UK — Tank Regiment hits the ground in Helmand with Wolfhound

Cyclops Squadron from the 2nd Roy­al Tank Reg­i­ment (2 RTR) is now on the ground in Hel­mand province putting the new Wolfhound and Mas­tiff vehi­cles to good use sup­port­ing 1st Bat­tal­ion The Roy­al Irish Reg­i­ment.

Army drivers get to grips with the new Wolfhound vehicle at Camp Bastion in Helmand province
Army dri­vers get to grips with the new Wolfhound vehi­cle at Camp Bas­tion in Hel­mand province
Source: Cor­po­ral Mark Web­ster, Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Over the next six months, the Squadron — known as the ‘Tankies’ — will pro­vide pro­tect­ed mobil­i­ty to the infantry.

The Tankies use their well-armoured vehi­cles to move infantry between defen­sive posi­tions and pro­vide fire sup­port to sol­diers fight­ing on foot.

Lieu­tenant Dan Berry, aged 26, com­mands a group of five Mas­tiff crews:

“My men are fight­ing crews,” he explained. “We can adapt our tank skills to use the Mas­tiff aggres­sive­ly and react to the insur­gents.”

The Mas­tiff can pack a seri­ous punch by mount­ing either the gen­er­al pur­pose, heavy, or grenade machine gun.

Sergeant Harley Upham is hap­py with how it per­forms in com­bat. He said:

“Mas­tiff has got a pow­er tra­verse so it’s real­ly easy to swing the tur­ret round; the fire pow­er is sec­ond-to-none and we can car­ry bags of ammu­ni­tion.”

The vehi­cle is well-pro­tect­ed and specif­i­cal­ly designed to shield its crew and pas­sen­gers from mines as well as machine gun fire. Sgt Upham has already deployed in Mas­tiff to Iraq. He said:

“It’s one of the most robust vehi­cles we have; I myself have been hit in it twice and been OK.”

A draw­back of the orig­i­nal Mas­tiff is its lim­it­ed car­go capac­i­ty when loaded with troops. To solve this prob­lem, 2 RTR has deployed with a new car­go vari­ant of Mas­tiff called Wolfhound.

Wolfhound com­bines the pro­tec­tion and fire pow­er of a Mas­tiff with a flatbed for car­go:

“We can car­ry extra food, water and ammu­ni­tion to stay out on the ground for longer; we can also trans­port more of the lads’ kit between check­points,” said Sgt David Roberts.

“But Wolfhound has the same fight­ing capa­bil­i­ty as Mas­tiff as well.”

Nad ‘Ali is hot and dusty — a far cry from the green fields of south­ern Eng­land from where most of the Tankies come.

Lt Berry said:

“It’s one of the strangest places I’ve ever been, although it’s not the pret­ti­est. You’ve got to hand it to the peo­ple here — they’re scrap­ing an exis­tence out of the place and they’re very tough.”

All in all it has been a busy start to the tour. Squadron Sergeant Major Chris Atwell out­lined the fast and furi­ous pace of life for his men:

“We’re out most times of the day and it’s rare for us to have all the vehi­cles in at any one time. The tem­po is high, but the guys’ morale is too!”

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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