More than 1,200 troops from the Kings Royal Hussars and the 4th Battalion, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) are training hard in the heat on the Canadian Prairie.
The Kings Royal Hussars, normally based in Tidworth, are honing their skills on the Challenger 2 main battle tanks by day and night; they are joined by Armoured Infantry Companies from the 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment and the 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment, artillery from the 19th Regiment, Royal Artillery, and combat engineers from the 26th Regiment, The Royal Engineers - forming an Armoured Battlegroup. In addition, this battlegroup is also supported by mortars, snipers and reconnaissance troops from 1 Mercian and drones and signals specialists.
Their training begins with team and platoon exercises and culminates with large-scale manoeuvre involving the whole battlegroup. Currently they are conducting live firing exercises before then taking the fight against a live opposing force, or OPFOR.
To keep this large armoured organisation moving and fighting involves 400 mechanics, logisticians, medics, military police and suppliers – all working as part of the 4th Battalion REME battlegroup.
Exercise Prairie Storm usually happens 3 times per year at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS), on the southern-Albertan Prairie near Medicine Hat. The British Army has been training at Suffield for 44 years. The training conducted here is as unique are it is remote: it is currently the only place where an entire armoured battlegroup can train in its entirety.
The exercise is deliberately designed to prepare troops for an austere, expeditionary deployment against a well-trained and potent enemy. Over 300 safety staff of instructors, coaches, mentors and drivers deploy to deliver this exercise annually.