Paratus (Prepared)

Paratus (Prepared)
By For Warned Forearmed

Morning all and welcome to another episode of Australian military history, we hope you enjoyed learning about the 2nd Cavalry Regiment previously so today we bring you its big brother the 1st Armoured Regiment. The Australian army has a long history of working with tanks, especially during World War I in which members supported the initial advance and debut of the British tanks on the Western Front in 1916. While the 1st Armoured Regiment has only been around for 70 years, the Australian Army has had a proud history with armoured vehicles including the development of its own tank during World War II. The foundation of 1st Armoured can be traced back to 1928 with the formation of the Australian Tank Corps. In 1941 changes were made due to World War II and the Australian Tank Corps became the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. 

With World War II, Australia’s involvement as part of the greater commonwealth countries, two armoured divisions were raised. The 2nd was later disbanded, but the first saw great success in North Africa and the Pacific. The tanks used by the 1st Armoured Division were the M3 Stuart, M3 Lee and the Matilda 2. It was also during this period that the Australian cruiser tank MK1 “Sentinel” was also developed, however, it never progressed into mass production for service. The first actual battle using armour by Australians in World War II was by the 6th Division Cavalry Regiment using captured Italian M11 tanks as their own were still coming. The majority of fighting was done in the Pacific during World War II by the 1st Australian Armoured Division.

Paratus (Prepared)

With the end of World War II Australia disbanded its armoured division in favour of small regiments for defence. It was during this time that on the 7th July 1949, the 1st Armoured Regiment was raised. The regiment was initially equipped with Churchill tanks until Centurion tanks could be acquired. Even though Australia was involved in the Korean War, Australian tanks did not deploy, instead Australian troops relied on American and British armour for support. It wasn’t until the Vietnam War that Australian tanks were deployed in mass since World War II. It was during this war that C Squadron distinguished itself in the battle of Coral-Balmoral and was awarded a Unit Citation for Gallantry. Other engagements include Hat Dich and Binh Ba.

Paratus (Prepared)

After Vietnam, the unit acquired the new Leopard 1 tanks in 1977, which would go on to serve faithfully for the next 30 years. It was also at this time that the unit received its mascot: a black leopard named Paratus. After 30 years of service, the Leopard tank was replaced with the US M1A1 Abrams tank in 2007, however, these were not the more heavily armoured US version and the ammo was also slightly different.

Paratus (Prepared)

The regiment was made up of a Headquarters and three squadrons A, B and C respectively. Each troop had between 3-4 tanks and the squadron had 3- 4 troops, recon and infantry would also support the squadrons. This changed in 2013 as part of a new modernisation of the army and the 1st Armoured had its squadrons split up to form the armoured cavalry regiments. Many of its members have seen active service in both Iraq and Afghanistan however in different roles.

Now that you have some background history on 1st Armoured, you probably want to know how to field them. There are a couple of ways you could use them for both Flames Of War and WWIII: Team Yankee.

For Flames Of War, you can use the Australian Divisional Cavalry command card which gives you access to use them for Mid-War via the Armoured Fist book, with Cruiser tanks and Stuarts used to represent them.

In WWIII: Team Yankee currently, you have the Leopard 1 Formation available in the NATO book, this is a great Formation to use considering the history of the Leopard 1 in Australian army service. However, in light of the updated Formation, the M1A1 Abrams is now available for use.

With the new Nato book, you could take a Leopard 1 Formation and an LAV Formation which includes the following:

Paratus (Prepared)

This gives you a decent fighting force representing 1st Armoured in times that are more modern with a 2nd Cavalry recon element providing additional support.

This list packs a lot of butch in the form of its brutal 105mm Leopard 1s, backed up by the well-trained crew in M1A1s which can be used to spearhead a push for the objective. The inclusion of the M1A1s allows for tactical flexibility to the Aussie force due to the added protection that the Leopards don’t have, as it means you can use tanks in a more aggressive role rather than being cautious. The Cav Formation allows for some added firepower and some spearhead Units to get your tanks on objectives much faster. The rest of the support allows you to hold your objectives whilst your tanks push forward. 

These are just some examples of an Australian 1st Armoured force. So until next time, good hunting, and remember Australian tanks are Prepared (Paratus)

~ For Warned Forearmed

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