Reserve Recce Platoon

What does an operational hygiene squadron do anyway? I´ve never heard of such a unit. Is that a new name for laundry units?

Does it have a recce platoon???

I'm pretty sure they used to be the bath and laundry units.
 

ches

LE
Weirdly timely. My local reserve is a yeomanry det & i randomly bumped into the 2IC a few weeks ago who was ex Scots Guard regs, He's been with the AR for 16+ years & with the yeomanry for 8-9. He may have been bigging it up a bit but I've known him for a good few years & he's not a jimmy two sheds but he was saying their scope inc a fair degree of recce tasks. They dumped the LRs a good while ago & are now using Jackals (?? i think) for their mobile role but their blokes are very much foot orientated with lots of them eager & willing for the dirty long walk jobs in shitty weathers & was saying his lads are pretty much all switched on gung ho types up for digging in that wee bit more. If i wasnt an old fart it sounded like a lot of fun & possibly very rewarding.
I dunno how but they were able to get blokes onto courses & cadres pretty regularly & this was helping with retention as blokes were getting good opportunities inc (& i found this hard to believe for AR) a cpl of lads who'd even managed JTAC courses. They'd subsequently deployed with an HAC unit during the final Herricks.
That info was recent (apart from the Herrick deployments obvs) too.
 
I'm sure Jackal and open top Land Rovers are all well and good in sunny climes, but how is that working out for long motorway hauls up the A1 in December in the honking rain?

Wouldn't wearing anything other than a dry bag for those conditions degrade anyone's condition quite considerably?
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I'm sure Jackal and open top Land Rovers are all well and good in sunny climes, but how is that working out for long motorway hauls up the A1 in December in the honking rain?

Wouldn't wearing anything other than a dry bag for those conditions degrade anyone's condition quite considerably?
Why do you think Light Dragoons (light cavalry) are stationed in Catterick and recruit Geordies?
TMP_NEC_270418KeithBeefyRoberts03JPG.jpg
 
We did a Mobile Exercise with Yeomanry around the East Midlands over a weekend & the N.Irish were in attendance. At Endex Sunday afternoon the N.Irish loaded up there recce rovers into the back of 45ft box trailers & sent them back home. Seemed a lot of effort for a weekend exercise to me.
Try driving from York to Cupar or Ayr on a Fiday night, collecting your wagon at OMG it's early, exercising to 1500ish on Sunday and driving home again.

You could say the same about pretty much any AR exercise. If we didn't think it was worth it, we wouldn't bother.
 
Weirdly timely. My local reserve is a yeomanry det & i randomly bumped into the 2IC a few weeks ago who was ex Scots Guard regs, He's been with the AR for 16+ years & with the yeomanry for 8-9. He may have been bigging it up a bit but I've known him for a good few years & he's not a jimmy two sheds but he was saying their scope inc a fair degree of recce tasks. They dumped the LRs a good while ago & are now using Jackals (?? i think) for their mobile role but their blokes are very much foot orientated with lots of them eager & willing for the dirty long walk jobs in shitty weathers & was saying his lads are pretty much all switched on gung ho types up for digging in that wee bit more. If i wasnt an old fart it sounded like a lot of fun & possibly very rewarding.
I dunno how but they were able to get blokes onto courses & cadres pretty regularly & this was helping with retention as blokes were getting good opportunities inc (& i found this hard to believe for AR) a cpl of lads who'd even managed JTAC courses. They'd subsequently deployed with an HAC unit during the final Herricks.
That info was recent (apart from the Herrick deployments obvs) too.
That mirrors my experience in Light Role Recce. We've (QOY) developed a good relationship with our regular partner regiment (LD) and have managed to get folks through plenty of interesting courses. We've binned RWMIK and have pushing people through Jackal courses to build up the capability. I'm an old fart too, but despite coming from a CVRT background I find the foot-based rece taskings usually a lot more interesting than yet another mounted OP.
 

Wee Hawken

Old-Salt
I'm sure Jackal and open top Land Rovers are all well and good in sunny climes, but how is that working out for long motorway hauls up the A1 in December in the honking rain?

