6/36 (Arcot 1751) Battery RA
- 1 The early years
- 2 Those "Pesky" Scots!
- 3 Back to Flanders
- 4 The Forgotten Years
- 5 Meanwhile... Across the Pond
- 6 The Great War
- 7 The Germans are at it again!!!
- 8 Post War
- 9 The Glorious Years of Globe Trotting
- 10 To be Continued by somebody who knows what they're up to now!
- 11 Relevant/Interesting Links
The early years
Not quite in the beginning, God said "Let there be MORE Guns in Flanders!" and on the 18th of June 1742, a detachment of Artillery departed from Woolwich bound for Flanders and the War of the Austrian Succession. On June 30th, the detachment arrived in Ghent under the command of Colonel Thomas Pattison. The rest of 1742 passed without event "owing to the backwardness of the Dutch to fulfill their part of the contract" *1
February 10th 1743, the Artillery Train marched from Ghent to join the Allied Army. *2
June 27th 1743, the Battle of Dettingen commenced. Although the Allies were able to field 98 guns in total, the history books state that there was no major artillery action during the battle. The allies didn't lose a single Gunner, which is more than can be said for the French, they lost 33.
September 1743, marked the founding of Michelsons Company (This is the official founding of 6 Battery RA), commanded by Captain George Michelson. The Company was equipped with 4 x 3 Pounders and 2 x 6 Pounders. Throughout 1744 till May 1745 there were no actions in which the Company was involved, however, the French were not lazy during that time.
On May 11th 1745 the battle of Fontenoy started, and 50,000 English, Dutch and Austrians were caught with their pants down by 70,000 Frenchmen. Despite the French holding the high ground, His Royal Highness The Duke of Cumberland attacked and managed to take the objective but once again the dutch failed in their support and the French counter attack forced the allies back the way they came leaving 6,500 casualties behind them. The allies managed to retreat in good order and Charles James Hamilton said "Each Infantry Battalion had two Battalion guns (3 Pounders) manned by gunners, dragged by hand in the front line of the attack to within 30 yards of the enemy infantry and gallantly fought as long as our infantry required support: while our 6-Pounders engaged the French batteries, although heavily out-numbered by them. The fact that the civilian drivers disappeared with their horses early in the day limited the support these guns were able to give." At the end of the day, the French gained a decisive victory. 21 British and 19 Dutch guns were lost and over 10,000 allied soldiers killed, injured or captured. The French had 2,000 killed and over 5,000 wounded. *3
Those "Pesky" Scots!
In October 1745 The Company, along with the rest of the British Army were recalled to England to deal with the Jacobite Rising. *4
April 16th 1746 saw the Battle of Culloden. At this time, Colonel Belford was said to have been in command of the Artillery which consisted of 3 Pounders, 6 Pounders and Howitzers, it is not yet clear if Captain Michelson was present at the battle. It has been said, that the Artillery won the Battle of Culloden. Sir Edward Cust said "The Guns were so exceedingly well plied that they made dreadful lanes through some of the Clan Regiments. It was with extreme difficulty that the men could be kept in their places to stand this murderous fire." *5
Back to Flanders
In 1746, the Battery returned to Flanders and George Michelson now acting Major was once again in command of the Battery. 1746 was a quiet year but a few things should be mentioned... At about this time, 3 regiments of Cavalry were reduced to Dragoons. The troopers belonging to these Regiments were given the option to either remain as dragoons or be discharged. Of those that chose to be discharged, over 200 of them enlisted into the Artillery. Also at about this time, Colonel Belford introduced training exercises, where the gunners were trained in the use of small arms, infantry drill and tactics. Many people thought this a waste of time and basically said that gunners should stick to gunnery and leave infantry matters to the infantry. However, Colonel Belford's idea is still in use today.
