Page 27 - The Chapka 2016
P. 27

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Congratulations on making it past the title; normally as the RSO when I open my mouth most people hear beeps and take in none of the information that I am trying to con- vey. Hopefully the binary will be clear and unambiguous. I promise that the rest of this article will be more interesting than the title.
The British Army currently faces a significant problem when it comes to communicating in the field. The conflict in Ukraine has opened our eyes to the challenges faced with a ‘resurgent Russia’. One area where they have seemingly gained an advantage – through either our ignorance or recent campaigning distractions – is Electronic Warfare (EW).
Some would see this as a massive constraint to how we oper- ate. However, I believe that this opens up the potential for us to practise and develop skills that have been neglected in recent years and explore ‘new’ ways of passing information. The answer also lies in exploiting the Electro-magnetic spec- trum (with the kit we have) and mitigating the risk of being found by the enemy with the use of deception and manoeu- vre. For many reading this article, I’m sure this is nothing new, but it is something we have ignored.
As an armoured recce unit we should be proponents of ma- noeuvre. With seemingly less time on our vehicles this re- mains a challenge. We must continue to reinforce the impor- tance of this skill, but note that deception is oft overlooked. With the current situation there is a great opportunity for commanders at all levels to innovate and come up with new ways of deceiving the enemy. We need to go back to the old methods of passing messages face-to-face and sending infor- mation en masse when opportunities arise, and via a means that minimises our signature. The days of the motorbike dis- patch rider have passed, however, a CVR(T) could be used for this same purpose if needs be. There are many other methods that we can also use to prevent the enemy from ascertaining our strength and locations, and having an effect on us.
Vehicle commanders, now more so than ever, must use their imaginations to pass information and hide themselves from the enemy. This year, The Royal Lancers will be given a number of opportunities to practice effective emissions con- trol (EMCON) and deception, and we look forward to being part of the experiment.
In April last year six Royal Lancer snipers deployed to BATUS on Prairie Storm 1 and 2. Working in two, three man teams, the snipers were employed to find, observe and destroy key ene- my personnel and equipment, with indirect and direct precision fire from concealed positions.
To prepare for these exercises we honed our stalking skills on Catterick training area and our shooting in Warminster and Castlemartin. This ensured that when we deployed we were a realistic and potent enemy capability for the training battle- groups. This was proven when Corporal Smith, Corporal Han- cock and Corporal Bedson killed the battlegroup commander, not once but twice. While it is statistically proven that ‘cutting around’ the prairie on quad bikes is the ‘allyiest’ way to travel, it proved to be challenging in the famous Alberta weather. It became obvious that we were starting to be taken seriously when the training battlegroups deployed a company of Armoured In- fantry around their HQs, depleting their attacks of manpower and providing us with more targets to destroy. By the end of the exercises nothing could stand in our way; Lance Corporal Ken- nett and Lance Corporal Crook and I put in a three man section attack on a Challenge 2 tank that had broken down.
Obviously, this new found glory did not go to our heads one bit. When Lance Corporal Crook demonstrated his quad’s drag rac- ing ability by flying past the RSM at some speed he received a ‘back pocket’ lesson on prairie speed limits. Well timed, as ever, the lesson became a reality when Corporal Hancock did a ‘super- man’ over his handlebars, resulting in quick trip to Medicine Hat Hospital.
Overall, the snipers had a successful exercise in BATUS pro- viding the right information and destroying key enemy targets
alongside the rest of the OPFOR battle group. The utility of the Sniper within an Armoured Cavalry Regiment was abundant for all to see. Our success this year should pave the way for the next generation of Lancer Snipers, as we go on to mix it with our infantry brethren in the 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade con- centration in 2017.
Snipers on the Prairie
 Everything looks cooler in Black and White (and with baseball caps)

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