Canadian Army Trophy

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Canadian Army Trophy

The Canadian Army Trophy (CAT) was a tank gunnery competition established to foster excellence, camaraderie and competition among the armoured forces of the NATO countries in Western Europe.

The trophy itself is a miniature sterling silver replica of a Canadian Army Centurion tank.

Origins[edit]

The Canadian Army Trophy (CAT) competition started in 1963 when the Canadian government donated a silver replica of a Centurion tank to the country that obtained the highest score during a tank gunnery competition that was hosted by the Canadian Army 4th Mechanized Brigade forward deployed in West Germany. This tank replica later became known as the Canadian Army Trophy for NATO Tank Gunnery. The competition was established to foster excellence, camaraderie and competition among the armor forces of the NATO countries in Western Europe. The winner of the Canadian Army Trophy, which remains the property of Canada, retains it until the next competition and is responsible for its safe custody. The competition was held annually through 1968; and in 1970 it was decided that it would be held every two years at Bergen-Hohne, West Germany beginning with a competition in 1973; later the competition would also be held at Grafenwöhr. Each member country was invited to field a 'team' (a tank company of four platoons of 3 AFVs) to represent their respective Armies. Nations represented included Canada, Belgium, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, West Germany and the United States.

Since 1963 the competition format has undergone numerous changes. Originally, single tanks fired from fixed points at known ranges. Following the 1968 and again after the 1975 competitions, the rules and procedures of the competition were changed to more accurately reflect combat conditions. The 1970, 1973 and 1975 competitions incorporated tank sections, consisting of two tanks; while beginning in the 1977 competition, 3-tank platoons (or strong sections for 5-tank platoons) are now required to fire and move over a course, termed a "battle run," designed to test their gunnery skills under more realistic conditions. Each battle run consists of firing from stationary positions and while on the move, at both stationary and moving targets. 4-Tank platoons were incorporated beginning with the 1981 competition. The trophy and awards were given to the best scoring team.

After the 1981 competition, additional changes were made to provide better means of achieving the aims of the CAT competition and to reflect the intended nature of the event, namely, a competition among the land forces of the Central Region. Accordingly, the 1983 CAT competition format organized units from the six participating nations (Belgium, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States) in teams corresponding to their army group assignments within the Central Region. Units were therefore either members of the Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) or Central Army Group (CENTAG). The Canadian Army Trophy is now presented to the winning Army Group and awards were given to the three best scoring platoons of each Army Group. The winner of the Canadian Army Trophy, which remains the property of Canada, retains it until the next competition and is responsible for its safe custody.

NORTHAG consisted of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR)'s British I Corps, American 2nd Armored Division (Forward), German I Corps, Netherlands' I Corps, and Belgian I Corps. CENTAG consisted of the German II and III Corps, the American V and VII Corps, and the Canadian 4th Brigade.

The responsibility of organizing and hosting the competition rotated between the different participating nations. In 1981 the responsibility shifted to the two Army Groups, Central Army Group (CENTAG) or Northern Army Group (NORTHAG). When CENTAG hosted the competition, it was held in Grafenwöhr; likewise when NORTHAG hosted, it was in Bergen-Hohne.

The failures of a nation's entrant to place well at the CAT have had considerable defence industry impact. The showing of the UK's Royal Hussars at the 1987 competition was the subject of a front page story in London's Sunday Telegraph, June 21, 1987, titled "NATO Allies Outgun Britain's New Battle Tanks".