July 2nd 1747, the Battle of Lauffeld (also known as the Battle of Val). Once again, Cumberland's Army is hard pressed by the French and once again the French gain a decisive victory. The British army was saved from destruction by General Ligonier *6 who led several cavalry charges in what was to become the largest cavalry engagement of the whole war. 15,000 British and French cavalry were involved. 30 gunners were killed on that day, including Major Michelson and five Lieutenants. 19 gunners were wounded and another 25 taken prisoner. Unfortunately there is no record to be found concerning the events surrounding the death of George Michelson. After Lauffeld, the Artillery took part in two sieges. The first was at Bergen-Op-Zoom and the second at Maestricht. Whether or not Michelsons Company was involved is not clear but it is very likely considering that sieges were a Gunners trade.
The war ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 and the Battery returned to England.
The Forgotten Years
For the next 23 years, there is nothing to be found regarding Michelson's Company. This could be due to any number of reasons. One of those reasons could have been the long period of peace between the otherwise traditional enemies of England and France until the Seven Years' War broke out between 1756 and 1763 or maybe the Company was simply in suspended animation due to the shake-ups in the Artillery Branch that were going on during that period. Also, due to the untimely death of George Michelson, the Company may have been renamed. The Company was probably involved in the Seven Years' War in some way or other, seeing as this particular war involved just about everybody on the planet. It could be said that The Seven Years' War was the first true World War that stretched all over the globe. Saying that, the Company probably spent most of those years in Woolwich polishing things, drilling, drinking and chasing women. It is also possible that the company was rotated between Woolwich, Gibralter and Minorca as part of a new system that was devised in 1746 in order to relieve Companies serving abroad.
In 1757, while the French were causing trouble in Europe again, the Artillery went through a series of changes. Originally the Artillery was a single formation consisting of 19 Companies. April 2nd saw the introduction of a further 5 Companies, bringing the total to 24. A few months later on August 1st, the Artillery was divided to create two equally sized Battalions consisting of 12 Companies each. The Company was to join the 1st Battalion. *7 In 1758, a further Company was augmented to each Battalion.
Meanwhile... Across the Pond
In 1771 Captain David Standish took over the Command of the Company, and thus the Company became known as Standish' Company
From 1775 till 1783, the Company was involved in the American Revolutionary War. Details of actions carried out are once again missing from history. As they say "History is recorded by the Victor" The only notable event during this time, was the change of command. Captain Thomas Brady took over from Captain Standish and the Company became known as Brady's Company (Today they would be known as the "Brady Bunch"). What happened to Standish is not known.
In 1782 the Company became Dowmans Company under Captain Francis Dowman. Captain Brady was transferred to take over command of Wrights Company.
1783 saw the end of the American Revolution and the beginning of several peaceful years in Woolwich for Dowmans Company.
Captain John Smith took over command of the Company in 1790 and were still stationed in Woolwich until July of 1794 when they moved to Warley and then in December that same year moved again to Yarmouth.
In 1795, command of the Company was passed on to Captain George Scott. Scott marched the Company back to Woolwich in May 1796 and then handed the Company over once again to Captain Richard King, who along with the rest of his Company then sailed for Gibralter in September 1796.
The Company had been stationed in Gibralter for 6 years without incident, when on the 8th February 1802, Captain King died. The reason for this is not known. He was replaced by Captain Francis Rey.
1803 - Gibraltar
1804 - Gibraltar
1805 - Gibraltar
1806 - Gibraltar
1807 - Gibraltar
1808 - Gibraltar (Capt. Charles H. Godby) Deployed to Spain for the Peninsular Campain, December 25th, Retreat to Corunna started.
1809 - Gibraltar / Peninsular, 11th - 18th January, British Peninsular Army embarked whilst under fire from French guns.
1810 - Gibraltar / Redeployed to the Peninsular, Cadiz
1811 - Gibraltar / Peninsular, March 5th Detachment fought at Barossa
1812 - Gibraltar / Cadiz
1813 - Gibraltar / Cadiz
1814 - Gibraltar / Cadiz (First Abdication of Napoleon)
1815 - Gibraltar (Capt. Stephen Kirby).
