|Royal Regiment of Artillery|
Cap Badge of the Royal Regiment of Artillery
|Active||1716 – Present|
|Size||14 Regular regiments
5 Reserve regiments
|Garrison/HQ||Various: Larkhill (Regimental HQ), Catterick, Tidworth, Colchester, Hohne|
|Motto||Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt ("Where Right And Glory Lead"; in Latin fas implies "sacred duty")
|Colours||The guns are regarded as the regimental colours and are accorded the same compliments as the Standards, Guidons and Colours of the Cavalry and Infantry|
|March||British Grenadiers / Voice Of The Guns (Quick); The Royal Artillery Slow March colloquially known as The Duchess of Kent (Slow); The Keel Row (Trot); "Bonnie Dundee" (Canter)|
|Captain General||HM The Queen Elizabeth II|
|Master Gunner, St James's Park||General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman|
|Tactical Recognition Flash|
|British Army arms and services|
|Royal Armoured Corps|
|Special Air Service|
|Army Air Corps|
|Special Reconnaissance Regiment|
|Combat Support Arms|
|Royal Corps of Signals|
|Royal Army Chaplains' Department|
|Royal Logistic Corps|
|Army Medical Services|
|Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers|
|Adjutant General's Corps|
|Small Arms School Corps|
|Royal Army Physical Training Corps|
|General Service Corps|
|Corps of Army Music|
The introduction of artillery into the English army came as early as the Battle of Crécy in 1346. Henry VIII made the army's artillery semi-permanent in the sixteenth century but the recognition of the need for a permanent body of artillery did not happen until 1716.
Before the 18th century, artillery 'traynes' were raised by royal warrant for specific campaigns and disbanded again when they were over. On 26 May 1716, however, by royal warrant of George I two regular companies of field artillery, each 100 men strong, were raised at Woolwich. The title "Royal Artillery" (RA) was first used in 1720. On 1 April 1722 the two companies were increased to four and grouped with independent artillery companies at Gibraltar and Minorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery, commanded by Colonel Albert Borgard. In 1741 the Royal Military Academy was formed in the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich (RWA) to provide training for RA and Royal Engineers (RE) officers. The regiment expanded rapidly and, by 1757, had 24 companies divided into two battalions, as well as a cadet company formed in 1741. During 1748, the presidential artilleries of Bengal, Madras and Bombay were formed. 1756 saw the creation of the Royal Irish Regiment of Artillery. In 1762 the Royal Artillery Band was formed at Minden. By 1771 there were 32 companies in four battalions, as well as two "invalid companies" comprising older and unfit men employed in garrison duties. During 1782, the regiment moved to the Royal Artillery Barracks (front parade) on Woolwich Common. In January 1793, two troops of Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) were raised to provide fire support for the cavalry, augmented by two more in November 1793. All RHA personnel were mounted. The Royal Irish Artillery was absorbed into the RA in 1801. During 1805, the Royal Artillery moved to Woolwich Common. In 1819, the Rotunda was given to the regiment by the Prince Regent to celebrate end of the Napoleonic Wars. (It was originally built in St. James's Park as the outer casing of the tent in which the Prince Regent entertained the Allied sovereigns in 1814.) In 1832, the regimental mottoes were granted.
The regiment was under the control of the Board of Ordnance until the board was abolished in 1855. Thereafter the regiment came under the War Office along with the rest of the army. The School of Gunnery established at Shoeburyness, Essex in 1859. In 1862 the regiment absorbed the artillery of the British East India Company—21 horse batteries and 48 field batteries—which brought its strength up to 29 horse batteries, 73 field batteries and 88 heavy batteries.
On 1 July 1899, the Royal Artillery was divided into three groups: the Royal Horse Artillery of 21 batteries and the Royal Field Artillery of 95 batteries comprised one group, while the coastal defence, mountain, siege and heavy batteries were split off into another group named the Royal Garrison Artillery of 91 companies. The third group continued to be titled simply Royal Artillery, and was responsible for ammunition storage and supply. Which branch a gunner belonged to was indicated by metal shoulder titles (R.A., R.F.A., R.H.A., or R.G.A.). The RFA and RHA also dressed as mounted men, whereas the RGA dressed like foot soldiers. In 1920 the rank of Bombardier was instituted in the Royal Artillery. The three sections effectively functioned as separate corps. This arrangement lasted until 1924, when the three amalgamated once more to became one regiment. In 1938, RA Brigades were renamed Regiments. During the Second World War there were over 1 million men serving in 960 gunner regiments. In 1947 the Riding House Troop RHA was renamed The King's Troop RHA and, in 1951, the title of the regiment's colonel-in-chief became Captain General. When The Quuen first visited the Troop after her accession, it was expected that it would become "The Queen's Troop", but Her Majesty announced that in honour of her father's decision it would remain "The King's Troop".
