31st Reserve Field Artillery Regiment (Ireland)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=31 Reserve Field Artillery Regiment


caption=Shoulder Flash of the 31st Field Artillery Regiment
dates=2005 - Present
country=Ireland
branch=Army
type=Artillery
command_structure=
role=
size=
current_commander=
garrison=HQ at Templemore
commanding officer=
colors=
The 31 Reserve Field Artillery Regiment is a field artillery unit of the Southern Brigade Irish Reserve Defence Forces tasked with the defence of part of County Tipperary and also with providing support to the 1st FAR, a unit of the regular Irish Army.

History

The Corps of Artillery of the Irish Army was founded in 1924, and based in Connolly Barracks in the Curragh Camp. The Patron saint of the corps is Saint Barbara, and she appears on the corps insignia sitting astride a cannon. The present 31 FAR came into being on 1st October 2005, and is made up of units from the former reserve structure, the FCÁ. The units which were disbanded in order to form the new 31 FAR were the 8 FAR (Cork), 3 FAR (Tipperary) and part of the 14th Infantry Battalion also from Tipperary.

The 8 FAR was originally formed in Ballincollig in 1979. It was made up of the reserve batteries which had once formed part of the 1st FAR. The regiment consisted of two batteries: 2nd Battery (25 Pounder field guns) and 21st Heavy Mortar Battery (120mm Mortars). The unit moved to Collins Barracks in Cork City following the closure of Ballincollig Barracks. 2nd Battery and 21st Battery merged to become the 1st Battery of the 31 FAR on 1st October 2005.

Activities

The unit has both ceremonial and training commitments, with annual artillery practice held in the Glen of Imaal in Co Wicklow in July of each year. A camp is also held around Easter time which focuses on small arms training. Soldiers from this unit are often invited to participate in training courses outside the unit, and members also participate in Defence Forces sporting events and shooting competitions, and have won several medals across a variety of events.

The Pistol Team from 1st Battery has been in the forefront of army shooting competitions in recent yearsFact|date=September 2007. In January 2005, members of what was then the 8 FAR (now 1st Battery) were called upon to take part in a ceremonial 21 Gun Salute in honour of the City of Cork becoming the European Capital of Culture. In recent years, ceremonial duties have included committing a contingent of soldiers to represent the Southern Brigade at the National Day of Remembrance ceremony at Kilmainham. Soldiers in the 31 FAR are also trained in Infantry Tactics, Amphibious operations, Fighting in Built Up Areas (FIBUA) and Peace Support Operations.

Armaments

The unit uses 25 Pounder field guns [http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=25+pounder] and L118 and L119 105mm Light Guns. Some smoothbore Brandt 120mm heavy mortars were in the unit's possession but this obsolete weapon has since been removed from service.

The personal weapon of soldiers in this unit is the Steyr AUG automatic rifle. Officers and senior NCOs carry the 9mm H&K USP pistol, which has replaced the Browning Hi-Power in 2007. The 7.62mm FN MAG machine gun is in service - replacing the Bren gun as the section light machine gun.

The unit also trains upon anti-tank weapons such as the 84mm Carl Gustav recoiless rifle and the 84mm SRAAW.

Members

Men and Women ages 17-34 can join the unit by applying to their local battery office. The unit has batteries in Cork City and in Templemore, Thurles and Nenagh. All members are Volunteers, and they give up their free time in order to train with the unit. 2007 is the first year since 1979 where members of the Reserve Defence Forces can become integrated with their associated regular army unit. Members of the 31 FAR now have the opportunity to train alongside their colleagues in the 1st FAR - and will eventually return to the reserve regiment to pass on that training.

As an artillery unit, members also train frequently with the Army School of Artillery in the Curragh Camp. Training is held once a week for two hours at night eg 8-10 on Tuesday Night for 1st Battery. Members are also frequently given opportunity to train on a variety of Reserve Army tasks across the Southern Brigade.

Barracks

* HQ Bty - McCann Barracks, Templemore, Co.Tipperary.
* 1 Gun Bty - Collins Barracks, Cork
* 2 Gun Bty - Slievenamon Road,Thurles, Co.Tipperary
* 3 Gun Bty - Military Barracks, Summerhill, Nenagh, Co.Tipperary

External links

* [http://www.1bderdf.com/31rar.htm 31 FAR website]
* [http://www.62regiment.ie 62 Reserve Artillery Regiment - Ireland]


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