3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment (Australia)
|3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment|
Cap badge of 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment
|Active||1981 – Present|
|Role||Armoured Personnel Carrier|
|Part of||3rd Brigade|
|March||Old Comrades/Light Cavalry|
War in Afghanistan
|Colonel-in-Chief||HRH The Prince of Wales
|Unit Colour Patch|
The 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment is an armoured regiment of the Australian Army, and is third in order of precedence in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. The regiment was formed in 1981 through the amalgamation of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and the 4th Cavalry Regiment. Currently there is only one squadron in existence, 'B' Squadron, which is currently part of the 3rd Brigade and is based in Townsville, Queensland. Recent deployments have included Iraq, Afghanistan and Timor Leste. The unit operates the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV). In December 2014, the squadron's personnel will be transferred to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment as part of that unit's establishment as an Armoured Cavalry Regiment, while the squadron will be transferred to Australian Army Reserve and re-assigned to the 11th Brigade.
3rd Cavalry Regiment
The 3rd Cavalry Regiment was formed in beginning of 1967 when, as a result of a re-organisation of the units of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, the 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron which was serving in Vietnam at the time, was renamed as 'A' Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. At the same time 'B' Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment was formed in Australia to provide a follow-on force and relieve 'A' Squadron at the end of their tour. Equipped with the M113A1 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), its initial strength in Vietnam was 10 officers and 107 men. Both 'A' and 'B' Squadrons of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment would continue this extensive service throughout the remainder of Australia's involvement in Vietnam as part of the 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF), with a squadron of the regiment operating there for nearly the next six years.
The rotation of these two squadrons would continue until the withdrawal of Australian forces in 1972. Prior to this, however, when 'A' Squadron was relieved by 'B' Squadron on 13 May 1969, most of its personnel were transferred to 2nd Cavalry Regiment while 'B' Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment finished their tour in country on 6 January 1971 when they were relieved by 'A' Squadron and returned to Australia. 'B' Squadron was subsequently relocated in Townsville. They remained at Townsville until they were amalgamated with the 4th Cavalry Regiment in 1981. Meanwhile, the regiment's strength in Vietnam increased over time and by August 1971 had grown to 15 officers and 154 men.
In mid-1971 'A' Squadron received six M113A1 Fire Support Vehicles (FSV), each armed with 76 mm gun mounted in a Saladin turret. The FSV was more heavily armed than the M113A1 carrier but was still only lightly protected, being designed for defensive tasks to free the Centurion tanks for offensive operations. However, in August the Australian government announced that 1 ATF would be withdrawn from Vietnam, beginning a drawdown of forces. In October the remaining troops moved to Vung Tau; however, a company from the 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment/NZ (ANZAC) with a troop of APCs and support personnel remained at Nui Dat. In December the bulk of 'A' Squadron returned to Australia, while No. 1 Troop later moved to Vung Tau before returning to Australia in March 1972.
Between 1967 and 1972 elements of the regiment served in every major operation carried out by 1 ATF, including the Tet Offensive and Battle of Coral–Balmoral in 1968, and the Battle of Binh Ba in 1969. Casualties sustained by the regiment in Vietnam numbered 20 killed and 115 wounded.
4th Cavalry Regiment
The 4th Cavalry Regiment was raised in late 1971, as part of the Australian Army's plan to establish three regular cavalry units. The regiment came into being at Enoggera Barracks by redesignating 'B' Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, which had previously been based at Wacol, Queensland, and subsequently became 'A' Squadron in the new regiment. In early 1975, a regimental headquarters and a second squadron, known as 'B' Squadron, were raised to complete its establishment.
In 1981, the decision was made to amalgamate the two regiments to form the 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment. After this, the unit headquarters was established at Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane along with 'A' Squadron and the Technical Squadron, although 'B' Squadron, which had been transferred from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, remained in Townsville. On 14 May 1986, while at Enoggera, His Royal Highness Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, presented the 3rd Cavalry Regiment’s guidon to the 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment. In July the same year, the decision was made to reduce the regiment to a single squadron and, as a result, the Brisbane-based elements were transferred to the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment, leaving 'B' Squadron in Townsville.
Throughout the early 1990s, the squadron deployed on several peacekeeping operations to Africa. In 1992–93, the squadron was committed to Operation Solace in Somalia where they supported the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment deploying almost 100 personnel and 36 M113 armoured personnel carriers to the Baidoa region. Later, in 1994–95, they deployed on Operation Tamar in support of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda where they provided a section of three M113s and a support vehicle to operate with Australian medical teams.
Role and structure
The 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment currently consists of a single squadron, 'B' Squadron. It is a Regular Army unit based in Townsville and provides armoured transport to the 3rd Brigade. It is equipped with Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicles and the unit currently consists of three troops: two line and one support/reconnaissance. Since the late 1990s, the squadron has supported operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Timor Leste, operating M113s in Timor as part of various commitments including INTERFET, UNTAET and later Operation Astute. In Iraq, the squadron provided personnel to crew ASLAVs assigned to SECDET, the Al Muthanna Task Group and Overwatch Battle Group (West), while the squadron deployed its Bushmaster vehicles to Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper.
Under Plan Beersheba the squadron is in the process of again re-equipping with new M113 AS4s. From December 2014 it will become 'B' Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment as part of the Armoured Cavalry Regiment being formed in Townsville following that unit's move from Darwin. However, B Squadron, 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment will remain on the order of battle, transferring to the Army Reserve as part of the 11th Brigade.
- "B Squadron, 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment – History". Australian Armour.com. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- "3rd Cavalry Regiment". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
- Hopkins 1978, p. 244.
- Anderson 2002, p. 44.
- Anderson 2002, p. 280.
- Hopkins 1978, p. 268.
- Hopkins 1978, p. 303.
- "Our History from 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron to B Squadron 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment". 3rd/4th Cavalry Association. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- Hopkins 1978, p. 299.
- Finlayson 2012, p. 304.
- Finlayson 2012, pp. 281 & 304.
- Anderson 2002, p. 282.
- "3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment – Current Role". Australian Armour.com. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- "3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment". Who we are. Australian Army. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- Doran, Mark (3 July 2014). "Mounted Offensives: Soldiers Display Their New M113AS4 Abilitites for the First Time During 3rd Bde's CATA in Townsville". Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1331 ed.) (Canberra: Department of Defence). ISSN 0729-5685. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- These battle honours are inherited from 3rd Cavalry Regiment.
- "Battle Honours: B Squadron 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment". Australian Armour.com. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- Anderson, Paul (2002). When the Scorpion Stings: The History of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, South Vietnam 1965–72. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-86508-743-6.
- Finlayson, David (2012). Green Fields Beyond. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Department of Veterans' Affairs. OCLC 799180097.
- Hopkins, Ronald (1978). Australian Armour: A History of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps 1927–1972. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. ISBN 978-0-642-99414-1.