WINNERS[edit]

Year Team/Squadron/Company Nation Tank Best Platoon or Section Nation Tank
1963 4e Lanciers  BEL M-47 Patton - - -
1964 4e Lanciers  BEL M-47 Patton - - -
1965 Royal Scots Greys  UK Centurion Mk.5 - - -
1966 13th/18th Royal Hussars (QMO)  UK Centurion - - -
1967 B Squadron, Lord Strathcona's Horse (RC)  CAN Centurion - - -
1968 1er Lanciers  BEL M-47 Patton - - -
1970 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers  UK Chieftain Mk.3 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers  UK Chieftain Mk.3
1973 3. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 83  FRG Leopard 1 Queen's Royal Irish Hussars  UK Chieftain
1975 3. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 84  FRG Leopard 1 A1 3. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 84  FRG Leopard 1 A1
1977 Royal Canadian Dragoons  CAN Leopard 1 A2 B Squadron, 11 Tankbataljon  NLD Leopard 1
1979 2. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 284  FRG Leopard 1 A4 2. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 284  FRG Leopard 1 A4
1981 4. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 294  FRG Leopard 1 A4 4. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 294  FRG Leopard 1 A4
1983 CENTAG (West Germany)  FRG Leopard 1 A4 1. Zug, 2. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 293  FRG Leopard 1 A4
1985 NORTHAG (Netherlands)  NLD Leopard 2 2. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 244  FRG Leopard 2 A1
1987 CENTAG (United States)  USA M1 Abrams IP 1 Platoon, D Company, 4/8th Cavalry  USA M1 Abrams IP
1989 NORTHAG (Netherlands)  NLD Leopard 2 A4 4 Platoon, A Eskadron, 41 Tankbataljon  NLD Leopard 2 A4
1991 NORTHAG (Germany)  GER Leopard 2 A4 3. Zug, 4. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 84  GER Leopard 2 A4

CAT '77[edit]

The 1977 competition was the first time an American team had participated, C Company 2-81 Armor; but came in last place. The competition was held in Bergen-Hohne, West Germany, 25–29 April 1977, Hosted by United Kingdom.

CAT '79[edit]

The 1979 competition was held at Range 9, Bergen Hohne. The US built Range 10 at Grafenwöhr for the CAT competition training, it was used later for the actual 1981 competition. There were 20 platoons competing from Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom, West Germany and the United States. The Netherlands team did not compete due to a contractual issue with their military union. This was the first year that the USA team finished other than last place (4th place) - M Company, 3rd Squadron 2nd ACR - an especially noteworthy effort by Lieutenants (later Captains) David Andersson, William Ewing, Howard Krause, and Randy Socha, - the M60A1 (Rise Passive with Stab) MBT being used by the USA.

CAT '81[edit]

The 1981 competition was held on Range 10 at Grafenwöhr. There were 24 platoons competing from Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, West Germany and the United States. The M60A3 used by the USA entry was the final development of the M60A3 until the 2001 IFCS modification produced by Raytheon and sold to Jordan.

CAT '83[edit]

Held on Range 9 at Bergen-Hohne, teams competed corresponding to their army group assignments within the Central Region, from Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) or Central Army Group (CENTAG). NORTHAG consisted of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR)'s British I Corps, American III Corps Forward, German I Corps, Netherlands' I Corps, and Belgian I Corps. CENTAG consisted of the German II and III Corps, the American V and VII Corps, and the Canadian 4th Brigade.

This was the first year that the M1 Abrams participated in the competition, utilized by Charlie Company, 3/64 Armor Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division. The other two US tank companies were utilizing the M60 Patton tank. With the M1, Charlie Company's three platoons scored in second, third and eighth place. 1st Platoon Charlie Company was in second place with 19,294 points behind West Germany's 1st Platoon 2nd Company, 293rd Panzer Battalion. The West German Platoon won with the highest score of 21,153 points out of a maximum of 28,100 with their Leopard 1 tank. Charlie Company's Second Platoon got eighth place with 19,116 points and Third Platoon got third place with 18,068 points.

Many individuals involved with Charlie Company for CAT '83 extended their tour of duty of Germany to participate in CAT '85 with Alpha Company, 3/64 Armor.

C Co 2/66 Armor surprised the competition by placing with its old M60A1 tanks, which used optical rangefinder technology from the World War II era. This showed the value of local course knowledge over pure technology.

