6th AGRA

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Combover, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Combover

    Combover Guest

    Dear all,

    Could somebody please provide the Order of Battle for 6th AGRA in early 1944? There is so very little information on it, i'm really struggling.

    Does anybody have an photographs of members of 6th AGRA at any point during the war?

    This would help massivley. Thanks.
     
  2. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Combover
    early in '44 - say around the third battle for Cassino - ihad the impression that we had the 1st agra plus the Canadian 1st Agra - but by th Diadem we appeared to have th 6th Agra also which came through early to reduce distance and bumping into 5thCAD and adding to the traffic chaos - then by the Gothic Line we seemed to have acquired the 2nd Agra- don't know who they all were but a noisy lot - and we were weren't getting any manpower reinforcements but lots of guns and shells
    Cheers
     
  4. Combover

    Combover Guest

    Their make up and command structure was supposed to be flexible which is presenting me with the headache of pinning down who they were (along with 'when' and 'where'). I know at the time of the invaision of Sicily, their OoB was roughly as follows:

    24th Field Regiment, RA
    98th Field Regiment, RA
    11th Field Regiment, RA
    66th Medium Regiment, RA
    75th Medium Regiment, RA
    80th Medium Regiment, RA

    This came from an usual source so how accurate this is, I've currently no idea. I know for definite that the 66th MR were with them for most of the duration and that they were one of the only Medium Regiments equipped with the 4.5" gun (mainly for counter-battery work, it would seem).

    Tom, Just how much worth was provided by the extra weight of shells? I only ask because I know it was a relatively cheap way of adding value to an attack. As opposed to sending more men in.

    It would seem (correct me if i'm wrong on this) that the very point of an AGRA was to add weight of fire, coupled with a flexible command structure which meant they could (in theory) work with anything from a Brigade-level attack up to an Army attack without the need to re-structure.

    Tom
     
  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Combover
    you forget that the new strategy of the Alanbrooke - Monty era - i.e 1942 where we had been losing too much manpower we couldn't afford - look at the losses -BEF - Greece - Crete - Tobruk- Singapore et al - we just couldn't go on at that rate - and Monty was told in August '44 to watch his manpower as we had nothing left - a shell took an hour to build - a man 20 years - that was the main object of Agras - and we were glad of them

    Cheers
     
  6. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    6th Army Group RA - Formed 15 March 1943 in Middle East as ‘B’ HQ AGRA. Numbered 17 March
    66th (Lowland) Medium Regiment, RA
    75th (Shropshire Yeomanry) Medium Regiment, RA
    80th (Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment, RA
    78th Medium Regiment, RA - Replaced 80th Medium Regiment during Anzio
    76th Medium Regiment, RA - From April 1944
    75th (Highland) Heavy Regiment, RA - From April 1944
    2nd Medium Regiment, RA - From April 1944
     
  7. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Combover likes this.
  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    There are more photos in the RA Commemoration book and in some of the Regimental histories.
     
  9. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

  10. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    I think there are few ambit claims in some of those lists. Need to read the Op Orders to discover the command relationship when regiments were assigned to divisions, ie was it 'Under Comd' of the division or 'In support' (implying it remained under AGRA command).

    The main thing that AGRAs offered was longer range and hence a greater area of influence. How corps used this was a matter for them. Some corps took on the corps CB staff, meaning the CAGRA ran the corps CB battle not the CCRA. Another issue was hown many Commanders Representatives an AGRA deployed. Then there's the matter of AGRA regts assigned to divisions and how the divisions used them, with the associated question as to whether or not ACBOs were assigned to divisions with the CB battle being run by the CRAs.
     
  11. Combover

    Combover Guest

    Thanks all, for the responses. The book is proving very useful!

    The difficulty in pinning down a set OoB is that there wasn't one. The units were designed to be flexible as Reid states in 'No Holding Back':

    "The table for an AGRA published for study purposes at war-time staff courses shows its composition as an army Field Regiment, four Medium Regiments and a Heavy Regiment - a total of 24 Field, 64 Medium and 16 Heavy guns... An Army Group Royal Artillery was a powerful, flexible organization that could both thicken the fire of the divisional artillery and take on tasks on its own such as harrassing fire, attacking targets in depth and counter-bombardment."