Wouldn't wearing anything other than a dry bag for those conditions degrade anyone's condition quite considerably?
Yes. I did it for a while with a Yeo Regt in the 90s and can confirm that driving open-top LRs on the road in bad weather is not a great way to start an Ex :)
 

stuskimac

Clanker
I'm sure Jackal and open top Land Rovers are all well and good in sunny climes, but how is that working out for long motorway hauls up the A1 in December in the honking rain?

Wouldn't wearing anything other than a dry bag for those conditions degrade anyone's condition quite considerably?
We had series 3 petrol Landrovers FFR's cabriolet's, no roll bars & would deploy on a friday night from our TAC in the E.Midlands to whatever training area we were using, could be SENTA, STANTA , Catterick or even Otterburn. Trundling up motorways & byways, Veh Comd & 2IC in the front, radio op & gunner in the back, helmets had to be worn for safety. Most of us invested in GORTEX jackets or wore issue crisp packet w/proofs to stay dry & keep the wind off.
We had issue Bergans (perk of the job!) they would sit on top of the radios bungee'd to a rail that looked a bit like a roll bar. We had OG & DPM waterproof taughts/sheets to cover the rear deck & all the extra kit like D10, veh brew kits/stove, rations, ammo, pintle mount (stowed when on public road) PNG'S, IWS, grey IR sheet & cam nets. During transit the blokes in the back could stuff themselves under the taught, get in a doss bag & sleep, you could get quite cosy. In the front wasn't too bad either, the heaters worked ok'ish , gloves & goggles helped. If it got really miserable we had dpm poncho's we could bungee from the top of the windscreen over the crew compartment to the rear. Its a case of "any fool can rough it!" & make yourself as comfortable as you want too.
As soon as we hit the training area we went tactical, screens dropped, we had covers made out of kip sheets to slide over them, Gpmg pintle mounted, travel kit packed away, blokes in the back webbing on scanning arcs.
We weren't allowed to cover our vehicles in scrim/hessian ( they were previously prior to my joining) apparently it was because they couldn't be de-contaminated in a NBC enviroment, & also probably the real reason was the MTWO was a miserable twat & said they couldn't be PRE'd with it on.
Traveling back on endex could be fun, good for eyeing up the passing women in cars, getting the occassional cheeky winks & waves was nice. Fighting tiredness could be an issue for the driver, that was the co drivers job to keep them awake. Especially as they tried to pack a lot into a weekends training with little or no sleep, we must of looked a rum lot, unwashed & shaggy looking, Happy Days!
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
And again, thirty years ago. London Jocks? Early 90s, they showed up at a Recce concentration sporting some shiny new LR Defenders with pintle mounts and roll bars. The rest of us turned green with envy, while they claimed they'd just gone out and bought the extra kit. When some BEME or QM type got all huffy on the H&S front, they allegedly pulled out a full safety certification from Landrover's Special Vehicles Division. Gits.

So, history*. Back in 1990 or so, DInf decided that Home Defence-roled TA infantry didn't need 81mm mortars nor the attendant risk of dropping mixed HE+Smk into downtown Dumbarton (it might create £100ks of improvements!); and reroled the HD mortar sections into Recce platoons. Of course, this meant that with the existing equipment stocks, that the platoons started life with a pair of 3/4t LR and a pair of 1/2t LR + tlr; no rollbars, no pintle mounts, and in our case a safety-minded QM who wouldn't let them strip down the wagons nor cover them with hessian.

Our Bn's first Recce Pl Comd went off to Sp Wpns Wing at Netheravon to do the Close Recce Comd (Non-Mech)(TA) course, and promptly failed; the CO's next choice didn't think that travelling sixty miles every training event was a workable idea; and so I got asked to be OC Recce. Which was amusing, given that I never saw myself as the "heroic, square of jaw, action hero" type - more the "scrawny git, only followed out of curiosity".

Anyway, I got packed off to Netheravon, passed the course, enjoyed it hugely once I'd recovered (I went there with a VO2Max of 67; lost half a stone in two weeks, even though we were eating three cooked meals a day whenever in camp), and returned with all sorts of ideas as to how we should try to train for this Recce stuff. We had an attendance rate that others envied, a few really good blokes in the Platoon, we trained hard, and we started to improve and grow in number.

