Page 112 - The Chapka 2016
P. 112

  D Battery, 3 Royal Horse Artillery
For ‘Shiny D’ it has been another busy, yet rewarding year for all parts of the Battery. It is hard to imagine that only a
year ago we were conducting recces to both Kenya and the Falkland Islands in prepara- tion for exercises in 2016. Sadly the Falk- lands exercise was cancelled at the last min-
ute. The pace of life has been vigorous across the Battery, but there have also been opportunities for all ranks to continue to enjoy themselves on some outstanding exercises, adventurous training and sports.
Since moving back to the UK from Germany in 2015, we have fully integrated into life in the North East of England and within our new home of Albemarle Barracks. The accommodation was not quite up to the standard we were accustomed to in Hohne, but the tempo seems to have been such that nobody has spent much time in their rooms anyway.
The two deployments to Kenya early in the year were the main focus for the Battery. The first tasking, that of providing the Force Protection platoon for BATUK, was fulfilled by the Gun Group for two months in January and February. Following on from this, the Tac Group (the Battery Commander, Fire Support Teams and Joint Fires Cell) supported 1RGR on Exercise ASKARI STORM. The battalion is based in Brunei, and thus we had the added in- terest of working not only with Gurkhas, but with a unit which enjoys the very different way of life of British Forces Brunei.
The Fire Support Teams certainly benefited from several days training with the Mortar Platoon. Effective integration of mortar fires into the wider fires plan is an essential part of the Fire Sup- port Team Commander’s role, but opportunities to do it are nor- mally few and far between; fortunately, 1RGR were very willing to train in this area and the Gurkhas were typically welcoming. The various phases of the exercise slipped rapidly by, as did the wildlife sightings; by the end, we had ‘bagged’ elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs, baboons and assorted scorpions. Not exactly Jumanji, but not a bad showing.
Directly after Easter leave, a four-man team under Captain R J W Towes RHA deployed to Brunei to integrate with C (Mogaung) Company, 1RGR, for Exercise PACIFIC KUKRI, a company- level exercise on the Tekapo training area in New Zealand’s South Island. The glacial landscape was as stunning as it was arduous, and with the company deployed entirely in the light role, with not a vehicle to its name, many wild, boggy, undulat- ing miles passed underfoot. The low point came, ironically, in the Two Thumb Mountains, when the company had to cross the same icy river six times, in the dark, as it meandered down its valley; the high point was undoubtedly the five days of R&R in Queenstown, the world capital of adventurous training. With the team also able to get across the South China Sea for three days of their own R&R in Kuala Lumpur, it is gratifying to know that our people are still joining the Army and seeing the world.
As some few Lancers may know, our Battery Birthday is cel- ebrated on the anniversary of the action at Secundra Gunge, on 5 January. As the Battery was away in Kenya at the time, the celebration was postponed to our return in May. An excel- lent evening was enjoyed by all, and congratulations are due to Bombardier (now Sergeant) Bashford for winning the Chandler Award for Best JNCO, and to Gunner Burns for winning the Drivers’ Whip.
After summer leave, the Tac Group deployed immediately on Exercise WESSEX STORM with 3 SCOTS, having fought through the CSTTX with them back in June. Being aligned to the Adaptable Force, every battle group we work with is differ- ent and with 3 SCOTS we had to adapt to the Light Mechanised way of working (itself a work in progress). Still, flexibility has always been the name of the game and the experience forced us to think more seriously about being how we operate when mounted, which is never a bad thing.
All in all, 2016 was a year in which D Battery was worked hard, tested and challenged, and ultimately it was down to the unstint- ing efforts of our soldiers that so much was achieved. As ever, we salute The Royal Lancers – ‘Our Regiment’ – and wish all serving and former Lancers well for the coming year.

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