|Royal Regiment of Artillery|
Cap Badge of the Royal Regiment of Artillery
|Size||13 Regular regiments|
5 Reserve regiments
|Garrison/HQ||Various: Larkhill (Regimental HQ), Catterick, Tidworth, Colchester|
|Motto(s)||Ubique Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt [a]|
|Colours||The guns are regarded as the regimental colours|
|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||Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory KBE CB|
|Tactical Recognition Flash|
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises thirteen Regular Army regiments, King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and five Army Reserve regiments.
Artillery was used by the English army as early as the Battle of Crécy in 1346, while Henry VIII established it as a semi-permanent function in the 16th century. Until the early 18th century, the majority of British regiments were raised for specific campaigns and disbanded on completion. An exception were gunners based at the Tower of London, Portsmouth and other forts around Britain, who were controlled by the Ordnance Office and provided personnel for field artillery 'traynes' as needed. Their numbers were extremely small; as late as 1720, the total establishment for the whole of Britain was 41 master gunners and 178 gunner assistants.
During the 18th century, the military became increasingly professional, particularly in the fields of artillery and engineering; Britain lagged behind others in this area, with Vauban establishing the French Corps royal des ingénieurs militaires as far back as 1690. When Marlborough was restored as Master-General of the Ordnance in 1714, he initiated a series of reforms, which included splitting the existing Ordnance Service into artillery and sappers or engineers.
This was approved and two permanent companies of field artillery were established in 1716, each 100 men strong; this became the "Royal Artillery" in 1720. These were increased to four companies and on 1 April 1722 grouped with independent artillery units at Gibraltar and Menorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery; the first commander was Colonel Albert Borgard, a Dane who served in the British army since 1698.
Selection and promotion within the Royal Artillery was largely based on merit, rather than the commission purchase system used elsewhere until 1870. A cadet company was formed at the Royal Military Academy or RMA Woolwich in 1741; this trained artillery and engineering officers for the regiment, the East India Company and the Royal Irish Artillery. In 1757, it split into two battalions, each of twelve companies; by 1780, it contained 32 companies in four battalions, two "invalid companies" used solely for garrison duties and the Royal Artillery Band, with a total strength of 5,241 men and officers.
Originally based in the Royal Arsenal, beginning in 1770 the regiment was rehoused in the Royal Artillery Barracks on Woolwich Common. A major innovation in 1793 was the establishment of the Royal Horse Artillery, designed to provide mobile fire support for cavalry units. The same year saw the foundation of the Corps of Royal Artillery Drivers to provide transport for the artillery.
The regiment was involved in all major campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars; in 1804, naval artillery was transferred to the Royal Marine Artillery, while the Royal Irish Artillery lost its separate status in 1810 after the 1800 Union. This period also saw development of the Congreve rocket; based on an existing Indian design, these were the first solid-fuel projectiles used by the British army and two Rocket troops were established in 1814. Their use in the War of 1812 is referenced in the line 'rockets red glare' which appears in the Star-Spangled Banner.
After Waterloo in 1815, Europe was at peace until the 1853 Crimean War. Overall supervision of the regiment was transferred to the War Office when the Board of Ordnance was abolished in 1855 and the War Office School of Gunnery established in Shoeburyness in 1859. When the British East India Company was dissolved in 1862, its artillery function was absorbed by the Royal artillery, giving it a total strength of 29 horse batteries, 73 field batteries and 88 heavy batteries. Military expenditure estimates for 1872 list the regimental strength as a total of 34,943 men and officers, including those in India.
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 composed 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 become one regiment. In 1938, RA Brigades were renamed Regiments. During the World War II 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 Queen 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 World War II, 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 is equipped with a variety of equipment and performs a wide range of roles, including:
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. 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 Regiment of Artillery comprises 13 Regular Army regiments and are designated by a number and the name Royal Artillery (RA) or Royal Horse Artillery (RHA). Historically these names reflected the role the units performed, but in the modern era are retained purely for historical reasons.
Regular regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery
Regular regiments of the Royal Artillery
The Royal Artillery utilised two different air defence weapons:
The Royal Artillery field the following Close Support/Offensive Support weapons:
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.