Before the Second World War, Royal Artillery recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches (1.63 m) tall. Men in mechanised units had to be at least 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) tall. They initially enlisted for six years with the colours and a further six years with the reserve or four years and eight years. They trained at the Royal Artillery Depot in Woolwich.
From its beginnings, the Royal Artillery has been based at Woolwich, in south-east London. In 2003 it was decided to move the headquarters to Larkhill on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire (the RA's training ground, where the Royal School of Artillery has been based since 1915). The last Royal Artillery troops left Woolwich Barracks in 2007; in 2012, however, the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery was relocated to Woolwich from their former headquarters in St John's Wood.
The Royal Artillery today
The Royal Artillery is equipped with a variety of equipment and performs a wide range of roles, including:
- Surveillance and Target Acquisition
- Commando and Airborne artillery
- Self Propelled Artillery
- Multiple Launch Rocket Systems
- Air defence
The Captain General of the regiment is Queen Elizabeth II. The post was previously known as Colonel-in-Chief until King George VI expressed the desire to be known as Captain General. The head of the regiment is the Master Gunner, St. James's Park.
The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises both Regular (full-time) and Reserve (part-time) units. Under Army 2020, many units are under the 1st Artillery Brigade. The current regiments of the Royal Artillery are:
Regular regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery
- The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery – a ceremonial unit equipped with 13 pounder guns for firing salutes, and is now located in Woolwich Garrison
- 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery – equipped with AS90 self-propelled artillery and MLRS and GMLRS at Assaye Barracks in Tidworth
- 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery – (The Liverpool and Manchester Gunners) are equipped with L118 105mm light gun based at Albemarle Barracks outside Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
- 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery – (The Airborne Gunners) are equipped with L118 105mm light gun and are currently part of 16th Air Assault Brigade based in Colchester
Regular regiments of the Royal Artillery
- 4th Regiment Royal Artillery – (The North East Gunners) are equipped with L118 105mm light gun at Alanbrooke Barracks in Topcliffe
- 5th Regiment Royal Artillery – (The North, East & West Yorkshire Gunners) are equipped with Surveillance and Target Acquisition and based at Marne Barracks in Catterick, North Yorkshire
- 12th Regiment Royal Artillery – (The Lancashire and Cumbrian Gunners) are equipped with Starstreak HVM and are based at Baker Barracks, Thorney Island
- 14th Regiment Royal Artillery – are the Training and Support Regiment based at Stirling Barracks in Larkhill
- 16th Regiment Royal Artillery – (The London and Kent Gunners) are equipped with Rapier and are based at Baker Barracks, Thorney Island
- 19th Regiment Royal Artillery – (The Highland Gunners) are equipped with AS90 self-propelled artillery and MLRS and GMLRS at Assaye Barracks in Tidworth
- 26th Regiment Royal Artillery –– (The West Midland Gunners) are equipped with AS90 self-propelled artillery and MLRS and GMLRS at Mansergh Barracks in Gütersloh
- 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery – (The Commando Gunners) are equipped with the L118 105mm light gun, and are currently part of 3 Commando Brigade, with most batteries based at the Royal Citadel in Plymouth with one battery (148 (Meiktila) Battery) based at RM Poole and 7 (Sphinx) Battery Royal Artillery Based at Royal Marines Base Condor in Arbroath.
- 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery – (The Wessex Gunners) are equipped with Surveillance and Target Acquisition and Unmanned Air Vehicles and are based in Roberts Barracks in Larkhill
- 47th Regiment Royal Artillery – (The Hampshire and Sussex Gunners) – are equipped with Unmanned Air Vehicles and are based in Roberts Barracks in Larkhill
- 101st (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery (MLRS)
- 103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment Royal Artillery (Field Artillery) (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers Band)
- 104th Regiment Royal Artillery (Surveillance and Target Acquisition – Unmanned Air Vehicles)
- 105th Regiment Royal Artillery 'The Scottish & Ulster Gunners' (Field Artillery)
- 106th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery (Air Defence Artillery)
Note: The Honourable Artillery Company is an Army Reserve unit based in London, it is not part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery although parts of it currently have a Surveillance and Target Acquisition role.
The Royal Regiment of Artillery is unusual in that it has sub-units that often move between regiments, or are placed into suspended animation. See List of Royal Artillery Batteries.
