21 (Gibraltar 1779-83) Battery
21 Air Assault Battery has seen conflict in many theatres of war, many campaigns in the far corners of the world and defended the country and its’ peoples from many different enemies. From the origins of Wedell’s Company, the Bty has served with distinction. From the Great Siege of Gibraltar (1779-1783), through to the First and Second World Wars, the streets of Northern Ireland, Falkland Islands, and the streets of Afghanistan and Iraq.
In recent years 21 Battery has deployed on four tours in Afghanistan (two in its current role as an MUAS Bty using Desert Hawk Unmanned Air System).
Stepping back a few years into 21 Battery’s recent history, they served in Operation Desert Storm providing air defence for RN vessels, before being equipped with SP HVM and LML HVM and operations with 24 Air Mobile Brigade. With the expansion of 47 Reg RA in 1993 and the full conversion to a dedicated Close Air Defence Regiment, the Bty returned to being based in the UK.
During the 90s tours of Northern Ireland were intermingled with postings to Bosnia in 1995, a full Regimental tour of Cyprus in 1998 serving with UNFICYP, before being attached to the newly formed 16 Air Assault Brigade in 1999. This move saw a number of changes, ‘P-Troop’, the airborne air defence troop of 5 Airborne Brigade, joined 47 Regiment as a party of 31 (HQ) Bty and then subsequently 21 Battery.
21 Bty converted to HVM in 2000. In 2001 the Bty was awarded its’ new title of 21 (Gibraltar 1779 – 83) Air Assault Battery and deployed in late 2001 to Afghanistan as part of Op FINGEL, which later became part of the bigger Op Herrick tours. Subsequent tours, in particular in 2006, they saw some of the fiercest fighting UK troops had seen since the Kosovo War, sustaining two casualties and fired over 12,000 rounds during fire fights with the Taliban.
In 2008, 21 Bty deployed simultaneously to Op Telic and Op Herrick providing Surveillance and Target Acquisition to both 7 Armoured and 16 Air Assault Brigades using the Desert Hawk Mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
The Bty is currently serving as part of 32 Regt RA where it supports the Air Assault Task Force with dedicated airborne MUAS capability.