103 FIELD BATTERY HISTORY








8th/12th MEDIUM REGIMENT



8th/12th Medium Regiment was founded at Holsworthy on the

16th of November 1973 when 8th Medium Regiment and 12th

Field Regiment amalgamated.

8th Medium Regiment, originally known as 19th Composite

Regiment, was raised in February 1968 to command a number

of independent artillery units in the Holsworthy area. Its primary role was to provide support to the School of Artillery. 12th Field Regiment was raised in April 1966 at Holsworthy. The Regiment served twice in South Vietnam and has been located in Townsville (Queensland ) and Ingleburn (New South Wales) .

In 1973, 8th/12th Medium Regiment consisted of Headquarter

Battery, 'A' Field Battery, 102nd Field Battery and 103rd Medium Battery.

In 1983, the Regiment was equipped with the US made

M198 155mm Howitzer and 102nd Field Battery was

redesignated 102nd Medium Battery. 102nd Medium Battery

was subsequently disbanded in 1987 and Headquarters Battery proper was reduced in size in 1994.

In late 1999, 8th/12th Medium Regiment relocated to Robertson Barracks in Darwin. The Regiment now consists of a Regimental Headquarters, Headquarter Battery, 101st Medium Battery and 103rd Medium Battery.

The unit enjoys a strong relationship with the 2/1 Artillery

Association




101 MEDIUM BATTERY



The Battery was originally raised at Tel-el-Kebir on 8th March 1916, from the members of the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, which served at Gallipoli.

The 101st Howitzer Battery saw continuous action from May 1916 until October 1918 at Poziers, Ypres, Flers, Lagincourt, Velu Wood, Passchendale, Messines, Villers-Bretteneoux and Velleret.

The Battery was disbanded in 1919, but raised again in early

1920's as a militia unit in the Newcastle area , however the

Battery was again disbanded in 1946.

101st Field Battery was re-raised in Holsworthy in 1957 as part

of 1st Field Regiment and subsequently served in Malaya (1959/61) and twice in South Vietnam, in 1966-67 and 1969-70.

During these tours the Battery primarily operated in support of 6 RAR.

Following its return from the second tour of Vietnam, the

Battery was relocated to Wacol in 1970 and then Enoggera in

1982 as part of 1st Field Regiment.

In 1996 101st Field Battery was removed from the 1st Field

Regiment and embedded into 6 RAR as Fire Support Company

under the RTA trial. In 1999, Fire Support Company was rerolled and moved to Darwin, as part of 8th/12th Medium

Regiment.

101st Medium Battery is to be equipped with the 155mm M198 howitzer and will be affiliated with the 1st Armoured Regiment, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Royal Australian Armoured Corps.




103 MEDIUM BATTERY



HISTORY OF 103 MEDIUM BATTERY,

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARTILLERY

Introduction

The parent unit of the 103rd Battery was the 3rd (Army) field Brigade of the Australian Imperial Forces in World War 1. Historically, the immediate predecessor of the first Australian Battery to be numbered "103" - the 103rd (Howitzer) Battery AIF - was the 26th Mountain Battery (Jacobs) of the Indian Mountain Artillery.

It was this unit that performed the tasks at ANZAC, which would have been those of the 103rd Battery if Australian Artillery Brigades had then included Batteries.


The successors to the 103rd (Howitzer) Battery were, in

sequence, the 103rd Field Battery (Howitzer) of the Citizen

Military Forces from 1920 to 1941, 103rd Anti-Aircraft Battery

from 1954 to 1957, 103rd Field Battery from 1960 to 1967,

103rd Medium Battery of the Australian Regular Army from 1967 to today.


Egypt 1916

In December 1915 the Anzac troops were successfully

evacuated from the Gallipoli peninsula, and returned to Egypt

for re-grouping and training in preparation for movement to the Western Front in France. The AIF was reorganised to conform to the revised British order of battle. For the Australian Artillery, this meant that in addition to the three 18 pounder Field Brigades there was a requirement to raise in each division a Howitzer Brigade comprising three 4.5 inch Howitzer Batteries each of four guns.

Batteries in these Howitzer brigades were to be numbered consecutively commencing at 101.

Accordingly, at Tel-el-Kebir, on March 6 1916, 103 Howitzer

Battery was raised as part of 12 Howitzer Brigade AIF. The first

commander of the "Sphinx" Battery was Major A.H.K. Jopp DSO.


France 1916 - 1919

The new Howitzer Brigades were short lived, for when the AIF

arrived in France, they were disbanded and the batteries were

amalgamated with the Field Brigades. 103 Battery on 29 April

1916 joined 3 Field Brigade in the line at Fleurbaix, a small

Village four miles southwest of Armentieres on the Belgian

border.

