RHA Regiments

Discussion in 'Gunners' started by Historyman, Jan 25, 2009.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Hi, I'm not in the army but just interested in military history and I can't find any explanation why , if the RHA is an elite within the RA :

    1. When 33 Parachute Light Regiment RA was put into suspended animation seemingly so that 7 RHA could take over the parachute role why the commando role didn't go to the RHA at the same time (or subsequently)

    2. Why didnt 4 RHA take the Parachute role given all it's batteries were transfered to 7 RHA which had to be formed for the purpose?

    I can see the logic of 1 and 3 RHA being armoured because the RHA was formed to provide mobile artillery and they formed a close relationship with the cavalry (which now obviously has steel horses) particularly in the armoured divisons in WW2 but as far as I'm aware there was no RHA parachute heritage during WW2 (at least not as far a formed units are concerned).

    Anyway if anyone can shed any light on this I would be grateful.

  2. Cant wait to see the replies to this post. Any Gunners going to enlighten the gentleman.
    Didnt 4th Regt RA take over the airborne role for a while around the time of the Falklands. Whatever happened to 2 Fd Regt they were a super bunch I seem to remember.
  3. The present day reality is that there is no differance between the RHA and RA Regiments, except certain dress amendments (ball buttons etc). Obviously all RHA Regts are Close Support Regts (although would be amusing to see 1 RHA rerole to UAV - many decreased Generals would be turning in their grave at the thought)

    If one looks at the history of the RA and RHA there are so many inconsistancies that it would take a lifetime to work them out. All RHA have lettered Btys, but not all lettered Btys are in the RHA - go figure. The is an RO in ESA (SO2 to the DRA) who would know the answers, but you would need a lot of Red Bull.

    33 Light did not get suspended in order to allow & RHA to take the Parar role. I suspect cuts in other places were to blame. Indeed & Para RHA handed over the Para role in 1977 to 4 Regt RA (who never became 4 Para RA), but got it back again in 1984. Can you really imagine 29 Cdo RA as 29 Cdo RHA!
  4. Sorry I assumed from the fact 33 Regt was placed in to suspended animation on 27/6/61 and two of it's batteries went to the 4 Regt , which on the same day was retitled from 4 RHA and had lost all it's batteries to the newly formed 7 RHA that the events were connected.

    To a civilian it looked as if 33 had been put into suspended animation so that 7 RHA could take over as the artillery parachute regiment.

    As far as I'm aware there was no artillery unit authorised to wear the red beret during the time 7 RHA lost its parachute status.

    I'm not sure if 4 regiment had a parachute role as opposed to airmobile?

    The other thing I cant work out is whether all the 33 regt guys ended up transfering to 7 RHA or whether 7 RHA had work up with new guys?
  5. I know some guy threw facebook who was and re-enlisting in 7 RHA, will sent him the thread.
    he might be able to help.
  6. Traditionally the RHA would "bounce" up and down the lines with light guns firing, the original "shoot and scoot" in a harassing manner, very much like the rifles regiments of old, so in that sense they were considered an "elite", whereas the RFA would move less because guns were bigger and their role was more to bring ordinance on the enemy to break it. The RGA defended ports, forts etc.

    All that pretty much went to shiite post WW1, the RHA remained after the RA was formed, whether their survival was down to the fact they were still active in the horse role int the colonies or favouritism at Horse Guards, not sure, but ever since there was been this feeling of being "special" which is why they take precedence on parade over much older RA units. However, as stated previously, there is no real difference between 1st and 3rd with any other filed unit, 1st does have a bit of a rep of being a bit bullshitty, however I have always found the blokes to have that little bit of extra pride, mainly because they ain't a flatty, but its mostly from the adage of "vive l'difference"

    I remember many moons ago whilst on BONCO and rifling through the BCs draws looking for anything of interest an interesting letter from the DRA. There was a plan afoot to re-role the specialist regiments, not entire regiment moves, just the numbers of units, it meant that 1st and 29 were to swap over, no-one would actually move and Batteries would stay where they were and 3rd would swap with 19, who were Airmobile at the time forming

