Royal Australian Artillery

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Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery
Royal Artillery Cap Badge.jpg
Cap badge of the Royal Australian Artillery
Active 1 March 1901 – present
Country Australia
Branch Australian Army
Type Artillery
Role Field Artillery (3 regiments)
Air Defence (1 regiment)
Surveillance and Target Acquisition (1 regiment)
Size 5 regiments
Nickname(s) The 9 Mile Snipers
Motto(s) Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt (Whither right and glory lead)
March Quick – Royal Artillery Quick March
Slow – Royal Artillery Slow March
Anniversaries 1 August (Regimental Birthday).
Commanders
Captain-General HM The Queen
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Red over blue.

The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery, normally referred to as the Royal Australian Artillery (RAA), is a Regiment of the Australian Army descended from the original colonial artillery units prior to Australia's federation. Australia’s first guns were landed from HMS Sirius and a small earthen redoubt built, near the present day Macquarie Place, to command the approaches to Sydney Cove. The deployment of these guns represents the origins of artillery in Australia. These and subsequent defences, as well as field guns, were operated by marines and the soldiers of infantry regiments stationed in Australia. The first Royal Artillery unit arrived in Australia in 1856 and began a succession of gunner units which ended with the withdrawal of the imperial forces in 1870 resulting in the raising of the Victorian Artillery Corps in Melbourne in 1870 and the New South Wales Artillery in Sydney in 1871. The First World War saw the raising of 60 field, 20 howitzer and two siege batteries along with the heavy and medium trench mortar batteries. Until 19 September 1962 the Australian Artillery was referred to as the 'Royal Australian Artillery', however on this date HM Queen Elizabeth II granted the RAA the title of 'The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery'. The Regiment today consists of Regular and Reserve units.

Regular Army[edit]

Unlike their British and Canadian relations, there are no regiments of horse artillery in the order of battle of the Royal Australian Artillery. The Australian Regular Army came into being in 1947, while prior to this artillery units were predominantly militia based. The permanent artillery consisted of one field battery, 'A' Field Battery, which now perpetuates the New South Wales Artillery raised on 1 August 1871, HQ P Anti-Aircraft Battery with 1st, 2nd and 3rd AA Cadres under command, the independent 4th and 5th AA Cadres, HQ 1st, 2nd and 3rd Heavy Brigades and the 1st to 13th Heavy Batteries.[1] Prior to the Second World War heavy artillery, later called coast artillery, units were established at strategic locations around the coastline, however these units were progressively phased out by 1962. During the Second World War, the RAA raised in excess of 70 regiments of field, medium, anti-tank, anti-aircraft and survey artillery, and in excess of 200 anti-aircraft and coast artillery batteries with their attendant anti-aircraft group or fire command headquarters in the fixed defences. Many saw action in the Middle East, Malaya and Southwest Pacific theatres, with two field regiments, one anti-tank regiment, one independent anti-tank battery, an anti-aircraft battery and two coast batteries being captured by the Japanese in Singapore, Ambon, Timor and New Britain.

The present School of Artillery (completed in 1998) is located in Puckapunyal in central Victoria and maintains modern training facilities. The School of Artillery is co-located with the Australian Army's Headquarters Combined Arms Training Centre. 53rd Battery, Royal Australian Artillery supports courses run by the School of Artillery.

Major units of the Royal Australian Artillery include:[2]

Army Reserve[edit]

Artillery Memorial, Canberra
M198 Howitzers from 8/12 Medium Regiment firing during an exercise in 2001

Future development[edit]

The Royal Australian Artillery coordinates and plans Joint Offensive Support for the Australian Defence Force and is presently studying options that will see significant changes in its structure for the future. The RAA applies the latest technologies to maximise the effectiveness of the extant fleet of towed guns. The RAA is further studying options to upgrade and update ammunition and fuzes to be used with the present and future gun fleets.

Land 17 artillery replacement[edit]

This programme examined new systems with a view to replacement of all 155 mm M198 medium guns and 105 mm L119 and M2A2 field guns as well as the adoption of an integrated digital fire control network structure.[3] The project initially had A$1.5 billion allocated for the purchase of new guns, through life support and maintenance, replacement infrastructure, retraining of personnel and provision of simulation and training systems and joint fires command and control.

Phase 1A has seen the selection of the towed gun replacement; the US M777 155 mm Lightweight Medium Howitzer, over the Singaporean Pegasus alternative. With acquisition now complete.

Phase 1C was cancelled in May 2012 after down-selection to two self-propelled gun candidates; the German PzH 2000, and South Korean K9 Thunder.[4]

Land 17 does not allow for the purchase of new guns in sufficient quantity to re-equip the Army Reserve. Army Reserve Artillery Batteries have been re-equipped with 81mm Mortars.

Land 19 Short Range Air Defence[edit]

Ground Based Air Defence has recently been equipped with additional RBS-70 systems and a significant upgrade of radar and monitoring systems. This project is forecast to meet the Army's needs until 2015 where future forecast planning calls for a significant upgrade of the longer ranging air defence capability from 2018.

  • Surveillance and Target Acquisition. Recently, a new regiment, 20 Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment, has been raised for the operation of UAVs to be used in both the reconnaissance and attack roles. The new regiment incorporates the former independent 131 Surveillance and Target Acquisition Battery, together with the newly formed UAV battery.

