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The unit was commanded by Captain Otto Riedell, a former Austrian artillery officer. The members of the battery, most of who were not citizens of the ZAR, joined the three British volunteer corps, which had been created in order to assist the garrison with the defence of Pretoria. This police force was amalgamated with the artillery corps in under the name of Transvaalsche Artillerie Corps Transvaal Artillery Corps.
However, this amalgamation was found to be unfeasible and the artillery and policing functions were subsequently separated again. The artillery formation was named the Staatsartillerie van de Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek State Artillery of the South African Republic and had a strictly military function and structure.
Batteries of the Staatsartillerie went on to serve in the Malaboch War and the Mahoeba War — In order to man these forts, the formation of a separate Vesting Artillerie Fortress Artillery was proposed. In , despite some resistance to this idea mainly because of the cost , the Volksraad approved increasing the manpower of the Staatsartillerie by men in order to form the Corps Vesting Artillerie Fortress Artillery Corps.
This Corps was organised as an arm of the Staatsartillerie. By the Fortress Artillery Corps had grown to a unit with 9 officers and men. At this time, the Staatsartillerie was under the overall command of a lieutenant-colonel and was subdivided into several units, including:. The commanding officer of the Staatsartillerie was the sole person to hold the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the armed forces of the South African Republic. With the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War, the unit was reorganised.
The Fortress Artillery was disbanded and the Military band was redesignated as Medical assistants. The unit was divided into four divisions and sent to Natal, Mafeking, Colesberg and Kimberley.
With the collapse of the Boer offensive, the Staatsartillerie retreated to the Free State in order to halt Lord Roberts' advance on Pretoria. After the capture of Pretoria, they retreated with the Boer forces to the Eastern Transvaal. Due to lack of ammunition and the changing Boer strategy, the guns were dumped in the Krokodil River or blown up at Komatipoort. They were reorganised as a mounted infantry unit. During the Boer War, the Staatsartillerie performed stellar service.
They were the first modern artillery unit to use indirect fire Battle of Dalmanutha 21—27 August and the first to use their guns as fire support to the infantry. Their outstanding service led to Winston Churchill to comment " these are the finest gunners in the world It was not the Battle of Dalmanthutha where indirect was first used, — they did it first at Spioenkop 24 January and then at the Thukela Heights 12 to 27 February — six months earlier.
The British then started experimenting with it during the north bank operations of the Thukela Heights.