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FIELD ARTILLERY REGIMENTS

for British & Commonwealth Divisions in Spearhead


  Field or R.H.A. Regiment     Morale: 50% Regular 50% Veteran   BR 
EARLY 1939-41 REGIMENT 
  
REGIMENTAL HQ: 
1-HQ Platoon & Truck 
1 FIELD GUN BATTERY:  
3-18pdr Field Guns & Tractors 
1 HOWITZER BATTERY: 
3-4.5" Howitzers & Tractors 
LATER 1940-41 REGIMENT 
  
REGIMENTAL HQ: 
1-HQ Platoon & Truck 
1 FIELD GUN BATTERY:  
3-25 pdr Mk.I (18/25pdr) & Tractors
1 HOWITZER BATTERY: 
3-4.5" Howitzers & Tractors 
Notes :
Majority of Regiments during this period were the "Early" pattern, although by the time of the Battle of France (May 1940) some had converted to the "Later" pattern. In North Africa most of the British, Australian, and New Zealand Artillery was organised on the "Early" pattern until early 1941, including 1 Regiment in Tobruk, which converted to the "Later" pattern about July 1941.

In North Africa all 18pdrs were removed from Artillery service by about July 1941 and during the next 3 months were "re-issued" to the Divisional Anti-Tank Regiments of Infantry Divisions for their "Heavy" Anti-Tank Troops (The 4 Batteries of 4 Troops organisation had been authorised in May 1941, but was not implemented immediately due to a lack of 2pdrs, it was therefore decided to utilise the 18pdrs becoming available to make good the shortfall and these were duly converted for Anti-Tank work.)
EARLY 1941 REGIMENT 
  
REGIMENTAL HQ: 
1-HQ Platoon & Truck 
2 FIELD GUN BATTERIES, each:  
3-25pdr Mk.I (18/25pdr) & Tractors 
LATER 1941-1945 REGIMENT 
  
REGIMENTAL HQ: 
1-HQ Platoon & Truck 
3 FIELD GUN BATTERIES, each:  
2-25 pdr Mk.II & Tractors 
Notes :
In 1940 the first "all 25pdr" Regiments were formed, mostly with Mk.Is, but also a small number with the first Mk.IIs. These Regiments were organised as per the "Early" 1941 organisation above, however it was not until 1941 that the majority of British & Commonwealth Regiments were entirely equipped with 25pdrs (of either mark). Some Regiments had Mk.I in one Battery and Mk.II in the other, a few privileged Regiments (R.H.A. in Armoured Divisions) were entirely Mk.II equipped.

By August 1941 the more familiar 3 Battery organisation was implemented, and remained in use for the duration of the war. In some Regiments some Batteries still used 25pdrs Mk.I, the last known ones in frontline service in North Africa being with the New Zealand Division in June-July 1942. Otherwise 25pdrs Mk.II were the standard equipment.

During the second half of 1942 a large number of Field Regiments in North Africa were reduced to 2 Batteries (each of 2 Spearhead 25pdrs) due to losses at Gazala and other reasons. These units were generally utilised as Corps Artillery at Alam Halfa and 2nd El Alamein, since half the 8th Army's Medium Artillery was lost in Tobruk in June 1942. At 2nd El Alamein there were 10 Field Artillery Regiments (out of a total of 39 Field/RHA Regiments) with only 2 Batteries (each of 2-25pdr Mk.II).
S.P.G. REGIMENT (Type I) 
  
REGIMENTAL HQ: 
1-HQ Platoon & Truck 
2 S.P.G BATTERIES, each:  
2-Bishop SPGs 
S.P.G. REGIMENT (Type II) 
  
REGIMENTAL HQ: 
1-HQ Platoon & Truck 
3 S.P.G. BATTERIES, each:  
2-M7 Priest or Sexton 
Notes :
The "Type I" Regiment is a reduced strength one that served at 2nd El Alamein (October 1942), the 121st Field Regiment, and which also saw some service in Tunisia, Sicily, and the first months of the Italian Campaign.

The "Type II" Regiment was the more common organisation, the first unit was the 11th Royal Horse Artillery Regiment which used Priests at 2nd El Alamein. This organisation saw service for the remainder of the war, principally with Priests, but also with Sextons which replaced the Priests (in NW Europe only) from August 1944.

Author: John Moher

 

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