Sunday, November 8, 2009

A stint with the British Army in the Rhine

My second operational experience was actually serving in the British Sector in West Germany during the Cold War. After our 6 months YO course in Larkhill UK, 2 Lt Pan, 2Lt Maskan, 2Lt Chin and I were seconded to 2 Field Regiment RA on an operational tour in Munster, Germany. It was early 1965 and Europe was still not yet out of a bad winter. Fresh from Larkhill, we were assigned as section comanders in the gun batteries L (Nery) Bty, N (Eagle Troop) Bty and O (Rocket Troop) Bty. Whilst RHQ remained in Munster, the field btys were deployed throughout the British Sector in West Germany. We were part of the overall NATO Force post WW2.

2 Field had Oto Melara 105mm light guns. I remember we used the old Ferret Scout Car as H1 and H2 vehicles. 2Lt Pan and 2Lt Maskan were privileged to have patrolled along the Berlin Wall, with the famous Check Point Charlie to boot. I was patrolling along the British North West sector in the freezing cold, sometimes minus 8 deg C. We stayed in huge double layered tentages with hot stoves inside. Melting snow became sludge and it made our deployment more difficult. Slippery roads and muddy open gun positions. It was combat rations for the whole month in the field. We moved a lot along the wide Autobahns and conducted many night maneuvers and night deployments. We experienced a lot of deployment skills in a conventional battle zone. We practiced every duty required of a section commander/GPO. Even though the operational attachment was only for one month, I had gained a tremendous understanding and insight to our role as Gunners in the battlefield. The need for quick drills and silence were critical. Operations in the European Theatre was quite an experience. It was pure conventional warfare.

2 Field Regiment RA is now designated as 2nd Regiment RA and is equipped with the AS90 155mm SP.

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