Banners of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery[edit]

The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery is the only Regiment of Artillery of the nations of the British Commonwealth to have been presented with The Banner of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen’s Banner was presented to the Regiment on the 1 August 1971, replacing the King's Banner. The silver plaque fixed to the Banner pike reads “ Presented by Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Captain General of The Regiment of Royal Australian Artillery, to replace the Banner presented by His Majesty King Edward VII and in Honour of the Centenary of the Regiment 1971.[5]

The King's Banner was presented in November 1904 by the Governor General Lord Nortcote.[6] The silver plaque reads “Presented by His Gracious Majesty the King Emperor to the Royal Australian Artillery in recognition of the services rendered to the Empire in South Africa 1904”. The artillery units or sub-units that served in this war were A Battery, NSW Regiment RAA, and the Machine Gun Section, Queensland Regiment RAA, although many Gunners, permanent and militia, enlisted in the various colonial contingents, and after Federation the battalions of Australian Commonwealth Horse, that served in South Africa.

Traditions[edit]

  • Battle Honour – UBIQUE – Latin :meaning "Everywhere".[7]
  • Captain General of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.[5]
  • Head of Regiment - the senior serving RAA officer who is appointed by the Chief of Army to be his adviser on RAA Regimental matters.[5]
  • Motto – "QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT" – Meaning 'Whither right and glory lead'. The motto of the RAA from 1903 was CONSENSU STABILES, meaning "Strong in Agreement", previously carried by the Queensland Regiment of RAA.[5] The permanent, militia and volunteer artillery units of the Australian colonies and the Australian Commonwealth have carried many mottoes in the past. The motto QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT was granted to the RAA by HM King George VI in December 1949 and notification of approval was given in AAO 6/1950.[5]
  • The Regimental Colours – In times past infantry Regiments carried Colours to serve as rallying points in battle. The rallying point in battle for Gunners is their guns. Thus the guns are the artillery Colours. Abandoning guns is, in the Artillery considered tantamount to abandoning colours in other combat Corps although in reality the RAA has had to abandon guns on several occasions in the past as a result of their destruction or their inability to be removed from their gun positions. There has been no shame associated with these actions, in all cases the guns are rendered unserviceable prior to abandonment.
  • Current Australian manufactured guns symbolically have the national Coat of Arms engraved on the barrels.
  • Troops stand to attention when being passed by the guns when on parade as the guns are the ceremonial colours of Artillery.
  • It is considered rude and insulting to the colours to lean on or rest against a gun.
  • Patron Saint – Saint Barbara, Protector from fire and explosion.
  • Regimental Birthday – 1 August.
  • Regimental Marching Tune – "The British Grenadiers".
  • Takes precedence on parade after units of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. Artillery units on parade with their guns take place to the right of units parading without their guns.[5]
  • The hat badge of the Royal Australian Artillery was approved in June 1930 with the battle honour UBIQUE in the upper scroll surmounted by an Imperial crown, and the motto CONSENSU STABILES and the word AUSTRALIA in the lower scrolls. In 1951 a design with QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT replaced the wording in the lower scrolls but this was never manufactured or issued. The current design with the St Edwards crown and QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT in the lower scrolls was approved in 1954.[5]
  • Officers and Warrant Officers Class One wear a bursting 7-flamed grenade with a scroll bearing the Battle Honour UBIQUE on the collars of ceremonial uniforms. Other ranks wear a collar badge comprising the cypher 'RAA' above a scroll bearing the RAA motto.[5]
  • Ceremonial colours – Red over blue.
  • Regimental lanyard colour – White.[8] This colour was officially adopted in 1952 by officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers of the RAA who were required to carry whistles as part of their duties and the lanyard was worn looped around the right shoulder.[9] In 1956 wearing of the white lanyard was extended to all ranks.[10] A Battery RAA were given permission to wear their lanyard on the left shoulder in 1963, confirming an unofficial practice continued from 1931.[11] The first lanyards issued to Australian artillerymen, from as early as 1886, were for permanent gunners to carry their clasp knife and were never worn on full dress or ceremonial uniform nor were they worn by officers. They were never bleached or blancoed white and do not appear to have been worn looped around the shoulder. During the Great War gunners of the Australian Imperial Force serving abroad began to unofficially adopt white or khaki braided cord lanyards, or plaited leather lanyards, on their best uniforms while on leave or for carrying whistles. There was no laid down policy and these were worn on either left or right shoulder according to personal preference. After the war the practice was continued by other ranks of the permanent and militia artillery and the lanyard was usually worn on the left shoulder. This practice was unofficial although in 1925 personnel who carried whistles on duty were allowed to wear lanyards in the colour of the uniform, i.e., khaki.[12] In 1931 these lanyards were authorised to be worn on the right shoulder although 1st Field Cadre RAA continued to wear them on the left.[13] White lanyards were worn unofficially by artillery, light horse, Corps of Signals and Australian Army Service Corps, during the 1920s and 1930s and the practice ceased at the start of the Second World War. The white lanyard worn by the Royal Australian Artillery has nothing whatsoever to do with the Boer War, nor was it ever used for carrying pocket knives or fuze keys. It began being worn unofficially as an embellishment, became a functional item for carrying whistles and subsequently reverted to an embellishment.

Affiliations[edit]

Order of precedence[edit]

Preceded by
Royal Australian Armoured Corps
Australian Army Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Royal Australian Engineers

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Army List, Part I, 1st February 1939
  2. ^ Kennedy, Mitch; Doran, Mark (3 March 2011). "Changes in Artillery". Army News. Canberra: Australian Department of Defence. p. 3. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Australia's A$ 450M-600M LAND 17 Artillery Replacement". Defense Industry Daily. 21 October 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "Rethink of Defence projects to save billions". ABC Online. May 3, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h RAA SO 2014
  6. ^ General Order No 243 of 20 October 1904
  7. ^ RAA Standing Orders 2014
  8. ^ Army Standing Orders for Dress
  9. ^ Standing Orders for Dress 1952
  10. ^ Standing Orders for Dress 1958
  11. ^ Army Dress Manual 1963
  12. ^ Standing Orders for Clothing, Part 3, 1925
  13. ^ Standing Orders for Dress 1931