Sunday 12 December 2010

Royal Artillery Deployment in UK, 1980

 The following information is the culmination of research into the deployment of the Royal Artillery in Britain in 1980, It's based largely on secondary and tertiary sources, so should be viewed as indicative only.


1 Field Regiment RHA: Topcliffe, Yorkshire: Equipped with BL 5.5" Guns in 1979, then FH70 in 1980
HQ Battery
A (The Chestnut Troop) Battery: 8x FH70
B Battery: 8x FH70
E Battery: 8x FH70

2 Field Regiment RHA: Larkhill, Wiltshire (Dortmund most of '79)
HQ Battery
L (Nery) Battery: 6x Abbot 105mm self propelled guns
O (The Rocket Troop) Battery: 6x 105mm Light Guns - AMF(L) Roled
N (The Eagle Troop): equipped by Royal School Artillery with a variety of artillery currently in use for training and familiarisation.

4 Light Air-Portable Regiment RA: 6th Field Force, Aldershot
HQ Battery
29 (Corunna) Battery: 6x 105mm Light Guns
88 (Arracan) Battery: 6x 105mm Light Guns
97 (Lawson's Company) Battery: 6x 105mm Light Guns

16 Air Defence Regiment RA: Kirton-in-Lindsey, moved to Armagh in late 79, back in UK again April 1980.
HQ Battery
14 (Cole's Kop) Battery: 12x Rapiers
30 (Roger's Company) Battery: 12x Rapiers
32 (Minden) Battery: 12x Rapiers

29 Commando Light Regiment RA
: Plymouth/Poole
HQ Battery
7 (Sphinx) Battery: 6x 105mm Light Gun (based at RM Condor, Arbroath, Scotland)
8 (Alma) : 6x 105mm Light Gun
79 (Kirkee) : 6x 105mm Light Gun
148 (Meiktila): Naval Gunfire Support (NGS) Target Acquisition battery for 3 Commando Brigade (regard as Special Forces)

32 Guided Weapons Regiment RA: Bulford, converted to Swingfire from 105mm L118 Light Guns in 1978.
HQ Battery
12 (Minden) Battery: 6x FV438 Swingfire (1980, but not 1979)
46 (Talavera) Battery: 12x Blowpipe (or Swingfire according to regt history)
74 (The Battle Axe Company) Battery: 6x FV438 Swingfire

47 Light Regiment RA: Colchester
HQ Battery
3 Battery: 6x 105mm Pack Howitzers
4 (Sphinx) Battery: 6x 105mm Pack Howitzers
31 Battery: 6x 105mm Pack Howitzers

22 (Gibraltar 1779-1783) Battery: 12x Blowpipe (Commando Air Defence)


Royal School of Artillery
1st Battery (The Blazers)  
Administrative Wing of the Support Regiment in Larkhill where it consisted of MT Troop, Range Detachment, Gunnery Trials Detachment, Guided Weapons Troop and the Royal Artillery Sales Team. 

17 Depot Regiment RA: Woolwich
24 (Irish) Battery
59 (Asten) Battery

Junior Leaders Regiment RA:
(105mm Pack Howitzers ?)
33 Battery
39 Battery
40 Battery
41 Battery

 If I've done my sums correctly, an approximate total of:

24x   FH70 155mm guns
6x     Fv433 Abbot 105mm self propelled guns
42x   L118 105mm Light Guns
6-18x   Swingfire Anti-tank Guided Missile vehicles (FV438s or FV102 Strikers)
36x   Rapier Surface to Air Missile Launchers
24x   Blowpipe man portable Surface to Air Missile Launchers
18+ 105mm Pack Howitzers (guesstimate)

Further artillery weapons, up to a battery of each type then in service, were held at Larkhill, currently 24 (Irish) battery, but believe could be 1st Battery (The Blazers) confusingly amalgamated with 24 battery  according to The Blazers battery history.

Updated 19 December 2010.


  1. Just a couple of minor corrections from someone who was there at time.
    1- junior leaders had 25 pounders in 1980.
    2- 74 battery, 32 Regt. had Swingfire mounted on FV102 Strikers.
    3- 46 Battery, 32 Regt. Were Blowpipe SAM.

  2. 22 (Gibraltar 1779-1783) Battery R.A were in 1980 a Locating battery (not a Cdo AD Bty)and equipped with the Canadair CL-89 "Midge" Drone.

    2 Field Regt were an RA Regt not an RHA regt.

    4 Regt RA's title was never "Light air Portable" (this was the role) but 4 Light Regt RA however on replacing 7 Para Regt RHA inn Aldershot in 1977 became 4 Field Regt RA.

  3. Training Establishments 1st Battery RA, MT troop in 1979 was a battery in it's own right (titled MT Battery RSA) and was not subsumed into 1st Bty as a troop until the creation of the Support Regt RSA (in about 1983,which then became 14 Regt RA). (I was posted from 4 Fd Regt RA to the MT Bty RSA in 1980)

  4. 32 Regt never had the L118 Lt Gun. It had the 105m Pack Howitzer.

    All Batteries of the Regiment had Swingfire and Blowpipe Troops. These were then reorganised and the Blowpipe Troops moved across to 46 Bty which then lost it's Swingfire Troops to the other Batteries.

    Correct title for 74 Bty is:

    74 Battery Royal Artillery (The Battleaxe Company).

    Hope this helps

    1. Yep I was there trained on the 105 basic and then advanced.

  5. 46 Bty had two troops of Swingfire and a troop of Blowpipe in the original GW configuration of the bty. The Swingfire Troops then moved to the other btys (12, 74 & 171) and their Blowpipe troops moved to 46 Bty to become 46 (Talavera) Air Defence Battery.

    The correct title for 74 Bty is: 74 Battery (The Battle Axe Company)RA.

  6. Just a late addition to the above 17 depot Regt was 17 Training Regt, and JLRRA had 2 Baker Battery in it (I was Dickson Troop 2 Bty), might have already been mentioned but thought I would stick my 2 penny's worth in.

  7. 47 was a field Regt all gun battery's had Light Guns