RCA post-Korean War

Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, post Korean War History

The aim of this web page is to briefly summarize the history of the RRCA.  Many contributors have assisted in the hunt for these guns to provide and update the data found on these web pages.  Photos are by the author unless otherwise credited.  Any errors found here are by the author, and any additions, corrections or amendments to this list of Guns and Artillery in Canada would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at hskaarup@rogers.com.

For all official data concerning the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, please click on the link to their website:

Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery Website

Note: Back in the day, artillery in Canada was referred to by its radio call sign "Sheldrake".  It is now referred to by its "Golf" call sign.  (Acorn sends)

Le but de cette page Web est de résumer brièvement l'histoire du RRCA.  De nombreux contributeurs ont aidé à la recherche de ces armes à feu pour fournir et mettre à jour
les données trouvées sur ces pages Web. Les photos sont de l'auteur, sauf indication contraire. Toutes les erreurs trouvées ici sont de
l'auteur, et tout ajout, correction ou amendement à cette liste d'armes à feu et d'artillerie au Canada serait le bienvenu et peut être envoyé
par courriel à l'auteur à hskaarup@rogers.com.

Une traduction au français pour l'information technique présente serait grandement apprécié. Vos corrections, changements et suggestions sont les bienvenus, et peuvent être envoyés au hskaarup@rogers.com.

The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (RRCA)

The Regular and Reserve components of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Royal Canadian Artillery and Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery were amalgamated and collectively redesignated the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery on 29 October 1956.

History, Post Korean War

The Reserve Force had been reorganized after the Second World War, with the artillery component authorized at six divisions and corps troops.  This provided for six divisional headquarters, RCA, eight medium regiments, 20 field regiments, eight anti-tank regiments, nine HAA Regiments, 18 LAA Regiments, five coast regiments, two survey regiments and nine AA gun operations rooms. That organization had only lasted until 1954 when a second reorganization substantially reduced the artillery's establishment. Coastal and anti-tank artillery ceased to exist, and the RCA was pared down to just 21 field regiments, six medium regiments, three independent medium batteries, nine HAA regiments, two harbour defence batteries, a locating regiment and an anti-aircraft fire control battery.

The Regular and Reserve components of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Royal Canadian Artillery and Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery were collectively redesignated the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery on 29 October 1956.

In 1959 the word “Artillery” was authorized to be incorporated into the title of each artillery Militia unit, for example, the 20th Field Regiment, RCA now became the 20th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA.


On 1 Feb 1968, when Canada’s three services ceased to exist as separate entities, another severe reduction in the establishments of the Militia occurred.  Reserve Force artillery units were either converted to field artillery regiments and independent batteries, or else struck off the order of battle or converted to other arms.

NATO Brigade 1951-1992

In 1951, 79th Field Regiment RCA joined the newly formed 27th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group in Northern Germany under command of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). Instead of the 25-pounder Gun, the regiment was initially issued the American 105-mm towed howitzer, which was the standard NATO gun at that time. The changeover was short-lived, and the 25-pounders were reintroduced to solve problems with supply and a lack of uniformity with British units. The regiment was first quartered at Hohne, and then later at Fort Prince of Wales, near Soest in the Upper Ruhr Valley. Re-named the 3rd Regiment RCHA in 1953, the regiment was replaced in Nov 1953 by 2 RCHA during the changeover of 27 CIBG with 1 CIBG. Over the next thirteen years, 1, 2, 3 and 4 RCHA would rotate to Germany. In 1967 1 RCHA became the permanent artillery regiment in Germany as part of 4 CIBG (later - 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (CMBG) as the Army replaced its wheeled troop transport with tracked armoured personnel carriers). The Regiment moved south to the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) with the rest of the brigade group in 1970, to become Central Army Group’s reserve force, and was based in Lahr, Germany. It would remain there until 1992, when the brigade group began pulling out of Europe.

The 1st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RCA was formed in October 1953. It consisted of a HQ and the 2nd and 3rd LAA Batteries, and it was located with the RCSA (Anti-Aircraft) at Picton, Ontario.  The remaining battery, the 4th LAA Battery was at Esquimalt. The Regiment was originally equipped with 40-mm Bofors, but converted to 90-mm guns and M33C fire-control equipment in 1955. The 4th LAA Battery in Esquimalt was reduced to nil strength in 1957. The remainder of the regiment continued to function for three more years during which it helped to train anti-aircraft Gunners of the Militia.