    1st Commando Regt RHA
    3rd Airmobile Regt RHA
    7th Parachute Regiment RHA

    Oh and there was also a plan to issue the Airmobile Regt the sky blue beret

    However, as the letter went on, this was to be aborted as there would be a brake in history for the Batteries as it would of been too much of a task to move whole Battery histories with them, can you just imagine The Chestnut Troop, 29 Field Regt RA :twisted:
  7. Interesting because the lettered batteries with their silver and property(less the guys) moved from 4 regt to 7 RHA.

    I suppose though if there were only going to be three RHA regiments it has to remember in 1961 there were two RA commando regiments at that time and if you had 1 RHA parachute and 2 RHA commando regiments there would potentially be a recruitment problem for Kings Troop and not enough lettered batteries for three full regiments.
  8. Historyman,

    It would be naive to attempt to apply logic to the various changes that the Gunners have gone through post WWII. So much depends on the whim of the Master Gunner, DRA, (demised) MGRAs, CRAs and senior Gunner Generals at the time. Also the rather more objective real estate (2nd field) and equipment life cycle (22 Regt) factors are critical There is undoubtedly a pecking order within the Royal Regiment and it goes RHA, tubed artillery...who gives a monkey's! Where appropriate Bty precedence will be followed (or used to justify personal preferences!). There was an option when HVM Regiments were created to form 6 RHA with H, V and M Btys - that would have upset the applecart. Actually it would have fitted quite nicely with the old galloper role and would have laid to rest some of the non-sensical snobbery that still haunts the Royal Regiment.


  9. Ah, Historyman you have conjured up some fond memories of the days in the 'shot. My early days in 7 Para RHA (I must insist as you keep referring to it as 7 RHA!) was spent listening to the old and bold lamenting the days of the old 7 Para RHA (the 70's), and thier stories of when they were young Toms being indoctrinated to the ethos of the regiment the good old way! Lets not get into that one!

    However the stories go somthing like this, indeed on cessation of 33 Para Light Regiment RA the blokes walked out of camp on a friday wearing Maroon Beret, worn rakishly over the left eye and a jaunty angle, with badge large and triangular. On Monday morning said same blokes came back into camp with same faded Maroon Beret now sporting a Cypher surmounted with the Queens crown, unless of course you were a right cheeky fecker and had a kings crown Cypher which was silver and looked a little bit different. and of course a blue and yellow stable belt, various ways of wearng the stable belt came about, traditional, eather buckles to the side, leather buckles to the front, (Kings Troop stylee) or the personal favourite and one that gets up evry ones nose above field rank, the Pegasus Buckle, shining brightly to the front ready to pop a beer bottle lid off at twenty paces.

    Yes indeed the batteries did transfer from 33 Para Light to the newly formed 4th Regt RA, with the old RHA Batteries silverware and heritage moving to the 'shot. 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery was now born and had little time to adjust before operational tours became the norm.

    Swiftly jumping ahead to the disbandment of 16 Independant Parachute Bde in '76 (16 comes from 1st and 6th Airborne Division from WW2), these were dark days as the regiment was now moved from its traditional home and sent off to Osnabruck with 3 Para, unfortunately 7 Para RHA was now but a memory stripped of the famous Maroon Beret and ordered to wear large black sacks on thier heads the remainder of the regiment cracked on with gusto whilst some interlopers from a generation from before sneaked in the back gates of Depot Para and mouted the Triangular badge of Toblerone on the Maroon Machine.

    With 1982 looming and only a handful of well meaning individuals Para Trained the Lead elements of 5th Infantry Bde headed on down South for Spring Break. Now a question to all GLSC's and No's 1 out there would you remember to take your sights for the guns with you or at least put them on the right ship! Course you would.