We never got a dedicated Recce PSI, or succeeded in getting Recce vehicles, just bog-standard LR (ours weren't even FFR), so I'd reckoned we would focus on dismounted OP work - it seemed sensible, given that our war role was overwatch of KPs - so we got used to carrying bergans everywhere, and stayed quite low-profile as befits the Battalion Hide and Seek Team. This thankfully kept the poseurs away, and we eventually got reasonably capable at it.

The limitation, of course, was that Recce Platoons need to do a lot more than dismounted OPs, need more support in order to achieve it, and the limits of my experience and training plan were laid bare when we did the big Divisional exercise. My cunning plan to build up to two good sections by then wasn't fast enough for the CO, who'd decided we needed that third section right now, and that to achieve it they should be based at a TAC forty miles down the road (split locations for a platoon is not a sensible plan, but then he was the boss :( ). In the three years we'd had to set the platoon up, we hadn't managed to get the strength in depth or breadth across the full range of tasks; we did OK, with a few obvious gaps, and I came off the FTX with a whole pile of lessons learned / bright ideas for future training - just in time to hand over the Platoon to my successor.

One of my few happy moments in the workup to the big Div FTX, was after the CO announced a section competition. There was some decent money riding on the outcome, apparently - the Rifle Companies had been working up to the Cambrian Patrol competition, the PSIs had been getting a touch competitive... What they forgot, of course, was the the Bn didn't have a Support Company**, and so our Recce Platoon was officially an HQ Company team. Our Pl Sgt and I were quite busy, so without thinking too much about it, we fired the lads off to take part, stay busy, and keep out of trouble while we concentrated on all the planning and admin sh!te we had on our plates.

That evening, they come back having won - a couple of PSIs were a bit grumpy, there were mutterings that we'd "been training secretly, Not Fair!" (utterly untrue - we'd only found out about it the day before), but thankfully the Bn 2ic was a forgiving type (he was apparently out for >£100), and the CO's driver made an absolute packet.

* This kind of "no, let's rerole / relocate / add / subtract capability X and Y" is an every-few-year thing in the Infantry Reserves, driven by utter w*nker staff officers at HQ LAND whose Really Good Ideas demonstrate that they shouldn't be given anything more than crayons and a nice picture book. You've normally just got the right number of course-qualified Officers and NCOs, and have reached an initial capability, when DCbt announces that "the reserves need/don't need Recce / ATk / Mortars", and scraps whatever you've invested three years of hard graft into building. W*nkers. Our Battalion was reorganised three times in twelve years... Bitter? Me?

** "Battalion Support Group" - no establishment for ATk or Mor Pls, so just stick the MMG and Recce under HQ Coy.
My bold, you fell for that old dodge eh? My experience of G Coy was that it had a lot of coppers and lawyers in it, and a whole load of the Royal Household. My section commander was one of the PoW’s valets, my Pl Comd’s dad was GOC Scotland. But....

We had a proper BAOR Cold War role as dig and die infantry on the Aller reserved demolitions so we had a pretty good balance of reality and fun.

A TA inf Bde in the early 90s transitioning out of a BAOR role was a very different beast. Hard to motivate, recruit, train, retain.

And as I said, the majority of the officers saw it as the route to their DLL. My boss saw through them, and TA Regs, and hey presto, a lot of things improved.
 

Stan_Deesey

Old-Salt
I'm sure Jackal and open top Land Rovers are all well and good in sunny climes, but how is that working out for long motorway hauls up the A1 in December in the honking rain?

Wouldn't wearing anything other than a dry bag for those conditions degrade anyone's condition quite considerably?

It was the cold that kept us awake! It wasn´t too bad when I was driving as the LR had a heater in the front which at least kept my feet warm, and on motorways we could uncover the windscreen and put it in the up position. It wasn´t much fun for the radio operator in the back though, as he had no heating, and not really much to do other than look out behind, and occasionally change frequency on the 320 HF radio.

What was much worse was sitting in the rovers for hours, on 5 minutes notice to move, with the engines switched off, everything packed away, no chance of making a brew, only getting out of the rover if you needed to pee. In winter there was no way to keep warm if you had to sit still. Everyone wore civvy fleeces and shemaghs under their combat jackets. If it was raining we wore the old pattern DPM waterproofs until we got issued gortex. I also sometimes wore NBC kit underneath my combats at night, but I was still cold.
 
