Armoured reconnaissance

Armoured reconnaissance is the combination of terrestrial reconnaissance with armoured warfare by soldiers using tanks and wheeled or tracked armoured reconnaissance vehicles. While the mission of reconnaissance is to gather intelligence about the enemy with the use of reconnaissance vehicles, armoured reconnaissance adds the ability to fight for information, and to have an effect on and to shape the enemy through the performance of traditional armoured tasks.

Cv90afghanistan
A CV90 armoured reconnaissance vehicle of the Norwegian Army on patrol in Afghanistan.

Armoured reconnaissance units

Australia

In the Australian Army the main reconnaissance vehicle is the ASLAV armoured scout car, which is the Australian version of the LAV 25. The Army Reserve regiments use the Light Cavalry Patrol Vehicle, aka the Regional Force Surveillance Vehicle, which is a variant of the Land Rover Perentie.

Armoured reconnaissance regiments in the Australian Army

Regular

  1. 2nd Cavalry Regiment
  2. 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry)

Reserve

  1. 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers
  2. 3rd/9th Light Horse (South Australian Mounted Rifles)
  3. 4th/19th Prince of Wales's Light Horse
  4. 10th Light Horse Regiment

Belgium

The Belgian Army has two armoured reconnaissance regiments

  1. 1st Regiment Mounted Rifles – Guides
  2. 2nd/4th Regiment Mounted Rifles

Canada

In the Canadian Army, formation armoured reconnaissance regiments are equipped with tanks and gather and fight for information, as well as performing more traditional armour tasks such as seizing, penetrating, and exploiting. There has not been a formation armoured reconnaissance regiment in Canada since 1988. While there are no armoured reconnaissance regiments in the Regular Force in the present day, each Regular Force armoured regiment does provide a formation armoured reconnaissance squadron equipped with armoured cars to each mechanised brigade. Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) is a tank-heavy regiment with two squadrons of tanks and one squadron of armoured cars, while both the Royal Canadian Dragoons and the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada are armoured car-heavy regiments, with three armoured car squadrons each and one shared tank squadron.

Although the Reserve Force regiments continue to be known as armoured reconnaissance regiments, since the loss of the medium tank from their organisation, they have in reality only been employed in the light reconnaissance (scout) role.

Armoured reconnaissance regiments in the Reserve Force.

  1. The Governor General's Horse Guards
  2. The Halifax Rifles (RCAC)
  3. 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's)
  4. The Ontario Regiment (RCAC)
  5. The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC)
  6. Sherbrooke Hussars
  7. 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (Milice)
  8. 1st Hussars
  9. The Prince Edward Island Regiment (RCAC)
  10. The Royal Canadian Hussars (Montreal)
  11. The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own)
  12. The South Alberta Light Horse
  13. The Saskatchewan Dragoons
  14. The King's Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC)
  15. The British Columbia Dragoons
  16. The Fort Garry Horse
  17. Le Régiment de Hull (RCAC)
  18. The Windsor Regiment (RCAC)

Denmark

There is only one armoured reconnaissance battalion in the Danish army.

  1. 3rd Battalion, (III/GHR) Guard Hussar Regiment (Gardehusarregimentet)

The following Danish reconnaissance units were disbanded after the Cold War:

  1. 5th Battalion, (V/JDR) disband in 2005 (Jutlands Dragoons) Jydske Dragonregiment
  2. Recce-Squadron (six M/41DK1 Walker-bulldog), disband in 2000 (Bornholm Guards) Bornholms Værn. On the island of Bornholm

Germany

In 2005 the reconnaissance units of the German Army were restructured. The former Panzeraufklärungstruppe ("armored reconnaissance corps"), Fernspähtruppe ("long range reconnaissance corps"), Feldnachrichtentruppe and UAV units of the Artillerietruppe ("artillery corps") haven been combined to the new Heeresaufklärungstruppe ("army reconnaissance corps").

