148 ( Meiktila ) Battery

148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Observation Battery Royal Artillery is a Commando-trained unit of specialist Naval Gunfire Forward Observers. Although part of 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, it conducts many operations separately from the rest of the regiment. Royal Artillery batteries are usually named after one of their battle honours; the Battle of Meiktila occurred in Burma in February/March 1945, with 148 Battery firing its 25-pounder guns in support of 255th Armoured Brigade. 


(source  Stu Hart (ex 29 Cdo) : The Combined Operations Bombardment Units (COBUs) provided fire direction for ships in shore bombardment in World War 2. The first COBU was formed in 1940 and by the end of the war there were five in existence. In 1946 all were disbanded, except No.2 COBU which joined the School of Combined Operations (later the Amphibious Warfare Centre) at Fremington. 3 Independent Combined Operations Bombardment Troop (3 ICOBT) was raised to serve with the 40th Infantry Division in Hong Kong in 1949 and soon more Amphibious Observation Units, as they were now called, were in existence. These were combined to form 95th Amphibious Observation Regiment, with its headquarters at Fremington in Devon but batteries stationed at fleet bases throughout the world. 166 Battery, based at Malta, participated in the Suez invasion in November 1956(Operation Musketeer).

148 Battery has been in existence under various names since 1842. After 1945 it became a training unit but converted to the Amphibious Observation role in 1960. At around the same time it was decided that the Royal Marines, who no longer included gunners in their ranks, needed specialist fire support from an Army artillery regiment. Up until then 3 Commando Brigade had relied on whatever gunner regiment was available. 29th Field Regiment was serving in Kuwait in 1962 when it was chosen to take up this role. Its members were to be the first Army Commandos since 1946 and the first men to complete training received their green berets on 15 May 1962. Later 95 Regiment was also re-roled as a Commando Light Regiment with the 105mm pack howitzer. 148 Battery was to continue in the amphibious observation role for 95 as a Commando Forward Observation Battery, while 20 Battery did the same job for 29. Later a Territorial Army unit, 881 Battery, was formed.

Members of 148 Battery saw service in the Malay Peninsula 1963-66, Borneo 1963-66, the Radfan in 1964 and in Aden at various times between 1960 and 1967. In 1971 the battery returned to the UK from Singapore, along with the rest of 3 Commando Brigade, and took up its present location at Poole. With the general reduction of the Royal Navy and gun-armed ships in particular there seemed to be less need for such units. The various batteries had at certain times changed regiments so when 95 Commando Regiment was disbanded in 1975, 148 Battery survived as part of 29 Regiment. 20 and 881 Batteries were not so lucky and 148 became the sole remaining NGFO unit. It too was scheduled for disbandment when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in April 1982.

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