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Artillery Units - Brigade and Divisional Info ?


Stuggs
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I am trying to find out the Brigade and Divisional attachments of a number of artillery units in the RHA, RFA and RGA, but have drawn a blank finding out any information. Is there a site where I can find this info out please ?

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Hi Stuggs

The Long Long Trail website provides an overview. For the Western Front from Dec 1916 to Dec 1917, you can download a full Order of Battle from TNA for £3.36.

If you provide details of hte units you are after then hoopefully the RA experts here can help.

Glen

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Glen

Thanks for the speedy reply. My problem seems to be that I don't understand the artillery formations or assignments in the same way I do the infantry and I think I may be confusing myself.

I have the following units I am looking for the Brigade and Divisional info on if anyone can help.

7th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

14th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

17th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

17th (Reserve) Bty., Royal Field Artillery

29th (Reserve) Bty, Royal Field Artillery

30th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

33rd Bde., Royal Field Artillery

37th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

38th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

48th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

88th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

72nd Bde.,Royal Field Artillery

86th Bgde,Royal Field Artillery

113th. Battery, Royal Field Artillery
114th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

119th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

121st Bde., Royal Field Artillery

147th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

162nd Bde., Royal Field Artillery

169th Bde. Royal Field Artillery

180th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

186 Bde., Royal Field Artillery

210th Bde, Royal Field Artillery

242nd (South Midland) Bde., Royal Field Artillery

245th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

265th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

275th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

282nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

307th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

330 Bde., Royal Field Artillery

3rd Div. Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery

8th Div. Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery

20th Div. Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery

29th Div. Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery

3rd Base Remount Depot, Royal Field Artillery

2nd Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

9th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery

14th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

29th Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery

32nd Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

38th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

119th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

143rd Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

190th Seige Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

200th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

218th Siege Bty, Royal Garrison Artillery

230th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

259th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

261st Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

265th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

281st Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

303rd Siege Bty, Royal Garrison Artillery

354th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

18th Heavy Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

38th Heavy Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

152nd Heavy Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

154th Heavy Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

1st Trench Mortar Battery, Royal Field Artillery

3rd Trench Mortar Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

12th Trench Mortar, Royal Garrison Artillery
33rd Trench Mortar Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery

Royal Garrison Artillery (2nd Reserve Bde)

47th Coy., Royal Garrison Artillery

Royal Garrison Artillery (Provisional Battery)

I am assuming that where it says (XX)Bde., that unit served with that particular Army Brigade, but I would like to clarify this before continuing any further.

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I'm no expert but basically the RA was structured along the lines of several individual guns made up a Battery and several Batteries made a Brigade. Some Brigades were under hte command of divisions while others were managed at Army level. Trencn mortar batteries and Divisional Ammuniction Columns (DAC) were under the control of divisions with the number of a TMB being the Infantry Brigade they were attached to and the DAC number matching the division.

 

Finally, I have re-arranged your list to make it easier to read

'A' Bty., 114th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
307th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
29th Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
9th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
(2nd Reserve Bde) 119th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
8th Division Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery
265th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
14th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
379th Bty., 169th Army Bde. Royal Field Artillery
282nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
'Y' Bty., 12th Trench Mortar, Royal Garrison Artillery
143rd Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
'A' Bty., 180th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
38th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
242nd (South Midland) Bde., Royal Field Artillery
32nd Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
'C' Bty., 162nd Bde., Royal Field Artillery
36th Bty., 33rd Bde., Royal Field Artillery
'A' Bty., 242nd Bde., Royal Field Artillery
218th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
303rd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
33rd Trench Mortar Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
'A' Bty., 186 Bde., Royal Field Artillery
354th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
3rd Div. Ammuntion Column, Royal Field Artillery
'A' Bty., 119th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
2nd Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
152nd Heavy Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
10th Bty., 147th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
113th. Battery, Royal Field Artillery
29th Division Ammunition Col., Royal Field Artillery
'B' Bty., 265th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
200th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
38th Heavy Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
17th Reserve Bty., Royal Field Artillery
'B' Bty., 48th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
72nd Bty., 38th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
'X' 3rd Trench Mortar Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
'D' Bty., 275th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
18th Heavy Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
'D' Bty., 48th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
3rd Base Remount Depot, Royal Field Artillery
154th Heavy Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery 26th Bty.,
17th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
259th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
47th Coy., Royal Garrison Artillery
'B' Bty., 121st Bde., Royal Field Artillery
20th Div. Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery
'Y' Bty., 7th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
190th Seige Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
281st Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
261st Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
230th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
'B' Bty., 245th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
154th Heavy Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
'D' Bty., 72nd Bde., Royal Field Artillery
88th Bty., 14th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
389th Bty., 37th Bde., Royal Field Artillery
'A' Bty., 210th Bde, Royal Field Artillery
'A' Bty., 86th Bgde, Royal Field Artillery
'D' Bty., 282nd Bde., Royal Field Artillery
36 Bty., 33rd Bde., Royal Field Artillery
Royal Garrison Artillery (Provisional Battery)

