The Artillery Corps

hh

Artillery Corps collar badge featuring St Barbara astride an Artillery piece

“In modern parlance, artillery refers to an engine of war that uses stored energy, whether mechanical, chemical, or electromagnetic, to project munitions far beyond the effective range of personal weapons. The earliest forms of artillery were in large measure employed as stationary devices designed to breach fortifications or reduce a single obstacle. The destructive capabilities of early gunpowder siege weapons led to development of mobile versions suitable for employment on the battlefield. This development continues such that today artillery comprises highly mobile weapons of great flexibility in which repose most of a modern army’s firepower.”

Today’s Artillery Corps provide fire support for infantry or armored elements. The Corps was founded in 1924 and today consists of two main branches;

  • Field Artillery
  • Air Defence

Between them the two branches of the Corps provide several vital services;

  • Fire support of Infantry or Armoured troops
  • Ground to low level air defence
  • Light field battery support to Irish overseas battalion
  • Aid to the civil power duties.

The Artillery Corps provides fire support for infantry or armoured elements. The Corps was founded in 1924 and today consists of two main branches;

Field Artillery

Air Defence

Between them the two branches of the Corps provide several vital services;

Fire support of Infantry or Armoured troops

Ground to low level air defence

Light field battery support to Irish overseas battalion

Aid to the civil power duties.

Prior to the reorganisation of the Defence Forces in 2012, the Artillery Corps consisted of X permanent units and X reserve units.  Following on from the reorganisation the number of Artillery Units was reduced to X.

120mm Mortar in action

120mm Mortar in action

The Field Artillery Regiment

The artillery in the brigade consists of a Field Artillery Regiment (FAR) with three field batteries. Each of the field batteries is based on six light field artillery weapons, 105mm guns, and is staffed to command, co-ordinate and fire the weapons.

The headquarters battery includes administrative, logistics, communications, transport, survey and locating elements. The function of the artillery regiment is to provide indirect fire, in support of the maneouvre forces.

Field artillery is the brigade commanders principle and most responsive indirect fire weapons system. The brigade field artillery is organised with one 105mm light gun regiment. Gun batteries are normally afiliated to particular maneouvre battalions in training and on operations.

Barbara, Barbara, we may not loose a breath –
Be at the bursting doors of doom, and in the dark deliver us,
Who loosen the last window on the sun of sudden death.

bab

St Barbara – Patron saint of the Artillery

Saint Barbara is the patron saint of artillerymen. She is also traditionally the patron of armourers, military engineers, gunsmiths, miners and anyone else who worked with cannon and explosives. She is invoked against thunder and lightning and all accidents arising from explosions of gunpowder.  Saint Barbara is often portrayed with miniature chains and a tower. As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Barbara continues to be a popular saint in modern times, perhaps best known as the patron saint of armourers, artillerymen, military engineers, miners and others who work with explosives because of her old legend’s association with lightning, and also of mathematicians.

Saint Barbara’s Day, December 4, is celebrated by all Artillery men at home and abroad.

Be at the bursting doors of doom....

Be at the bursting doors of doom….

Gunner McGee

Uniquely within the Defence Forces, the Artillery Corps looked back the to the rebellion of 1798 for a historical figurehead for the Corps.

Gunner James Magee, a member of the Longford Militia, deserted the British Army to join his countrymen at the battle of Castlebar. 
 Along with another Longford man, Gunner Casey, they acquired two 6 Pounders which represented the firepower of the insurgents. 
  Magee’s gun was having an effect way beyond what would have been expected and he continued to harry the British lines. With ammunition stocks almost exhausted Magee ordered the breaking of pots and kettles to be mixed with grape and canister and any other available metal.

A discharge of these shots caused such confusion among approaching Cavalry Squadron that they were forced to retreat.
As the gun was been reloaded a shot from the British artillery struck it and broke the stock of one of the wheels. In order to render the gun capable of firing three members of the gun detachment heroically came forward and raised the gun on their shoulders. Magee fired the gun but the recoil killed the gallant detachments. An enemy corps quickly moved forward without opposition capturing the gun and Magee was taken prisoner. A drumhead court martial condemned him to hang as a deserter from the majesty’s army. 
The Legacy of Magee and his detachment embody the characteristics of leadership, courage, loyalty, and devotion to duty, resilience and resourcefulness in keeping the guns firing whatever the cost. These are the virtues espoused by the Artillery Corps. It is what sets us apart from all the other corps and makes us different. It is our duty to maintain this heritage.