29 Commando Royal Artillery
Active1947 – Present
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch British Army
RoleField artillery, Special Reconnaissance
Size5 Batteries
430 personnel[1]
Part of3 Commando Brigade
Garrison/HQRoyal Citadel, Plymouth
Nickname(s)The Commando gunners
EquipmentL118 Light Gun

29 Commando, Royal Artillery is the Commando-trained unit of the British Army's Royal Artillery, based in Plymouth. The regiment is under the operational control of 3 Commando Brigade, to which it provides artillery support and gunnery observation.

History

The regiment was established in 1947 by the redesignation of the 25th Field Regiment.[2][3] In 1951, it was renamed as the 29th Medium Regiment Royal Artillery and was based at Brancepeth Camp in Durham.[3] In 1957, it was deployed to Cyprus on internal security duties, and spent three years at Karlaos Camp, near Famagusta. By now it had reverted to a field regiment, at one point loaning its 25-pounder field guns to another regiment that was hurriedly deployed with a United Nations force to Lebanon and Jordan. In late 1960 the regiment exchanged with 42 Field Regiment and on return to the UK took over that regiment's guns and station at the Royal Citadel, Plymouth.[3][4]

In June 1961, Abd al-Karim Qasim's Iraqi Republic announced its intention to annex newly-independent Kuwait, and a British military force was hurriedly sent to the kingdom in Operation Vantage. Regimental Headquarters (RHQ), 79 (Kirkee) and 145 (Maiwand) batteries of 29 Field Regiment were flown without their guns to Kuwait City. 25-Pounder guns and 3-tonner lorries arrived a few days later by sea from the strategic reserve at Aden. The regiment moved up close to the border with Iraq and established gun positions and observation posts (OPs). The threatened invasion did not happen, and in October the British force was relieved by the Arab League. 29 Field Regiment moved back to Aden to await sea transport to Plymouth.[4]

In 1962, the regiment re-roled and became 29 Commando Light Regiment, Royal Artillery. At that time, each battery consisted of four 105mm pack howitzers (Italian Mountain Gun).[2][3]

In the 1970s, batteries from the regiment completed operational tours in Northern Ireland.[5]

During the 1982 Falklands War, 29 Commando Regiment accompanied the Royal Marines, providing much needed close support with their L118 Light Guns.[6]

In 1996, the honorary Freedom of the City of Plymouth was conferred on the regiment (with the unanimous support of Plymouth City Council).[7]

The regiment conducted numerous operational tours in Afghanistan to provide artillery support during operations against Al Qaeda and Taliban militants.[8]

Organisation

Practice firings by 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery on exercise near Cape Wrath in Scotland.
Practice firings by 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery on exercise near Cape Wrath in Scotland.

The present regiment consists of a HQ battery, three gun batteries, a Naval Gunfire Support Forward Observation battery and an attached Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers workshop, which includes a Royal Logistic Corps stores section. The gun batteries are equipped with six L118 105mm light guns and three OPs each. The batteries are as follows:[9]

Memorial to member of the regiment killed in Afghanistan
Memorial to member of the regiment killed in Afghanistan

See also

References

  1. ^ "Army – Question for Ministry of Defence". p. 1. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b J.B.M. Frederick, Lineage Book of British Land Forces 1660–1978, Vol II, Wakefield: Microform Academic, 1984, ISBN 1-85117-009-X, p. 947.
  3. ^ a b c d "29th Regiment RA". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b Major Colin Robins, '29 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery in Kuwait, 1961', Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Vol 99, No 396 (Spring 2021), pp. 95–100.
  5. ^ "3 April 1973 → Written Answers (Commons) → DEFENCE". Hansard, UK Parliament. 3 April 1973. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
  6. ^ Fairhall, David (21 May 1982). "Why British invasion will be risky affair". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
  7. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 1 Feb 1996 (pt 18)". Hansard, UK Parliament. 1 February 1996. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
  8. ^ Gall, Carlotta (6 May 2002). "From Hilltop Perch, British Troops Watch for Holdouts". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
  9. ^ "29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery: Batteries". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 29 August 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Notice Board". Commandogunner.co.uk. Retrieved 27 November 2016.