The first Challenger in BAOR

#1
If My memory serves me this was plonked in the middle of the Royal Hussars square, Lumsden Barracks in the summer of 1983, covered with a load of ponchos, surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by 2 JNCOs round the clock. Anyone else remember this?
TB
8)
 
#2
I remember being up at Hohne while a Royal Hussars squadron was commission firing their shiny new challys. Oh what twats we felt swapping firing points in our smelly old chieftains - a bit like pulling up at the lights next to a new Porche 911 and you in your E reg Ford Fiesta with three screaming kids in the back. The Hussars crews had the look of a Porche driver - dead casual, and then catching your eye just as they raored off and out of sight. Eventually, we got some second hand challys, but it wasn´t quite the same as the ganz neuer panzer. And actually, I have tremendous affection for the old chieftain - not that I ever got my hands dirty - as soon as ENDEX was called, it was "carry on driver" and I was off to the mess for industrial quantities of tea and toast, followed by a brief appearance on the tank park three days later to claim the credit at the Squadron Leaders inspection. Oh happy days!
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#3
I was an Umpire in 1984 for first use of RH Challengers.

Cannot remember name of Exercise.

Main problem was that CHR was wider than CH, roads did not seem to be able to take it, great memories of curb stones being ejected from tracks amd more than a few wing mirrors being lost by parked cars.

Have great photo of one with "No War" spray painted on the side by German Green Party activists, they also petrol bombed RHQ, not a very pacifist thing to do.

Will try and scan and post said photo.
 
#4
I was on the "other" bit of wonderkit in 1983/4 - Tracked Rapier. We and the new Challys were on demo after demo together, culminating in the one where Maggie Thatcher had that iconic cabby in the Chally. During the last phase of Lionheart, the exercise was halted to set up that final "winning counterattack" comprising Challengers and their mobile air defence - Tracked Rapier - crossing an engineer bridge (maybe that was new wonderkit as well?) and storming off to biff 3rd Shock Army or whoever. Unfortunately, the Challengers left monster deep ruts on the crossing approaches and exits, into which the remainder of the BG - wheels and tracks alike - quickly bogged to an embarrassing standstill. Finding that following a Challenger was like trying to drive an MG midget down a tractor track, my TR No1s wisely decided to ford the river (it was 2" deep any way) and strike a pose for the press on the other side. The Challengers had meanwhile buggered off x-country at about 40 mph and vanished from the spectators view...
 
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bokkatankie

Guest
#5
Lionheart, that was it , thanks.

Remember the bridge crossing, do you also rememner the other bridge that was blocked by Greenies.

Solution by Brits was to build another bridge, German Army solution was to drive Leopards over offending VW combis.

Those were the days.
 
#6
I have many fond memories of Lionheart, one of which was 14/20 trialling BATCO for the first time - what fun that was if you were flicked to work on their net! Another was waking up to find a lonely tank commanded by a similarly spaced out tp ldr like myself from another BRIGADE trying to park in my hide.

Me - "WTF are you doing?"

Space Cadet - "I broke down, we got fixed in the middle of the night, I saw your winky wanky lights so I followed you. This A Sqn **/** lancers isn´t it?"

Me - "No this is D Sqn ***/*, your brigade withdrew through the screen last night and is now on rear area security about 150 km that way"

Space Cadet - "What brigade is that then?"

Me - "*****!!!!"
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#7
We were also using BATCO for first time. Lionheart seems to have been a major testing ground for all sorts of things.

Definate improvement on SLIDEX and MAPCO, or was it? God knows how we did it in those days, all of that scribbling and trying to make out what the F**k it all meant.

But those huge BAOR exercises were such wonderful experiences, does anyone know if it is true about the 50 death limit on Lionheart and whether it was actually achieved, my understanding was that we did kill over 50 but in those days no one seemed to be counting
 
#8
We also had Batco, but we also had a primitive text-message device to use with it (a TDED or something) - green box the size of a small laptop, with rubber keys. I kept this TDED on top of the pile of mapcases (remember having map sheets about 6' square?!) on top of the battery box in the FFR rover. Unfortunately, after about the tenth night without any sleep, I fell asleep with my head resting on the TDED - and woke up to find I had the keyboard imprinted across the side of my face....... which was amusing at the next Div O Gp .... not....
 
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Biscuits_AB

Guest
#9
Jorrocks said:
I remember being up at Hohne while a Royal Hussars squadron was commission firing their shiny new challys. Oh what **** we felt swapping firing points in our smelly old chieftains - a bit like pulling up at the lights next to a new Porche 911 and you in your E reg Ford Fiesta with three screaming kids in the back. The Hussars crews had the look of a Porche driver - dead casual, and then catching your eye just as they raored off and out of sight. Eventually, we got some second hand challys, but it wasn´t quite the same as the ganz neuer panzer. And actually, I have tremendous affection for the old chieftain - not that I ever got my hands dirty - as soon as ENDEX was called, it was "carry on driver" and I was off to the mess for industrial quantities of tea and toast, followed by a brief appearance on the tank park three days later to claim the credit at the Squadron Leaders inspection. Oh happy days!
I have a terrible feeling that you may have been my Tp Sgt.
 
