Royal Australian Artillery Historical Company
ENewsletter Edition No 5
September 2013

In This Issue
Artillery Regiment Capability
Artillery Heritage of New Zealand
8/12 Regiment on Exercise
Featured Article
Artillery Badge Rotating 
Many of the personnel in the 8th/12th Regiment in Darwin have just been welcomed home from operational deployment to Afghanistan...
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Dear Gunners (Readers) -


It has been a busy year since the last AGM and I would like to remind all members that the 2013 AGM will be held at North Head  on Saturday 12 October. All documentation for the meeting can be viewed /downloaded by Clicking Here



So what has kept us busy? In August, the RAAHC conducted a Seminar in Canberra to engage with both our serving Gunners posted there and members from the area. This seminar was hosted by the Head of Regiment (HOR), Brigadier Peter Gates, at the Australian Command and Staff College and attended by the RAA Representative Colonel Commandant, some 45 Canberra region attendees and via video conferencing a further eight from Victoria. A critical issue raised which has always existed is our relevance to serving Gunners, and how we can get them to record current activities of the Regiment and to show interest in our Australian artillery heritage. As you are aware we have taken action to include " Today's Gunline" on our website which aims to provide information on what is happening in our RAA units today.



We are still working at lobbying for the  construction of the Australian Army Artillery Museum as part of a new combined armour and artillery museum at Puckapunyal. Recently the Chair and I have had several meetings with the HOR and Australian Army History Unit (AAHU) to discuss how to progress this issue. HOR and  AAHU are working closely to progress the facilities proposal for the new combined Armour/Artillery Museum at Puckapunyal and are also planning to establish a temporary display of artillery items adjacent to the existing Armour Museum. Plans to identify appropriate museum staff to support both the temporary and future permanent museums are also underway. Tim Ford, in his capacity of Chair RAAHC has  recently written to the new Prime Minister, Tony Abbot seeking his support to accelerate the completion of a new artillery museum at Puckapunyal. 



We are aiming to establish an internet capability that will enable members and the public to access the information we hold on line.
That information includes the written and photographic material known as the RAAHC Library, records of artillery related weapons held by the RAAHC, a record of trophy and allied guns in Australia included in the Gun Register and other material available currently on our website.  This integration and ease of publishing information will enable the RAAHC in due course to establish a valuable Australian Artillery Research Centre capability.



We continue to discuss with the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT) their continuing plans for the development of the North Head Sanctuary. Part of that plan means that we will need to move the Library from its current location. We are therefore investigating with them other suitable and long-term options within the North Head precinct that will provide appropriate space, access and environment for the Research Centre.  We will be seeking additional support in the Sydney area to undertake this move and review and welcome any volunteers who can offer some assistance to this activity.


Australia's Memorial Walk continues for the time being under the care of the RAAHC. We had a very successful dedication last December attended by the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, AC, LVO, our patron Steve Gower and many local supporters. The Walk has also now been included on the Official NSW list of Memorials. Order a paver while you still can. Payments are tax deductible.


The 18 Pounder Project continues apace. The restoration of the gun is underway in Sydney and a group in Canberra continues to investigate the raising of a Horse Team and Detachment.  The ability to raise the necessary funds will determine the success or failure of the project. As indicated in Airburst No4 you can help by making a donation or pointing us towards a benefactor. 


Ian Ahearn
Deputy Chair


artilleryregimentcapabilityArtillery Regiment Capability
By Army Headquarters                    
Artillery Regiment Capability
Many of the personnel in the 8th/12th Regiment in Darwin have just been welcomed home from operational deployment to Afghanistan, but such is the cycle of the Australian Army that all 1st Brigade units have just begun their build up to become operationally ready again in late--2012.
Personnel from the 8th/12th Regiment have begun that build-up with a series of exercises in the Mt Bundey training area, south of Darwin, that gives a rare insight into how the Royal Australian Artillery operates. During the exercises, gun detachments would move to a new area, set up the M198 howitzer guns and camouflage them in preparation for a mission. Forward observers, hidden near a hill top, would identify a target and call in a fire mission.
A single shot would be ordered to ensure accuracy and then the forward observers would adjust from where that shot landed before calling in the mission. Once the mission is complete, typically, gun detachments will pack up their guns again and move to a new location to ensure they are not detected by the enemy.
These constant moves are draining for personnel in the dust and heat of Mt Bundey, but it is essential they practise every aspect of their gunnery to ensure they are able to set up quickly as a team and are ready for any situation.
The 8th/12th Regiment is based at Robertson Barracks, Darwin, and provides artillery support to 1st Brigade, the Australian Army's light armoured brigade.
The Artillery Heritage of New Zealand


Three years in the making, Great Guns by Peter Cooke and Ian Maxwell is now available.


ad_great_guns_book_coverWith a BA (Hons) in history, Peter Cooke started thinking about this issue when he was contacted in the mid-2000s by staff from the government department which administers the Protected Objects Act. They were trying to see if a trophy cannon from WWI was of cultural significance for NZ.   Could they legally deem it a 'protected object' and withhold permission for its export? Export was not alted in this case but it got Cooke thinking that the heritage significance of trophy cannon could be determined if their story was better known.


