "Horse Artillery" below, with a laurel branch on a curved scroll in between.
- The Transvaal Horse Artillery was formally affiliated with the Honourable Artillery Company from 1937 to 1961 and then again from 1994 to the present.
- The regiment received the Freedom of the City of Johannesburg in 1964.
- South West Africa 1914 - 1915
- United Kingdom - Honourable Artillery Company