CAT '85[edit]

The M1IP Abrams made its debut in the 1985 competition held on Range 9 at Bergen-Hohne, which contained small upgrades to the M1 Abrams that was previously used for the first time in the 1983 competition. This was the first direct competition of the German Leopard II and the US M1 Abrams. For the first time an American platoon, 1st Platoon of A Company 3-64 Armor, had scored 2nd overall in the competition and the United States' teams ranked third for the entire competition. B Company 3-32 Armor, of the 3rd Armored Division, used the M-60A3; the oldest generation of tanks during the competition.

C / 2-66 Armor competed with its new M1 tanks, but severe weather storms at the moment of their runs hampered visibility and cost them to underperform.

Two platoons from Royal Canadian Dragoons came last and 18th out of 20. This furthered domestic criticism about Canada's commitment to Europe's defense as well as the quality of its military.[1]

CAT '87[edit]

In the 1987 competition held on Range 301 center lane at Grafenwöhr, there were a total of 24 platoons competing (12 from NORTHAG and 12 from CENTAG). There were significant rules and conditions changes made that governed the preparation and conduct of the competition, each Army Group would designate a minimum of one company from two different battalions; each separate brigade designates a minimum of two companies per country's Corps. The random selection of the tank companies to compete would be made by AFCENT (Allied Forces Central Europe) no later than 1 April 1987. NORTHAG fielded teams from Belgium, UK, the Netherlands, West Germany and the United States. CENTAG fielded teams from Canada, West Germany and the United States. The British (3-tank) tank platoons were presented 24 targets, while the other countries' 4-tank platoons were presented with 32 targets during the battle runs. Scoring was based on target hits, hit times, ammunition bonuses (only if all targets were hit), and hit bonuses (only if all targets were hit), machine gun hits, and penalties with a maximum platoon score of 22,600 points. The main gun targets were at ranges between 1,600-3,000 meters and would remain standing after being hit until presentation time, 40 seconds, had expired. No target would be presented twice, so the judges could actually count holes in the targets to verify target hits; "cookie bites" did not count as hits. This was the first year that United States won the CAT and had two platoons placing among the top three; 1st platoon D Company 4-8 Cavalry took top tank platoon honors and 1st Platoon A Company 3-64 Armor, scored third in the competition.

CAT '87 Teams by firing order for each Army Group[edit]

Northern Army Group
Central Army Group
3-64 Armor
NORTHAG
  •  GBR, Royal Hussars, B Squadron, 3rd Troop
  •  DEU, PzBtl 324, 4th Company, 3rd Platoon
  •  NLD, 43 TkBat, C Company, 1st Platoon
  •  USA, 2-66 Armor, D Company, 1st Platoon
  •  BEL, 4 Lanciers, A Company, 3rd Platoon
  •  USA, 2-66 Armor, D Company, 2nd Platoon
  •  NLD, 43 TkBat, C Company, 3rd Platoon
  •  DEU, PzBtl 324, 4th Company, 1st Platoon
  •  GBR, Royal Hussars, B Squadron, 1st Troop
  •  USA, 2-66 Armor, D Company, 3rd Platoon
  •  BEL, 4 Lanciers, A Company, 1st Platoon
  •  GBR, Royal Hussars, B Squadron, 2nd Troop
CENTAG (awarded the trophy)
  •  USA, 3-64 Armor, A Company, 2nd Platoon
  •  USA, 4-8 Cav, D Company, 3rd Platoon
  •  CAN, RC Dragoons, C Company, 1st Platoon
  •  DEU, PzBtl 124, 4th Company, 2nd Platoon
  •  DEU, PzBtl 363, 3rd Company, 1st Platoon
  •  CAN, RC Dragoons, C Company, 2nd Platoon
  •  USA, 3-64 Armor, A Company, 3rd Platoon
  •  USA, 4-8 Cav, D Company, 2nd Platoon
  •  DEU, PzBtl 363, 3rd Company, 2nd Platoon
  •  DEU, PzBtl 124,4th Company, 1st Platoon Second Place
  •  USA, 3-64 Armor, A Company, 1st Platoon, Third Place
  •  USA, 4-8 Cav, D Company, 1st Platoon, First Place

CAT '89[edit]

The United Kingdom did not field a team during the 1989 competition held on Range 9 at Bergen-Hohne. It was the only time that night battle runs were incorporated into the competition.