    Moving away from 6th AGRA for a moment to illustrate the 'flexible organisation' bit, 9th AGRA (in Normandy) had:

    3No. Field Regiments
    1No. Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment

    for Phase 1 of Operation totalize, whereas its counterpart 2 Canadian AGRA had:

    1No. Self-propelled Field Regiment
    4No. Medium Regiments
    1No. Heavy Regiment.

    It should also be noted from the above that the Self-propelled Field Regiment actually belonged to 4th Canadian Armoured Division but was part of the OoB for 2 CAGRA for Phase 1 of Totalize.

    Looking at that, it's clear that when pinning down the OoB for 6th AGRA, for say Cassino, it would be necessary to specify a time frame down to almost a single day!

    Clear as mud. :confused:
     
  12. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    I think you need to look in the War diaries to find out exactly who is in an AGrRA at any one time and their command relationship to particular formations. I am not working on Italy at the moment but in Normandy a medium regiment might be normally part of an AGRA but then placed under command of a Division for a particular operation. There was also a deliberate policy in Normandy to rotate HAA units through AGRA, giving different units the chance to have a go.

    The Army published "Notes on Artillery in the Corps battle" as Annex C to Army Training Memorandum No 46 October 1943. This explains for the rest of the army's benefit how this was supposed to work. In general terms the British envisaged that battles should be fought at Corps level with the firepower of the AGRAs playing a key role. In the pursuit or advance to contact firepower might be decentralised to divisions which might be expected to fight a battle at divisional level, but it was expected that a serious fight should be as a Corps. As far as I can see, this is how the British Army operated in the second half of the war.
     
  13. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    9th AGRA (in Normandy) had:

    3No. Field Regiments
    1No. Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment

    for Phase 1 of Operation totalize

    9 AGRA was atypical, it's the worst one to look at because it was the WO Reserve AGRA in NW Europe.

    whereas its counterpart 2 Canadian AGRA had:
    1No. Self-propelled Field Regiment
    4No. Medium Regiments
    1No. Heavy Regiment.

    It should also be noted from the above that the Self-propelled Field Regiment actually belonged to 4th Canadian Armoured Division but was part of the OoB for 2 CAGRA for Phase 1 of Totalize.


    See Nicholson, the formal org for both Cdn AGRAs was 3 Med Regts only. After the 25-pr SP issue to replace 105mm the residual 105mm regts became army troops, and I assume this was always the case for the few non-divisional SP fd regts before the change to 25-pr SP, these extra regts may have been put under comd AGRA if there was nothing else for it to do (there were two 'extra' Cdn regts, 1 in Italy until that corps moved to NWE). You'd probably find the same with the UK remnant 105mm SP regts in Italy and NWE, although UK also had some independent armd bdes that took the 105 regts for they spt regts when they deployed. Of course doctrinally arty never went into reserve so when the indep armd bdes were resting the RA regts went elsewhere (unless they needed major refitting or a rest after prolonged deployment) and an AGRA would be a convenient home for them (except logistically!).
     
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Combover
    you got that right - at Cassino it might have been best to look at the 6th Agra on a daily basis -you think the M25 is bad on an icy morning - peanuts - try squeezing SEVEN divisions plus ONE Agra into a 20 mile gap - all thinking they have the right of way over ONE bridge- now that was a traffic jamb
    Cheers
     
  15. Combover

    Combover Guest

    There are more photos in the RA Commemoration book and in some of the Regimental histories.

    Hi Sheldrake, are you able to post any of these up?
     
  16. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    I have seen them in the Firepower Library so I know they exist.

    I am working on Normandy and happened to notice some good drawings and photos from units in Italy. Rob has posted an image from the 6 AGRA book.
     
  17. Combover

    Combover Guest

    Thanks mate, i'll email the Firepower museum and see if they can help.
     
  18. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    From tnhe pages in the RA Commeorative Book.

    The spring came and the Eight Army moved across to Cassino. For the final battle in April the firepower of the Group was enormous." and lists the following

    Under Command
    75 Medium, 76 Medium,75th Highland Heavy, (7.2 " & 155mm)
    Operational support
    1 CAGRA 194 US FAG and 1 x HAA (not identified)
     
    Combover likes this.
  19. Combover

    Combover Guest

    Courtesy of the many excellent replies this thread has had (thanks all) I took my inspiration and gave it a go. What do you think?

    [​IMG]
     

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