Now the German Army is operating five reconnaissance battalions and five independent companies:

  • Armoured Reconnaissance
    • Aufklärungslehrkompanie 90, Munster
    • Aufklärungskompanie 210, Augustdorf
  • Long Range Reconnaissance
    • Fernspählehrkompanie 200, Pfullendorf
  • Airborne Reconnaissance
    • Luftlandeaufklärungskompanie 260, Zweibrücken
    • Luftlandeaufklärungskompanie 310, Seedorf

Reconnaissance Bataillons:

  • Aufklärungslehrbataillon 3, Lüneburg
  • Aufklärungsbataillon 6, Eutin
  • Aufklärungsbataillon 8, Freyung
  • Aufklärungsbataillon 13, Gotha
  • Gebirgsaufklärungsbataillon 230, Füssen

Reserve units:

  • Aufklärungsbataillon 910, Gotha
  • Aufklärungsbataillon 911, Füssen
  • Aufklärungsbataillon 912, Lüneburg

Every Battalion (except the Aufklärungslehrbataillon 3) is structured in four companies: 1. HQ & Support Company

The first company provides the battalion with communication, maintenance and transport.

2. Armoured Reconnaissance Company

The armoured reconnaissance company operates all Fennek vehicle of the battalion. They are organized in six platoons of each four vehicle. Two Fennek form a scout squad (Spähtrupp).

3. Light Reconnaissance Company

The light reconnaissance company includes three HUMINT platoons (Feldnachrichtenzüge) and one scout platoon equipped with six Dingo.

4. UAV Company

The fourth company operates the two UAV platoons with LunaX and KZO. There is also a radar platoon, equipped with eight Dingo and the new radar system BÜR.

Ghana

Ghana's Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment is the oldest armoured unit in the Ghanaian Army. It was formed at the country's independence in 1957 and consists of two squadrons. The regiment has served with distinction in various African peacekeeping missions, and is partly equipped with EE-9 Cascavel and Ratel-90 armoured cars.

  1. 1st Ghanaian Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment

Kenya

The Kenyan Army has a single armoured reconnaissance battalion, equipped mainly with Panhard AML-90 armoured cars.

  1. 76 ARB (armoured reconnaissance battalion)

Netherlands

The Dutch Army has one regiment, the Regiment Huzaren van Boreel which was named after Willem Francois Boreel. The Regiment consists of 4 squadrons: 2 squadrons belong to the ISTAR battalion and the other 2 each belonging to 1 of the 2 Netherlands Mechanised Brigades. The difference in organisation between the ISTAR squadrons and the brigade squadrons is that the ISTAR squadrons each have a Tactical Air Control Party for Close Air Support and the 2 brigade squadrons each have an FST section. All squadrons are trained to operate completely independently. They have their own logistical support and all patrols have communication specialists and special forces medics for emergencies. The training and operation procedures of all squadrons are very similar although the ISTAR squadrons focus more on missions not from brigade but from national command. All squadrons have been on combat operations in the south of Afghanistan.

New Zealand

The New Zealand Army only has one squadron that performs armoured reconnaissance. This is also the only reserve armoured squadron.

  1. Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles
  2. 4th Waikato Mounted Rifles part of 6th Hauraki Battalion Group

Norway

The Norwegian Army has two armoured reconnaissance squadrons.

  1. Tropp 2/ Pansret Oppklarning part of the Cavalry Squadron in the Telemark Battalion
  2. Tropp 2/ Pansert Oppklarning part of the Cavalry Squadron in the Panser Battalion

Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka Army has five recce regiments attached to the Sri Lanka Armoured Corps.

  • 1st Reconnaissance Regiment SLAC
  • 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment SLAC
  • 5th Reconnaissance Regiment SLAC
  • 6th Reconnaissance Regiment SLAC
  • 8th Reconnaissance Regiment SLAC

South Africa

Gateguardian4
South African Eland-90 armoured reconnaissance vehicle.

There is only one dedicated armoured reconnaissance regiment in the South African Army, the Light Horse Regiment, and it is considered an armoured car unit. The regiment, which has its roots in the British South African Light Horse, was initially equipped with Ferret scout cars. Following the aggressive nature of South African reconnaissance doctrine, the lightly armed Ferret was replaced first by the Eland Mk7 and after 1991 the Rooikat, which were heavier vehicles equipped with large-calibre cannon.

  1. Light Horse Regiment

United Kingdom

In the British Army armoured reconnaissance units carry out "formation reconnaissance"[1] for higher level formations. In the British Army these Formation reconnaissance regiments are usually providing reconnaissance for a division or a heavy brigade. In a large-scale defensive operation, they would delay attacking forces, whilst screening heavier units as they moved to engage the enemy. The regiments are, currently, almost entirely equipped with vehicles of the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) – CVR(T) – family. Some of the armoured regiments of the British Army are known as formation reconnaissance instead of armoured.