The Battery became an integral part, and remained with

3 Field Brigade until the end of the war. The 7th and 8th Field

Batteries were the other sub-units of the Brigade.

In the space available it is impossible to detail each move the

Battery made into and out of the line.

The very regularity of the pattern did nothing to make each tour less of a trial of endurance and courage than the preceding one. Each time the Battery came out of action, it left a little of itself behind - some beloved horses, some damaged equipment, but the war diary shows the one thing it always maintained, its spirit.

After the Armistice, the Battery moved to Dinant in Belgium,

from where all the guns and equipment were dispatched to

Australia. On 24 February 1919, the Battery by now only a

handful of men because of the constant repatriation to Australia was absorbed into 101 Howitzer Battery for the voyage home.


Western Australia 1920 - 1941

The Battery was raised again in 1920 as 103 Field Battery

(Howitzer) to form part of the CMF and was stationed at Victoria Barracks, Sydney.

With the reorganisation of the Army into a divisional structure,

units were redesignated and allotted to areas in 1921. Military

Order 95 of 1921 gave instructions that the Battery was to be

transferred to its former parent unit, 3 Field Brigade at Guilford, Western Australia.

The Battery was formed by troops from the 38th and 39th Field Batteries in 1922. As part of 3 Field Brigade the Battery developed strong local ties and support, and was raised to war establishment on October 1939.

The Battery was disbanded on the reorganisation of 3 Field

Brigade into a regimental establishment in 1941. All Brigades

had received orders to reorganise into a Regiment of two

Batteries, with the Howitzer Batteries to be absorbed as the

third troop in each of the 18 Pounder Field Batteries. The 3rd

Field Regiment therefore consisted of the 7th and 8th Field

Batteries, each having a troop of 4.5inch Howitzers from the

103rd Field Battery (Howitzer).

The Battery consequently faded out of existence in 1941 and did not by title participate any further in the Second World War, although a majority of its members would have seen service with the 3rd Field Regiment.


Reorganisation of the RAA 1954 - 1957

In 1954 it was decided that Regular Batteries of the RAA would be numbered according to a standard system. DRA Minute of August 1954 directed that Batteries would bear their number irrespective of the role they might fulfil from time to time.

Consequently in 1954, 103 Anti-Aircraft Battery was raised by

transferring the officers, soldiers and guns of 3 Anti-Aircraft

Battery, and was stationed at Middle Head Barracks, Sydney, as part of 1 Field Regiment, RAA.

The Battery was disbanded on 3 May 1957 as part of the

regrouping of the RAA to meet the contingency plans for the 1st Infantry Brigade Group. The Battery personnel were transferred largely to 111 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery RAA.


4 Field Regiment RAA 1960 - 1961

The Australian Army reorganised to a pentropic division

organisation in 1960, which necessitated a second Regular Field Regiment to be raised.

In June 1960, 103 Field Battery was reborn to form part of the new 4 Field Regiment RAA stationed at Wacol, Brisbane. Major J.A. Loveday was the Battery Commander, however little is recorded in the Battery history of the activities on the rebirth of the battery.


Malaya 1961 - 1963

Major J.R. Salmon became Battery Commander in February

1961 and shortly afterwards the Battery prepared to relieve 101 Field Battery in Malaysia with the 105mm L5. In October 1961 the Battery j oined 26th Field Regiment RA as part of the Far Eastern Strategic Reserve stationed at Camp Terendak, Malacca.

The tour is well documented in Battery records, indicating a full programme of exercise, sporting and social activities . In addition Battery Officers obtained brief visits to South Vietnam and Thailand.


Holsworthy 1963 - 1966

On return form Malaya in October 1963, the Battery joined i st

Field Regiment RAA at Kokoda Barracks, Holsworthy .

From this time until late 1965 when warned for service in South Vietnam little is recorded of battery activities .


South Vietnam 1966 - 1967

After intensive training and field exercises Caesar Augustus and Iron Lady, the Battery moved to South Vietnam with the 105mm L5 as part of 1st Field Regiment RAA in May 1966. The 105th Field Battery had already been in Vietnam since September 1965.

Some time was initially spent at Vung Tau, until on 6 June

1966 the Battery moved by air to the new Task Force base at

Nui Dat, to join 105 Field Battery RAA and 161 Field Battery

RNZA in the Regimental Gun area.


