30 Armoured Engineer Squadron vs Estonian Snow
Cold Weather Challenges Armoured Engineers on Ex Winter Camp
30 Armoured Engineer Squadron have been taking part in Exercise Winter Camp in Estonia. Ex Winter Camp is a week long exercise designed to test soldiers’ Cold Weather Operator skills.
30 Armd Engr Sqn, 26 Engineer Regiment, based at Swinton Barracks, are part of 12 Armoured Infantry brigade, 3rd UK Division, and currently deployed on Op CABRIT in support of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh, as part of Britain’s contribution to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Eastern Europe.
Trojans and Titans
Soldiers from 30 Armd Engr Sqn were pictured driving Trojan and Titan vehicles through the Estonian snows. Trojan and Titan are combat engineering vehicles used by the British Army for heavy duty tasks.
Based on a Challenger 2 tank chassis, the Trojan Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE) lacks the main armament and in place of the gun turret has a large hydraulic excavator arm, which can be used to excavate areas, move obstacles, and deposit the fascine that the Trojan carries at its rear. The Trojan is usually also fitted with a plough on the front, enabling it to clear mines, either detonating them on contact, or pushing them out of the way to make a safe path for following vehicles. It is equipped with a 7.62mm machine gun for self-defence.
The Titan Armoured Vehicle Launcher Bridge (AVLB) is also based the Challenger 2 chassis. The world leader in its class, the Titan is designed to cross gaps of up to 60 metres, using a selection of close support bridges. It can carry and lay the current range of In-Service No. 10, 11 and 12 Close Support Bridges, providing ground forces with a fast and versatile bridging capability.
A £250 million contract was awarded in early 2001 for 66 vehicles – 33 Trojans and 33 Titans. The Royal Engineers started receiving the vehicles in late 2006.
Cold Weather Operator Skills
Among other activities, the Squadron made Pykrete, a cheap alternative to concrete using “two abundant locally sourced components”, whilst some sappers took the ice-dip challenge, jumping into freezing waters. The cold weather added an extra challenge to practicing basic skills, such as building survival shelters in the woods. 30 Armd Wngr Sqn also trained interoperability, wWorking alongside NATO allies, such as the Danish Vidar Company.
30 Armd Engr Sqn trained alonside The Royal Welsh in BATUS, Canada, in 2017, in preparation for their Baltic deployment. Fully trained combat engineers, 30 Sqn also practised infantry skills in open country and urban mock-ups.
Image: British Army Corps of Royal Engineers’ Titan on Ex Winter Camp in Estonia (Crown Copyright, 2018).