Formation reconnaissance regiments in the British Army

British FV107 Scimitar
One of the British CVR(T) variants – FV107 Scimitar

United States

Stryker RV front q
M1127 Reconnaissance Vehicle

Each brigade combat team (BCT) (there are multiple combat support and combat service support brigades that may or may not have such assets) in the Army has an organic reconnaissance squadron assigned to it. Each heavy brigade combat team has an armored reconnaissance squadron consisting of three reconnaissance troops and an unmanned aerial vehicle troop. The reconnaissance troops have two reconnaissance platoons with five M1114 HMMWVs and three M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicles (a variant of the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle). Stryker BCTs include a Stryker-vehicle-based reconnaissance squadron. There are more than 30 cavalry reconnaissance squadrons in the US Army. incomplete list:

  1. US cavalry regiments Cavalry (United States)
  2. Cavalry scout – US Army specialist position
  • Marine Corps
Raid during Operation Thar Thar Dam
D Company, 3rd LAR Bn patrol north of Fallujah in April 2006

The US Marine Corps light armored reconnaissance (LAR) battalions utilize the LAV-25, an 8×8 wheeled amphibious vehicle.

Regular

  1. 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion – 1st Marine Division
  2. 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion – 2nd Marine Division
  3. 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion – 1st Marine Division

Reserve

  1. 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion – 4th Marine Division (reservist)

Notes and references

  1. ^ Reconnaissance Archived December 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine army.mod.uk
1st Armoured Reconnaissance Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 1st Armoured Reconnaissance Brigade was a regular British Army unit during the Second World War. Having three branches in the brigade doing different jobs. One branch was a command group with eight officers, six scour cars and seven light tanks. Second branch was an office and recon group which consisted of an officer, assortment of normal vehicles and a light machine gun. The final admin group contains another assortment of transport vehicles, a water bowser and four light machine guns.

FV101 Scorpion

The FV101 Scorpion is a British armoured reconnaissance vehicle. It was the lead vehicle and the fire support type in the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), CVR(T), family of seven armoured vehicles. Manufactured by Alvis, it was introduced into service with the British Army in 1973 and served until 1994. The base model was retired from active service, but the army retains a number of base Scorpions in reserve as training vehicles. More than 3,000 were produced and used as a reconnaissance vehicle or a light tank. It holds the Guinness world record for the fastest production tank; recorded doing 82.23 km/h (51.10 mph) at the QinetiQ vehicle test track, Chertsey, Surrey, on 26 January 2002.

Fennek

The Fennek, named after the fennec (a species of small desert fox), or LGS Fennek, with LGS being short for Leichter Gepanzerter Spähwagen in German (Light Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle), is a four-wheeled armed reconnaissance vehicle produced by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Dutch Defence Vehicle Systems. The Turkish company FNSS Defence Systems acquired the right for licence production in 2004. It was developed for both the German Army and Royal Netherlands Army to replace their current vehicles.

Formation reconnaissance regiment

The Formation Reconnaissance Regiment is one of two organisations currently provided by cavalry regiments of the British Army. Until recently, it was known as the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.

Formation reconnaissance regiments, as the name would indicate, are intended to provide Armoured Reconnaissance for a higher-level formation, usually a division or a heavy brigade. In a large-scale defensive operation, they would delay attacking forces, whilst screening heavier units as they moved to engage the enemy. The regiments are, currently, equipped with vehicles of the CVR(T) family or Jackal or RWMIK Land Rover.

Fox armoured reconnaissance vehicle

The FV721 Fox Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Wheeled) (CVR(W)) was a 4 × 4 armoured car manufactured by Royal Ordnance Leeds, deployed by the British Army as a replacement for the Ferret scout car and the Saladin armoured car. The Fox was introduced into service with B Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment (Aliwal Barracks, Tidworth) in 1975 and withdrawn from service 1993–94.

Development of the Fox began in 1965 and the following year the Daimler company of Coventry, which was building the Ferret scout car at the time, was awarded a contract to build 15 prototype vehicles. The first was completed in November 1967 and the last in April 1969. User trials began in 1968 and the first official announcement concerning the Fox was made in October 1969.

The following year the Fox was accepted for service with the British Army and a production order was placed with Royal Ordnance Leeds.

