Dronacharya, the gunnery training establishment of Indian Navy as
it is today, is a conglomeration of three components viz ex-Naval Coastal
Battery, Kochi, ex-Naval Battery, Kochi and Gunnery School, Naval Base,
Kochi. This was a natural polarisation of different establishments having
similar professional assignments.
On September 3, 1939 the Cochin Port
was threatened when second world war broke out. Four 60-pounders backed by
two Coastal Artillery Search Lights (CASLs) boomed in Fort Cochin whose
reverberations marked the beginning of historical Naval Coastal Battery at
Kochi. A year later, the 3rd Heavy Battery RA consisting of 120 Madras, 50
British and Punjabi NCOs was raised.
during 1941, it was decided to re-equip the Battery with searchlights and
heavier calibre guns. This was the time when three 6" MK7, one Mark
5/6 Mounting for counter bombardment role and two 4.5" guns in coast
defence/anti-air role (CD/AA) were installed. Work on the famous 6"
gun, which gave the Battery a fearsome reputation, was completed in July
1943, and the guns installed resulting in the withdrawal of the 60
pounders. Subsequently, 2 pounder anti-tank guns in NTB role and two 12
pounder heavy artillery (HA) guns in CO/AA role were installed at the
harbour and by the side of armoury quarters on the beach. These 2 pounder
and 12 pounder guns were replaced with two 40/60 Bofors installed in AMTB
role. On cessation of hostilities in 1945, these 40/60 Bofors along with
CASLs were removed and the site was abandoned. However to cater for AA
defence of Battery and the port, 3.7" AA guns were installed. In
March 1946, the Coastal Regiment was disbanded with the exception of 5
Coast Battery, RIA (Royal Indian Army), for maintenance of the equipment.
The coast maintenance batteries were also disbanded and the coastal
batteries were taken over by 505 Coast Battery (Territorial Army) in
November 1950. In September 1964, Naval ratings took over the manning of
these batteries from 505 Coastal Battery (TA).
to removal of 3.7" AA guns from NCB in December 1952, a need for AA
cover for the Battery and the port was felt giving rise to the
construction of an AA Battery at the Southern end of NCB and was equipped
with two 4" mountings, 20 mm hydraulically operated twin barrel
mounting and three 40/60 MK 5 Bofors. These guns were also used for
imparting practical training to gunnery sailors and officers undergoing
courses at the erstwhile Gunnery School. Similarly in 1978, Leander complex
was commissioned and the already existing 4.5" MK 3 gun was remoted
to this system.
independence, the gunnery training for third-rate courses was being
conducted at HMIS Himalaya on Manora Island, Karachi (now in
Pakistan). After the partition of India, no gunnery training could be
conducted for a year. Hence the 3rd rate course was started in October
1948 at Kochi in an improvised building located at the site of present
Command Parade Ground. Within four years, training of gunnery rates was
shifted to its permanent premises viz Gunnery School in INS Venduruthy.
Till then, training was imparted to junior classes only.
Naval Coast Battery, Naval Battery and Gunnery School were merged and
eventually shifted to a new premises in Fort Cochin on January 1, 1978 and
was known as Naval Detachment - Fort Cochin. By the year-end, a
full-fledged independent establishment was commissioned as INS Dronacharya..