'A' Bty., 330 Bde., Royal Field Artillery
29th (Reserve) Battery, Royal Field Artillery

129th Bty., 30 Bde., Royal Field Artillery

88th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

'E' Bty., 1st Trench Mortar Battery, Royal Field Artillery

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Stuggs,

I see the list has been sorted now, which you will find a lot easier to untangle.

XX Brigade will be the same as 20th Brigade if you are looking at the listings in LLT.

3rd Base Remount Depot is not Artillery, but under the Remount section of the Army Service Corps.

Phil

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In Aug 1914 all artillery in the BEF was under command of a division, RHA to the Cav division, RFA and RGA heavy batteries to infantry divisions. However, in WW1 C&C arrangements were fairly simple so notions of 'in support' and 'in direct support' did not emerge (I'd be happy to be corrected on that point). Basically the artillery of a division was under command or the Commander RA on behalf of the divisional commander, there does nort seem to have been any formal C&C relationship between RFA & RFA bdes with cav & inf bdes or batteries with infantry battalions as there was in WW2 and later.

However, after 1914 it started to get a bit more complicated, particularly with the expansion of the RGA. In 1916 RFA underwent a major reorg with div artys being reduced to two RFA bdes, with other RFA bdes under Army command and assigned to divisions as necesaary. Of course even before this the RFA of divisions in reserve were assigned to support divisions in the front. Mid-war Corps Commander RA were introduced to command artillery at the corps level. Generally as the RGA expanded most batteries (and later Groups & Bdes) were under Army command and assigned to corps as necessary. This changed somewhat when the Corps Commander RA were introduced and when Corps Heavy Artillery Comds appeared. Of course in battles such as Messines in 1917 entire divisional artilleries were placed under temporary command of another corps. In 1918 there was a real revolution in miltary affairs when 'control' was recognised as being different to 'command' - the Corps CBO, a mere Lt Col, was given excutive control of batteries and brigades for CB purposes. This was a seminal event in 20th Century military thinking, although some armies still haven't got there! Of course just to add to the confusion Army HQs did not have an artillery commander, the MGRA being a staff officer.

Arty C&C is far too complicated for ordinary mortals, infantryment, etc to understand. In WW2 it got even more complicated. However the key insight was that firepower was not the same as fire units because of firepower mobility, although this was still somewhat limited in WW1.

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Hello Stuggs

For Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery your best source is probably Order of Battle of Divisions by Major A F Becke, a series of five volumes (Parts 1, 2A, 2B, 3a&3B, and 4) produced as an addition to the Official History series. They are not available online as far as I know but you may be able to find a set in Birmingham City Library, or they could get copies foryou via the inter-library loan service.

Also for these, and for the Royal Garrison Artillery, there are files at the National Archives at Kew in filews WO95/5467, 5468, 5469 and 5494 at the end of the War Diaries class. The first three of these deal with France and Belgium, the last with artillery units outside the divisional structure. Files WO95/5470 onwards deal with other theatres of the war.

I don't think these are available online yet although WO95/5468 is probably the one mentioned by Glen in post #2, so a visit to London may be necessary. It is possible, however, that at least some of them may be available online over the next five years as the centenaries roll along.

Good hunting!

Ron

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If it helps 72nd Bde RFA was with 15th Scottish Division up till 1/12/17 when it became "Army Brigade" and left the division.

