Elements of the British Army’s recently established 11 Light Brigade Reconnaissance Force (11 LBRF) is currently working up at the South African Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) at Lohatlha in the Northern Cape.
Squadron commander Major Gordon Clifford says the brigade has deployed an augmented squadron from the Household Cavalry Regiment to SA “in order to gain valuable experience operating within an ‘out of area` environment whilst also providing the opportunity to strengthen historic ties between the British Army and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
Clifford says Exercise KALAHARI THORN 2009 is the third consecutive year in which the British Army has exercised at Lohatlha and the exercise is programmed to last for a month.
“It will include training at both troop (platoon) and squadron (company) level, including exercising with troops from the SANDF, and culminates with a six day dismounted live firing exercise,” Harris says.
The 150 soldiers are predominantly from B Squadron, The HCR, but also include soldiers from across the Brigade “who provide an effective all arms grouping”.
The squadron includes cavalrymen from both The Life Guards and the Blues and Royals ceremonial regiments. Cavalrymen from both are often seen on the Horse Guards parade in central London (with the Life Guards wearing red uniforms and the Blues and Royals, blue). The HCR is an operational unit formed from the two regiments in 1992.
It is now assigned to the 11 LBRF of the to 3rd (UK) Mechanised Division. The 11 LBRF was created last October and is currently working up for deployment.
The HCR is normally equipped with the FV107 Scimitar light armoured reconnaissance vehicle. For this exercise it is operating dismounted (on foot) and has a number of Land Rover vehicles.
Clifford also commended the CTC, SA Army and SANDF for assistance rendered to date.