We Gunners

Sarvatra Izzat - O - Iqbal




1. It was Japanese air threat in SE Asia during the Second World War which forced British

Government to raise AD units in India. Thus the history of AD Artillery in India began 1939

onwards when a few Indian troops began to be trained in the use of the 3 inch gun and later the

40mm L/60 gun as part of the Anti-aircraft (AA) Batteries of Hongkong and Singapore Royal

Artillery (HKSRA) and Indian Artillery . From 1941 onwards AA units and training establishments

began to be raised in India with Indian Officers and men being posted into these establishments

from the Artillery and infantry initially, and later through fresh commission and enrolment.

QF 3.7” (STATIC) MK-II QF 40 MM L/60 AA

Growth of Army Air Defence in India

2. In UK, Policy makers for artillery had decided to retain TA units for static role tasks and to

raise regular army AA units for the field armies. As a consequence, the HAA units were raised for

static role against high altitude bombers, while LAA units were raised for mobile role against low

flying fighter aircraft. The same concept was followed after independence.

3. The orgaisation of AA units and formations, though akin to artillery for command and

control, evolved on the basis of gun density requirement for protection of Vulnerable Points and

Areas. Terminology used was, of course, that of the Artillery which remains so till date. No

organized concept of allotment or scales existed, although fire control coordination with the Air

Force was being done. AA defence was meant to be static and deployed ‘en masse’ to deter, if

not, destroy the enemy, who was also expected to come in mass for bombing of targets. Barrage

fire dictated deployment of batteries in layers and rings, providing a form of area defence.


4. In Jul 1940, AA and Coast Defence Wings were established at Karachi for training of

Indian Officers. VCOs and NCOs in AA techniques. In Aug 1940, a momentous decision was

taken by the War Office to create AA branch of Indian Artillery on the TA concept . On 14 Sep

1940, one Indian AA Technical Training Battery was raised at Colaba, Bombay. It included

nucleus of the first AA units of Indian Artillery, the ‘R’ (Royal) HAA Regiment. The light AA unit

called the ‘U’ LAA Regiment began raising in Jan 1941 at Malir Cantt (Now in Pakistan) with L/60

guns. In Apr 1941 a new system of nomenclature was adopted and thus ‘R’ HAA became 1

Indian HAA Regiment IA and ‘U’ LAA became 1 Indian LAA Regiment IA. By 1942 two AA

training centers (AATC) were raised. By this time there were eighteen AA regiments (9 HAA

Regiments and 9 LAA Regiments), four HQ AA Brigades, two Independent LAA Batteries and

one Independent HAA Battery. In the year 1944 there were a total of 33 AD Artillery units,

however, immediately after the Second World War a large number of these units were

disbanded. At the time of partition only two AD Artillery units viz 26 LAA and 27 LAA Regiments

came to India while the oldest AA Establishment in India was I Training Battery alongwith which

the nucleus of ‘R’ HAA Regiment was also raised, however, neither of the two survived into

Independent India.


5. The L/60 guns were gradually replaced. By the late sixties, the necessity for AD protection

to field formations had been realized and thinking on AD concepts crystallized. There were

discussions on acquiring a mix of guns and missiles, with guns covering the dead zone of the

missiles. A number of conversion courses were conducted at the AD Wing, School of Artillery,

Deolali for selected Officers who were transferred from Field Branch to AD Branch. However,

from 1970 onwards, officers were directly commissioned in the AD Branch of Artillery. After

induction of L/70 guns, which required skilled personnel to man guns, radars and associated

equipment it was decided to convert all the exiting TA units into regular AD units. Thus by 1975

all the TA AD units were converted into regular regiments.


6. The post 1971 era will go down in history as an important era in modernizing and

mechanization of AD Artillery. In 1972 the Tiger cat Msl System, in 1973, ZSU-23-4B Schilka

and in 1976, ZU-23-2B guns were introduced during 1977 and OSA-AK system was introduced in

1985-86. Subsequently Igla and Strela-10M missiles were introduced during 1988-89.



