RHA and RFA battery establishments

For general discussions on the British Army of the Victorian era or specific regiments.

RHA and RFA battery establishments

Postby susancammas » 19 Sep 2017 07:10

Good morning

I’m trying to understand the difference between the RHA and the RFA. On the surface, they seem to be pretty similar concerning the number of guns/horses etc.
I've had a good look around the forum and also Google, but can't find an answer to my question.

I read somewhere that in the RHA all the men were mounted enabling very rapid intervention.
Does this really mean the whole battery establishment (a very large number of men) or just the gun detachment?

What are the differences between these two branches of the RA?
Does anyone, by any chance, have the details (ranks and appointments for example) of a typical RHA and RFA battery?

Many thanks
Susan
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Re: RHA and RFA battery establishments

Postby SWB » 19 Sep 2017 07:58

Hello Susan

What period are you interested in?

In the Anglo-Boer War, late Victorian period the main difference was the gun size: RHA - 12pdr, RFA - 15pdr & howitzers.

The smaller gun with the RHA was meant to enable them to travel faster and accompany cavalry on campaign.

Both used horses, everyone was mounted or travelled on the gun, limber or a wagon.

The basic organisation, the battery was the same; 6 guns divided into three sections, one gun was a sub-section.

One difference was the "Brigade Division", for the RHA this was two batteries (12 guns), for the RHA this was three batteries (18 guns).

Hope this helps.
Meurig
Researcher. Owner: The Register of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. Interests: 24th Foot/South Wales Borderers/RRW/RW. South Africa generally. War memorials
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Re: RHA and RFA battery establishments

Postby susancammas » 19 Sep 2017 16:46

Many thanks Meurig - I'm interested in the late Victorian period.
From what you have said, it seems that there was very little difference between RHA an RFA.

Regards
Susan
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Re: RHA and RFA battery establishments

Postby zerostate » 19 Sep 2017 23:19

Apart from the size of the guns, which as Meurig said is the main difference, the other difference is the supposed tactical employment of the differing types. Horse artillery was designed primarily to support cavalry (although of course had an infantry support role as well), be more maneuverable, and be quicker to deploy, while field artillery was primarily infantry support - hence horse artillery's greater mobility because of the lighter guns.
As cavalry brigades were rarely deployed in full (the smallest tactical organisational level to which a horse artillery battery would usually be included in - three regiments of cavalry, one RHA battery, plus sundry small units) they might not have always been used as the doctrine of the time might suggest.


Chris

"Cookery is the art of preparing and softening food by the action of fire, so as to render it fit for digestion" - Instructions to Military Cooks in the Preperation of Dinners at the Instructional Kitchen, Aldershot, 1878.
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