- 9 Years missing West Indies and Canada
1825 - The Company was retitled, the 6th Company, 1st Battalion RA (Companies allocated numbers for the first time)
- 29 Years missing West Indies and Canada
1855, Sept - The Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean War
- 3 Years missing Ceylon and Canada
1859 - Companies are now designated as Batteries and Battalions as Brigades and the Company is retitled the 6th Battery of the 2nd Brigade RA
- 55 Years missing Ceylon and Canada
The Great War
1914 - 1918 - Not much is known about the role of the Battery during the Great War. One entry that I read somewhere, stated that the Battery had a quiet time somewhere in England, and were given the task of guarding the local pubs just in case the Germans arrived and stole all the beer and pies.
1927 - Battery became part of 1st Heavy Brigade (Later to become 27th Heavy Regiment RA)
The Germans are at it again!!!
1936 - Battalions re-designated as Regiments
1938 - 1939 - Preparations were made to deploy as part of the British Expeditionary Force to France
1939 - Battery was retitled 3rd Heavy Battery RA
1940 Sept 9th - The Battery along with the rest of the Regiment deployed with the British Expeditionary Force to France, landing at St Nazaire on the Atlantic coast. The Battery marched through France to Brussels and were ordered to prepare for action at Autenberg. After being shelled for some time by the Germans, the Regiment was ordered to retire. unfortunately, the Gun tractors and limbers were sitting in Brussels and it took some time for them to get to the Guns. By they arrived British Infantry units were already falling back behind the Gun lines. Luckily for the Gunners, a Machine Gun Regiment belonging to the Durham Light Infantry was deployed to cover their retirement. According to an eyewitness, the Machine Gunners were not seen again. Travelling at about 25 miles a day, the Regiment fired off all of their ammunition and were ordered to destroy anything that might be of use to the enemy. Vehicles were left running with empty radiators, radios destroyed, and Guns made in-operational. By the time the Regiment reached Dunkirk, it was pretty much spread out all over the place and it was every man for himself. Despite casualties, the Battery and indeed the whole Regiment had a very lucky escape.
1941 Dec - 1943 May - The Battery saw action in the Middle East as a Light Anti Aircraft Battery, as part of the 8th Army
1944 May - 1945 May - The Battery moves back to Europe to have another crack at kicking the Germans back to Berlin, Battery takes heavy casualties at The Falaise Pocket (or Gap) during the Battle of Normandy 12th - 21st August. Later then moved to Godshall Park Camp, Twycross.
1947 Apr - As part of another shake-up, The Battery is retitled 6th Heavy Battery RA (Allocated Battery numbers became Permanent). 1st Heavy Regiment is also retitled 27th Heavy Regiment RA.
1948 Sept 5th - The Battery moves with the rest of the Regiment to Winthorp Camp Newark. 27 Regiment is amalgamated with 109 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regt RA and is Converted to 27th HAA RA. The Battery is also Retitled and converts to the 3.7" Anti Aircraft Gun. Later in September of that same year, the Battery was relocated to York's & Lanc's Barracks, Pontefract.
1949 May 11th - The Battery is amalgamated with 23 Bty to become 6/23 HAA Bty RA, the Regiment is retitled 27th AA Regt. Just to mess everybody around a bit, 6/23 Bty delinked just over a month later on 17th June 1949. 23 Bty remained with 27 Regt and 6 Bty moved to join 34th AA Regt RA. On joining 34 LAA Regiment, the Battery converted to the 40mm Bofors Gun.
1949 Aug - The Battery moves with 34 Regt to Honk Kong
1952 Aug 29th - The Battery remains in Hong Kong and rejoins 27 Regiment, which is now 27th Heavy AA Regiment again. The Battery reconverts to the 3.7" Gun and everybody is happy again. During this time the Battery was stationed in Clear water Bay, Kowloon.
