Friday, August 24, 2012

With The British On The Prairie

It's always good to get out of the office, especially when you can escape to something as big as the Canadian prairie and watch some cool military kit in action. This Tuesday afternoon I hooked up with David, the Padre of the Scots Dragoon Guards, and made my way to the leaguer of one their squadrons engaged in training at BATUS.

Challenger 2 moves at speed in a cloud of prairie dust.

Relaxed looking crew coming into leaguer after a hard day of training and a quick resup. They'll he a few hours for a meal (scoff) and some rest before going out on a night range to shoot their tanks and small arms. Then a few hours sleep before rolling out at 07:00 for another day of training. And it's only Day 3 of a 14 day ex.

One of the dangers of training on the summer-dry grass of the prairie is the chance of starting a fire. Here a flare has started a fire on a night range, and four BATUS staff are beating it out before it spreads.

The best part of my trip was watching the Squadron go through its paces on a night range. Here you can see what it looks like when one of these beasts opens up at night. I was absolutely terrified the first time one of these beasts opened up nearby. I was following close behind in the hatch of one of the BATUS safety vehicles, and was quite thrilled to have such a great vantage for this rare sight.

Every time I go out into the BATUS training area I am amazed at the skill of the British Army and the dedication of the exercise staff who keep them safe and prepare them for the deployments to come. This was one of those work days at BATUS where I simply adore my job.


Sidney Roundwood said...

Fantastic photos, Mike. Thanks for posting. I'm very jealous that you're getting to see the Challengers in action this close, and at night. Wow....dreams do come true!

Colonel Scipio said...

Fun stuff! Glad to see you're having fun out there... never been to BATUS, what're the temperatures like this time of year? In my ignorance I pictured snow drifts, reindeers and penguins. Perfect exercise conditions.

The Angry Lurker said...

My former supervisor who was in the 17/21st lancers said he loved his time there.....

Archduke Piccolo said...

Very interesting to see and hear. I have to admit to liking the look of all this modern 'kit', and the temptation to building up some kind of modern, post Cold War army is strong. I'm not overfond of resisting temptation.

And yet I have to admit to a strong sense of unease as to the purposes to which these equipments are directed. I guess it's the distaste I feel for the policies that have been leading to their use that discourages me.

Of course I'm being inconsistent, if not hypocritical, withal. A couple of my favorite armies (that I own) are the Confederates and the WW2 Wehrmacht. I neither case am I any sort of admirer of the political leadership that misused these forces - their policies or their persons.


Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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