Exercise Prairie Storm is a 35 day exercise on the British Army Training Unit Suffield training area in Canada, and prepares soldiers and officers for future deployments.

More than 1,200 troops from the Kings Royal Hussars and the 4th Battalion, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) are training hard in the heat on the Canadian Prairie.

The Kings Royal Hussars, normally based in Tidworth, are honing their skills on the Challenger 2 main battle tanks by day and night; they are joined by Armoured Infantry Companies from the 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment and the 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment, artillery from the 19th Regiment, Royal Artillery, and combat engineers from the 26th Regiment, The Royal Engineers – forming an Armoured Battlegroup. In addition, this battlegroup is also supported by mortars, snipers and reconnaissance troops from 1 Mercian and drones and signals specialists.

According to the Ministry of Defence:

“Their training begins with team and platoon exercises and culminates with large-scale manoeuvre involving the whole battlegroup. Currently they are conducting live firing exercises before then taking the fight against a live opposing force, or OPFOR.

To keep this large armoured organisation moving and fighting involves 400 mechanics, logisticians, medics, military police and suppliers – all working as part of the 4th Battalion REME battlegroup.

Exercise Prairie Storm usually happens 3 times per year at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS), on the southern-Albertan Prairie near Medicine Hat. The British Army has been training at Suffield for 44 years.  The training conducted here is as unique are it is remote: it is currently the only place where an entire armoured battlegroup can train in its entirety.”

The exercise is deliberately designed to prepare troops for an austere, expeditionary deployment against a well-trained and potent enemy. Over 300 safety staff of instructors, coaches, mentors and drivers deploy to deliver this exercise annually.

14 COMMENTS

  1. only 3 times a year shows how cutbacks have kicked in i remember when it was 7 times a year,but they ditched the 7th one due to severe cold climate and to many soldiers ended up with cold weather injuries still it,s was a good exercise especially the R+R bit got to go to Montana Las Vegas and the Rockies

    • It’s all these quiet stealth cuts for training and logistics that diminish our actual readiness and capability.

    • To be fair they have to scrape the barrel to get enough lads/lassies together to man the 3rd exercise now. If they still did 7 there’d be full exercises with 3 guys and a dog.

    • it’s a nightmare to maintain so many vehicles on prairie storm, the older ones break down without fail. that exercise is so demanding on the vehicles and so expensive that I’m surprised it’s still going. bloody good time for the anti tank units though. one of the best excercises available for the lads of all disciplines

  2. I don’t understand why military vehicles break down so often.
    Have the entire globes armed forces decided that British Leyland made mighty fine vehicles and have those engineers stashed away at Area 51 working on a next gen train wreck engine?
    Sure tank engines need to move heavy tanks but so do truck engines and you don’t see them breaking down every other day. I’m not expecting them to be unbreakable but they seem to need spares at a vast rate and a pit crew that would put the WRC to shame.

    • Pretty standard in the Army. Old kit that’s left for ages then used at a high tempo with little maintenance, then it breaks down and requires huge work.

      • I watched recently how the US looks after and refurbs its Abrams. OMG what a difference. true they have scale to do it properly but how they look after and maintain their fleet is nothing short of brilliant.

    • The trucks are usually going over roads not crossing country terrain like military vehicles. Heavy equipment in the military has to not just haul itself around but it’s armor, crew, and where applicable personnel. Then you add in compromises in both design an upgrades due to money. The government might say pay for a newer and more powerful engine to compensate for a armor kit upgrade. But the neglect to upgrade the transmission with a new model to actually take advantage of the engine. Or as governments that are prone to saying “don’t worry the tanks are in reserve condition” have been doing. Not buying “new” parts at all but stripping them off vehicles they know they won’t have money to use.

  3. Yes that 7th one in 1980s kit and DMS boots was hell, did a season as safety staff in 1981 I think, god where we ever that young and keen.

  4. Yes, another C2 regiment for the chop leaving just 2 front line regiments. The army stil claims to have 336 ‘in service’.
    In mothballs more like! All hail Ajax and its non-existant anti tank capability.

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