News Article

RTR Battlegroup Ex Prairie Storm 1/15 BATUS

22 June 2015

The Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup (BG) have now returned from what was a challenging but successful deployment to BATUS on Exercise PRAIRIE STORM (PS) 1/15.  The BG was made up of BG HQ, an ISTAR group comprising Recce Tp and a Desert Hawk 3 detachment (TUAS), BADGER (CR2 Sqn), 2 Armd Inf Coys (B Coy 1 MERCIAN and Y Coy 1 RRF), 3 Armd Engr Sqn from 22 Engr Regt and E Bty from 1 RHA.  As the first BG through the exercise we were responsible for activating the training fleet of vehicles, not a small task but throughout the preparation to deploy the Regiment conducted itself immaculately.  As we left the dustbowl at the beginning of the exercise the BATUS staff were struggling to remember a BG that had left it in such a good state thereby maintaining the Regt’s reputation for travelling the world clearing up other people’s mess!

The exercise scenario itself was a continuation of the one from our Combined Arms Staff Training in Warminster.  The aggressor state, the Northern Democratic Federation, had executed a limited land grab into the United Western States.  The RTR BG, as part of 1 Armd Inf Bde, had been deployed to re-establish the integrity of the international border.  The first phase of the deployment saw the BG conduct Sub-unit level collective training before conducting Special To Arm live fire packages.  Comd BATUS reflected that the standard of precision gunnery, particularly in the tank sqn, was nothing short of exceptional – the best he had seen in his 3 years in BATUS.  As the complexity of the live fire increased so did the level of combined arms integration.  The build up culminated in a three day BG live fire exercise which was hampered slightly by the prairie’s willingness to catch fire.  Despite the fires the feedback in the first After Action Review (AAR) was extremely positive and the entire BG entered the next phase in very high spirits, especially after they had eaten some fresh rations and had a shower on the maintenance day.

The next phase of the exercise was the Tactical Engagement Systems (TES) phase, this involved fitting every vehicle and weapon in the BG with lasers and sensors so that we could validate our training against a live enemy, in this case the Queen’s Royal Hussars.  The phase consisted of four missions and lasted 9 days.  The BG went from offensive to stabilisation to defensive to offensive once again in a short period of time, proving our flexibility.  The Prairie has changed over the last few years and now the villages and infrastructure play a much larger part in the exercise.  This allowed every member in the BG to engage with the local nationals and even dust off some of their French language skills.  The BG performed to a high standard throughout, we were particularly effective in the delay and our influence operations were very forward leaning.  At times we were lacking the mass in terms of infantry dismounts but we tried to make up for this through the bold use of deception and aggressive mobile action to destroy the enemy’s armour.

The RTR will leave a presence in BATUS until Sep; CYCLOPS are currently deployed with the 1 RRF BG on Ex PS 2 and AJAX will provide the Armd Sqn to the 1 MERCIAN BG on Ex PS 3.

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