#10
Biscuits, I am flattered that you take me for a Troop Sgt - oh that I should reach that dizzy rank. I was only a lowly subaltern, the Tp Sgt kept the show on the road, I was there to provide top cover from the Sqn Ldr, get the yellow handbags in at endex, sing songs at the smoker and not get in the way. After a few exercises, I could be trusted with minor tasks like adding weight to track bashing, and running erands to tech. In three years, I never opened a 437 (is that right? the green folder with all the vehicle docs in it). I ran some good adventure training jollies that generally deviated from the original aim on day one, and always ended up with RMP/GCP/Adjt involvement, but we had a good time. I knew my place, and I hope I contributed something to the security of the western world during the golden era of world peace that was the Cold War. What we got up to then was worlds apart from what the RAC is doing now in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have huge respect for the troops on the ground, and despite all the groaning on this site about how "standards" have slipped, I shudder to think how we would have coped if we´d been faced with the same challenges twenty years ago. Which brings me neatly back to the thread.
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#11
The halcyon days of BAOR, 1 BR Corps and 3 months skiing every year. Rugby (when not skiing) every Wednesday and Saturday, adventure training that really only consisted of trips to the local brewery. When the GSM was known as the Northern Ireland Medal and the only other medal anyone was likely to get was the windsurfing one for Cyprus.

The only enemy (other than the pesky IRA) sat behind an iron curtain and seemed to believe our tanks worked (or did they). Then along came Challenger, we were told it was so good that we would not need to see the tank park ever again, that maintenance was a thing of the past. Sadly this was not completly true and somehow we ended up with Chieftain until 1994 anyway.

Those were the days when combats were only worn on guard and exercises seemed to blend one into the next in a daze of yellow handbags, reds and blues. When an oil spill did not spark of a major environmental disaster progamm and rations came in tins. When going to Canada meant 6 weeks of getting lost, having fun and the OPFOR was made out of cardboard. When body armour was a "chinese fighting suit" and Goretex consisted of an oily old Barbour jacket.

I could go on but agree with Jorrocks "I have huge respect for the troops on the ground, and despite all the groaning on this site about how "standards" have slipped, I shudder to think how we would have coped if we´d been faced with the same challenges twenty years ago"
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#12
bokkatankie said:
We were also using BATCO for first time. Lionheart seems to have been a major testing ground for all sorts of things.
I have to take issue here. I transferred out of the cav in 1982 to start a seven year resettlement course in RAPC. I was posted to 12 Armd Wksp (Osnabruck, 1 Armd Div) for my only main stream RAPC tour.

As a former Control Signaller, the REEMs immediately appointed me NCO/IC all things radio in the MRG HQ. I am quite certain that the 1 Armd Div Log Net (on which 12 Armd Wksp reported) used Batco throughout my three years, 1982 - 85. (As I transferred out of 15/19H in July 1982, much was being made of the complete rewrite of Radio Communications in the Army, and I am sure Batco was in on it. I also remember reading a DCI whilst doing work experience in the 15/19H Pay Office which for the first time defined midnight, so that we no longer jumped from 2359 to 0001.)

I was exempted from Lionheart because SACEUR had plans for all German Linguists in theatre to be used as 5th columnists to screw the regular forces, and a message came down from Lord God Almighty himself to OC Wksp that Cpl Alien, RAPC was not, under any circumstance to be deployed on Lionheart with my unit. When the plans were dropped some months later, somebody forgot to inform OC 12 Arms Wksp, so I didn't deploy (except, in the company of a REEM clerk / bodyguard with pocketsful of DMs to run a Pay Parade in the field, actually in an RCT Barracks in Hannover where, in 1977, I'd been stopped from going adventure training in Norway because I was travelling on a chitty in lieu, which the Noggies wouldn't accept).

After Lionheart, with my tour into the final 365 days of my chuff chart, it suddenly occurred to the REEMs that they really really needed to train somebody to run their radios ready for my departure date and my appearance on exercises was seriously curtailed, almost to zero, allowing me to shine up the arrse of my trousers before commencing my Mil Acct (Programmer) course.

I used to do the Bank runs to collect the daily cash for the Imprest Account, which entailed calling MT to request a Rover for the purpose. This gave me good reason to roam around the FRG hangars nosing at kit I'd not be seeing much more of. ISTR doing this one day immediately after Lionheart and finding the FRG hangars locked tighter than a fish's bum. It transpired that a 14/20H Chally hadn't made it to Endex and it was locked and guarded awaiting an assembly because it was still classified as secret. My NATO security clearance (for the use of BID) had expired, and no way was I going to be allowed in. Bum.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#13
bokkatankie said:
rations came in tins.
So WTF do rations come in now? Whatever happened to 4-man and 10-man ration packs FFS?!?!?

