Regimental Update: April 2019

The Regiment is currently well-manned; we are at 93% across the QRH. Recruiting and inflow remain strong, we continue to send our best soldiers and officers to recruiting and Phase 1 & 2 establishments. We are also always looking at initiatives to ensure the lived experience at Regimental Duty is the best it can be, thereby ensuring good retention.

The Committed Year (2018) has been excellent for the Regiment. It has provided opportunities for the majority of our soldiers and officers to deploy on testing and interesting exercises which will have us well-placed for BATUS and Op CABRIT in Estonia in 2019.

During November 2018 we conducted our pre-BATUS Battle Group Headquarters planning exercise in CAST. We successfully requested for the exercise to move from Mar 19 to allow people to take pre-BATUS leave, therefore due to its last-minute nature we had not been able to do any build-up training as a battle group. This meant that we started from a standing position but thanks to everybody’s hard work we quickly formed into an effective headquarters. We had total mission success with just a few minor areas to work on before BATUS; the sub-units also performed well, and we have a terrific team to take us forward.

Tank ranges went extremely well this year. The whole exercise from deployment to firing has gone very smoothly thanks to some excellent planning and preparation. This has led to a high first-time Annual Crew Test pass rate of 95%, well above the 80% required. Progressing from ACT the squadrons then went on to conducting tactical shoots integrating Recce Troop on their range.

The next few months will be hugely busy; exercise, a unit move and an operational tour. This will present a challenge to the Regiment. However, there is also a fantastic opportunity for the QRH to practise and then execute operations in their primary role as armoured soldiers. There is no doubt we will be the most current and competent tank soldiers in the British Army.

The QRH BG will deploy to BATUS from April to June. The Battlegroup will be made up of ‘C’ Squadron, Command and Recce Troops, as well as companies from 5 Rifles and 1 Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The Brigade Commander recognises how we are different from an Armoured Infantry Battlegroup and he is therefore designing our training to exercise our core skills: shock action and destruction of enemy armour, with less emphasis on stabilisation and urban operations.

HQ Squadron Leader, QM, Welfare Officer and their teams have done an excellent job so far with rebasing. ‘D’ Squadron has moved back to Tidworth and is now focused on their BATUS with 1RRF in Jun. The infrastructure in Tidworth is largely being built on time apart from some technical areas but we are finding mitigation for those. We are also working closely with the RTR and KRH to make our coexistence harmonious. Among other things, we will tie in with training, Pipes and Drums, welfare events and sport.

The expected tour dates for Estonia are Nov 19 – May 20. The battle group will be similar to that going to BATUS (the only change will be ‘A’ Squadron which will replace ‘C’ Squadron) so we will be in a strong position to perform well. We will conduct pre-deployment training during Sep/ Oct 19.

The Alpine, Nordic, snowboarding and Cresta teams have all returned safely. There was a lot of success across the board. At the RAC Championships, the Alpine skiers won best overall team, best A team and best B team. Tpr Arnold was the best junior and Lt Fitz Dawson was the best overall skier and best racer. Fitz sadly missed out on the Army team by one place. The Nordic team won the RAC 10km cross-country and novice Lt James Passfield looks like a serious prospect for the future. Elsewhere Tpr Wright won best snowboarder on Ex SNOW METHOD and was selected for the Army team.

This summer Regimental Headquarters will undergo a significant churn with Lt Col Shann taking over as Commanding Officer, Maj Erskine-Naylor (Scots DG) as 2IC, Capt Barnaby Spink as Adjutant and Capt Max Morant as Operations Officer. Maj Mathew Paterson has returned to regimental duty taking command of ‘D’ Squadron from Maj Andy Bishop. In the summer Maj Robbie Thorne will take command of ‘C’ Squadron whilst Maj Ant Kaulback (RTR) will replace Maj Theo Gill in ‘B’ Squadron.

Major Mark Cubitt, Regimental Second in Command

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