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The Commando Gunners

To become a Commando Gunner our soldiers must pass the arduous All Arms Commando Course held at Royal Marines Training Centre, Lympstone, which in turn earns them the right to proudly wear the coveted Green Beret.

The Commando Gunners - Green Beret

29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery are spearhead troops trained as amphibious, mountain and arctic warfare specialists, but also can equally operate at the other extreme in the desert or jungle.

The Commando Gunners are equipped with twelve 105mm Light Guns and also has Fire Support Teams (FSTs) trained to coordinate their firepower. The FST also coordinates other indirect fire support assets such as mortars, fast jets, attack helicopters and the guns from Royal Naval ships.
The batteries operate around the world on ship with the Royal Marines.

We have served in both Afghanistan and Iraq on recent operations and 29 Commando provide offensive fire support to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.

History

The first Army Commandos were raised by a Gunner, Lt Col John Durnford-Slater RA in June 1940, following the defeat ending with the evacuation at Dunkirk, The Commandos struck at the German forces at a time when Britain was otherwise powerless. Raids were made on the coasts of Norway, France and the Mediterranean. By the time of the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944, the Commando forces were of a considerable size and had played a vital part on operations in all theatres of war.

After the Second World War the Commando role passed entirely to the Royal Marines, the Royal Navy’s amphibious infantry. Army Commando units ceased to exist. In the late 1950s, Britain’s defence policy began to stress the importance of a worldwide maritime strategy. The Royal Navy commissioned Commando Carriers such as HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion. The Royal Marines, who no longer had their own artillery decide that they required support from an Army artillery Regiment.

During 1962, 29 Field Regiment RA were deployed with 25 Pounder guns in Aden and Kuwait, deterring Iraq from invading the oil fields. On the back of these deployments, the Regiment was chosen to re-role as Commando Artillery. The men of the newly formed 29 Commando Regiment RA trained for and passed the All Arms Commando Course at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines Lympstone. It was a proud and historic moment when the first Army Commandos since the end of the War received their Green Berets on 15 May 1962. The 25 Pounders in service with the Regiment at that time were then replaced by the 105mm Pack Howitzer.

Since this time, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery has deployed around the globe as part of 3 Commando Brigade. Over the last 43 years the Regiment has operated in every major conflict the Brigade has been involved in. This has included Brunei (1962), Borneo (1963-66), Aden (1966-67), Cyprus (1974), The Falklands (1982) and numerous tours of Northern Ireland. More recently the Regiment has deployed to Iraq (1991 and 2003), Kosovo (1994), Bosnia (1996), Sierra Leone (2000), and Afghanistan (2001, 2006, 2008 and 2011).

The composition of the Regiment since it’s formation in 1962 has changed constantly to accommodate the demands made on the UK Armed Forces.

Location

We are based across the length of the country; in Arbroath Scotland (7 Battery), Poole in Dorset (148 Battery) and Plymouth in Devon (8,79 and 23 Batteries). The Commando Gunners recruit from the South West of England but also attract Commando volunteers from all over the UK due to its dynamic split. Our address is The Royal Citadel, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2PD.

If you want to join the Commando Gunners call 01752 236152 to find out how.

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