Imperial units

Royal Field Artillery

Royal Field Artillery

Batteries: 2nd 4th 5th 7th 8th 9th 13th 14th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 28th 37th 38th 39th 42nd 43rd 53rd 61st 62nd 63rd 64th 65th 66th 67th 68th 69th 73rd 74th 75th 76th 77th 78th 79th 81st 82nd 83rd 84th 85th 86th 87th 88th

 

A 3-in. 15-pounder, converted in 1895 from the 12-pounder and it fires a 14-lb. shrapnel shell, containing 200 bullets, with an effective range of 3,400-yards, or perhaps at the most 4,000-yds. The lock is opened by raising the cam-lever, turning the breech screw one-sixth, drawing it back, and opening it like a door upon a hinge. The gun is not a true quick-firer, but hydraulic buffers and springs take part of the recoil, and many of the guns are fitted with a telescopic spade device, invented by Sir George Clarke, which enables from six to eight aimed rounds per minute to be fired. There is no doubt that the gun could be made to fire twelve or fourteen rounds per minute, but that is probably not desirable, owing to the difficulties attending the supply of ammunition, and the doubt as to the accuracy of aim when the rapidity of fire is great.

Cyclists. The cyclist has now made his way into every branch of the Army, notwithstanding the unfavourable opinions which were expressed, now a long time ago {1900], when the idea of military cycling was first broached. There were many sceptics at the time, but cycling is now practised at the Central School of Gymnastics at Aldershot, and at every military centre, and the spread of cycling as a military adjunct has been very largely due to the energy of individuals. Among these enterprising officers is Colonel William George Knox, CB, RA, who is now in command of Artillery at Ladysmith. The portrait of the gallant officer will be seen with his cycling section of gunners in our picture, being the third figure from the nght as we look at the group. Colonel Knox has fought in Abyssinia, in the Ashanti Campaign of 1873-74, in the Afghan War of 1878-79, and in the Zulu operations of the latter year, for which he was mentioned in despatches and received a brevet majority. Even in Ladysmith military cyclists must have been of great use, and Colonel Knox will have known how to derive the utmost advantage from this auxiliary service of his corps. The cyclist has helped to solve the difficulties that tend the maintaining of communications between the units in the field. He is an excellent despatch-rider, and the military a strong machine, serviceable on the roughest roads. Many inventors have applied themselves to the work of producing still better machines, and several are now before the public.'

The Officers and Men of the 2nd Company, Western division, Royal Garrison Artillery. Up to a comparatively recent period [1900] the Royal Regiment of Artillery was a corps in which all officers were upon one list for promotion, and all men enlisted were available to serve in any section of the force. Now the Horse, Field, and Garrison Artillery, though related, are distinct, and the work of the Fortress companies is grouped apart from that of the Field Artillery. These companies are concerned with guns in land or sea forts, and with the attack upon them by means of siege and position artillery. The duties of attack and defence cannot, of course, be separated, since the essence of a good defence is to employ ordnance in counter-attack; Certain of the Garrison companies are specially classed for siege-train work, and their practice and instruction are more particularly directed to that branch of Artillery duties. Although Horse and Field Artillery have come most prominently before the public notice, the Garrison companies which have gone out to South Africa have rendered good service, and will find ample scope for their activity in the later stages of the campaign when the real siege work of the war begins. They have received most thorough training to fit them for their duties. The company depicted is under command of Major F A Curteis.

