Page 17 - The Chapka 2016
P. 17

   OPFOR’s Officer Commanding Propaganda, Commissar Purbrickovich
mantra and medical plan. All were imbued with a palpable sense of ‘TES bravery’:
TES brave / t-s breiv / adjective: 1. A grossly inflated confidence to face-down class two eye-safe laser beams with the certainty of TES death or TES serious injury; “he was so TES brave – he tried to kill a Challenger 2 with an SA80 whilst hiding behind a bush.” Synonyms: kamikaze, lemmings, TES death or glory.
Each PRAIRIE STORM followed a script of six missions: the first, a delay back to an area defence on the River Tovchay with a point defence on the Oil Refinery. After a withdrawal over the international border (cardinally north, but west in our scenario - causing much cartographic hilarity), an incursion attacking the exercising BG’s defensive position, followed by us pursing the BG as they withdrew back to the River Zayamchay comprised Mission 2 and 3. Missions 4, 5 and 6 was the defence of the villages of Ayyubulu, Qovlar and Tovuz respectively, followed by a withdrawal – tail between legs – back to Limaria, a beaten enemy.
Artillery-launched scatterable mines rained-down as persistent- ly as the Catterick-esque drizzle and created swathes of impass- able obstacles. Our snipers were everywhere, butchering com- manding officers where they stood, and like all psychopaths, leaving behind their calling-card – a crisp set of OPFOR BG OSW. The dogs of war let slip: the bloodcurdling cry of “fox- hunting, polo and the Queen” of the KRH subalterns echoed round as their T80s counter-attacked; and, the Anti-Tank Pla- toon claimed scalp-upon-scalp as Challengers, Warriors and the occasional Titan, were left flashing, strewn across the vastness of
Somehwere over the Rainbow
the prairie. On more than one occasion the exercising BG found themselves ‘double-stopped’ in their tracks.
The BATUS terrain must also be recognised for its contribu- tion to equipment casualties. Lieutenant Anani-Isaac, Austral- ian exchange officer Captain ‘Aussie Mark’ Hynes and Trooper Hutchinson discovered that lakes on the map are indeed lakes in reality and they were thus left ‘down under’ water. Idler wheels continued to have that annoying habit of detaching from the hull, whenever innocently neutral-turning in soft ground. Despite these freak equipment failures that can – in no way – be attributed to driver or commander error, vehicle availability remained in the high-80s / low-90s percent testament to a Main- tenance Company (née LAD) who were as stoic as they were re- lentless. I wonder if they ever got that elusive crate of beer...
The QRH were next through the grinder, but this time the 1st Battalion of the Scots Guards – with their tank company of T80 from B Squadron Royal Lancers – replaced the Royal Lancers OPFOR BG for Exercise PRAIRIE STORM 3. Exercise IRON RESOLVE (as PRAIRIE STORM 4 became re-badged) was – like many other Defence initiatives – not a cost-saving measure. IRON RESOLVE was billed as a ‘Strike’ experimentation ex- ercise. The RDG, as 20th Infantry Brigade’s Amoured Cavalry Regiment, were joined by a Canadian Company in LAV and de- manded a different kind of enemy – more insurgents, and less tanks. This is no reflection on the bravery of the RDG, no way, definitely not. It was with a heavy heart that B Squadron hung- up their coveralls and collected their RPGs and IEDs.

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