2 R IRISH, Ex MEDICINE MAN III, Canada 1976.

Event
Wed, 06/23/1976
The Commanding Officer 2 R IRISH commands from a Chieftan tank.
The first infantry CO to exercise command from a main battle tank during BATUS training was Lt Col McCord.

In June 1976, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Rangers Battle Group, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel D G McCord MBE, deployed from West Germany to take part in Exercise MEDICINE MAN III at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (commonly referred to by its acronym BATUS) near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. Also in the Battle Group were elements of the Blues and Royals, Queens Royal Irish Hussars, 2nd Field Regiment Royal Artillery and supporting troops from The Corps of Royal Engineers and The Royal Corps of Transport.

The commonest complaint was that the rolling treeless terrain looked nothing like Europe! However, the BATUS facility would, over the intervening years, prepare the British Army not just for manoeuvre warfare across the northern German plains, but for the conflict in the Gulf, where indeed the terrain almost matched the views across the Canadian prairies when Spring sprinkled the Kuwaiti desert with a light covering of green. Ironically, the leasing of the large Canadian training area in 1972 came about because the original facility had been in the deserts of Libya until Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seized power through a military coup in 1969 and told the British and the US to leave their ‘bases of imperialism’.

The battlefield was not always kind to infantry COs in tanks as one discovered during the Second World War when fighting in Italy.

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