2nd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

B Brigade, RHA
II Brigade, RHA
2nd Regiment, RHA
2nd Field Regiment RA
2nd (Airportable) Regiment, RA
2nd (Light) Regiment, RA
2nd (Support) Regiment, RA
Active13 April 1864 – 1 July 1889
1 March 1901 – September 1914
October 1919 – 1 February 1958
February 1958 – 1993
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
EngagementsSecond World War
Battle of France
Battle of Greece
Western Desert Campaign
Tunisia Campaign
Italian Campaign

2nd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery was a regiment of the Royal Horse Artillery that served in the Second World War. It saw action in France, Greece, North Africa and Italy. It was redesignated as 2nd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery in 1958.

The regiment had an earlier incarnation as B Brigade, RHA, formed from the Horse Brigade, Royal Artillery in 1864 before being broken up in 1889. It was reestablished in 1901 as II Brigade,[a] RHA but was broken up at the outbreak of World War I as its constituent battery was posted away.


B Brigade, RHA[edit]

Royal Horse Artillery brigades did not exist as an organizational or operational grouping of batteries until 1 July 1859 when the Horse Brigade, Royal Artillery was formed.[3]

As a result of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the British Crown took direct control of India from the East India Company on 1 November 1858 under the provisions of the Government of India Act 1858. The Presidency armies transferred to the direct authority of the British Crown and its European units were transferred to the British Army. Henceforth artillery, the mutineers most effective arm, was to be the sole preserve of the British Army (with the exception of certain Mountain Artillery batteries). On 19 February 1862, the Bengal, Bombay and Madras Horse Artilleries transferred to the Royal Artillery as its 2nd to 5th Horse Brigades.[b]

The 1st Brigade with 10 batteries was much larger than the other four (with four to seven batteries each). A reorganization of the Horse Artillery on 13 April 1864 saw 1st Brigade split as A and B Horse Brigade, Royal Artillery, 2nd Brigade become C Brigade, 3rd become D Brigade, 4th become E Brigade, and 5th become F Brigade.[5] As battery designations were tied to the brigade the battery was assigned to, the batteries were also redesignated. B Horse Brigade, RA comprised:[6]

  • A Battery, B Horse Brigade (A/B) - formerly D Battery[c] at Aldershot
  • B Battery, B Horse Brigade (B/B) - formerly E Battery[d] at Woolwich
  • C Battery, B Horse Brigade (C/B) - formerly F Battery[e] at Woolwich
  • D Battery, B Horse Brigade (D/B) - formerly H Battery[f] at Aldershot
  • E Battery, B Horse Brigade (E/B) - formerly I Battery[g] at Newbridge

From 1866, the term "Royal Horse Artillery" appeared in Army List[12] hence the brigade was designated B Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery from about this time. Another reorganization on 14 April 1877 saw the number of brigades reduced to three (of 10 batteries each). B Brigade was extensively reorganized: its batteries were transferred to the new A Brigade and it was reformed with the batteries of the old C and D Brigades.[13]

The number of brigades was further reduced to two (of 13 batteries each) in 1882. C Brigade was broken up on 1 April 1882 and it batteries transferred to A and B Brigades.[14] The brigade system was finally abolished in 1889. Henceforth, batteries were designated in a single alphabetical sequence in order of seniority from date of formation.[15]

II Brigade, RHA[edit]

First formation[edit]

The brigade system was revived in 1901. Each brigade now commanded just two batteries and a small staff (a Lieutenant-Colonel in command, an adjutant and a brigade sergeant major). Initially, batteries were not assigned to brigades in any particular order,[16] but in 1906, at the insistence of Edward VII, brigades were redesignated so that batteries were roughly in order of seniority (hence I Brigade commanded A Battery and B Battery).[17]

II Brigade, RHA was formed on 1 March 1901 as the VI Brigade-Division, RHA with B Battery and C Battery. In 1903 it was redesignated as VI Brigade, RHA[18] and was stationed at Ipswich.[19] On 1 October 1906, it was redesignated as II Brigade, RHA.[18]

By the time World War I broke out, B Battery had been transferred to I Brigade, leaving just C Battery at Canterbury, attached to 4th Cavalry Brigade.[20] In September 1914, C Battery transferred to XIV Brigade which joined 7th Division at Lyndhurst on formation.[21] The brigade HQ was dissolved.

Second formation[edit]

By October 1919, II Brigade, RHA was reformed at Bordon with[22]

Between December 1919 and March 1920 it moved to India,[22] where C Battery was stationed at Meerut, H Battery at Sialkot and K Battery at Risalpur. In November 1926, the brigade moved to Abbassia, Egypt (with L Battery instead of H Battery), before returning to Newport in December 1931 (L Battery at Trowbridge). By December 1936, I Battery replaced K Battery, and in May 1938 N Battery replaced C Battery.[23] By now the brigade commanded I, L and N batteries.