Changes in defence policy resulted in the 1st LAA Regiment being disbanded in Sep 1960, with most personnel forming two new units - the 1st and 2nd Surface-to- Surface Missile (SSM) Batteries RCA - at Hemer, Germany (under 4 CIBG) and Shilo, Manitoba, respectively.  Each battery was equipped with four 762-mm Honest John Rocket launchers.  The Honest John was a nuclear tactical weapon capable of carrying a 1-Kiloton nuclear warhead to a range of 40 km.  The SSM Batteries remained in service until 1970, when the Canadian NATO Brigade Group’s role was reduced in scope, and the Brigade Group was repositioned to CENTAG.

With the closure of the 1st LAA Regiment and The RCAS (AA) in Picton, Ontario, in 1960, the only remaining school of artillery was at Camp Shilo, Manitoba.  The school would remain in Shilo until 1970, when it was moved to Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick together with the Infantry and Armour schools (the title “Royal” was dropped from the various Army schools when the services integrated in 1968).  They formed the Combat Arms School, part of the Combat Training Centre at CFB Gagetown.  The name of the school was restored to Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School (RRCAS) and the base is now 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Formation of the 1st Divisional Locating Battery in 1954 at Shilo marked the reappearance of a locating unit in the Order of Battle of the Regular Force after an absence of nine years. After a short, but fruitful existence, during which it played an active role in numerous exercises, the battery fell victim to a general reorganization of close support artillery. Among other changes, locating units were decentralized to the Brigade Group level, and each RCHA regiment in Canada was given a Regimental Locating Battery as part of a new “5-battery organization.”

(National Research Council Photo)

AN/MPQ/501 Counter Mortar Radar, mounted on a Saracen AFV, one of two brought to Canada for cold weather testing.  This AFV is currently in storage at the Museum of Science and Technology, Ottawa, Ontario.  The AN/MPQ/501 was also mounted on the M113A1CDN APC.

The 1st Divisional Locating Battery was reduced to nil strength on 30 April 1958.  It was revived briefly in 1965, and its Radar Troop equipped with the new AN/MPQ/501 Counter Mortar Radar. At the same time the RCHA and Militia locating batteries disappeared. The revived battery was located at Winnipeg, where it conducted drone and sound ranging trials with the National Research Council. Once the trials ended in 1968, the battery was once again reduced to nil strength.

Completing the order of battle of the 1st Divisional Artillery at the time of its formation in 1953 was Canada’s first peacetime Air OP Flight.  No. 1 Air OP Flight was formed at Camp Petawawa, Ontario, in 1953, followed by No. 2 Air OP Flight at Camp Shilo, Manitoba, in 1954. The flights were initially equipped with the British wartime Auster Mk. VI aircraft, and in late 1954 were re-equipped with the US-built Cessna L-19.  A number of field artillery officers underwent basic pilot training at the Brandon Flying Club.  They then progressed to the Light Aircraft School at Rivers, Manitoba for advanced training.  Their role was to provide aerial artillery observation, air photography, liaison and reconnaissance.  In 1960, Air Observation Troops were added to the four RCHA regiments (Camp Gagetown, Camp Petawawa, Camp Shilo and Fort Prince of Wales, Germany), and the two original Flights were reduced to nil strength.  The new Air OP Troops operated under regimental control until 1970-71, when they converted to Bell CH-136 Kiowa helicopters and were subsequently absorbed into the Air Command helicopter squadron.

The latter part of the 1960s and the early 1970s saw many changes that would affect the Regular component of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. With the formation of The Canadian Airborne Regiment on 8 Apr 1968, the 1st Airborne Battery RCA was created.  It remained in Edmonton as an independent battery until 1977 when the Airborne Regiment re-organized and moved to CFB Petawawa.  At that time the 1st Airborne Battery was disbanded and "E" Battery, 2 RCHA was re-designated "E" Battery (Para).

On 6 May 1968 a Regular Force artillery unit returned to Quebec City after an absence of nearly half a century.  Le 5e Régiment d’artillerie légère du Canada (5 RALC), the first Regular Force francophone artillery regiment, was formed. Initially equipped with towed 105-mm howitzers, it took on its new colours, 105-mm L5 pack howitzers, in 1969.

Over the next few years, the L5 would also see service in the airborne role and with ACE Mobile Force Batteries in 2 and 3 RCHA.  3 RCHA now found itself in Shilo, Manitoba and on 15 July 1970, 4 RCHA in Petawawa was reduced to nil strength. The majority of its equipment and personnel were transferred directly to 2 RCHA, which was moved from Gagetown to Petawawa.

A second purchase of M109s in 1977 went to equip 3 RCHA; these vehicles were up-gunned versions with longer gun barrels and other improvements. The guns underwent two additional modernizations before being retired in the 21st Century.

(Author Photo)

40-mm Bofors AA Gun, CFB Borden, Ontario.