...on motorways we could uncover the windscreen and put it in the up position.
No such luxury on RWMIK or Jackal, although at least Virtus helmets have a visor to keep most of the rain/snow/hail/bats out of your eyes.
What was much worse was sitting in the rovers for hours, on 5 minutes notice to move...
Gen question: why on earth would you spend hours at five minutes NTM?
 

stuskimac

Clanker
No such luxury on RWMIK or Jackal, although at least Virtus helmets have a visor to keep most of the rain/snow/hail/bats out of your eyes.

Gen question: why on earth would you spend hours at five minutes NTM?
Further to that why would you not cam up the vehicle if your stationary for more than 15mins ? We had a RSM that would wragg anyone who hadn't cammed ( including IR cover, which is also really cosy to hide under) up their vehicle on exercise!
 

Stan_Deesey

Old-Salt
No such luxury on RWMIK or Jackal, although at least Virtus helmets have a visor to keep most of the rain/snow/hail/bats out of your eyes.

Gen question: why on earth would you spend hours at five minutes NTM?


We also used to wonder about that!

At the time I thought it was just part and parcel of being in Recce, but I can remember my troop sergeant complaining about it. I am assuming that our SHQ wanted to keep us at immediate readiness if an urgent recce task was required. This used to happen on annual camps more than at weekends. Weekends used to be full of activity, yet there were still times when we would be stood down in a forest, and at night there would always be two guys on stag – one sentry, and one on the radio.

WRT Stuskimac´s question about camming up - the vehicles were already partially cammed up, as the bodywork was covered in hessian strips, and there was a net over the roll bar. On exercise areas the windscreens were covered in a hessian sheath, and then folded down and the head- and rear lights were covered over.

We used to cam up with nets for vehicle mounted OP s. This used to take a bit of time though, as we had to be able to drive the rover out from under the cam net without it snagging if we had to bug out. This entailed having to tie or bungee cam nets to overhanging branches. We weren´t allowed to just throw the cam net over the vehicle. I can´t remember camming up in overnight patrol harbours. There was always the possibility of getting attacked, and having to crash out which was also something we practiced.

I also remember times sitting in a patrol harbour in a woods, when we had sent out a foot patrol, and we drivers had to remain with the vehicles at readiness in case the foot patrol ran into trouble, and came legging back at the rush, or if they were to withdraw to the emergency RV, and needed us to pick them up, and then deploy to somewhere else.

Most of the time that I spent on exercise with my Yeomanry squadron I was cold, tired and hungry, but I enjoyed the work, and the driving, and the camaraderie of working in a small team.
 

Stan_Deesey

Old-Salt
We had series 3 petrol Landrovers FFR's cabriolet's, no roll bars & would deploy on a friday night from our TAC in the E.Midlands to whatever training area we were using, could be SENTA, STANTA , Catterick or even Otterburn. Trundling up motorways & byways, Veh Comd & 2IC in the front, radio op & gunner in the back, helmets had to be worn for safety. Most of us invested in GORTEX jackets or wore issue crisp packet w/proofs to stay dry & keep the wind off.
We had issue Bergans (perk of the job!) they would sit on top of the radios bungee'd to a rail that looked a bit like a roll bar. We had OG & DPM waterproof taughts/sheets to cover the rear deck & all the extra kit like D10, veh brew kits/stove, rations, ammo, pintle mount (stowed when on public road) PNG'S, IWS, grey IR sheet & cam nets. During transit the blokes in the back could stuff themselves under the taught, get in a doss bag & sleep, you could get quite cosy. In the front wasn't too bad either, the heaters worked ok'ish , gloves & goggles helped. If it got really miserable we had dpm poncho's we could bungee from the top of the windscreen over the crew compartment to the rear. Its a case of "any fool can rough it!" & make yourself as comfortable as you want too.
As soon as we hit the training area we went tactical, screens dropped, we had covers made out of kip sheets to slide over them, Gpmg pintle mounted, travel kit packed away, blokes in the back webbing on scanning arcs.
We weren't allowed to cover our vehicles in scrim/hessian ( they were previously prior to my joining) apparently it was because they couldn't be de-contaminated in a NBC enviroment, & also probably the real reason was the MTWO was a miserable twat & said they couldn't be PRE'd with it on.
Traveling back on endex could be fun, good for eyeing up the passing women in cars, getting the occassional cheeky winks & waves was nice. Fighting tiredness could be an issue for the driver, that was the co drivers job to keep them awake. Especially as they tried to pack a lot into a weekends training with little or no sleep, we must of looked a rum lot, unwashed & shaggy looking, Happy Days!