2nd Regiment, RHA[edit]


Vickers Light Dragon Mark II tractor towing a 3.7-inch howitzer on Carriage Mk IV and limber.

In 1938, field artillery brigades were reorganized as two 12-gun batteries. Rather than disband existing batteries, they were instead linked in pairs.[24] On 11 May, H Battery (from 8th Field Brigade) and I Battery were linked as H/I Battery, RHA and L Battery and N were linked as L/N Battery, RHA.[25] With effect from May 1938, brigades were redesignated as regiments and II Brigade became 2nd Regiment, RHA on 21 May.[26] The regiment was mechanized in August 1939 replacing its horses and 13 pounders with 3.7" Howitzers towed by Vickers Light Dragon gun tractors.[27]

Second World War[edit]

At the outbreak of the Second World War, 2nd RHA was assigned to 1st Support Group of The Armoured Division. In October 1939, it moved to France where it was placed under direct command of General Headquarters, BEF.[28] It was still serving with the BEF when the Battle of France broke out in May 1940.[29] After evacuation from the continent, it was assigned to 2nd Support Group of 2nd Armoured Division, but did not join until July 1940. It was transferred to Egypt with the division.[30]

From January to May 1941, it was assigned to 1st Armoured Brigade and took part in the Battle of Greece.[31] On return to Egypt, it game under direct command of the Middle East Forces (MEF).[32] At the end of January 1942 it rejoined 1st Support Group briefly.[28]

The experience of the BEF in 1940 showed the limitations of having artillery regiments formed with two 12-gun batteries: field regiments were intended to support an infantry brigade of three battalions (or armoured brigade of three regiments). This could not be managed without severe disruption to the regiment. As a result, field regiments were reorganised into three 8-gun batteries.[33] Surprisingly, it was not until April 1942 that its batteries were unlinked. H/I once again formed H and I batteries and L/N reformed as L and N batteries. N Battery returned to the UK to join 6th Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery.[26] At this point the regiment was armed with twenty four 25 pounders.[34]

From 21 April 1942, the regiment served with 22nd Guards Brigade under command of 2nd South African Division in the Battle of Gazala.[35] On 25 June it transferred to 22nd Armoured Brigade and took part in the Battle of Mersa Matruh and the Defence of the El Alamein Line.[36]

On 24 August 1942 it joined 1st Armoured Division. It served with this division throughout the rest of the Western Desert campaign and the Tunisia campaign, in particular, the battles of El Alamein, Tebaga Gap, Akarit, El Kourzia and Tunis. It moved with the division to Italy in May 1944, fighting at the Battle of Coriano on the Gothic Line.[37] It left 1st Armoured Division on 26 September 1944 and came under direct command of Headquarters, Allied Armies in Italy where it remained until May 1945.[38]


In 1948, H Battery transferred to 6th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery and O Battery, RHA joined in its place. I Battery transferred to 4th Regiment, RHA just before conversion to a field artillery regiment, with N Battery replacing it.[26]

Conversion to a field artillery regiment[edit]

The regiment was re-formed as 2nd Field Regiment Royal Artillery by renaming 2nd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery and subordinating it to 12th Infantry Brigade, on ! February 1958.[39] At that time it included L Field Battery,[40][unreliable source?] N Field Battery[40] and O Field Battery[40] and it saw active service later that year during the Malayan Emergency.[40]

In November 1961 the regiment became 2nd (Airportable) Regiment, Royal Artillery and moved to Colchester[40] and in March 1964 it converted to Ordnance QF 25-pounder as 2nd (Light) Regiment, Royal Artillery.[40] Then in 1965 it moved to Münster and became 2nd Field Regiment Royal Artillery.[40] In 1971 it moved to Hemer with Abbot guns as part of 2nd Division[41] and in 1977 it transferred to Dortmund with Abbots as part of 3rd Armoured Division.[42]

It returned home to Roberts Barracks at Larkhill[42] as 2nd (Support) Regiment, Royal Artillery in September 1979.[40] In March 1982 it became 2nd (Field) Regiment, Royal Artillery[40] and in April 1982, as part of a move to Münster with M109's, it joined 4th Armoured Division.[43] It became part of 3rd Armoured Division in 1988[44] and it deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Granby between 1991 and 1992.[45] The regiment was finally disbanded in 1993 as a result of the Options for Change and the drawdown from Germany.[40]


