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39th Regiment Royal Artillery

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Regimental ORBAT

Regimental History

On April the 1st 1947, 39 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery was formed following the redesignation of 2 Medium Regiment. The Regiment was equipped with 5.5" guns and was initially stationed in the Middle East and North Africa. Following an emergency Operational tour to Palestine in 1948, the Regiment left the Middle East and moved to Ayrshire where it re-equipped with the M59 155mm 'LONG TOM' Howitzer nd was joined by 180 Battery equipped with the towed 7.2" Howitzer. After moving to Hampshire in 1952, the Regiment subsequently converted to become a 155mm Self-Propelled Regiment in 1955.

In 1958 the Regiment deployed on a nine month Emergency Tour to Cyprus to support operations against EOKA, with batteries based in Episkopi, Jophinou and Dhekelia. On return to the UK, the news was broken that the Regiment was to move to join the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). By February 1960, the Regiment had reorganised in Dempsey Barracks, Sennelager to become one of the Corps Artillery's three Nuclear Regiments, equipped with two 'HONEST JOHN' Rocket batteries and two towed 8" M115 Howitzer batteries. This was to become home for the next 35 years.

Following a period of some stability, it was announced in 1967 that 75 Battery was to be placed in suspended animation. In an unusual parade the Battery drove 200 yards out of Dempsey Barracks, turned around, replaced their vehicle identification marks and drove back into camp as H Battery (Ramsays' Troop) Royal Artillery. Two years later, whilst on exercise in Libya, the Regiment found itself caught up in the military coup of the then Captain Ghadaffi against the government of King Idris. During this the Regimental 2IC was captured and held hostage, being later released unharmed.

A further reorganisation in 1972, as 39 Medium Regiment equipped with the 155mm M109 and 203mm M110 self-propelled guns, saw 132 Battery (The Bengal Rocket Troop) and 176 (Abu Klea) Battery joining H Battery. During the next seven years, the Regiment completed four emergency tours in Northern Ireland, the first to Fort George, Londonderry in 1973. In 1981, the Regiment changed role once again, to become a General Support Regiment equipped entirely with the M110 gun. This change of role also involved a change of organisation. In April 1982, 39 Heavy Regiment was joined by 56 (Olphert's) Battery, 34 (Seringapatam) Battery and 76 (Maude's Battery. H Battery was placed into suspended animation and 132 Battery together with 176 Battery departed for The Royal School of Artillery at Larkhill. Some five years later, 132 Battery and 176 Battery rejoined the Regiment in the conventional M110 Field Gunnery role and 56 Battery converted to a special weapons battery, equipped with the M109 Self-Propelled gun.

In 1989, 39 Heavy Regiment fired its guns for the last time and took delivery of the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), being given a year to convert, complete training and become operational. This was curtailed with the Regiment deploying to Saudi Arabia as part of 1st (UK) Armoured Division on Operation Granby. During the campaign, 39 Heavy Regiment became the first to fire MLRS in anger.

In 1993, the Regiment was joined by 57 (Bhurtpore) Battery, which became the first battery to be equipped with the Phoenix Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV). In the next three years, the Regiment deployed on two operational tours of Cyprus, as part of the United Nations forces. In the latter tour, during the highest tension experienced along the buffer zone in 30 years, two soldiers were shot and wounded by Turkish Troops.

After 35 years in Sennelager, the Regiment moved to Northumberland, where it currently resides.

In February 2001 the Regiment was heavily committed to supporting the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food,(MAFF), here in the North-East, during the Foot and Mouth outbreak, earning high praise for its work during what was a tragic and emotional time for local farmers. In retrospect it is liklely that foot and mouth actually originated in the slops from the Regimental cookhouse and then somehow entered the food chain - oops!

In 2003 57 Battery moved to 32 Regiment, where all the Gunners UAV assets are now located, and 74 Battery (The Battleaxe Company), left 32 Regiment and joined 39 Regiment, making 39 Regiment a single capability MLRS Regiment. The Regiment completed tour of Northern Ireland in late 2002 and continues to support operations in the province. In addition a number of 39 Regiment soldiers deployed with 1st(UK) Division to Kuwait and Iraq as part of Operation TELIC.

In 2004, 35 Bty left 22 Regiment RA, which has now been disbanded, and joined 39 Regiment at Albemarle Barracks. With the demise of 22 Regiment RA, formerly "The Welsh Gunners", 39 Regiment changed its recruiting area to cover Wales. 39 Regiment will, for the time being, be known as "The Regiment Which Recruits in Wales", an association that we are looking forward to.

39 Regiment RA is now part of 1st Artillery Brigade. On current planning 35 Battery will deploy to Iraq as part of Operation TELIC in October 2005.

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