The Officers, non-commissioned Officers, and Men of the 61st battery Royal Field Artillery. Our survey of the Royal Engineers and the Royal Artillery closes with a fine group of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the 61st (Howitzer) Battery, which has been engaged in the operations of Sir Redvers Buller, under command of Major A. Hamilton-Gordon. It suffered a number of casualties in the actions on the Tugela, and at Potgieter's Drift Lieutenant G. H. C. King was wounded. We have already illustrated other howitzer batteries, and have depicted the weapon used, which has attracted a great deal of attention and has unquestionably done good service against the Boers with its damaging fire of lyddite. It may possibly happen that we shall discover the lyddite shell not to have answered all the expectations that were formed of it, but it has certainly proved to be a missile of great destructive effect, extremely valuable in many conditions. The artillery introduced for the howitzer batteries is a steel gun with a calibre of 5-in., weighing, inclusive of lock, 1,066.5 lb and with a length of about 3-ft, 9in. The howitzer fires a steel shell weighing 49.83-lb. filled with lyddite, shrapnel shells weighing 48.73lb containing 372 bullets with an explosive charge, and case shot weighing 4873-lb. and containing 433 bullets. The gun charge consists of over 5 gr. of cordite. The object of a howitzer Is to throw its projectiles through a curved course in order to search concealed positions.

The Officers and Men of the 10th Company, Western Division, Royal Garrison Artillery. The Garrison Artillery, constituting a separate arm of the force, is formed in three divisions—the Eastern, Southern, and Western—with their headquarters respectively at Dover, Portsmouth, and Devonport. It was from Devonport that the 10th Company, commanded by Major F E Kent, proceeded to South Africa; The various companies are apportioned between the three divisions, and there are detachments at Berehaven and at Shoeburyness. The officers of the Garrison Artillery staff are located with their special garrisons, lieutenant-colonels being in command of sections in the forts, majors and captains in charge of the armament of the works that are not occupied and for which they are responsible, other captains and lieutenants acting as adjutants, and officers of various ranks doing duty as instructors in gunnery and siege work. Much special artillery material is in charge of the garrison gunners, of whom a number of sergeant-majors, mostly specialists and men of long service, live at the distant forts and batteries without any other garrison, being responsible for their good condition, and themselves forming the nucleus of the Garrison Artillery to be sent there in case of need. Upon mobilisation, the garrison companies, under the paper scheme, are told off to the garrisons of the coast fortresses, but they have also a necessary place in the operations of our army abroad.

The Officers and non-commissioned Officers of the 10th Company, Eastern Division, RGA. Our picture of the 10th Company was taken at Shoeburyness just before it left England, and it may be interesting to note that the officers from left to right of the picture are Lieutenant J A FitzGibbon, Captain G V Davidson, Major C E Jervois, commanding the company, Second Lieutenant J F Thompson Pegge, and Second Lieutenant H F McKenzie. The company had no share in the early operations in South Africa, and, like other companies of the garrison branch, was sent out in view of the later work of the campaign. Shoeburyness, from which the company set out, is the headquarters of gunnery in the British Army. A great deal of training and experimental work goes on there in relation with tactical operations at Okehampton in Devonshire and the work of siege guns at Lydd in Kent, the place which has given its name to Lyddite, and where the garrison companies are regularly trained in work with heavy ordnance.

The Officers of the 87th Battery Royal Field Artillery. This battery proceeded to South Africa from Woolwich under command of Major N D Findlay, who is represented in the group with Captain A M Balfour, and Lieutenants Metcalfe and Burne. The full complement of officers to a battery is five, being one major, one captain, and three lieutenants, and there are nine sergeants and 127 men, increased to 161 on the South African establishment.

The Officers and non-commissioned officers, 5th Company, Eastern Division, RGA. This company of the Garrison gunners is under command of Major N. B, Inglefield, who was lately brigade-major at the School of Gunnery, Shoeburyness, and the picture is interesting because it shows the khaki uniform and the badges worn by the non-commissioned officers. Crossed guns are worn by a certain number as the badge of skill at arms of qualified gunners, and it will be noticed that one of the men depicted wears the laurel leaf, indicating that he is the best man in the battery. A gun, however, worn on the right arm by the Royal Artillery non-commissioned officer is, like the grenade of the Royal Engineers, a regimental badge, and not a badge of trade or of special skill at arms. In the Royal Artillery a special system of training exists according to professional knowledge.

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