8th Army Group Royal Artillery (8 AGRA) was a brigade-sized formation organised by Britain’s Royal Artillery (RA) during World War II to command medium and heavy guns. It served in the campaign in North West Europe, participating in the battles in the Orne valley and the bocage south of Caumont before the breakout from the Normandy beachhead, operations to close up to the Maas, and the assault crossing of the Rhine (Operation Plunder).
The need for a higher organisational command structure for medium and heavy artillery became apparent during the Battle of France and the early part of the Western Desert Campaign. The Army Group Royal Artillery (AGRA) concept was developed during Exercise ‘Bumper’ held in the UK in 1941, organised by the commander of Home Forces, General Alan Brooke (himself a Gunner) with Lt-Gen Bernard Montgomery as chief umpire. This large anti-invasion exercise tested many of the tactical concepts that would be used by the British Army in the latter stages of the war. The gunnery tacticians developed the AGRAs as powerful artillery brigades, usually comprising three or four medium regiments and one heavy regiment, which could be rapidly moved about the battlefield, and had the punch to destroy enemy artillery with counter-battery (CB) fire. AGRAs were provided to field armies at a scale of about one per Army corps. AGRAs were improvised until 26 November 1942, when they were officially sanctioned, to consist of a commander (CAGRA) and staff to control non-divisional artillery.