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Royal Garrison Artillery - Siege Batteries



There are many requests on the GWF for information about Siege Batteries of the Royal Garrison Artillery.

By the end of WW1 there were at 401 Siege Batteries ranging from 60 pounder guns to 12 inch railway guns, yet in 1914 only 5 Siege Companies existed, of which 2 were in India.

In 1914 the RA doctrine was very much based on mobile warfare, recognition being there would be times when a town would be laid to siege. The Western Front changed that, it was not a single location that was going to be laid to siege, but a whole front of 50 or so miles. Hence the expansion in siege artillery.

And that expansion seems to be all with the New Army. By July 1916 the RGA consisted of 132 Siege Battteries. To meet the expansion intially experienced men from coastal artillery companies had been used to form the nucleus of new batteries, both Regular an Territorial Force. The coastal units would also pay a part in training new recruits, peparing them for units in operational theatres. It is interesting to look at Soldiers Who Died in the Great War (SDGW), and listed under RGA are sections for the losses for the different coastal units, the majority of losses being in France and Flanders.

The siege batteries were grouped together in Heavy Artillery Groups (HAG), and from 1917 Brigades. Individual batteries or HAG's would move for major offensives, 's or for different phases of battles to provide specific capabilities. It is often quite difficult to piece together events as information can be held not only in battery war diaries, but HAG diares as well.

The GWF has many posts on theses Batteries, when and where it was formed, type of gun / howitzer, deployment to theatre and movements around the various HAG's. Links to some of those posts can be found on the Siege Battery listing on the blog.

Long Long Trail

The Siege Batteries of the Royal Garrison Artillery


Strength of the RGA in 1918

Edited by ianjonesncl


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