In 1975 two airfield air defence batteries were re-activated in Germany, the 128th Airfield Air Defence Battery RCA at Baden-Soellingen, and the 129th Airfield Air Defence Battery RCA at Lahr.  Both were equipped with 40-mm Bofors guns and Blowpipe Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) missiles. The Bofors was a hydraulically driven naval version of the standard World War Two 40mm Bofors. They had been retrieved from decommissioned minesweepers and the aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure.  In 1976, 1 RCHA and 2 RCHA each received a troop of Blowpipe.  The Germany-based units were augmented in 1976 by the formation of two fly-over batteries - H Battery in 3 RCHA, and V Battery in 5 RALC.

(SSgt Fernando Serna, US Army Photo)

Gunners Dave Archer and Paul Van Helvert, both with the Canadian 129th Anti-Aircraft Defense Battery, at Lahr, Germany, stand by at a Blowpipe anti-aircraft guided missile system position on the edge of the base during exercise Cornet Phaser, a NATO rapid deployment exercise conducted under simulated wartime conditions, 4 Oct 1987.  The men are wearing nuclear, chemical and biological protective gear (including C3 gas mask).

In the mid 1980s, The Low Level Air Defence (LLAD) Project, which would be the most expensive single project to date for the Army ($1 Billion), resulted in the procurement of what is considered to be one of the most effective Short Range Air Defence (SHORAD) systems in the world.

In 1985, the air defence troop of 2 RCHA was dismantled and 119 Air Defence Battery reactivated; also newly formed was the Air Defence Artillery School at CFB Chatham.

(Author Photo)

Skyguard Air Defence System, 4 (GS) Artillery Regiment, 5 CDSB Gagetown, New Brunswick.

(Author Photo)

Oerlikon 35-mm Twin Cannon, 4 (GS) 5 CDSB Gagetown, New Brunswick.

(Author Photo)

ADATS, 4 Arty Regt (GS), 5 CDSB Gagetown, New Brunswick.

In 1987, 4th Air Defence Regiment RCA, (127, 128 and 129 AD Batteries), was formed at Lahr, Germany; the latter two batteries were airfield defence batteries equipped with four Skyguard sections (a Skyguard fire control radar and two twin 35mm Oerlikon GDF-005 gun systems each), and a troop of four ADATS SHORAD missile systems. 127 AD Battery was tasked with protection of 4 CMBG, equipped with 12 ADATS.  119 AD Battery was also re-equipped with ADATS.  During this period three Militia units were re-equipped as air defence artillery: 18th AD Regiment in Lethbridge, 1 AD Regiment in Pembroke and 58e Batterie d’artillerie antiaérienne, 6 RAC in Levis, Quebec.  Each unit received Javelin S-15, the replacement for Blowpipe.

(Author Photo)

Javelin Very Short range Air Defence Missile System, RRCAS, 5 CDSB Gagetown, New Brunswick.

The 4th AD Regiment was reduced to nil strength in 1992 as part of the reduction of forces and the return of units from Germany, but raised again with a smaller establishment on 2l Jul 1996 as a Total Force unit.

The HQ and 128 AD Battery were located in Moncton, with 119 AD Battery and 210 AD Workshop located in Gagetown.  A third battery’s worth of equipment was positioned at Cold Lake, Alberta with a small caretaker staff.

An RCA Battle School was formed at Shilo, Manitoba on 19 Sep 1981, giving the artillery a steady flow of trained soldiers, allowing units more time to train for individual unit tasks.  The school remained active until Jun 1997, when it was disbanded and replaced by a much smaller artillery detachment of the Western Area Training Center.

In 1995, the Air Defence Artillery School and 119 AD Battery were moved to CFB Gagetown, and in 1996 the Field and Air Defence Artillery Schools were amalgamated to form the Royal Canadian School of Artillery (RCAS), now the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School (RRCAS), 5 CDSB Gagetown.

As a result of the downsizing of the Canadian Forces in 1992, 3 RCHA was reduced to nil strength. RCHA moved from Germany, on the disbandment of 4 CMBG, to replace 3 RCHA in Shilo.  At the same time, the weapon resources of the three remaining Regular Force Field Units were re-distributed, giving each Regiment a mix of 155-mm M109s and 105-mm C1 Howitzers.  In 1997, the C1 howitzers in the Regular Force units were replaced by a new, longer range, light 105-mm gun, the French LG1.  Other units received the 105-mm C2 howitzer.

(Author Photo)

105-mm LG1, RRCAS, 5 CDSB Gagetown, New Brunswick.

