Courage – the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in NATO – WW3

Courage – the Australian 2nd Cavalry Regiment in NATO – WW3
By Garry Wait

In the new NATO Forces book, players have access to an exciting new unit to choose two different Formations from, which coincidentally represent parts of the same regiment – the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. This was the largest Cavalry (or light reconnaissance) regiment in the Australian Defence Force at this time as it was the only force maintained with two “sabre” or combat squadrons and a headquarters. Other units like B Squadron, 3/4th Cavalry Regiment or the Tenth Light Horse (a Reserve or part-time unit) featured only a single sabre squadron in this period and had less manning and less equipment such as Milan.

If you would like to know more about the history and composition of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment I refer you to our excellent previous article “Using 2 Cavalry Regiment in Team Yankee“ so I won’t rehash the background again here.

Courage – the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in NATO – WW3

What makes the choices especially exciting is that a player has the choice to run a Cavalry Squadron in either M113 as well as or instead in LAV-25’s. This was during a period when the Australian Army was trialling “borrowed” USMC LAV-25 vehicles (15 in total) to test out the viability of a better-armed alternative to the M113 family.

If you are keen on the M113 option, you have the following choices :

  • HQ – 1 M113 (T50 Turret)
  • 2-3 Cavalry Troops (3 M113 LRV +2 M113 MRV)
  • 0-1 M125 Mortar Platoon (2-6 M125 mortars)
  • 0-1 Milan AT section
  • 0-1 M113 Cavalry Assault Troop
  • 0-1 Tank Troop with either Leopard AS1 or M1A1

If you are keen on the LAV-25 Trials Squadron, you have the following choices :

  • HQ – 2 LAV25
  • 2-3 Troops – 4 LAV25
  • 0-1 M125 Mortar Platoon (2-6 M125 mortars)
  • 0-1 Milan AT section
  • 0-1 M113 Cavalry Assault Troop
  • 0-1 Tank Troop with either Leopard AS1 or M1A1

The differences tend to be that the M113 option gives a player a good solid anti-infantry force, being that the MRV is the only Scorpion-based vehicle in the game to have a 10” tactical move although being overworked due to the commander also being the loader and radio operator. This reflects the Australian practice of using the MRV (nicknamed the Beast) as a fire support vehicle rather than a reconnaissance vehicle so no “sneak and peek” rule. The LAV option gives better firepower versus light armour at the expense of lighter protection. Both are amphibious and capable versus helicopters as the LRV has anti helicopter rule along with the LAV-25.

Courage – the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in NATO – WW3

Where these lists shine is that while they are effectively Light Cavalry in principle, they are a self-contained army on their own with powerful AT assets in the form of Milan or Milan 2 AT sections and a Troop from 1st Armoured in either Leopard AS1 or M1A1, with a six-tube M125 Mortar troop capable of digging out enemy infantry. Best of all, the Cavalry troop has the support of an Assault Troop. Cheekily nicknamed Veggies, the Assault Troopers are not infantry despite the fact they dismount, unlike their brethren in the Royal Australian Regiment of Infantry. These troops are highly trained Royal Australian Armoured Corps Troopers who are trained in demolitions, scouting, light engineering tasks and dismounted AT action and are armed with M60 GPMG, LAW M72 and have up to Five Carl Gustav Medium Recoilless Rifles as their man-packed AT. That’s nine stands of angry Aussies ready to dish out the hurt. Like many things in the Australian Army, we copied organisations from the British and improved upon them, which is why the Assault Troopers are so much better armed and trained than British Assault Troopers in their list. Just don’t call them Grunts!

Back them up with some “borrowed” US Army M1A1s in the hands of their fellow Black Hats (as the Armoured troopers are known) and you have some very powerful friends to engage. You will note that the Australian Abrams have AT22, reflecting the distaste for depleted Uranium ammunition in the Australian Defence Force, with troops using West German or Dutch ammo stocks instead of US silver bullets.

Courage – the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in NATO – WW3

While Australia only had 10 Milan firing posts in the 1980s (ever – I know, I got to play with one of them when I served as a black hat), the emergency posting of troops to Europe would see Australia making an urgent War Order for additional firing posts and missiles. Naturally, no Aussie Digger worth their salt would settle for the older Milan 1 Missile if they could beg, borrow or steal the newer Milan 2 missiles and systems with the new MIRA thermal sight. Anyone who has trained with ANZAC personnel would not be at all surprised at the bartering that can go on for equipment between friendly troops. In my time for example I saw a slouch hat swapped with a US Army soldier for an additional M60 GPMG – something the Australian and US MPs were not at all pleased about. So definitely pay the extra points for Milan 2, it will give your troops a sharp stick to scare away enemy armour and give some breathing space for the brave Cavalry Troopers in their light armour.

All in all a player can have lots of fun composing a 2nd Cavalry Regiment force and having the ability to operate two whole squadrons gives lots of options. Personally, I’m keen to try out the LAV-25 as a trial vehicle. With Thermal imaging, excellent Rate of Fire and Skill 3+, these troops are very capable. It’s the whole Cavalry package that now lets you run an entirely Royal Australian Armoured Corps force that can show its mobile ability by controlling the battlefield.

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