Hi Stuskimac, I read through your post, and I have a few questions and some comments: When did the order come to remove hessian from the wagons?

What were the issue bergans that you had? My regt. wasn´t issued bergans until halfway through 1996, and they were the smaller-size other-arms bergans. Prior to this we used our own privately purchased bergans. Everyone had been issued a 58 pattern largepack, (we were still using 58 webbing in 1996), but I don´t remember anyone using a large pack after RRTT training.

When I first joined my troop everyone rocked up to weekends with surplus bergans or civvy rucksacks. At the time our rovers weren´t stripped down, and the rucksacks were carabinered to the frame in the back.

When our rovers were stripped down the back of each vehicle was divided in two by a wooden partition. The operator sat in the forward part of the back of the rover with the radio, and the rear half was used for storage. All our bergans went into this, and more vital stuff went on top. Our doss bags were squeezed in around the sides so that we had relatively easy access to them when we did have the chance to get some sleep. A tarp was stretched over the top and secured with bungees onto the rear part of the vehicle.

The issue of the all-arms bergans along with PLCE improved stowage in the vehicles, mainly because everyone had a standard size bergan which was easier to store in the cargo compartment, and also because it forced everyone to cut down on the amount of kit that they took out into the field.

As I remember our petrol cookers were stored right at the back, near the tailgate, so that we could open the tailgate and cook on that, which brings me to my next questions: how did you go about cooking, and what are vehicle brew kits? I´ve never heard of them before.

We used 10 man ration packs, and making a brew was a major evolution, as we had to be stopped, and not on immediate NTM, so hot drinks were usually only consumed at meal times. We couldn´t always rely on getting a meal either. It was something we learned to live with. I would go on a weekend ex with two or three mars bars in the pockets of my combat smock, and tubes of pringles would be stashed behind and between the driver´s and VC´s seats for on the go snacks.

We certainly didn´t have pintles for mounting GPMGs! We were only armed with SA80s and LSWs
 

stuskimac

Clanker
Hi Stuskimac, I read through your post, and I have a few questions and some comments: When did the order come to remove hessian from the wagons?

What were the issue bergans that you had? My regt. wasn´t issued bergans until halfway through 1996, and they were the smaller-size other-arms bergans. Prior to this we used our own privately purchased bergans. Everyone had been issued a 58 pattern largepack, (we were still using 58 webbing in 1996), but I don´t remember anyone using a large pack after RRTT training.

When I first joined my troop everyone rocked up to weekends with surplus bergans or civvy rucksacks. At the time our rovers weren´t stripped down, and the rucksacks were carabinered to the frame in the back.

When our rovers were stripped down the back of each vehicle was divided in two by a wooden partition. The operator sat in the forward part of the back of the rover with the radio, and the rear half was used for storage. All our bergans went into this, and more vital stuff went on top. Our doss bags were squeezed in around the sides so that we had relatively easy access to them when we did have the chance to get some sleep. A tarp was stretched over the top and secured with bungees onto the rear part of the vehicle.

The issue of the all-arms bergans along with PLCE improved stowage in the vehicles, mainly because everyone had a standard size bergan which was easier to store in the cargo compartment, and also because it forced everyone to cut down on the amount of kit that they took out into the field.

As I remember our petrol cookers were stored right at the back, near the tailgate, so that we could open the tailgate and cook on that, which brings me to my next questions: how did you go about cooking, and what are vehicle brew kits? I´ve never heard of them before.

We used 10 man ration packs, and making a brew was a major evolution, as we had to be stopped, and not on immediate NTM, so hot drinks were usually only consumed at meal times. We couldn´t always rely on getting a meal either. It was something we learned to live with. I would go on a weekend ex with two or three mars bars in the pockets of my combat smock, and tubes of pringles would be stashed behind and between the driver´s and VC´s seats for on the go snacks.

We certainly didn´t have pintles for mounting GPMGs! We were only armed with SA80s and LSWs

Sorry for the late reply, I work nights Sunday to Thursday.

