A2020 Affects JHC Units

JHC units have not escaped the latest major re-organisation of the British Army that is Army 2020. The following articles detail some of that reorganisation and the events surrounding the reorganisation.

Parade Marks Artillery Battery’s Proud History
An artillery battery that can trace its history back to the Napoleonic Wars has been placed into suspended animation as the Army restructures for the future. A reorganisation of 7 Para RHA means that V Para Bty has been mothballed.

At a sunset parade at Merville Barracks on 23 May, the colours of V Para Bty were passed to the Regimental Colonel of the RA, for safe keeping. To mark the occasion a band performed a Beating Retreat and an Apache helicopter made a flypast.

The restructuring, will see 7 Para RHA reduce from five to three batteries, but retain its manning levels and firepower to be able to deliver better-equipped gun batteries to support 16 (Air Asslt) Bde.

Col Lee said: “Gunners have lived, fought and died for V Battery over its long and distinguished history, including previous periods of suspended animation. I have every admiration for the battery’s spirit and achievements while serving with 7 Para RHA as a key part of the Gunner, Airborne and Army order of battle. We will keep this flag safe until V Battery is next called to arms.“

V Para Bty can trace its history back to 1793, when a battery armed with six 6 pounder guns was raised at Woolwich. In the Napoleonic Wars and under the command of Capt George Beane, the battery fought during the Peninsular Campaign and at Waterloo. The battery was placed into suspended animation from 1816 to 1914, when it was reformed to serve on the Western Front and Middle East in the First World War and North Africa and the Far East in the Second World War.

The battery was again placed into suspended animation in 1968 and reformed in 2008 to accommodate 7 Para RHA’s Aviation Tactical Group, which has played a key role in the integration of the Apache attack helicopter into Army operations. V Para Bty’s Fire Support Teams – who co-ordinate artillery, fast air and attack helicopter support – will be shared between F (Sphinx) Para Bty and G Para Bty (Mercer’s Troop).

Maj Woodhams, OC of V Para Bty, said: “The parade was a poignant occasion that passed with a mixture of sadness and pride. It is sad to see V Para Bty placed into suspended animation but we are immensely proud of its contribution to 7 Para RHA and its long history. Looking to the future, this reorganisation means that 7 Para RHA will be a leaner outfit with no loss of capabilities that will be well-placed to serve within the Army’s airborne rapid reaction force.”

Further changes to 7 Para RHA saw H Para Bty (Ramsay’s Troop) transfer to Tidworth-based 1 Regt RHA and I Para Bty (Bull’s Troop) re-role from a gun battery to a headquarters battery. A parade to mark this occasion was held on 1st August 2013.

Parade Looks to Future of Air Assault Logistic Experts
A logistics squadron that can trace its history back to 1878 has been placed into suspended animation as the Army’s air assault logistic experts restructure for the future. A reorganisation of 13 AA Sp Regt RLC will see the regiment grow from 500 to 650 soldiers, gaining command of 47 AD Sqn and 65 Log Sp Sqn. One of the unit’s existing squadrons – 15 AA Close Support Sqn – has been mothballed.

At Merville Barracks on 23 Jul 13 the troops of 15 AACS Sqn gave the salute to Brig Borton, Comd of 16 (Air Asslt) Bde, as they marched off the parade square and into history.

Brig Borton said: “It is a great honour to be the inspecting officer at this parade and I commend 15 Squadron for the outstanding service it has given across its long and glorious history. Change is inevitable in an Army that must live within its means and adapt to an ever evolving world. I know that the pride and professionalism of 15 Squadron’s current soldiers will be carried on as you serve in other parts of the Regiment and RLC. As 15 Squadron marches off the square for the last time, I wish you all Godspeed, good luck and thank you.”

15 AACS Sqn can trace its history back to 1878 when it was formed as 15 Company Army Service Corps, a transport unit equipped with horses and carts, and served with distinction in the Boer War, both World Wars and the liberation of Kuwait. It has gone through three previous periods of suspended animation. With 13 AA Sp Regt RLC the squadron has deployed to Northern Ireland, Macedonia and on four tours of Afghanistan, playing a key role in Op Oqab Tsuka the transport of a hydro-electric turbine to the Kajaki Dam in 2008.

13 AA Sp Regt RLC’s role is to supply and distribute materiel, food, fuel, ammunition and spare parts to 16 Air Asslt Bde, with 15 AACS Sqn specialising in supporting the logistic needs of the Bde’s Apache attack helicopters. Its troops will transfer to the Regt’s 63 and 82 AA Close Sp Sqns to deliver two full strength logistic squadrons to deploy in support of contingency operations.

47 AD Sqn, which is based at RAF Brize Norton, prepares equipment, vehicles and combat supplies for air drop from fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. 65 Log Sp Sqn, which is moving from Bicester to Colchester, provides specialist logistic support.

Lt Col David Marshall, CO of 13 AA Sp Regt, said: “This parade has been a bittersweet occasion. It is sad to see 15 Air Assault Close Support Squadron placed into suspended animation, while at the same we celebrate its 135 years of service and know that the unit can return to the order of battle if needed. Looking to the future, this reorganisation means that the Regiment has grown in size and capabilities and is fully ready to meet the logistical needs of the British Army’s airborne rapid reaction force.”

Stop Press
At the start of October 1 Regt AAC based in Gutersloh ceased flying, in preparation for their return to the UK where they will become part of the Aviation Reconnaissance Force at Yeovilton flying the new Wildcat AH.

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