The Royal Artillery is equipped with two main weapons in the air defence mission;
- Rapier FSC – Rapier is the standard Low Level Air Defence (LLAD) weapon in the British Army. In the Royal Artillery, it equips 16 Regiment. No Army Reserve unit will be armed with Rapier under Army 2020.
- Starstreak HVM – Starstreak is a continuation of the Blowpipe and Javelin series. In the RA it can be used as a shoulder-launched weapon, in the Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) or mounted on the Alvis Stormer armoured vehicle. The weapon equips 12 Regiment and two batteries of 106 Regiment RA(V) by Army 2020.
In the support mission, the Royal Artillery has three types of weapon;
- MLRS – the Multiple Launch Rocket System provides a precision fire capability out to a range of 80 km. It is operated by 39th Regiment and 101 (v) Regiment. In 2014 39th Regiment will be disbanded and a Battery of MRLS will be attached to each of the Armoured Close Support Regiments (1st RHA, 19th & 26th Regiments).
- AS-90 – the AS-90 is a 155mm self-propelled gun and is utilized by the 3 Armoured Regiments (1st RHA, 19th & 26th)
- Light gun – the Light Gun is a 105 mm gun used in the close support mission in support of light or specialist forces. It is used by 3rd RHA, 4th Regt, 7 (Para) RHA, 29 (Commando) Regt RA, as well as three Army Reserve regiments – 100 Regt RA, 103 Regt RA and 105 Regt RA.
Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR)
- MAMBA (Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset) uses radar to track enemy mortar and artillery shells out to a range of 40 km. It can be used to predict the point of impact, thereby giving a number of seconds warning, but is usually deployed to trace the point of origin of mortar/artillery rounds and then provide correction for counter-battery fire. It is operated by 5th Regiment RA.
- ASP (Advanced Sound ranging Program) is an acoustic triangulation system that used a series of sensor posts (microphones) to triangulate the point of origin and point of impact of enemy mortars and artillery. It is also operated by 5th Regiment RA along with 101st (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery.
- BASE ISTAR - 5th Regiment RA also operates a number of telescopic camera systems that are designed to provide surveillance and target acquisition in static locations.
- Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (UAV) (replaced the Hermes 450) and is operated by 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery
- Desert Hawk III UAV – the DH3 is a smaller, more discreet vehicle that is designed to be hand launched and provide intimate surveillance and target acquisition. It is operated by 32nd, 47th and 104(V) Regiments.
- 13 pounder – The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery retains six operational First World War-era QF 13 pounders for use as state saluting guns
Order of precedence
Royal Armoured Corps
|Order of Precedence||Succeeded by
Corps of Royal Engineers
In the British Army Order of Precedence, the Household Cavalry is always listed first and always parades at the extreme right of the line. However, when the Royal Horse Artillery is on parade with its guns, (usually in the form of The Kings Troop, Royal Horse Artillery) it will replace the Household Cavalry at the extreme right of the line.
- Canada – Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery
- Australia – Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery
- New Zealand – Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
- India – Regiment of Artillery
- Pakistan – Regiment of Artillery
- Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka Artillery
- Singapore – Singapore Volunteer Artillery
- Malta – Armed Forces of Malta
- Malaysia – Rejimen Artileri Diraja
- Gibraltar – The Royal Gibraltar Regiment
- South Africa – South African Artillery Corps
- Royal Artillery Mounted Band
- Royal Artillery Band
- Royal Artillery Memorial
- Royal Artillery Barracks
- Royal School of Artillery
- Firepower – The Royal Artillery Museum
- Bermuda Militia Artillery
- Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery
- Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery
- Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
- 79th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery
- Manx Regiment
- History and Traditions of the Royal Artillery
- Woolwich Common in Garden and Landscape Guide
- The Royal Artillery has the motto and battle honour Ubique ("Everywhere"), granted by William IV in 1833. The subsidiary motto is Quo fas et gloria ducunt ("Where right and glory lead"). Both mottoes are shared with the Royal Engineers, due to the shared Board of Ordnance history.
- Royal Artillery History
- War Office, His Majesty's Army, 1938
- King's Troop moves to its 'spiritual home' in Woolwich at BBC News, 7 February 2012. Accessed 8 February 2012
- Army 2020 Report
- Although the Honourable Artillery Company currently has an artillery role, it is a separate regiment in its own right, with its own colours, uniforms and traditions
- Royal horses get their sea legs with a dip in the surf on Cornwall holiday Daily Mail, 21 September 2011
- Graham C A L DSO psc, Brig Gen The Story of the Royal Regiment of Artillery RA Institution, Woolwich 1939
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