I'll try to answer some of your Questions, firstly ref. the removal of scrim from the vehicles happened before my time, I was only told about it after joining the Pltn, so I don't really know when it happened & the reasons for its removal are what I was told.
Ref. Bergans, we were an Infantry Regiment, I joined in 1989 & at the time issued 58 pattern webbing complete to CES, which obviously included 58 largepack, which was pretty crap & I don't think I ever saw anyone use it. Right from the start during my recruit training we were advised to get a OG or black bergan type backpack, just a cheap nasty £30 jobby was better than a 58 largepack, so thats what we all did. When I joined the recce Pltn they had 30 Berghaus bergans (centurions or crusaders ? can quite remember?) on there flick in the recce stores, we had to sign a 1033 every time we drew one, they were classed as a starred item. How they came to have them I've no idea ? but it was classed as a perk of the Pltn. They did make life alot easier for us for sure, we did alot of tabbing.
As for webbing, most of us binned the kidney pouches & acquired several waterbottle pouches to replace them for better/ easier storage ( bit ally too ! lol). Later I splashed out my bounty on a private purchase Arktis webbing (before the birth of PLCE), SAS style smock( pertex lined) & a pertex covered fleece, both bits of kit were utterly brilliant & again ally too !
The vehicles themselves were just a standard 3/4 ton gs FFR, series 3 L/rover with the canvas roof removed ( we still retained the roof kit though in the M/T shed). The rear compartment had the usual 2 12v batteries under a battery case with a table top on top with rails to mount a 353 VHF radio, then there were dexion rails with mounts to attach a PRC351/2 VHF radio & a PRC320 HF radio, above these was a thin bar that looked a bit like a roll bar, but clearly wasn't & stacked our bergans against the radios a bungeed them to the rails. We had 2 chairs/seats with brackets that clipped onto the side of the veh, pretty standard at the time, one on each side of the vehicle, more often than not we'd detach them, turn them face rearwards & sit one free floating kind of way. All the other kit was stowed in whatever space you had, but also mindfull of being easy to find in the dark, then a taught/cover over the rear deck to keep the kit dry & in the vehicle !
The pintle mounts were fitted by the Pltn before my joining, my then C/Sgt said he got the part numbers for the fitting kit, ordered them, got them & fitted themselves. Apparently pissed the MTO of massively when they cut a box section of dashboard out to fit them, but they stayed in. We did live fire them a few times, but the feed tray for the spent link had a habbit of jamming, & you had too make sure you didn't shoot the TUUAMS & Antenna's on the wings of the vehicle either, they looked pretty ally too !
Vehicle brew kits were simply a Pltn SOP, just an old ammo carrier/case, usually the large wooden cases, painted black with a metal kettle, mugs, tea/Nescafe jar/ sugar, spoons, metal plates, pots & frying pan, basically a vehicle kitchen type of thing. We also had privately purchased camping cookers twin hob type affairs with a bottle of gas to suit. Each veh crew had freedom to decide what they would carry within reason of course.
We basically operated in 4 man recce patrols, each vehicle could be self sufficient, the ideal size for OP's/CTR's & recce patrols, 2 patrols could come together to form a section when needed or the whole Pltn would operate as one & we would usually harbour up as a Pltn.
When I joined we were a BAOR orientated Battalion, they went on the big Div exercises in Germany & geared up specifically for that, that was reflected in the pltn SOP's & the veh kit. But by 1990/91 the cold war was over, the roll changed to more of peacekeeping Bosnia/Kosova type ops, less wary stuff really & we kind of went back to basics again really, more foot recce than veh. They just became transports to & from training areas, shame really, a skill that faded & never really regained.
 

Stan_Deesey

Old-Salt
Sorry for the late reply, I work nights Sunday to Thursday.

