Hundreds of British soldiers have been undergoing intense training in low temperatures in Estonia, say the British Army.

“During the two weeks of Exercise Winter Camp, the 5 RIFLES-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup has trained in deep snow and freezing conditions on the Central Training Area near its base in Tapa. To prepare troops for Winter Camp the Battlegroup took part in a Cold Weather Operator’s Course learning to build shelters, staying out in conditions well below freezing, and surviving jumping into ice cold lakes.”

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hadfield, Commanding Officer of the Battlegroup, explained in a news release:

“As British soldiers we don’t often soldier in -20 degrees Celsius or this kind of depth of snow. It presents equipment challenges, clothing challenges, as well as different tactics, and the cold weather operators course provides that foundational baseline bit of training, to make sure that we can build upon that and be as good a team as we can be.”

Meanwhile, the British Army say that the Challenger Main Battle tanks of D Squadron Queen’s Royal Hussars “tackled the snow and ice of forest tracks as they trained with the Estonian Defence Force’s (EDF) Scouts Battalion”.

“The Estonians are experienced out here and they know what they are doing with tanks and can guide the commanders to positions they want to utilise us. They can have their CV90s alongside us,” said Trooper Cameron Dixon of D Squadron.

“This is by far the coldest exercise I have done,” he said. “You’ve got to keep warm, eat hot food and move about while maintaining the tanks. You’ve got to keep layered up too and it can be quite tight inside the tank with body armour on, but you’ve got push through.”

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George Royce
George Royce
4 months ago

With the right kit I hope. That photo of the open-top vehicle in freezing temperatures was shameful

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  George Royce

Did not see it. Assume it was a Jackal or Coyote from one of the “Light Cavalry” regiments?

Another quality move for the RAC, getting rid of 3 regiments of armoured CVRT’s for Jackal.

Good for long range off road recc in Africa and the Middle East by SF and similar types but against a peer with heavy artillery in Europe?

dave12
dave12
4 months ago

I’m a bit confused isn’t the Ajax recce version meant to replace the Scimitar?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  dave12

It is Dave. But there were once many more Armoured Recc regiments with the Scimitar and other CVRT variants, and Regiments of Tanks. 5 of each in fact pre 2010 and cuts even earlier. Those 3 “Light Cavalry” regiments are all the remnants of what we’re once armoured formations. The Ajax “Scout” variant will indeed replace Scimitar, in the other 4 non tank regiments remaining in the RAC. Its very hard to follow the constant musical chairs of the army ORBAT, made worse by cuts and the army changing one reorganisation before the previous even ends. For interest, the RAC:… Read more »

dave12
dave12
4 months ago

Cheers for post DM that clears things up.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 months ago
Reply to  dave12

True, but you are talking about an army combat vehicles programme which are renowned for outrageous delays. As of 1/10/20, there had been 157 hulls and 45 turrets built but only 60 complete vehicles, of which 17 had been accepted by MoD and only 12 were in service, almost certainly mostly, if not all, with the Training organisation. I think we should have a squadron in-service by summer.

George Royce
George Royce
4 months ago

Yes I meant the Jackal.

Dern
Dern
4 months ago

Jackal wasn’t a one for one replacement for CVRT Daniele, a variety of kit went by the board including 1 regiment of CR2s. It simply fills a niche that the RAC always has filled, light armoured cars. (Seriously the RAC has almost always been divided between Medium/MBTs, Light Tanks, and loght armoured cars.) In principle even in a large peer-peer fight there is a place for Jackal, not every part of a line will be a slogging match and the army will always need eyes on the ground in lower risk parts of the front. (And again as a recce… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Dern

I know Dern, thanks. I was not going into detail above as many don’t get the changes we’ve endured and was trying to keep it basic with the Light role mainly being the Jackal platform.

I concede your point on Jackal but surely the previous Scorpion and Scimitar had more usefulness?

What were the previous light armoured cars, the Fox? I loved the Fox!

Dern
Dern
3 months ago

I mean that’s a long list, Fox, Ferret, CVRW, Saladin, etc all spring to mind. Older you get the Morris LRC, Dingo, AEC, Humber etc Scorpion and Scimitar have more usefulness if you intend to contact recce by fire, but even then for armoured combat they are very lightly armed. Optics package might have been an advantage once but a Jackals optics (even if they are just man portable) are more modern and not necessarily fixed to the vehicle. What is usefulness? If I plan a recce, or a screen of op’s on a low priority piece of ground, what… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks,Dern, good points well made.

Ian M.
Ian M.
3 months ago
Reply to  Dern

The last versions of CVRT (Scimitar) were equipped with an M-SPIRE Commanders sight. The same IR detector as BGTI and from the same family as AJAX IR system. Very capable and when married with the navigation system able to furnish far target information for “upstairs”.

David Barry
David Barry
3 months ago

Hi Daniele, just to add to the depression… those withdrawn vehicles went to… Latvia and thus jackal crews in Estonia will probably train alongside them.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Thanks……! I wish I’d taken up an interest in trains! It is depressing sometimes seeing what has happened since 1990.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Jackal was procured (probably as a UOR) for Op Herrick in Afghanistan to supplement WMIK and Snatch (which was later withdrawn). So I agree that it was not a replacement for CVR(T). It has clearly been taken ‘into core’ but it really should not be deployed forward ‘against’ an armour and artillery-heavy Russian threat, but could, as you say, play a part elsewhere in the battle space. I like your last point (in brackets) – we have traditionally conducted recce by stealth and not by fighting, which accounts for the small size, low ground pressure and agility of CVR(T) –… Read more »

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
4 months ago

Would it be so difficult to make a bolt on hard cover? Imagine a HMT600 LRV but with a detachable roof, sides and doors? Except in 4×4 obviously. Dunno if a RWS is simple enough for a drop in replacement though.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 months ago

There does seem to be an anti-CVR(T) lobby, shouting ‘not fit for purpose’ at the drop of a hat. I would certainly rather be in a Scimitar (with armour protection, weather protection and BGTI) than a Jackal, even against low-grade opposition equipped with light weapons, let alone against the Russians.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 months ago
Reply to  George Royce

I did not see the photo. Is it in snowy conditions in Estonia?