The now well-known and documented Battle of Long Tan was

the first major contact by Australian troops in the Vietnam

conflict. 103 Field Battery took a significant part in the conduct

of the battle. However prior to the actual battle was the

mortaring of the Task Force base area on the night of the 16/17 August 1966. The attack lasted approximately 15 - 20 minutes, in which time an estimated 30 rounds fell in the Regimental area. After the attack had been in progress some 10 minutes, the Battery was ordered to engage a previously prepared CB task. The Battery took post under fire, and the

Battery historian relates that "a creditable performance was put up A Sub, having 6 rounds in the air before any other gun had fired ."

As a result of the attack the Battery suffered two casualties, one of whom was eventually evacuated back to Australia.

In support of the Battle of Long Tan on August 18th 1966, the

Battery fired for five hours under extremely difficult climatic

conditions. The Forward Observer for the relief force was a

member of 103 Battery, Captain P. E. Aspinall, so although the

Battery was in general support for the battle, one of the

Observers was a member of the Battery, and it fired 1078

rounds the highest number of rounds fired by any Battery of the Regiment during the battle.


On 18 August 1966, 103 Field Battery became the direct support Battery to the 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, relieving 105 Field Battery of their task.

On 1 May 1967 the Battery came out of action to hand over to

106 Field Battery, completing almost 12 months continuous

service in action in support of 1 ATF. During this period the

Battery fired a total of 28468 rounds.


Holsworthy 1967 - 2000

On return from Vietnam, the Battery was stationed at Gallipoli

Barracks, Holsworthy, and on 19 June 1967 become the

Independent 103 Medium Battery. The 5.5-inch guns and

equipment were handed over from 104 Medium Battery, which

then converted to the field mode.

The role of 103 Battery was primarily to support the School of

Artillery, provide gun salutes, and conduct some limited trials.

On April 16th 1968, the Battery lost its independence and joined 19th Composite Regiment RAA, which was located at Kokoda Barracks. On August 4th 1969, 19th Composite Regiment RAA formed 8 Medium Regiment RAA; therefore the Battery once again had a new parent unit. This situation was to stay until 16th November 1973, when the two Sydney based Regiments, 8th and 12th Regiments were to combine to form 8/12 Medium Regiment RAA.

The new Regiment had the roles of depot support Regiment for the School of Artillery and direct support Regiment for the 1st Task Force. Fulfilling both these roles has kept the Battery busy since the formation of 8/12 Regiment RAA in November 1973. To assist the Battery in carrying out its dual function, in September 1975 the Battery was issued with six M2A2 105mm guns. Therefore the Battery was equipped with six 5.5-inch guns and six 105mm guns.

Towards the end of July 1983 the Battery saw its first glimpse of the American M198 155mm Towed Howitzer, which was to

replace the ageing 5.5-inch guns as the general support artillery piece for the Corps.

By July 1984 the 5.5 inch gun was retired from service in the

RAA after some 40 years of diligent service and replaced with

the M198, however, the Battery remained duel equipped with

the M2A2 for some time to support the School of Artillery. This

function came to an end with the School of Artillery moving from North Head to Puckapunyal in 1998.


From this time on could be considered as one of the busiest

times in the Battery's recent history. With the reorganisation of

moving 1 Brigade to Darwin 8/12 was to be one of the last Units to relocate. In late 1999 when the Regiment was preparing for the move to Darwin 103 Battery deployed elements from Holsworthy to East Timor as part of INTERFET and then later as a part of a UN Peace Keeping Force OP TANAGER. The Battery returned to Darwin mid 2000 to begin the task of moving into new facilities, and with the re-forming of 101 Battery, rebuild a new Regiment.


Darwin 2000 - 2004

The Battery finally established and embedded within the 1st

Brigade continues working with and supporting the other Units

within the Brigade and more importantly the Deployable Battle

Group, a task shared with 101 Battery. Late 2002 saw the

Battery Commander, Major Andy Haebich deploy with the CLOG to East Timor as a part of OP CITADEL, and early 2003 the gunline, led by the ,Battery Captain Arlen Wendt, deployed to RCB Butterworth, as a company. Upon return the Battery

reunited and participated in exercise CROC 03, over two months in Shoalwater Bay NQ, in a combined exercise with the US.

2004 has seen a busy year with numerous field deployments,

and live firing in support of Combat Team and Battle Group level manoeuvre. The development of a close rapport with the

airforces FA-18 squadron, in Tindall, and the deployment of

personnel on OP ANODE to the Solomon Islands and OP

CATALYST to Iraq, have been highlights for the Battery this

year.


The record of service of all " 103" Batteries since the first Battery raised in 1916 more than justifies every member of the present Battery havlnq immense pride in the tradition and history that has been formed.

The 103rd Medium Battery is part of the mosaic that is the proud history and tradition of the Royal

Regiment of Australian Artillery .





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