I'll try to answer some of your Questions, firstly ref. the removal of scrim from the vehicles happened before my time, I was only told about it after joining the Pltn, so I don't really know when it happened & the reasons for its removal are what I was told.
Ref. Bergans, we were an Infantry Regiment, I joined in 1989 & at the time issued 58 pattern webbing complete to CES, which obviously included 58 largepack, which was pretty crap & I don't think I ever saw anyone use it. Right from the start during my recruit training we were advised to get a OG or black bergan type backpack, just a cheap nasty £30 jobby was better than a 58 largepack, so thats what we all did. When I joined the recce Pltn they had 30 Berghaus bergans (centurions or crusaders ? can quite remember?) on there flick in the recce stores, we had to sign a 1033 every time we drew one, they were classed as a starred item. How they came to have them I've no idea ? but it was classed as a perk of the Pltn. They did make life alot easier for us for sure, we did alot of tabbing.
As for webbing, most of us binned the kidney pouches & acquired several waterbottle pouches to replace them for better/ easier storage ( bit ally too ! lol). Later I splashed out my bounty on a private purchase Arktis webbing (before the birth of PLCE), SAS style smock( pertex lined) & a pertex covered fleece, both bits of kit were utterly brilliant & again ally too !
The vehicles themselves were just a standard 3/4 ton gs FFR, series 3 L/rover with the canvas roof removed ( we still retained the roof kit though in the M/T shed). The rear compartment had the usual 2 12v batteries under a battery case with a table top on top with rails to mount a 353 VHF radio, then there were dexion rails with mounts to attach a PRC351/2 VHF radio & a PRC320 HF radio, above these was a thin bar that looked a bit like a roll bar, but clearly wasn't & stacked our bergans against the radios a bungeed them to the rails. We had 2 chairs/seats with brackets that clipped onto the side of the veh, pretty standard at the time, one on each side of the vehicle, more often than not we'd detach them, turn them face rearwards & sit one free floating kind of way. All the other kit was stowed in whatever space you had, but also mindfull of being easy to find in the dark, then a taught/cover over the rear deck to keep the kit dry & in the vehicle !
The pintle mounts were fitted by the Pltn before my joining, my then C/Sgt said he got the part numbers for the fitting kit, ordered them, got them & fitted themselves. Apparently pissed the MTO of massively when they cut a box section of dashboard out to fit them, but they stayed in. We did live fire them a few times, but the feed tray for the spent link had a habbit of jamming, & you had too make sure you didn't shoot the TUUAMS & Antenna's on the wings of the vehicle either, they looked pretty ally too !
Vehicle brew kits were simply a Pltn SOP, just an old ammo carrier/case, usually the large wooden cases, painted black with a metal kettle, mugs, tea/Nescafe jar/ sugar, spoons, metal plates, pots & frying pan, basically a vehicle kitchen type of thing. We also had privately purchased camping cookers twin hob type affairs with a bottle of gas to suit. Each veh crew had freedom to decide what they would carry within reason of course.
We basically operated in 4 man recce patrols, each vehicle could be self sufficient, the ideal size for OP's/CTR's & recce patrols, 2 patrols could come together to form a section when needed or the whole Pltn would operate as one & we would usually harbour up as a Pltn.
When I joined we were a BAOR orientated Battalion, they went on the big Div exercises in Germany & geared up specifically for that, that was reflected in the pltn SOP's & the veh kit. But by 1990/91 the cold war was over, the roll changed to more of peacekeeping Bosnia/Kosova type ops, less wary stuff really & we kind of went back to basics again really, more foot recce than veh. They just became transports to & from training areas, shame really, a skill that faded & never really regained.


Thanks for the answers. I thought you replied prettý sharpish considering the long and informative post that you wrote.

I didn´t realise that you had been in an infantry recce platoon. This explains why you had GPMGs. If you had stated this in one of your previous posts, then I must have missed it. I thought you were ex-yeomanry.

I was also advised to buy a bergan – on my very first night in the TA. Luckily I was able to buy an old pattern airborne bergan for twenty quid that very night.

We had to use the 58 pattern large packs during our initial 4 weekends training, (RRTT). After that I don´t remember seeing anyone using one. On my recruit cadre I was issued an OG PLCE bergan for the field ex.

Interestingly sometime before we received PLCE one of the troop sergeants in my squadron was talking about initiating the rule that everyone in his troop was to use 58 pattern large packs for weekend exercises, as too many troopers were rocking up on Friday evenings with way too much kit in their bergans and civvy rucksacks.

We didn´t have VHF radios, just one PRC 320 in each rover. How did you organise the comms? Was it VHF for inter-troop work, and HF for longer range stuff?

We once worked alongside an infantry recce platoon on a weekend ex, and were amazed at how much more kit they had. I remember pulling up next to one of their rovers, and seeing the two radios in the back, GPMG in front of the vehicle commander, and a LAW80 strapped to the bonnet. We had nothing heavier than 5.56.
On the plus side though we never did much tabbing.
 