Next thing you'll be telling me that Marsden Rock has fallen into the sea!!!
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#14
Jorrocks said:
Biscuits, I am flattered that you take me for a Troop Sgt - oh that I should reach that dizzy rank. I was only a lowly subaltern, the Tp Sgt kept the show on the road, I was there to provide top cover from the Sqn Ldr, get the yellow handbags in at endex, sing songs at the smoker and not get in the way. After a few exercises, I could be trusted with minor tasks like adding weight to track bashing, and running erands to tech. In three years, I never opened a 437 (is that right? the green folder with all the vehicle docs in it). I ran some good adventure training jollies that generally deviated from the original aim on day one, and always ended up with RMP/GCP/Adjt involvement, but we had a good time. I knew my place, and I hope I contributed something to the security of the western world during the golden era of world peace that was the Cold War. What we got up to then was worlds apart from what the RAC is doing now in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have huge respect for the troops on the ground, and despite all the groaning on this site about how "standards" have slipped, I shudder to think how we would have coped if we´d been faced with the same challenges twenty years ago. Which brings me neatly back to the thread.
Great post brother.
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#15
Alien

I think you may have been involved in pre-main issue trials with BATCO, even the Army is not so stupid as to introduce a complete new code system on a major exercise without trying it out in smaller scale first.


Lionheart was 1984 so all things are possible, maybe 12 BDE was trial BDE in 1983.


Basic in 1982 and then Recce regt. (based in UK) in 1983-4 we were using MAPCO etc. We also had a Sqn of Foxes with Larkspur sets, not even Clansman
 
#16
I was in the AAC and just back from an NI tour at the start of Lionheart. For some reason records had me down as having done a PR course so I spent two weeks in the Allied Press and Information Centre (APIC) in Hildesheim. Spent a lot of time out with the press and found it rellyamazing how hard it was to find thousands of cammed up troops. Very well remember a demonstation for the press of new challenger v abrahams v Leopard 3. Abrahams won, Leopard 2nd, challenger didnt start. If anybody is even vaguely interested I still have a comple set of vufoils (remember them) from Lionheart which we prepared every night to brief the press.
 
#17
bokkatankie said:
Alien

I think you may have been involved in pre-main issue trials with BATCO, even the Army is not so stupid as to introduce a complete new code system on a major exercise without trying it out in smaller scale first.


Lionheart was 1984 so all things are possible, maybe 12 BDE was trial BDE in 1983.


Basic in 1982 and then Recce regt. (based in UK) in 1983-4 we were using MAPCO etc. We also had a Sqn of Foxes with Larkspur sets, not even Clansman
I went back to 1AAC from RACTR (and RH left there at the same time)in 1981. I'm pretty sure it was MAPCO/SLIDEX when I went to Catterick and BATCO when I went back to BAOR. If not I'm pretty sure it was shortly after and before Lionheart. I also seem to remember testing "burst" transmitters before Lionheart as well. Could be wrong of course - it was a long time ago.

hello F30 de G20 batco message k
G20 difficult, through G20Bk
hello G20B de G20 relay to F30 batco message k
hello G20B de G20 radio check k
hello G20B de G20 nothing heard out

Thank god we don't have to do that madness anymore. Pass a sandbag and swing the lantern
 
#18
:banned: ah lionheart what an exciting ftx that was.went through the first 10 days as reserve for div,brigade,regt.watched german peeps wandering through our secret location for days saying hello.sent shock waves when nbc training went something like Cpl inkester what response to mysterious gas type thingy coming towards you?then in a tactical response like 135 decibels GAS GAS GAS. god the panic,what a laugh.finaqlly get to move out of top secret position when rain comes down.sadly for our proud unit first 3 tanks fall off the road (these were the people who had properly decoded batco message)to be replaced by a certain troop Cpl wot hadn't..oh the fun.off the lads flew in the wrong direction.tactical breakdowns,farmers getting annoyed,cnd hippies at that bridge,german police in helicopters and a spot of jousting on the evening road march,2nd tp were very good at that. 8) wot a waste of scheckels
 
#19
AlienFTM said:
ISTR doing this one day immediately after Lionheart and finding the FRG hangars locked tighter than a fish's bum. It transpired that a 14/20H Chally hadn't made it to Endex and it was locked and guarded awaiting an assembly because it was still classified as secret.
Closest the 14/20H got to a chally prior to being posted to Munster in 88 was running the last Chieftain squadron at Sennelager whilst the rest of the Blue and Royals squadrons had Challenger. Must have been someone elses.

Had better memories of RubberMallet (Iron hammer) Could it have been any colder!!!
 
#20
Batco, was good, introduced to our troop just before we went on an exercise, only to find the unit we were working with, werent using Batco, leading to hilarious radio messages, which usually ended in f*cking hell, what you on about.
 

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