Field Training, Gunnery
Squadron conducted all normal field training and gunnery events
related to any cavalry unit in Germany. The Squadron routinely
participated in several major maneuver exercises each year to include
either Fall or Winter REFORGER, Corps level exercises and maneuvers at
the Regimental and Squadron level to train for and conduct the annual
ARTEP requirement. We had access to a "maneuver rights area”, a long,
wide terrain corridor running parallel to the border trace but back by
several kilometers where the Eaglehorse could execute field training.
When not actually in the field, the officer corps of the Squadron was
frequently tasked to serve as umpires or support personnel for other V
Corps unit maneuvers.
Many of our Spring and
Summer FTX's featured long road marches and partially simulated
maneuver along farm roads and trails. After the Fall harvest was in,
field training had more latitude for cross country maneuver.
Particularly in Winter, the tanks and APC's finally had free reign
although minimizing maneuver damage was a command concern at all
levels. Armored vehicle movement at night was an issue. The massed
road marches we all recall from REFORGER occurred but open cross
country maneuver was very carefully monitored.
The MILES system had not
been widely issued as of 1981; determining the outcome of force on
force activities was decided by umpires, one of the many concessions
we lived with. Often, platoon leaders and platoon sergeants started
briefings for their men with , “if we really were at war we would ...
but ....”. When I left Germany, the most sophisticated training
devices we had at our immediate disposal was the Dragon ( M47 ) LET
trainer and the pneumatic trainer inserts for the 155mm howitzers.
At the Wildflecken
Training Area, a small maneuver space allowed for some realistic cross
country training at the platoon / Troop level. Grafenwoehr and
Hohenfels offered larger free maneuver space although the Squadron was
only allocated one or two visits per year.
The Eaglehorse also had
free access to the Reiterswiesen training area, about five kilometers
from Daley Barracks. This small strip of land, about four kilometers
long, held our rifle range, ammunition supply point and the HAWK site
for the Battery stationed at Daley. There were tank trails and
sufficient cover to allow low density training at the section level
and dismounted operations.
Gunnery and live
fire training was conducted at Wildflecken (WTA) and Grafenwoehr (GTA).
Tanks, scouts, mortars and the Howitzer Battery all had demanding
programs to reach and maintain individual / crew proficiency
standards. From the mid 1970's through early 80's, the tankers fired
training tables several times per year at WTA in preparation for
annual qualification at Grafenwoehr. Firing was done with both full
scale training ammunition and sub caliber devices. At Reiterresen, we
had a sub caliber tank range using the in bore 22 CAL device. As I
recall, the training benefit on this site was marginal. Reiterresen
did provide space for ranging exercises and “dry fire” TCQC (tank crew
Scouts and mortars
conducted their own live fire training and when possible, training
events were integrated for mutual support. At WTA, scouts would fire
crew served weapons and adjust mortar fire on one set of ranges while
calling in spot reports to the platoon leader. The tanks would then
occupy their range and conduct live fire. The 4.2 inch mortars would
fire illumination rounds for tank gunnery night fire.
The M551 Sheridans fired
their missile on an allocation of one per Troop at GTA during the
annual qualification cycle. TOW and Dragon live fire, always a major
event, was conducted at GTA. The Howitzer Battery, because of the
range constraints at Wildflecken, maintained their own training cycle
to include separate visits to GTA for annual ARTEP and safe fire
In addition to the normal
course of firing events, as new equipment was fielded to the
Eaglehorse, additional maneuver and weapons training was scheduled to
insure complete crew training and readiness. At least up through 1983,
USAREUR had not fielded a large number of simulators to support
training; gunnery skills were honed and tested with the “big blue