(Author Photo)

105mm C2 Howitzers, RCAS, 5 CDSB Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Operations Other Than War

The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, like the infantry and armoured regiments of the increasingly over-stretched Canadian military, contributed large numbers of men to peacekeeping and other UN and NATO missions in the years after the Korean War, bot as individuals and on occasion as formed units,most notably on Cyprus where batteries/regiments served as such in rotation.  Sub-units were also tasked to Bosnia and Haiti for NATO peace enforcement missions.

In the summer of 1991, 5 RALC along with elements of the 4th Air Defence Regiment deployed to Montreal in aide of the civil power, when their parent Brigade became involved in the Oka Crisis.

In the spring of 1997, all regular artillery regiments assisted in fighting floods in Manitoba, and in Jan 1998 again provided disaster assistance during severe ice storms in Ontario and Quebec.

The spring of 2000 saw 1 RCHA become the first Canadian artillery unit to deploy guns to an operational theatre since the Korean War.  "C" Battery deployed as an infantry company as part of the 2 PPCLI Battlegroup on OP PALLADIUM in Bosnia, followed by "A" Battery with six LG1 105-mm howitzers, replacing a British light gun battery. The battery operated as both a gun battery and also provided infantry patrols as needed. "B" Battery replaced them in October 2000, in turn replaced in March 2001 by a battery from 2 RCHA.

Gulf War 1991

The 119th Air Defence Battery RCA deployed a 36-member Troop of Javelin VSHORAD missile systems to provide extra air defence protection for the three Canadian Naval ships as part of Canada’s commitment to UN forces during the Gulf War on 9 Aug 1990.  Javelin had been procured in a very short span of time for this operation in order to replace the obsolete Blowpipe missile. Due to the two weapons’ general similarities, detachments were trained in a matter of two weeks while they were in transit to the Gulf.  The Royal School of Artillery, Larkhill, UK provided an Instructor-in-Gunnery (IG) team, which conducted weapon training while crossing the Atlantic.  A successful live fire practice was held when the ships reached the Azores in early September.

(Scott Wright Photo)

HMCS Athabaskan (DDH 282).

Each ship was provided a section of Javelin, with HMCS Athabaskan and HMCS Protecteur each receiving four detachments while HMCS Terra Nova received three.  The ships arrived in the Central Persian Gulf on 23 Sep 1990, and commenced UN Patrol duties, including the halting and boarding of ships in day and night as part of the embargo placed on Iraq.  In January 1991 the ships were placed in charge of organizing re-supply for the Multi-National force.  HMCS Protecteur was the only supply ship to remain in theatre for the entire operation.

During their tour, the Javelin troop did not have to fire a shot in anger, as the allies quickly grounded the Iraqi Air Force.  The operation did allow the Troop to hone their aircraft recognition skills and practice command and control procedures in a highly charged operational setting unlike they had ever been previously trained for.  They returned to Canada with the ships on 13 March 1991.

Three Canadian artillery officers saw active service as exchange officers with the British Army in this period.  Major Dave Marshall commanded 127 (Dragon) Field Battery RA, an eight-gun M109 battery that was part of the composite 2 Field Regiment RA. 2 Field Regiment supported the 4th Armoured Brigade, 1st British Armoured Division.  During the four days of fighting, Major Marshall’s battery fired over 2500 rounds of 155-mm ammunition at Iraqi second echelon armoured divisions.  Major Marshall is the only Canadian to have fired a Fire Mission Division in anger since Korea.  Captain Brian Travis was employed in the Divisional Artillery Headquarters as a liaison officer to the 7th US Corps Artillery, and Captain Jeff Willis served as a staff officer in the Divisional Artillery Headquarters.


In December 2005, 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, conducted an inaugural firing of its first 155-mm  M777  towed howitzers.  The first six guns delivered were supplied by the United States Marine Corps under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract between the U.S. and Canada.  The Canadian guns were first fired by A Battery, 1 RCHA at CFB Shilo, Manitoba, and then were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Archer, and were put into service in the Canadian theatre of operations around Kandahar in early 2006.  This marked the first use by any nation of the M777 in combat operations.  Regular RCHA units, reinforced by volunteers from Reserve units, continued to support operations until Canada completed its combat mission in Afghanistan in March 2014.

Units of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery

The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery is composed of both regular and reserve (militia) forces. The regular force component is composed of five units, four of which are front line operation units; of these, three are field artillery regiments while the fourth is a low level air defence unit. The fifth regular unit is the Royal Canadian Artillery School. Additionally, while the three field artillery regiments are on the RCA's order of battle, they are addressed as elements of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.