7. On of the defining periods in the Corps history was from 1987 to 1990 when the following

events took place which totally changed the face of AD Artillery :-

(a) Move of AD Wing from School of Artillery and establishment of Air Defence Guided

Missile School (now rechristened Army Air Defence College) at Gopalpur Military Station in

Orissa during Dec 1989.

(b) The case for bifurcation from the Regiment of Artillery was initiated. After

protracted deliberations and dithering, it finally fructified in Oct 1993.


8. The Corps of AD Artillery’ came into its own on 10 Jan 1994. The Directorate General of

Air Defence Artillery started functioning from the same day. Likewise, AD Artillery branches at the

various command HQs also took birth. ADGM School at Gopalpur started functioning as an

autonomous entity, the AD Wing at Artillery Centre, Nasik Road Camp became the ADGM


AD Artillery In Operations

9. During the Second World War, the heaviest concentration of AA Artillery in the British

Army outside Britain, was in ‘India Command’. The performance of the Indian LAA Regiments

were awarded for their dedication and acts of valour in the face of the enemy. Three Indian LAA

Regiments were awarded with Mention-in-Desptaches during their employment in East Bengal,

Assam and Rangoon. A total of three MC, one MBE and seven IDSM were awarded to AA

Artillery during the Second World War.

10. During 1962 Sino Indian War, a total of six AD Artillery units were employed in

Assam/Bengal in AA as well as non AA role. AD gunners gave a very good account of

themselves during the 1965 operations. Inspite of immense shortage of AD resources (which led

to our field formations going into action witout adequate AD cover) the AD guns were very

effective and contributed to the success of the campaign. After the first few days of the war, the

will and determination of the PAF waned and more often than not, they turned tail at the first sign

of the presence of AD Artillery. The Army AD units won several awards for gallantry. In all, four

Vir Chakras, five Sena Medals, fourteen Mention-in-Despatches and four COAS commendation

cards were awarded to AD Artillery during 1965 Indo-Pak War.


11. AD Artillery had reached a new high during Indo-Pak war 1971. Four regiments had been

conferred ‘Honour Titles’. The awards won by the personnel are equally worthy of pride. AD

gunners were awarded a total of thirteen Vir Chakras, one Shaurya Chakra, fifteen Sena Medals,

one AVSM, three VSM and twenty six Mention-in-Despatches. Besides these were two COAS

and three GOC-in-c Commendation Cards.

12. Apart from the above mentioned operations, the AD Artillery has actively participated in

Operation in Operation Meghdoot, Operation Trident & Falcon, Operation Pawan and in ‘No War

No Peace’ tasks. As on date a large number of AD guns are deployed in ground role on the LOC

and are being manned by AD gunners. Besides this, several AD units have been engaged in

various CI tasks in Jammu and Kashmir. Since 1984, personnel from over twenty AD units have

had the opportunity to operate in the difficult and hazardous infested areas of the state. At any

one time, four to five AD units remain deployed actively on the LOC, AGPL and various misc

tasks in the CI grid, facing adverse climate and enemy fire and yet carrying on with their job with

élan. Several awards have been received during these operations. This demonstrates the spirit

and motivation of the AD troops in this unusual role.

13. The Corps of Air Defence Artillery has been re-designated as ‘Corps of Army Air Defnce’

wef 18 Apr 2005.

14. The motto of Army AD is “Aksshe Shatrun Jahi”. The Army AD flag has two colours, sky

blue on top and red at the bottom. Sky blue colour signifies the background against which the

Army AD weapons have to operate. Red colour symbolizes sacrifice and chivalry. The AD crest is

placed in the centre, which has been designed by NID, Ahmedabad. It has two radars emitting

antennas facing out-wards and a surface to air missile in the centre.