DIE STAATSARTILLERIE VAN DIE ZAR
AbstractThe eventual establishment of the Transvaal State Artillery in 1881 represents the culmination of several attempts to create an orthodox European-style force to act as a core for the burger commandos in the field. 'The Pretoria Rifle Corps' the 'Batterij Dingaan' and various volunteer 'Schutzencorps' had all enjoyed a brief existence during the 1870's. The war of 1880-81, albeit successfully concluded, indicated the need for a more permanent and professional approach to the problem. The result was that the restored South African Republic raised its own artillery and mounted police corps in 1881, along the same lines as that of the Orange Free State. Various refoms were necessary in the first years of the corps' existence and certain changes of designation occurred. Only in 1890 was the money available to pui: the education and training of the State's artillerists on a sounder basis. In 1896 a further reorganisation resulted in the Corps adopting the form in which it would enter the Anglo-Boer War. For the next three years there was a considerable expansion in the number of personnel and substantial purchases of equipment to prepare the 'Staatsartillerie' for the increasingly likely event of war. When war did break out, the 'Staatsartillerie' was immediately in the front line, distinguishing itself at the sieges of Ladysmih and Mafeking. The transition to a more mobile form of warfare in March 1900 made certain challtges necessary in the constitution of the unit however, and after Bergendal, the last pitched battle of the war, only light artillery was employed by the commandos. Personnel of the 'Staatsartillerie' thus stayed in the field until the war's end and the Treaty of Vereeniging which marked the end of the 'Staatsartillerie', as well as that of the Republic which the unit had served.
Copyright (c) 2018 O.J.O. Ferreira
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