Germany

Sennelager Back In Action As Royal Lancers Head To German Ranges

The reconnaissance regiment from Catterick is preparing for a key role in one of the British Army's new Strike Brigades.

The British Army's Sennelager training area in Germany is back in action for the first time since summer 2019.

The ranges near Paderborn have been dormant since 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade returned to the UK.

It has been months since a Scimitar's RARDEN cannon could be heard - but that silence has been broken.

Reconnaissance regiment, the Royal Lancers are in town, and set to join one of the Army's two new Strike Brigades.

The rapidly deployable and mobile forces are due to be ready by 2025, capable of moving anywhere in the world from their Catterick base.

For many in the regiment, the trip to Germany is a first.

The Royal Lancers' commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Adam Foden, says there are still many lessons to be learned.

"It's really a great opportunity for us to come somewhere different," he said.

"It's an expeditionary mindset from the start so we've deployed ourselves from Catterick over to here and it's tested the whole of the regiment.

"I think for our young soldiers it's important to train and become competent in their role before they transition from this platform on to Ajax", he added.

Sergeant Michael Wilkes, from Royal Lancers' B Squadron, said: "The role's similar but we're working now a lot more on our own.

"A lot further out, we've got to think a lot more about logistics and how we're going to get vehicles back, men back, that kind of stuff."

The Royal Lancers will turn to Ajax - the so-called digital age armoured fighting vehicle - in future, but they rely on 20th-century technology for the time being.

The Sennelager training range has been dormant since the departure of 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade in summer 2019.

For many in the regiment, the trip to Germany is a first.

"It's obviously a huge area," said B Squadron gunner, Lance Corporal Jack Richards.

"Catterick you kind of get to know it - we all know what Catterick looks like, you know the back area, so there's not much training value after you've done it four/five/six times.

"Whereas now this is all new to us."

Vehicle Commander, Corporal Michael Hartley said: "You go to Salisbury Plain every year and some of it is quite...it's quite similar.

"So going round a different area can be challenging because you don't know the area."

Lance Corporal Alex Foster from Sabre Troop says the adrenaline flows when on the range.

"Especially when you're firing, that's what we all love to do," he said.

"When the targets pop up, realism comes on and the heart gets pumping."

In April, the Royal Lancers move to Canada, and the Army's most intensive battlefield training on the Alberta prairie.