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British Army Royal Scots Dragoon Guards equipped with Jackal vehicle in place of Challenger MBT 2311


Royal Scots Dragoon Guards of British army

Saturday, November 23, 2013 08:39 AM
British Army Royal Scots Dragoon Guards equipped with Jackal vehicle in place of Challenger MBT.
After 75 years of being an armoured regiment The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards formed up in three different locations to mark the moment in history when they finally bid farewell to the tanks and welcomed in the Jackal Armoured Vehicle.

With 60 percent of the Regiment deployed on operations in Afghanistan it was the Rear Operations Group in Bad Fallingbostel, northern Germany, led by Officer Commanding Major Steve Walters, that formed up to pipe the last of the tanks out of the barracks, which has been their home for nearly 30 years.

This is one of the first significant steps as part of the Army 2020 programme which sees the formation of the Adaptive and Reactive Forces. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards are currently serving as part of 7th Armoured Brigade, The Desert Rats, but under the re-roling, and move to Leuchars in 2015, the Regiment will become part of 51st Infantry Brigade in Scotland.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ben Cattermole, spoke to his soldiers in Kabul with a message of fond sadness at the departure of the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank but also of the great opportunities that will come as they re-role to Light Cavalry. The same message was read out in Karga and Bad Fallingbostel.

Lieutenant Colonel Cattermole said: “Today marks an historic day in our 335 year history as our three remaining Challenger 2 tanks will leave Wessex Barracks, Bad Fallingbostel.

"Since our last deployment on Challenger 2 in 2008, the Regiment has continued to conduct armoured training but has frequently re-roled to fulfil counter-insurgency and training operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"So, today, 75 years from when our predecessors first took to tank soldiering we will hand over our tanks and focus entirely on our future as Britain’s leading Light Cavalry Regiment. We will integrate fully with the new Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry and shall stand together as Scotland’s Cavalry.”

Corporal Stevie Barrett (26), from Boness, Falkirk, a qualified Challenger 2 driver, operator, gunner and most recently a crew commander, said: “It’s a sad day for the Regiment, to be fair, as the tanks have been around for a very long time but it’ll be good to go on to something new and a new role. The Regiment is very capable of doing that and so it will be good to step up and move on.

"I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead and doing something new will keep the guys interested. As part of the Rear Operations Group we will be doing instructors courses and commanders courses and so that when the guys come back we can go into teaching them.”

Corporal Andy Stewart (28), from Mauchline, Ayrshire drove the first Jackal into Wessex Barracks to signify the Regiment’s new start.

He said: “This is a big part in the Regiment’s history. It’s a big part in my history as well, as when I came I started on tanks and I have been on operations in the Challenger 2.

"However, it’s quite exciting to be part of this whole new transition working on a new platform (vehicle) and being here on the day when the Regiment will move into the future. I’ve had good times with the Jackal on operations and in my training.

"It is one of the few vehicles in the Army that genuinely gave me a smile on my face when I have got to drive it. People think it looks vulnerable but it's the mobility of it. It’s really quick and really effective. It is a really reliable piece of kit and you can tell a lot of money and preparation has been put into it to make sure the vehicle is ready for us.

"We’re moving on and everybody likes a challenge - that’s why you join the Army.”

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