Production began in 1972 and the first vehicle was completed in May 1973. Production of the Fox has been completed at Royal Ordnance Leeds.

Kfz 13

The Kfz 13 (also in German: Maschinengewehr-Kraftwagen) was the first armoured reconnaissance vehicle introduced by the Reichswehr after the First World War and, by 1935, 147 units of this lightly armoured vehicle had been delivered to the fleet. The Kfz 13 was based on a civilian car, the Adler Standard 6. Although the Kfz 13 was equipped with all-wheel drive, the vehicle had poor cross-country capability.

The unarmed version, the Kfz 14 communications vehicle, was equipped with a radio set instead of the machine gun.

The Kfz 13 was deployed in the Invasion of Poland and the Battle of France. It was retired from active service in 1941 and only used thereafter for training purposes.

Land Force Western Area

Land Force Western Area (LFWA) was a formation of the Canadian Army responsible for operations in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. LFWA was headquartered at CFB Edmonton. The command was formed in 1991. In 2013 it was announced that LFWA would be renamed 3rd Canadian Division. This change took place in the summer of 2014.

M22 Locust

The M22 Locust, officially Light Tank (Airborne), M22, was an American-designed airborne light tank which was produced during World War II. The Locust began development in 1941 after the British War Office requested that the American government design a purpose-built airborne light tank which could be transported by glider into battle to support British airborne forces. The War Office had originally selected the Light Tank Mark VII Tetrarch light tank for use by the airborne forces, but it had not been designed with that exact purpose in mind so the War Office believed that a purpose-built tank would be required to replace it. The United States Ordnance Department was asked to produce this replacement, which in turn selected Marmon-Herrington to design and build a prototype airborne tank in May 1941. The prototype was designated the Light Tank T9 (Airborne), and was designed so that it could be transported underneath a Douglas C-54 Skymaster transport aircraft, although its dimensions also allowed it to fit inside a General Aircraft Hamilcar glider.

After a series of modifications were made to the initial prototype, production of the T9 began in April 1943. It was significantly delayed, however, when several faults were found with the tank's design. Marmon-Herrington only began to produce significant numbers of the T9 in late 1943 and early 1944, and by then the design was considered to be obsolete; only 830 were built by the time production ended in February 1945. As a result, the Ordnance Department gave the tank the specification number M22 but no combat units were equipped with it. However, the War Office believed that the tank would perform adequately despite its faults, so the tank was given the title of "Locust" and 260 were shipped to Great Britain under the Lend-Lease Act. Seventeen Locusts were received by the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment in late 1943, but mechanical problems led to the tanks being withdrawn in favour of the Tetrarchs previously used by the regiment.

In October 1944 however, the remaining Tetrarchs of the regiment were replaced by Locusts and eight were used during Operation Varsity in March 1945. The tanks did not perform well in action; several were damaged during the landing process and one was knocked out by a German self-propelled gun. Only two Locusts were able to reach their planned rendezvous point and go into action, occupying a piece of high ground along with an infantry company. The tanks were forced to withdraw from the position after several hours however, because they attracted artillery fire that caused the infantry to suffer heavy casualties. The Locust never saw active service with the British Army again and was classified as obsolete in 1946. A number of Locusts were used by foreign militaries in the post-war period however; the Belgian Army used Locusts as command tanks for their M4 Sherman tank regiments, and the Egyptian Army used several company-sized units of Locusts during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

Panzer Badge

The Panzer Badge (German: Panzerkampfabzeichen) was a World War II military decoration of Nazi Germany awarded to troops in armoured divisions. Introduced on 20 December 1939, the Panzer Badge was authorized for armoured personnel and Panzer grenadier units equipped with armoured vehicles. It was also to be presented to members of armoured reconnaissance groups and rifle battalions of Panzer divisions. The authorization of these badges was usually done at a regimental or divisional level.The tank in the centre of the medal is a Panzer IV. The 50 and 100 engagement badges were struck in a lightweight zinc alloy; this was so that the larger pin did not pull inconveniently on the tunic. The 1957 de-Nazified version lost the eagle and the swastika, but was otherwise unchanged.

Queen's Own Yeomanry

The Queen's Own Yeomanry (QOY) is one of the Army Reserve light armoured reconnaissance regiments.