1864–1889: B Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery

1901–1903: IV Brigade–Division, Royal Horse Artillery

1903–1906: IV Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery

1906–1914: II Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery

1919–1938: II Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery

1938–1958: 2nd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery

1958–1993: 2nd Regiment, Royal Artillery

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The basic organic unit of the Royal Artillery was, and is, the Battery.[1] When grouped together they formed brigades, in the same way that infantry battalions or cavalry regiments were grouped together in brigades. At the outbreak of World War I, a field artillery brigade of headquarters (4 officers, 37 other ranks), three batteries (5 and 193 each), and a brigade ammunition column (4 and 154)[2] had a total strength just under 800 so was broadly comparable to an infantry battalion (just over 1,000) or a cavalry regiment (about 550). Like an infantry battalion, an artillery brigade was usually commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel. Artillery brigades were redesignated as regiments in 1938.
  2. ^ The original Horse Brigade Royal Artillery formed 1st Horse Brigade RA, the 1st Brigade Bengal Horse Artillery became 2nd Horse Brigade RA, the Madras Horse Artillery became 3rd Horse Brigade RA, the Bombay Horse Artillery became 4th Horse Brigade RA and the 2nd Brigade Bengal Horse Artillery became 5th Horse Brigade RA. The 3rd Brigade Bengal Horse Artillery was split between 2nd and 5th Horse Brigades RA. These brigades performed an administrative, rather than tactical, role.[4]
  3. ^ Formed as E Troop, Horse Artillery on 1 November 1794, later E Battery, RHA.[7]
  4. ^ Formed as F Troop, Horse Artillery on 1 November 1794, later D Battery, RHA.[8]
  5. ^ Formed as G Troop, Horse Artillery on 1 September 1801, later G Battery, RHA.[9]
  6. ^ Formed as I Troop, Horse Artillery on 1 February 1805, later I Battery, RHA.[10]
  7. ^ Formed as The Rocket Brigade, Horse Artillery on 7 June 1813, later O Battery, RHA.[11]


  1. ^ "The Royal Artillery". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  2. ^ Baker, Chris. "What was an artillery brigade?". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  3. ^ Frederick 1984, p. 430
  4. ^ Frederick 1984, pp. 428–429
  5. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 53
  6. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 136
  7. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 96
  8. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 97
  9. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 98
  10. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 99
  11. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 103
  12. ^ Frederick 1984, p. 431
  13. ^ Frederick 1984, p. 433
  14. ^ Frederick 1984, p. 435
  15. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 54
  16. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 55
  17. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 58
  18. ^ a b Frederick 1984, p. 442
  19. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 141
  20. ^ Conrad, Mark (1996). "The British Army, 1914". Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  21. ^ Becke 1935, p. 84
  22. ^ a b Clarke 1993, p. 148
  23. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 125
  24. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 51
  25. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 126
  26. ^ a b c Clarke 1993, p. 151
  27. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 50
  28. ^ a b Joslen 1990, p. 215
  29. ^ Joslen 1990, p. 462
  30. ^ Joslen 1990, p. 216
  31. ^ Joslen 1990, p. 145
  32. ^ Joslen 1990, p. 482
  33. ^ Forty 1998, p. 73
  34. ^ Joslen 1990, p. 567
  35. ^ Joslen 1990, p. 265
  36. ^ Joslen 1990, p. 168
  37. ^ Joslen 1990, p. 13
  38. ^ Joslen 1990, p. 467
  39. ^ Watson 2005, p. 48.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "British Army units from 1945 on - 2nd Regiment RA". british-army-units1945. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  41. ^ Watson 2005, p. 82.
  42. ^ a b Watson 2005, p. 90.
  43. ^ Watson 2005, p. 97.
  44. ^ Watson 2005, p. 106.
  45. ^ Watson 2005, p. 116.


  • Becke, Major A.F. (1935). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 1. The Regular British Divisions. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-09-4.
  • Clarke, W.G. (1993). Horse Gunners: The Royal Horse Artillery, 200 Years of Panache and Professionalism. Woolwich: The Royal Artillery Institution. ISBN 09520762-0-9.
  • Forty, George (1998). British Army Handbook 1939-1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7509-1403-3.
  • Frederick, J.B.M. (1984). Lineage Book of British Land Forces 1660-1978. Wakefield, Yorkshire: Microform Academic Publishers. ISBN 1-85117-009-X.
  • Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (1990) [1st. Pub. HMSO:1960]. Orders of Battle, Second World War, 1939–1945. London: London Stamp Exchange. ISBN 0-948130-03-2.
  • Watson, G; Rinaldi, R (2005). The British Army in Germany: An Organizational History 1947-2004. Tiger Lily Publications. ISBN 0-9720296-9-9.

External links[edit]