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 of the King’s Royal Hussars, who are normally based at Tidworth in Wiltshire, have deployed to Afghanistan in Warthogs as a surveillance group, using speed and manoeuvrability to secure areas for large operations.
And troops from D Squadron have since gone on to support Operation MAAHI BUZURG (meaning ‘big fish’ in Dari) in the area of Gereshk, which has seen hundreds of soldiers from the Afghan National Army team up with members of the Afghan Uniform Police, Local Police and Civil Order Police, with support from British, American and Danish troops.
Captain George Matthews is one of the Troop Leaders in the Squadron. He 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 and Warthogs, and also as an infantry group.
Lance Corporal Andy Edmondson has been in Helmand for three months so far and has had a variety of jobs, including commanding the ambulance in the squadron, and is now driving the Troop Leader, Captain Matthews’, vehicle.
Lance Corporal Edmondson 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.