1957 Aug - 27 Regiment returns to England, Birch Lines, Park Hall Camp, Oswestry and is retitled 27th Guided Weapons Regiment RA. 6 Bty becomes 6 GW Bty RA and is equipped with the Corporal Missile. (Only 2 Batteries remain in the Regiment at the time, 6 and 23 btys)
1959 March - The Battery accompanies the Regiment to Haig Lines, Crookham
1961 March - The Regiment, still only consisting of 6 and 23 Batteries, moves to Napier Barracks in Dortmund, Germany, and because the Regiment hasn't changed it's name in a while, decide to change it to 27th Army Missile Regiment RA on 18th March 1964. The Batteries, however remained GW Btys.
1967 Jan - On January 1st 1967, having moved back to England, Hopton Bks, Devizes, the Regiment was retitled as 27th Medium Regiment RA and was equipped with the 5.5" Gun 6 and 23 Med Btys were also joined by 132 Med Bty RA in Feb 1968
The Glorious Years of Globe Trotting
1969 Feb - The Battery is posted to Germany, Churchill Barracks, Lippstadt and converts to the M109 155mm Self Propelled Gun. Between Sept 7th 1971 and 13th Jan 1972, the Battery completed a tour of Northern Ireland in Enniskillen (Op Banner). On October 31st 1972 132 Bty left the Regiment to join 39 Missile Regiment and was replaced by 56 Heavy Battery RA, equipped with the M110 203mm Self Propelled Gun. From April 9th till August 7th 1975, the Battery deployed again the Northern Ireland, this time to Long Kesh.
1977 Jan - The Regiment was retitled 27 Field Regiment RA and later that year was joined by 21 Battery equipped with Blowpipe Missile. From August to November of that same year, the Battery deployed to Ireland again and took up residence in Lurgan and HMP Maze. (Op Banner)
1980 Jan 14th-May 16th - The Battery deployed to Belfast, operating in the Ardoyne City Center areas (Op Banner)
1982 Apr - 21 and 56 Btys are replaced by 49 (Inkerman) Bty
1986 May - The Regiment moved to Topcliffe, Alanbrooke Barracks, consisting of 6, 23 and 49 Btys, each equipped with the FH70 155mm Howitzer
1988, Oct - Apr - In October of 1988, the Battery deployed to Belize, Central America in support of the Irish Guards (The Micks). Divided into three units, Battery HQ was stationed in Airport Camp Belize City, A Troop was stationed in Holdfast Camp on the outskirts of the town of San Ignacio (Battlegroup North) and B Troop in Ridau Camp Punta Gorda (Battlegroup South). Each of the Gun Troops were equipped with 3 x 105mm Light Guns and each Troop had 2 OP Crews (A Troop formed a BK's Crew to make up the fourth OP Crew). Each member of the Battery was required to attend a Jungle Survival Course at the beginning of the tour. Once settled in, the Battery was tasked to carry out routine patrols and setting up of OP's, often working in very remote areas for many days. Several exercises were also conducted during the Tour, in which the Battery played some very prominent roles in the planning and amendment of the plan of battle if Belize were to be invaded. I should mention at this point, that the new plan for the Artillery was devised not by a General or a Brigadier or any other commissioned officer for that matter, it came from a Bombardier (Bdr R. Walker) who was the Battery Commanders Assistant at the time.*8 The Battery returned to Topcliffe in April 1989 after completeing a very successful tour of duty.
1989 - The Battery deployed to Kenya for another sunshine holiday
1990 - Arms Plot from Topcliffe, UK to Dortmund, Germany, equipped with the Abbot 105mm SPG
1991 - Gulf War 1. Although the Battery did not deploy as a Battery, almost all members of the Battery deployed on Operation Granby. Many were attached to 23 (Gibralter) Bty, who joined 40 Regiment RA of 7th Armoured Brigade. A good portion were shared out to other Artillery Regiments to bring them up to full Battle strength and the rest either deployed to Saudi Arabia as Battle Casualty Replacements or were tasked with the security of the Joint Service HQ in Riyadh
1992 - Battery deployed to Northern Ireland (Co. Fermanagh and Strabane PVCP, Co. Tyrone)
1993 - 27 Regiment is put into suspended animation and 6 Battery amalgamated with 36 (Arcot) Bty (50 Missile Regiment) to become 6/36 (Arcot) 1751 Battery RA. The Battery joins 40 Field Regiment RA and moved to Caen Barracks Bergen Hohne, Germany and soon after deployed to BATUS, Canada... Hooters made a large profit during that year.
