A Squadron of cavalrymen have swapped their Challenger 2 tanks for Warthog armoured vehicles as they support the Afghan security forces in Helmand Province.
Soldiers and officers from D Squadron, the King’s Royal Hussars, known as the Northern Cavalry Regiment, who are normally based in Tidworth in Wiltshire, have deployed to Afghanistan in Warthogs as a surveillance group, using speed and manoeuvrability to secure areas for large operations.
Troops from D Squadron deployed in support of Operation “Maahi Buzurg” (meaning big fish in Dari) to the area of Gereshk, which has seen hundreds of soldiers from the Afghan National Army team up with policemen from the Uniformed Police, the Local Police and the Civil Order Police with support from British, American and Danish troops.
Captain George Matthews (26), from Shipton-Under-Wychwood in Oxfordshire, is one of the Troop Leaders in the Squadron.
George said: “We’re all tank soldiers here, so we’re used to a lot of maintenance that needs to be done with Challenger 2. Warthog is very good, very reliable. They’re the only vehicle that can get over all the difficult ground over here in Afghanistan. They’re exceptional.”
Prior to arriving in Afghanistan, D Squadron were training hard in Canada, South Africa and the Falkland Islands in a variety of roles in Challenger 2 tanks, Warthogs and also as an infantry group.
Lancaster-born Lance Corporal Andy Edmondson (22) has been in Helmand for three months so far and has had a varied range of jobs, commanding the ambulance in the Squadron, and is now driving the Troop Leader Captain Matthews’ vehicle.
Andy said: “We’re Challenger 2 crewmen, and that means that as well as all the stuff I do with the Warthogs, I can drive, gun and operate the Challenger 2 tank.
“There are quite a few of us who come from the same area and even a few of us who went to the same school, so it’s good to be around people from your local area. The regiment is like a big family."