Exercise PRAIRIE STORM 2

Exercise PRAIRIE STORM (Ex PS), formerly named Exercise MED MAN for the slightly older reader, is held at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Alberta, Canada, the centre of excellence for all armoured training. The exercise area is larger than the county of Gloucestershire and allows the exercising units to conduct training, including live-firing, on a much larger scale than is possible in the UK.

The main aim of BATUS is to assess whether Battlegroups (BG) are fit to deploy on operations. Not only are the BG headquarters and Rifle Companies being assessed but also the attached arms: Engineers, Artillery and Cavalry.

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Battlegroup deployed to BATUS in early June to take over the Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles and prepare them for the upcoming 37 day exercise. I was fortunate to command 12 Platoon in Zulu Company for the duration of the exercise.

After working hard on the Warriors, the BG were rewarded with a weekend off to relax before the long exercise. It also allowed individuals time to explore small parts of North America and buy the essentials that make 'life on the Prairie' slightly more comfortable.

We were soon rolling out the gates in an impressive armoured column heading north on the Rattlesnake ready to start the exercise with the live fire phase. To try to offer some perspective on the size of the training area, the move from camp to our first range was 50 Km. In true armoured fashion the move took an impressively long time as, unsurprisingly, the 30 year old Warriors stopped more often than might be hoped for.

The whole exercise was broken down into different smaller exercises. Zulu Company started with Sub-unit live