1994 Oct - Bergen-Hohne, Germany. M109s handed over to the Austrian Army, Regiment converts to AS90 SPG
1995 - The Battery is split up to support 38, 129 and 137 Batteries in Northern Ireland
1996 - Battery deploys to BATUS, Canada... Hooters are happy again!
1997 - Battery deploys to Bosnia as SFOR. The Gun Group deployed Sanski Most, BC's Crew Ljubija, FOO 1 Blagaj Japra, FOO 2 Donji Kamengrad, FOO3 Bos Krupa. The TAC Group were attached to 6 Czech Rep Motorized Infantry Battalion (BMP 2s). This was very challenging at times due to the language barrier, but it worked out well enough and was a very interesting experience to say the least.
1998 - Arms Plot to Topcliffe, UK
1999 - Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo (OP Agricola)
2003 Jul - The Battery deployed to Iraq on OP Telic 1 & 2
2006 - 2007 - The Battery deployed to Iraq on OP Telic 9
2008 Sept - 40 Regiment moved to Northern Ireland, Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn and from there deployed on OP Herrick 10 in Afganistan. The Battery was equipped with the 105 mm Light Gun during this time
2011 - It was announced that 40 Regiment was to be disbanded and removed from the ORBAT by October 2015. 6/36 (Arcot) Battery then joined 4th Regiment as an OP Battery (TAC Group) Topcliffe in December of 2011.
To be Continued by somebody who knows what they're up to now!
1. Quote from History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery Vol I (1716-1783) by Captain Francis Duncan
2. The Allied Army consisted of about 37,000 British, Austrian and Hanoverian troops facing around 45,000 Frenchmen
3. A few interesting notes on this battle that haven't got anything to do with the Battery, but should also be said and never forgotten... King George II was the last English monarch to personally lead his army at this battle... Also, remember that good old saying "Don't shoot 'till you see the whites of their eyes!"? It was Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw who told his regiment The Royal Scots Fusiliers not to fire until they could "see the whites of their e'en." His other great words were "Lads, you see they loons on yon' hill. Better kill them afore they kill you." And after receiving a small bollocking from the King because a French cavalry charge managed to break through his Regiment's position he said to the King "Ay, please Your Majesty, but they didna' gang back agin."
4. At this time there were only four Companies of Artillery, all of which were in Flanders.
5. If the Scots would stop lifting up their Kilts and flashing their bits and bobs before a battle, maybe the outcome would be different... Just my personal opinion.
6. General Ligonier was taken prisoner whilst saving the Duke of Cumberland from capture. The Duke had mistaken the Irish Brigade (fighting for the French) for friendly troops.
7. Interesting point to note... Of the 13 Companies that made up the 1st Battalion, five are still active today. They are...
4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery of 5th Regiment RA. Formed in 1742 6/36 (Arcot 1751) TAC Battery of 4th Regiment RA. Formed in 1743 3/29 (Corunna) Battery of 4th Regiment RA. Formed in 1745 12 (Minden) battery of 14th Regiment RA. Formed in 1747 1st Battery (The Blazers) of 14th Regiment RA. Formed in 1779#
8. Bdr Walker delivered the briefing to officers of all ranks ranging from 2lt all the way up to Major General.
www.facebook.com/groups/56864784860/ Shiny Six
www.facebook.com/groups/10676416761/ 6/36 (Arcot) 1751 Bty RA
www.facebook.com/groups/13487342579/ 27 Regt RA
www.facebook.com/groups/82410312327/ 27 Regt RA Old Comerades