I can remember the hessian/scrim being attached to chicken wire so it could be removed from the vehicle in one lump, that way it was never fitted for inspections etc. I'm sure they was still doing this up to the mid 90's. There was also a sort of cage thing that meant they could drive on the trg area with the tailboard down to increase storage space.....
 

stuskimac

Clanker
I didn´t realise that you had been in an infantry recce platoon. This explains why you had GPMGs. If you had stated this in one of your previous posts, then I must have missed it. I thought you were ex-yeomanry.



We didn´t have VHF radios, just one PRC 320 in each rover. How did you organise the comms? Was it VHF for inter-troop work, and HF for longer range stuff?
When I joined in 1989 we had "THAT RIFLE !" SLR's & GPMG, we didn't get L85A2 & L86A2 till 91/92 I think ? During my recruit training we were taught as an 8 man section with 1 gun group, the fire team concept of 10 men & 2 gun groups started to come in after my recruit stage, but we as recce were doing this anyway when 2 recce teams buddied up as a section, 2 Gpmgs gave us decent firepower for a section, used either grouped as a firebase or split between fireteams (not that we ever did it for real, but it looked good !) One of the platoons taskings for a Batt. deliberate attack would be to recce & mark the startline & provide guides for the rifle Coys & guide them onto the startline. Once they moved off for the assualt we would be tasked with flank protection using the veh's with guns mounted or dismounted & grouped with machine gun pltn in a firebase.

Radio's were only ever used at Battalion level, you had the Batt. net, Coy net & Pltn net all on VHF, HF was the admin net for A2 echelon & higher & to be honest hardly ever used it. In the veh's the VRC 353 was purely veh bourne, usually on the Batt. net had the greatest planning range & you could turn the power up to 50watts & boom out! although you weren't supposed too ! lol The PRC 351/2 would usually be on the Pltn nett & could be demounted pretty quickly & man packed on foot. We had a remote unit (stretching my grey cells to remember the names of kit, RCU's & ARFAT, ring bells) in the front of the vehicle so the Veh Comd could listen & transmit on both nets. We also had remote units to run D10 from the veh to an OP/hide as an option. We had 8 sets on of PNG's (passive night goggles) in the pltn that we could draw & were really usefull bits of kit no other pltn had. The local police borrowed them a few times & when the first Gulf War kicked off they were withdrawn from us & sent away to return about 2 years later with remnants of yellow/sandy paint & dusty sand in the cases. We also had quite a few IWS with mounts for the SLR & GPMG which made the weapon heavy as **** ! but they did work well.
That old T/A thing that plagued me throughtout my 12years in the T/A was always present, that of never being used in our role correctly & the mantra of "we don't do that, we're only T/A" always pissed me off. All too often we'd turn up for a w/end exercise expecting to do our role only to be farmed out to the rifle Coy's as an extra section to make up the numbers, that was shit. We were always dicked to provide sections for Batt & Brigade section/pltn competions, won a fair bit of silver, which probably looked great in the SGTS/OFFICERS Mess, not that we ever saw it, pat on the back, well done, now f@ck off ! We had a fairly good shooting team too, 5 of mostly seniors were on the Bisley shooting team & we always picked up silverware at the annual Batt shooting competion. Some of guys were sniper trained having done the sniper course before it became the sharpshooters coarse. There were plenty of coarses available & our NCO's were pretty well qualified, but the old T/A mantra would always creep in again after finishing your coarse, come back with the knowledge of how to do things properly only to be shot down & back to T/A way of doing things, I'm sure some ex members could relate to what I mean, I think the T/A was its own worst enemy in terms of retention.
 
Last edited:
All too often we'd turn up for a w/end exercise expecting to do our role only to be farmed out to the rifle Coy's as an extra section to make up the numbers, that was shit.
Our workup week for the Div FTX that I mentioned earlier was "spend four days acting as exercise enemy for the Rifle Companies, and then a day on the Section Competition". Thanks, Colonel...

We were getting bored and inventive by the end, and I did manage to stall a company attack by surrendering. All you could hear was the swearing as I started waving a white flag at the assaulting platoon, you'd have thought I was being unsporting by not allowing them to fight through my position...
 

Latest Threads

Top