Ian Maxwell held similar curiosities and in March 2010, while on a DONZ field trip to Northland, they agreed to collaborate on a book that documented why NZ brought trophy guns back from foreign wars, and where these and pieces of local ordnance were displayed in parks and other public places.


The result includes over 1000 images of current and historical examples of large tools of war on display. While each photo is indeed worth 1000 words, the authors confined themselves to around 200.


A calibre of 20mm was determined as the lower cut-off, therefore excluding small arms. An inclusive policy was adopted on other large munitions - mines, bombs and related technology such as armoured turrets.   Warbirds and tanks are included in relation to their main guns.


An introductory essay discusses the nature and practise of taking war trophy guns, especially from the South African and First World Wars. This section includes many quotes from New Zealanders on capturing trophies on the battlefield and how they were received back home.


The abhorrence felt by some at displaying weapons of war is contrasted with those for whom the trophy represented a fitting commemoration of sacrifice or an unalloyed celebration of victory.


From page 107 the country is divided into 18 regions, from Northland to Southland, Eastland to Westland, in which all known incidents of cannon on display are documented.


The research is fully footnoted, referenced and indexed.


Many stories of how the weapon was acquired, presented, used and discarded are related. These include humorous accounts of authorised and unauthorised firings of the guns, and their unwitting inclusion in wider debates on war and peace.


At the end appendices list all known WWI trophy guns and the shipments on which they arrived.


Great Guns - The Artillery Heritage of NZ (452pp) retails for $NZ45. Review copies are available for editors. Mail-orders are welcomed, with direct deposits possible.


To order a copy please contact the Defence of NZ Study Group at PO Box 9724, Wellington 6141, (04) 934 6817, or or download the attached Order Form and forward it to the NZ Study Group.


8/12 Regiment On Exercise 

Ex Thunder Run

By LT Dion Paull

THE first major gunnery exercise for the 2013 training year was held during March when 8/12 Regt deployed to the Cultana training area to conduct Exercise Thunder Walk/Run in the lead up to Ex Kite Hawk in April.

Offensive support sub-units deployed to the field as 101 Composite Bty with a gun troop of six M777A2 Howitzers, while Combat Service Support deployed to establish a tactical patrol base.

CO 8/12 Regt Lt-Col Julian West said the exercise provided a great opportunity to practise gunnery across the spectrum of conventional operations.

"This involved training from the coordination and execution of joint fires, including Danger Close and Direct Fire serials, to the tactical deployment of the gun line, small-arms live-fire practices and a regimental route march," he said.

The regiment successfully completed a road self-deployment of military and civilian vehicles from Robertson Barracks to the Cultana Training Area for the exercise.

Thunder Walk focused on joint fires teams training with the groups conducting live-fire immediate neutralisation missions as well as infantry minor and small-team tactics.

The gun line conducted live-fire and movement and was tactically tested through a complex enemy scenario.

Elements from the Adelaide-based 102 Coral Bty also deployed to Woomera to successfully conduct a trial of the Excalibur Precision Guided Munitions.

Ex Thunder Run consolidated the live-fire training with a focus on the speed of response after a call for fire, and culminated in the conduct of live-fire danger-close missions which had high-explosive rounds impacting 175m from dug-in friendly troops.

The exercise allowed the regiment to enhance its digital gunnery procedures with the newly acquired M777A2 Howitzer and the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System.

Soldiers certified to deploy on Advisory Task Force 2 and 8/12 Regt is postured to conduct further field training in 2013.

  2 Troop 'C' Detachment Conducts a Fire Mission 



3 Troop Comes Into Action at the Live Fire Defence Position

Gun Detachment Brings M777A2 Into Action


Ex Kite Hawk

By Sgt Michael Smith


JOINT fires teams (JFT) from 8/12 Regt deployed to the Mount Bundey Training Area to conduct live-fire training with Tiger helicopters from 161 Sqn, 1 Avn Regt, from April 15-19.


Before Exercise Kite Hawk, the JFTs spent time in the 161 Sqn flight simulation centre.   This gave junior soldiers exposure of the aircraft's capabilities and an opportunity to meet and discuss tactics with the pilots.


Commander of the JFT for 103 Bty, Bdr Michael Krek, said the exercise provided a great opportunity for the soldiers.   "They were able to practise their observation skills and target talk-on using the Tigers during both day and night controls," he said. "It was good to have the attack helicopters on for the week as this gave the lads multiple controls and plenty of ammunition to destroy targets."

The combined exercise focused on JFT training with the Tigers conducting live-fire attacks, from several different battle positions, engaging targets with 70mm rockets and the 30mm cannon.   The missions were conducted in late afternoon and evening, which presented an opportunity for the pilots to focus on their night flying and mission procedures.

During their training, the JFTs used infrared pointers to help the aircraft identify and engage targets out to 4km. Focusing on the speed of response after a call for fire, the exercise culminated in live attacks from the Tigers.


CO's 061