3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
|3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery|
|Active||27 August 1938 – present
but all the individual batteries except one have served since creation between 1793 & 1811
|Part of||1st Artillery Brigade|
|Garrison/HQ||Albemarle Barracks, Northumberland, England|
|Nickname(s)||The Liverpool & Manchester Gunners|
|Equipment||L118 light gun|
The regiment was constituted in 1939 out of existing batteries. Two of the batteries have served continuously since the 1790s. Two others have served continuously since their formation in the period 1805-1811 during the Napoleonic wars. M Battery, by contrast, has served continuously since 1993.
The basic organic unit of the Royal Artillery was, and is, the Battery. Prior to May 1938, 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 the First World War, 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) 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. After May 1938, brigades were redesignated as regiments and on 27 August 1938, III Brigade Royal Horse Artillery at Abbassia, Egypt was redesignated as 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.
Also in 1938, artillery brigades were reorganized from three six-gun batteries to two 12-gun batteries.[a] Rather than disband existing batteries, they were instead linked in pairs. As a result, D and J Batteries formed D/J Battery on 11 May 1938 and M and P Batteries were linked as M/P Battery on the same date. This was the regiment's structure on formation but in the event the batteries were unlinked within months (in September 1939) and the regiment operated with four batteries.
Second World War
By the outbreak of the Second World War, the regiment was still in Egypt and on 16 October 1939 was assigned to Headquarters Royal Artillery Group (Middle East Reserve) as an anti-tank regiment armed with 2 pounder guns. M Battery, however, was permanently attached to the Armoured Division (Egypt) (later the 7th Armoured Division, the "Desert Rats"). In March 1941, P Battery left the regiment to join 6th Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery in the United Kingdom. In practice just the title was transferred; the personnel and equipment were distributed amongst D, J and M batteries making them up to eight-gun units. On 1 March 1941, the regiment joined M Battery in 7th Support Group and all three batteries were redesignated as anti-tank. The regiment took part in the final attempt to lift the Siege of Tobruk, Operation Crusader (18 November – 10 December) – notably the Battle of Sidi Rezegh where Second Lieutenant George Ward Gunn (J Battery) earned the Victoria Cross for his bravery during an attack by 60 German Tanks.[b] 3rd RHA commemorate this by wearing a red backing to the cypher. On 26 April 1954, J Battery was awarded the Honour Title "Sidi Rezegh" in recognition of this action. The regiment was rearmed with 25 pounders after Sidi Rezegh, and the batteries were redesignated as field artillery on 8 September 1942.
The regiment left the 7th Support Group on 8 February 1942 (the day before it was reformed as the 7th Motor Brigade) and was assigned directly to the 7th Armoured Division; it remained with the division for the rest of the war. The regiment supported the 7th Armoured Division during the rest of the Western Desert Campaign taking part in the Battle of Gazala (26 June – 21 June 1942), the Defence of the El Alamein Line (1 – 27 July), the Battle of Alam el Halfa (30 August – 7 September), and the Battle of El Alamein (23 October – 4 November).[c] It then took part in the Tunisia Campaign including the Battles of Medenine (6 March 1943), Mareth (16 – 23 March), Akarit (6 and 7 April), Enfidaville (19 – 29 April), and Tunis (5 – 12 May).
The regiment was withdrawn to Libya to rest and refit thereby missing the Sicilian Campaign. It next took part in the Italian Campaign: the Salerno Landings (9 – 18 September 1943), the Capture of Naples (22 September – 1 October), and the Volturno Crossing (12 – 15 October). It then returned to the United Kingdom, arriving on 4 January 1944. It continued to support 7th Armoured Division, as a follow up formation, following the Normandy Landings In 1945, the regiment led the Allied Victory parade in Berlin, and fired the Victory Salute.
- 1958 – C Battery joined the regiment, and M Battery was placed in suspended animation.
- 1975 – M Battery was revived.
- 1976 – The regiment completed another tour of Northern Ireland, as part of Operation Banner
- 1978 – The regiment was placed in suspended animation. The batteries became independent anti-tank batteries.
- 1984 – The regiment was reformed in Paderborn, Germany. M Battery was once again placed in suspended animation.
The regiment has served in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1993 N Battery (The Eagle Troop) joined the regiment, and M Battery was amalgamated with Headquarters Battery to form M Headquarters Battery.
M(HQ) Bty, Radar Troop was deployed to Bosnia in 1994 and again in 1995 and 1996 on operational duties in Sarajevo and then Sanski Most during the balkan conflict.
Under Army 2020, it will provide force support to the Adaptable Force. In 2013 it re-rolled from AS-90s to L118 Light Guns. From 1 March 2015, the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery will be paired with this regiment. Under Army 2020 Refine the Regiment will support one of the new STRIKE Brigades, initially utilising the L118 Light Gun, but ultimately using a new wheeled self-propelled gun that is set to be procured in the mid-2020s.
The batteries are as follows:
The regiment has been equipped with the following weapons during its existence:
- QF 3.7-inch mountain howitzer
- Ordnance QF 2-pounder anti-tank gun – 2 pounder
- Ordnance QF 25-pounder field gun-howitzer – 25 pounder
- Sexton self-propelled 25 pounder
- BL 5.5-inch Medium Gun – 5.5” Gun
- OTO Melara Mod 56 – 105mm Pack Howitzer
- FV433 Abbot SPG 105mm self-propelled howitzer
- Swingfire anti-tank guided missile
- FH70 155mm towed howitzer
- AS-90 155mm self-propelled howitzer
- L118 light gun 105mm towed howitzer
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- The experience of the BEF in 1940 showed the problem with this organisation: field artillery regiments were intended to support an infantry or armoured brigade of three battalions or regiments. This could not be managed without severe disruption to the regiment. As a result, field artillery regiments were reorganised into three 8-gun batteries.
- Acting Brigadier Jock Campbell, commander of 7th Support Group, also won a Victoria Cross in the same action.
- During the Battle of El Alamein, the regiment was armed with twenty-four 25 pounders.
- "The Royal Artillery". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- Baker, Chris. "What was an artillery brigade?". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- Clarke 1993, p. 32
- Clarke 1993, p. 131
- "3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- Forty 1998, p. 73
- Clarke 1993, p. 97
- Clarke 1993, p. 100
- Clarke 1993, p. 101
- Clarke 1993, p. 104
- Clarke 1993, p. 151
- Joslen 1990, p. 470
- Joslen 1990, p. 130
- Clarke 1993, p. 37
- Joslen 1990, p. 19
- Clarke 1993, p. 51
- Joslen 1990, p. 218
- "M (Headquarters) Battery History". 3 RHA Past & Present Members Association. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 17 April 1942. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 30 January 1942. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Clarke 1993, p. 155
- Clarke 1993, p. 38
- Joslen 1990, p. 21
- Joslen 1990, p. 569
- Joslen 1990, p. 20
- "3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery". British Army Units 1945 on. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "Transforming the British Army - An Update July 2013" (PDF). Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). July 2013. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery". Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- A. Young. "3rd Regiment RHA". British Army units from 1945 on. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- Clarke 1993, p. 50
- 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.