The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery
, normally referred to as the Royal Australian Artillery
(RAA), is 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 'A' Field Battery, NSW Artillery 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:
Unlike their British
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 and prior to this artillery units were predominately militia
based. The one permanent artillery unit was 'A' Field Battery which formed on 1 August 1871. Prior to the Second World War specialist coastal artillery
units were established at strategic locations around the coastline, however these were progressively phased out by the 1950s. During the Second World War, the RAA raised some 50 regiments of anti-tank, anti-aircraft, field, medium and coastal units with all unts engaged in combat throughout the war.
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. Major units of the Royal Australian Artillery include:
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.
There are no presnt plans for expansion of the RAA as part of the Army's Hardened and Networked Army project. However the Australian Army will invest considerably in the re-equipment, restructuring and re-rolling of various RAA units. Current Australian Army planning calls for Regular Army RAA units to be structured and equipped with highly mobile, longer ranging and less manpower intensive weapon systems that are to be fully digitally networked by 2012.
Land 17 artillery replacement
This programme is trialling 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. The project has several hundred million dollars allocated for the purchase of new guns, through life support and maintenance, replacement infrastructure, retraining of personnel and provision of simulation and training systems. However, Land 17 does not allow for the purchase of new guns in sufficient quantity to re-equip the Army Reserve. Final short listed contenders for Land 17 gun replacement are:
Towed Gun Replacement:
- M777 155mm Lightweight Medium Howitzer (USA).
- Pegasus 155mm Lightweight Medium Howitzer (Singapore) - Has limited SP maneuverability.
Land 19 Short Range Air Defence
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.
- Land 58 AN-TPQ36 Weapon Locating Radar Life of Type Extension. This project seeks to extend the fully functional operational life of the weapon locating radars to 2015.
Banners of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery is the only British Commonwealth Artillery Corps to have been presented with the 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 Royal Australian Artillery to replace the banner by his majesty king Edward VII and in the honour of the Centenary of the Regiment 1971.
The King's Banner was presented in November 1904 by the Governor General Lord Nortcote. 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 unit that served in the war was A Field Battery, NSW Regiment RAA.
- Battle Honour - "UBIQUE" - Meaning 'Everywhere'.
- Head of Regiment - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - Captain General of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery.
- Motto - "QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT" - Meaning 'Whither right and glory lead'. Earlier Australian badges depicted the words 'Consensu Stabilies Australie', meaning "Australia Strong and True".
- The Regimental Colours - The guns, colours serve as rallying points in battle. The rallying point in battle for Gunners is their guns. Thus the guns are the Colours.
- Australian 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 - 1st August.
- Regimental Marching Tune - "British Grenadiers".
- Always first in the order of march when on parade as troops on the march are always lead by their highest commander. The Queen holds the highest command rank in the Army and is also head of the Regiment of Artillery.
- When addressed or referring to the group always referred to as "The Gentlemen of Artillery".
- Officers wear a bursting grenade on lapels on ceremonial uniforms signifying them as Artillery men. Other ranks wear a cypher with the letters 'RAA' scrolled.
- Ceremonial colours - Red over blue.
- Regimental lanyard colour - White, signifying it as the first corps of the British Armies to wear lanyards. The story of the reason behind the colour white is said to have been derived from the Battle of Colenso at which the members of the 14th and 66th Field Batteries RA were "bled white" while serving their guns, having deployed too close to the enemy positions, and in trying to recover them together with the Devonshire Regiment and the Scots Fusiliers despite Boers’ heavy fire. The lanyard was adopted by the Australian 'A' Battery which also served in the Campaign, and later by the Corps after Federation.
Order of precedence