    Having said that the blokes did a cracking job, and with true style and panache of the right calibre of bloke performed an outstanding job in bringing down a Battery of Guns on to an Argie mobile canteen, DF'd it watched them come back and did it again.

    Step forward a year, and by the grace of god 7RHA (note) was brought back in to the fold of the brotherhood once more, this time augmented with a troop of air defence in the form of Blowpipe, it would seem that lessons learnt from '82 meant that 21 Bty frm Bulford were not quite upto the job of tabbing with large unwielding containers shaped like wine bottles draped across thier bergans, so in came P Troop.

    3 members of the Bty stepped forward in '83 to start P Coy and passed it, the dilema now was before 7 RHA (note) arrived back from BAOR, what would these young men of 21 Battery wear around Bulford now they were now only allowed to wear either wings + black sack or beret and no wings, strange jealously thing going on there i think? Not long to go now......
    Soon enough a troop of newly qualified air defenders were now resident in Lille Bks before the advance party arrived from BAOR, who are these strange men who wear our beret and stable belt? Ah P Troop, who?
    Strange things happen in a generation, within Fifteen years P Troop was to disband leave Lille Barracks move to Thorney and eventually filter into 21 Bty as we know it now, strange.

    7 RHA quickly regained its rightful title as 7 Para RHA and now continues to support 16 (note) Air Assault Brigade on Ops and in the town on a Sat night in Colchester.
    Next Question.
  10. What a wonderful question! What tremendous potential for stirring - just too clever of a sapper to ask...

    My guess is that its a bit of officer politics by the Royal Regiment.

    Historically the RHA were an elite because the galloping around the battlefield attracted more dashing types than sitting in a fortress doing boring calculations or god forbid hanging around drafty AA sites. The Post War RHA are the elite of the Gunners because the RHA Regiments, are, or were 25 years ago, packed with the most highly rated officers. This was supposed to help push career prospects of the most favoured officers and ultimately the Royal Regiment.

    I think the idea is to maximise the career opportunities of the best gunner officers to give them 1) jobs that have regular contact with the other arms and 2) pack them into regiments that both tell the world that they are highly rated and also should make it easier to shine in the key confiodentials as captains and majors.

    Putting the "best" Gunner officers in jobs where they have regular contact with the combat arms is likely to give them the all arms experience and network of contacts that will enable them to compete for the all arms jobs towards the top of the career ladder. They won't get this sitting in the gunner enclaves of air defence or depth fire or mixing with booties and matelots. So RHA can be found only in field artillery regiments, and historically, anti tank batteries such as C Battery which nurtured the next CGS. You donlt find them in commando, air defence, depth fire or locating batteries even if lettered.

    Now its obvious why 33 Field couldn't be the para regiment. If the paras are an elite within the army parachute gunners had to be RHA. (It dosn't matter about whether the Regiment is 4RHA or 7RHA, the silver, property history and tradition is mostly by battery.)

    Its questionable whether this makes for the most effective artillery arm. For example...

    Once upon a time in a long disbanded division there were once two field regiments with almost identical roles and equiptment.

    One was the XX Field Regiment RA. In this Regiment only the CO had passed staff college and only two of the captains, the acting BC HQ Battery and the Adjutant had any extra Regimental experience. Any of the intellectual work of the Regiment was written by the CO who had no one with staff training to delegate to.

    Their sister, regiment Xrd RHA had a full complement of three staff college graduate battery commanders and a clutch of captain FOOs and BKs who were qualified as instructors in gunnery. It was so much easier for the RHA field officers to shine in the sorts of tasks that impress the reporting chain.

    However, this didn't have the same impact on their relative military efficiency. Gosh what fun the ORT team had with the famous RHA battery all asleep in their harbour area. Wasnlt it lucky that the CRA had once commanded the same battery...

    Perhaps the concentration of those already marked out as future COs made for the kind of career infighting which some have identified as a hallmark of the Royal Regiment's officers. http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/The_Royal_Artillery