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Joining the Rac


I'm soon going to be going for basic with the army and my recruiter has put me in for working with the scimitar tanks I was wondering if it was possible to work your way up to being a crewman of something like the challenger 2 or if you'd have to join a completely different branch?
What unit are you applying to? Sounds as if you could be heading for a CVR(T) regt, e.g. HCR, 9/12th Etc. If so then you would be on CVR(T) for the time in that unit e.g. 22 years if you didn't transfer or leave. I know that MBT units do have recce troops that use CVT(T), but there'll be other guys on here that could shed more light on those areas. Firslty could be best if you tell us what Unit you're heading for! Remeber that there are a lot of other options with all regt's for different roles, I've been out 10 years now, but ask nicely and some of the folk who are serving will assist you in any questions you can't find on the net!
What Ex-Donkey-Man said, with the caveat that our political lords and masters seem keen to bin as many MBTs as possible so oportunities to be a 'proper' tankie could be limited.


Book Reviewer
Don't be too upset about the prospect of recce. I always wanted to go chieftain but my local regiment went recce right after I joined them in NI so I never had the pleasure.

On Movies4Men yesterday was Series 1 episode 1 of Spearhead, 1970s forerunner of (and far better than) Soldier, Soldier. There was a great line from OC B Coy, a variation on what Armour Volume 2 had to say.

"Recce requires the skill of a poacher and the morals of a sewer rat."

It made me chuckle and when I think back at the young Trooper Alien I can see what he meant.
The advice above is more or less bang on.

To explain in further detail (but with some minor simplification) the RAC is made up of four different types of regiment. These are as follows:

Formation Reconnaissance (FR) Regiments, which are the Household Cavalry Regiment (HCR), the Queens Dragoon Guards (QDG), the Queens Royal Lancers (QRL), the 9th/12th Lancers (9/12L) and the Light Dragoons (LD). These regiments mainly operate from the CVR(T) family of armoured vehicles, of which SCIMITAR is arguably the main one. If you have been told that you are going to train on SCIMITAR you are probably going to one of these regiments. If you join one of these regiments you are very unlikely to train on Challenger2.

The second type of regiment is the armoured regiment. These are the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SCOTS DG), the Royal Dragoon Guards (RDG), the Queens Royal Hussars (QRH), the Kings Royal Hussars (KRH) and Second Royal Tank Regiment (2RTR). These regiments operate the Challenger 2 main battle tank (and a smaller number of vehicles from the CVR(T) family. If you want to be a Challenger 2 crewman you will need to join one of these regiments.

The third type of regiment is the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) regiment. There is only one and this is First Royal Tank Regiment (1RTR).

Finally there is the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR) who do the mounted (horse-back) ceremonial duties in London. I won't go into any more detail, as there are plenty of threads which you can find about them.

There are also plenty of other threads about what else the RAC are getting up to at the moment and how things might change in the future, however as most of the future stuff is pure speculation, I would plan on the basis of how things are at the moment.

Bottom line, if you want to be a Challenger 2 crewman, you need to join one of the armoured regiments listed above. Having said that, Formation Recce is a good role and if that's what your local regiment does, this may be your best bet.
B_C has put it quite clearly there, I always fancied MBT, it looked like fun, until you seen them with half of the rubber missing off a road wheel (The wheels inside the tracks) and watch them try to change it! Some of the work on them is a lot harder due to the weight of everything.
I would say follow B_C's advice of going with your local unit - I know bonding is good usually in any unit, but Local unts would probably make you feel more at home. Where do you live (Not the address, just area) e.g. Devon, Newcastle etc.. As all of the units except HCR/HCMR have areas that they recruit in - I'm in Manchester so if I went to my local unti it would have been the KRH. The MOD website I think tells you which units recruit from which areas, if it was HCR you were heading for either your recruitment officer (Can't rememer their proper title now)! Would be from them or he would have mentioned donkeys to you!

Either way, you will get the pleasure on a wet night in the rain of sitting on warm tank decks, under a tent made from the barrel and the cover sheet, drinking a hot brew and drying your clothes off, whilst watching the infantry soaking wet and desperately trying the make a one man tent (Poncho) and light some stupid heximine blocks in a desperate attempt to keep warm, no matter which regiment of the RAC you join!

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