The Hohne tank ranges in Germany have been alive with the sounds of cannon fire over the last few days as the Queen’s Royal Hussars armoured regiment of the British Army have been putting their Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks through their paces in an exercise testing maneuver, fire and teamwork.
The regiment, which is based at Sennelager in Germany, deployed three Main Battle Tank squadrons of Challengers along with the regimental Command and Recce squadron in what for some soldiers was their first time working hands-on in a full exercise with the powerful 62-ton tanks. The regiment’s new recruits had for months already been developing and honing their skills on the ranges at Sennelager and using the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer, a sophisticated simulated training system that enabled them to gain the necessary experience before getting to grips with the tanks themselves, at Normandy Barracks in Sennelager.
The Commanding Officer of the regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Alex Porter, said:
“We have a number of new Troopers who are fresh from training or newly moved into crew positions so for them it’s about getting used to a gun tank; we do a lot of training on simulators but to actually drive and fire a gun tank is different and for many a real eye opener of the task expected of them. The aim of the exercise has been to make the crews effective and it has been the entirely correct arena to make and then learn from mistakes made.”
He went on to talk about his regiment’s next training deployment, which will be to British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Canada, to test operations in a larger battle area:
“When we finish here we will be ready for our next big serial preparing to go to BATUS, Canada for Exercise Prairie Storm. BATUS is incredibly important for us as a Regiment, it will be the pinnacle of our training year and will lead to us being ready to deploy with the NATO High Readiness Task Force as the lead Armoured Battlegroup next year.”