RBY MK 1

The RBY Mk 1 is a light armoured reconnaissance vehicle that was produced by the RAMTA Division of Israel Aircraft Industries. RBY is and anglicized acronym for "Rechev

Ben-Yaacov". "Rechev" is Hebrew for "vehicle" and "Ben-Yaacov" is the last name of the creator of the vehicle, Yitzchak Ben-Yaacov (1919-2011). In Israel the vehicle is known as the "Rabi", a pronunciation of the acronym. It was replaced in Israeli service by the RAMTA RAM 2000 family of vehicles, though it continues to be used and upgraded by foreign users. The RBY Mk 1 is no longer marketed to new customers.

Reconnaissance vehicle

A reconnaissance vehicle, also known as a scout vehicle, is a military vehicle used for forward reconnaissance. Both tracked and wheeled reconnaissance vehicles are in service. In some nations, light tanks such as the M551 Sheridan and AMX-13 have also been used by scout platoons. Reconnaissance vehicles are usually designed with a low profile or small size and are lightly armoured, relying on speed and cover to escape detection. Their armament ranges from a medium machine gun to a large cannon. Modern examples are often fitted with ATGMs and a wide range of sensors.

Regiment Huzaren van Boreel

The Regiment Huzaren van Boreel is an armoured regiment of the Royal Netherlands Army, named for Willem Francois Boreel. It currently serves in the armoured Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Reconnaissance (ISTAR) role; the regiment provides two armoured reconnaissance squadrons assigned to each of the army's two mechanized brigades, while an STA artillery unit, an electronic warfare unit, Human Intelligence (HUMINT) unit and imagery intelligence unit are all formed into a single battalion attached to the Combat Support Brigade.

Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (RCAC; French: Corps blindé royal canadien) is the armoured corps within the Canadian Army, including regular and reserve force regiments.

South Alberta Regiment

The South Alberta Regiment (SAR) was a Canadian regiment which served in the Second World War. The unit was created in 1924 as infantry and mobilized in 1940 as part of the 4th Canadian Infantry Division. When the division was reorganized as an armoured formation to satisfy demand for a second Canadian armoured division, the South Alberta Regiment was named 29th Armoured Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) and received Ram tanks in February 1942. The unit was again renamed as 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) in January 1943.

The SAR was deployed to northern France in mid-June 1944 (Normandy landings, D-Day was 6 June 1944), replacing their Ram tanks to be equipped with Stuart and Sherman tanks. They participated in the later battles of the Invasion of Normandy, taking part in Operation Totalize and finally closing the Falaise pocket in Operation Tractable. The South Albertas went on to participate in the liberation of the Netherlands and the Battle of the Scheldt.

In January 1945, they took part in the Battle for the Kapelsche Veer. They spent the last weeks of the war fighting in northern Germany.Major David Vivian Currie of the SAR received the Victoria Cross for his actions near Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives, as the allies attempted to seal off the Falaise pocket. It was the only Victoria Cross awarded to a Canadian soldier during the Normandy campaign, and the only Victoria Cross ever awarded to a member of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.

The Freedom of the City was exercised by the South Alberta Regiment in Nanaimo, British Columbia in April, 1941.The SAR is now incorporated by amalgamation in the reserve reconnaissance regiment the South Alberta Light Horse.

Spähpanzer Luchs

The Spähpanzer Luchs (English: Lynx) is a German 8x8 amphibious reconnaissance armoured fighting vehicle (Spähpanzer) in service since 1975 with the German Army, who used 408 in their armoured reconnaissance battalions. It was developed by Daimler-Benz between 1968 and 1975, replacing the M41 and the Schützenpanzer SPz 11-2 Kurz.

The Governor General's Horse Guards

The Governor General's Horse Guards is an armoured reconnaissance regiment in the Primary Reserve of the Canadian Army, part of 4th Canadian Division's 32 Canadian Brigade Group. Based in Toronto, it is the most senior reserve regiment in Canada, and the only household cavalry regiment of Canada's three household units.

The Prince Edward Island Regiment (RCAC)

The Prince Edward Island Regiment (RCAC) is a Primary Reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Canadian Forces, 5th Canadian Division, 36 Canadian Brigade Group. The regiment is based in Charlottetown and Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

The Royal Canadian Hussars (Montreal)

The Royal Canadian Hussars (Montreal) (abbreviated as RCH) is an armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Primary Reserve in the Canadian Armed Forces. Its mission consists of supporting the Regular Force in doing peacetime tasks, which include deployments, peacekeeping, and supporting the civilian authorities.

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