From the div history:

D /73 joined and became D/72 (How)

D/73 to 73rd and became D73 (22/5/16)

RA reorganised 22/5/16 and completed June 7-8 to 3 4-gun 18pdrs and one 4-gun 4.5 Howitzer battery per brigade. Again reorganised on 1/12/16 yo 3 6-gun 18pdr and one 4.5 howitzer bty per brigade.

Hope this is of use

James

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"reorganised 22/5/16 and completed June 7-8 to 3 4-gun 18pdrs and one 4-gun 4.5 Howitzer battery per brigade

Again reorganised on 1/12/16 yo 3 6-gun 18pdr and one 4.5 howitzer bty per brigade."

Not forgetting that even on the W Front this reorganisation was never completed. On 11/1118 there were still RFA bdes with 100% 18-pr, eg 179, 158, 14, 158, 169, 96 Bde with 4x6 18pr, and 93, 26 with 3x6 18pr.

Also 16 RHA had 3x6 18pr, but 14 & 15 RHA was on the normal RFA org and 5 RHA had 4x6 18pr, and of course 3, 4 & 7 RHA had 13pr.

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Sir Martin Farndale's History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: Western Front 1914-18 and The Forgotten Fronts and the Home Base both have Annexes giving the order of battle at the end of the war, and the main text has extracts at other periods. There are some errors in the Annexes (e.g. 126 Bde RFA is shown in two places with different compositions) and the indexes of RA units are frankly appalling to read, but the books themselves may be easier to find in larger libraries.

Ron

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A few leads for you based on Becke, Order of Battles (I), Regular Divisions :

113th Battery RFA served with 1st Guards brigade ( 1st Coldstream Guards, 1st Black Watch, 1st Scots Guards) in the 1st Infantry Division until the Guards Brigade transferred to the newly formed Guards Division in August 1915

XXX (Heavy) Brigade RFA served with 9th Brigade of the 3rd Division until 14/5/16 when it was broken up.

VII Brigade RHA served 1st Cavalry Division throughout the war.

XXXVII Brigade RFA served with 4th division from start of war until transferred to 7th Division in Nov 1914, then to 8th Division May 1915

XXXVIII Brigade RFA served with 6th Division until it became an Army Field Artillery Brigade 14/1/17

Andrew

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113th Battery RFA served with 1st Guards brigade ( 1st Coldstream Guards, 1st Black Watch, 1st Scots Guards) in the 1st Infantry Division until the Guards Brigade transferred to the newly formed Guards Division in August 1915

XXX (Heavy) Brigade RFA served with 9th Brigade of the 3rd Division until 14/5/16 when it was broken up.

113 Battery was part of XXV Brigade RFA, 1st Division Artillery, throughout the war. Individual RFA batteries never formed part of any infantry brigade.

XXX Brigade RFA was (originally) a howitzer brigade, not a heavy brigade. The latter designation only applied to RGA which after Feb 1915 did not form part of divisions, except occasionally as temporary attachments. Likewise, it never formed part of 9th Infanry Brigade.

Ron

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The information you are after and the degree of detail will depend why you are looking? What are you going to use the info for?

Being completely tangled up in RFA history just of one Brigade, we have found that the Unit War Diary is needed to find out who was where - and when one Brigade is split with one Battery in one place and another elsewhere - this required a supplement to the war diary.

What I would like is to know where the guns were positioned. Then when one visited or is reading diaries one could picture exactly where the guns were.

No map reference! As far as I can see the War Diary reports the digging of a new gun position but doesnt say where it is. Was there any record of the gun positions?

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The info is for the database of Smethwick Great War casualties I have been compiling. I have nearly all of the infantry casualties recorded with Brigade and Divisional information and the artillery casualties were next on the list. The units I have posted have one or more man from Smethwick who served and fell.

Thank you all for your help though. It is still no clearer to me but I will follow the advice and hope I can work it out.

Stu

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113 Battery was part of XXV Brigade RFA, 1st Division Artillery, throughout the war. Individual RFA batteries never formed part of any infantry brigade.

XXX Brigade RFA was (originally) a howitzer brigade, not a heavy brigade. The latter designation only applied to RGA which after Feb 1915 did not form part of divisions, except occasionally as temporary attachments. Likewise, it never formed part of 9th Infanry Brigade.

Ron

Thanks Ron

Apologies for the errors - trying to understand Becke is not that easy I have discovered!

Andrew

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