Crusader 80

#4
From the Biography of Gen Sir Martin Farndale:

He commanded 1st (British) Corps as Lieutenant General from March 1983 to 1985. . . . In those days, tests and demonstrations of ability to withstand an invasion from the east were critical to keeping the peace and winning the Cold War. In 1984, he devised and oversaw the vast Exercise Lionheart, a show of strength of the height of the Cold War, which involved 131,000 British troops, including tens of thousands or Territorials and Army Reservists and which extended over 3,700 square miles. During a second phase a further 6,300 German, 3,500 Dutch, 3,400 American and 165 Commonwealth (from Australia, New Zealand and Canada) took part. It was intended to test BAOR's reinforcement plans and was the biggest military exercise to be held since the Second World War. In September 1983, he showed the Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, around his Corps during an exercise, during which now infamous photographs were taken of the now Lady Thatcher riding in a Chieftain tank.
I haven't found the figures for CRUSADER yet - but I do know that the CO of my Bn didn't take with him to LIONHEART everybody from the Bn (he had loads of folk on courses, as the Bn was still re-orging after coming back from Berlin), and this led to him getting the sack later that year.
 
#5
From HANSARD:

The MINISTER of STATE, MINISTRY of DEFENCE (Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal)

My Lords, Crusader was a very successful exercise. Over 30,000 troops were moved from the United Kingdom, including some 20,000 members of the Territorial Army and substantial numbers of the RAF. The TA turn-out was high and its performance throughout received well-deserved praise. The great majority of reinforcements were in their 923 exercise positions within 48 hours of leaving their bases, demonstrating our ability to reinforce BAOR swiftly and effectively should the need arise. The field training exercise in Germany, in which American and German forces played a prominent part, tested our operational techniques on a scale previously untried. A number of areas have been identified where improvements may be needed, and many valuable lessons have been learned. But it will take several months to analyse the exercise in detail.
Not conclusive, but it feels like LIONHEART was bigger
 
#6
Think Lionheart was a lot bigger.

Actually, I think Lionheart was the only worthwhile exercise in my military career - it was certainly the only one which gave any insight into what a real mobilisation might look like.
 
#7
I didn't see much of crusader as i was stuck on 309 for the month, but moving around on lionheart i did think it was a bit like how it might have been , sides of houses missing, and flattened street furniture hit by knackered out tankies/afv crews etc. seems like the future old boys will have more exciting memories than tired drivers.
 
#9
Lionheart was the biggie... That's when Heseltine (Tarzan) wriote a letter to all the employers begging them to release all the TA / reservists. It all went well except in my case where there was a transport clusterfcuk and myself and another 150 odd blokes all queued up at a DB station waiting for a train while a piper entertained all and sundry (who stood around ever so slightly pissed off).

Needless to say we got to our GDP location and didn't buy any tickets
 
P

PARAMED

Guest
#12
Lionheart was said to the biggest and last of these type of exercises, I was at 5 ADFA then, we loaded our 432's on flatbeds in Munster to get to location.
 
T

Tremaine

Guest
#14
Trem' remembers a fookin massive exercise during the late 70's with the QRIH, we went from Southampton to Denmark??? on DFDS ferries. Feckin great sailing, scran was the dogs wotsits during the voyage, and we even had discos on board (big mistake as it turned out :) . No birds, though as I remember. Was it Crusader or Lionheart?
 
#20
Trem' remembers a fookin massive exercise during the late 70's with the QRIH, we went from Southampton to Denmark??? on DFDS ferries. Feckin great sailing, scran was the dogs wotsits during the voyage, and we even had discos on board (big mistake as it turned out :) . No birds, though as I remember. Was it Crusader or Lionheart?
Spearpoint in 1976?

It gets confusing as different units were apparently working under different exercise names and those names cropped up in different years. For me it was Spearpoint in '76 (November), Crusader in '80 and Lionheart in '84, both summer campaigns.

The ferry back from Crusader also had civvy passengers so the disco was in full swing. I recall that the bar ran out of beer and we retired when the shop ran out of wine and we couldn't cadge any more duty-frees from the civvy passengers.
 

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