Regular Force Regiments

1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery

"A" Battery, "B" Battery, "C" Battery, "Z" Battery, Headquarters and Services Battery

2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery

"D" Battery, "E" Battery, "F" Battery, "Y" Battery, Headquarters and Services Battery

4th Artillery Regiment (General Support), Royal Canadian Artillery (formerly 4th Air Defence Regiment)

119 Battery, 127 Battery, 128 Battery, Headquarters and Services Battery

5e Régiment d'artillerie légère du Canada

Batterie "X" - howitzer battery, Batterie "Q" - howitzer battery, Batterie "R" - surveillance and target acquisition battery, Batterie "V" - forward observation battery, Batterie de Commandement et Services

The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School

"W" Battery, 45th Depot Battery, RCA (Fire Support), 67th Depot Battery, RCA (The Gatekeepers), Headquarters Battery

Reserve Regiments

1st (Halifax-Dartmouth) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, Halifax, Nova Scotia

51st Field Battery, RCA, 87th Field Battery, RCA

2nd Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, Montreal, Quebec

7th Field Battery, RCA, 50th Field Battery, RCA, 66th Field Battery, RCA

3rd Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, Saint John, New Brunswick

89th Field Battery, RCA, 115th Field Battery, RCA (The Loyal Company)

5th (British Columbia) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA

155th Field Battery, RCA, Victoria, British Columbia, 156th Field Battery, RCA, Nanaimo, British Columbia, The Band of the 5th (BC) Field Regiment, RCA, Victoria, British Columbia

6th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, Lévis, Quebec

57th Field Battery, RCA, 58th Field Battery, RCA, 58th Field Battery, RCA, 59th Field Battery, RCA

7th Toronto Regiment, RCA

9th Field Battery, RCA, 15th Field Battery, RCA, 130th Field Battery, RCA, The Band of the 7th Toronto Regiment, RCA

10th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA

18th Field Battery, RCA, Regina, Saskatchewan, 64th Field Battery, RCA, Yorkton, Saskatchewan

11th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, Guelph, Ontario

11th Field Battery (Hamilton-Wentworth), RCA, 16th Field Battery, RCA, 29th Field Battery, RCA

15th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, Vancouver, British Columbia

31st Field Battery, RCA, 68th Field Battery, RCA, The Band of the 15th Field Regiment, RCA

20th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA

61st Field Battery, RCA, Edmonton, Alberta, 78th Field Battery, RCA, Red Deer, Alberta

26th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA

13th Field Battery, RCA, Portage la Prarie, Manitoba, 71st Field Battery, RCA, Brandon, Manitoba

30th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, Ottawa, Ontario

1st Field Battery, RCA, 2nd Field Battery, RCA

42nd Field Artillery Regiment, Lanark and Renfrew Scottish, RCA, Pembroke, Ontario

35th Field Battery, RCA

49th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

30th Field Battery, RCA, 148th Field Battery, RCA

56th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, Brantford, Ontario

10th Field Battery, RCA, 54th Field Battery, RCA, 69th Field battery, RCA

62nd Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, Shawingigan, Quebec

81st Field Battery, RCA, 185th Field Battery, RCA

Independent batteries

20th Independent Field Battery, RCA, Lethbridge, Alberta

84th Independent Field Battery, RCA, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

116th Independent Field Battery, RCA, Kenora, Ontario

Since spring 2005, 10th Field Regiment, 26th Field Regiment and 116th Independent Field Battery have been grouped together as the 38 Canadian Brigade Group' (38 CBG) Artillery Tactical Group (ATG).

Other units

The Royal Canadian Artillery Band, Edmonton, Alberta, Regular Force

Note: Despite not being the senior component of the Canadian Army, the honour of "the right of the line" (precedence over other units), on an army parade, is held by the units of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery when on parade with their guns.  On dismounted parades, RCHA units take precedence over all other land force units except formed bodies of Officer Cadets of the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) representing their college. RCA units parade to the left of units of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.  The Royal Canadian Artillery does not carry colours.  Its guns are its colours and are saluted on parade.


  • "Ubique" - Latin for "everywhere"
  • "Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt" - Latin for "Whither Right and Glory Lead"


The insignia is described as:

"A field gun, with a scroll above inscribed "UBIQUE" and surmounted by the Crown. Below the gun, a scroll inscribed "QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT".

Garter badge insignia of the RCHA insignia.


Nicholson, Gerald W. L. The Gunners of Canada: the History of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, (McClelland and Stewart, Toronto, Ontario, ca 1967-1972), in two Volumes.

The Regiments and Corps of the Canadian Army, (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, Ontario, 1964).

Knight, Doug. Guns of the Regiment, (Service Publications, Ottawa, Ontario, Aug 2016)

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