Page 23 - Chiron Calling Spring 2019
P. 23

As part of the growing bond of friendship between the RAVC and 132e Bataillion Cynophile de L’Armee de Terre (132e BCAT) a small group including Lt Cathy Fryers, WO2 Gary Rutherford, Sgt Charlotte Cox, Sgt Alexander Wright and I were invited to visit the Battalion during the Championat National Du Chien Militaire 2018. The championship involves the top Protection dog teams competing against each other in a number of disciplines.
Early doors, 0630hrs, one coffee down, a quick walk off for High Assurance Search Dog Lea and we were on the bus heading south. After driving through a broad variety of countryside and what felt like a blink for a non-driver we were pulling up at our accommodation. We had our own rooms in a nice quiet block, usually reserved for officers, so there was no fear of having to put up with other people snoring for the week.
The morning that followed was spent meeting some of the hierarchy of the 132e BCAT including a welcome introduction by Colonel Reynaud, the Battalion Commander.
From here we began a tour of the camp and facilities. Although the kennel lines housed around the same number of dogs as our own, the French lines seemed vast as each Squadron is allocated an individual range. Each range has space in between each kennel with small hedges and trees to segregate the Sqns. As we made our way around camp we were met by friendly Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) that were happy to answer any questions on the sections they ran.
Later that afternoon brought the chance to get our eyes on the first bit of dog work of the week, watching the first stage of validation for the protection dogs of the French Military. The first stage was an impressive display of obedience with dogs all but glued to their handler’s side. We later saw stage two which escalated to involve bite work and simulated gun fire with dogs negotiating 8ft walls, again with a strong level of obedience and rigidity.
Day two gave me the opportunity to
By Pte Charles Troman 102 MWD Sqn
observe their search handlers take on the Reims Opera House. They searched from the archives section in the basement, through to the theatre, and all the way to a roof top search with stunning views of the cathedral and surrounding city. This took most of the day but was well worth the trip as we got the chance to compare their Explosive Detection Dog with our Arms Explosive Search capability.
The penultimate day gave us the opportunity to see the third and final stage of the validation process for the protection handlers. The dogs and their handlers where put under increasing amounts of pressure with full blown fire fights, more impressive feats of agility and challenges that would test the dogs drive and confidence to the limits. Even the best dogs from the early stages of the validation struggled to pass without fault and you could see the handlers were feeling the heat as well.
The final day of the trip was a demonstration of interoperability that bought together dog teams, armoured vehicles and infantry soldiers. Set in an urban environment, detection assets searched a route into a simulated village, and protection dogs were used in building clearance and the guarding of detained personnel. The culmination of the
132e Bataillon Cynophile de l’armee de Terre.
demonstration was a public order exercise where dogs were used to control a large crowd, broken up by a suspected car bomb where the detection assets were further utilised.
The trip was an invaluable insight into how the French Military operate with MWDs and served to further strengthen the close bond that 1 MWD Regt and 132e BCAT have created. I certainly found it a useful experience and a chance to see different dog training methods.
A visit to 1 MWD Regt’s French Friends
   French handlers travelling in the rear of Armoured vehicle
View of Reims Cathedral from the rooftop of the Opera House

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