CAT '91[edit]

The United States and United Kingdom did not field teams due to the Gulf War, and hence it was a competition solely between Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 tanks. This was to be the last competition as the Canadian 4th Mechanized Brigade left Germany in 1993, resulting in the end of the CAT competitions. The Trophy is now located at CFB (Canadian Forces Base) Gagetown in New Brunswick, Canada; home of the Canadian Armour School.

CANAM Cup[edit]

In 1997 the competition began again, but only between the United States and Canada as the CANAM Cup. The Canadians won in 1997, 2000, and 2002. The American teams won in 1999 and 2003.

Results[edit]

1963[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. 4e Lanciers Belgium
2. 2. Kompanie Panzerbataillon 83 Germany
3. 11/41/43/101 Tankbataljon (combined) Netherlands
4. Fort Garry Horse Canada
5. 5th Royal Tank Regiment United Kingdom

1964[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. 4e Lancier Belgium
1. Panzerbataillon 83 Germany
3. 11th Hussars United Kingdom
4. 43 Tankbataljon Netherlands
5. Fort Garry Horse Canada

1965[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. Royal Scots Greys United Kingdom
2. 4e Lanciers Belgium
3. Fort Garry Horse Canada
4. 11 Tankbataljon Netherlands
5. Panzerbataillon 83 Germany

1966[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. 13th/18th Royal Hussars (QMO) United Kingdom
2. 4e Lanciers Belgium
3. Panzerbattaillon 324 Germany
4. Lord Strathcona's Horse (RC) Canada
5. 101 Tankbataljon Netherlands

1967[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. Lord Strathcona's Horse (RC) Canada
2. 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars United Kingdom
3. 4e Lanciers Belgium
4. Panzerbataillon 83 Germany
5. 41 Tankbataljon Netherlands

1968[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. 1er Lanciers Belgium
2. Panzerbataillon 33 Germany
3. Royal Scots Greys United Kingdom
4. 43 Tankbataljon Netherlands
5. Lord Strathcona’s Horse (RC) Canada

1970[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers United Kingdom
2. Panzerbattaillon 33/34 Germany
3. Lord Strathcona's Horse (RC) Canada

1973[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. Panzerbataillon 83 Germany
2. Queen's Royal Irish Hussars United Kingdom
3. 11 Tankbataljon Netherlands

1975[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. Panzerbataillon 84 Germany
2. Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales Own) United Kingdom
3. 2e Lanciers Belgium

1977[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. Royal Canadian Dragoons Canada
2. Panzerbattaillon 144 Germany
3. 1er Lanciers Belgium
4. 17th/21st Lancers United Kingdom
6. 11 Tankbataljon Netherlands
6. 2nd Battalion 81st Armor U.S.A.

1979[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. Panzerbataillon 284 Germany
2. 2e Lanciers Belgium
3. 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards United Kingdom
4. M Co. 3rd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment U.S.A.
5. Royal Canadian Dragoons Canada

1981[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. Panzerbattaillon 294 Germany
2. 2e Lanciers Belgium
3. 1st Battalion 32nd Armor U.S.A.
4. Royal Canadian Dragoons Canada
5. Queen's Own Hussars United Kingdom
6. 41 Tankbataljon Netherlands

1983[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. CENTAG:
Panzerbataillon 2/293 Germany
Panzerbataillon 3/153 Germany
1st Battalion 32nd Armor U.S.A.
3rd Battalion 64th Armor U.S.A.
ROYAL CANADIAN DRAGOONS Canada
2. NORTHAG:
4e Lanciers Belgium
ROYAL SCOTS DRAGOON GUARDS United Kingdom
Panzerbataillon 74 Germany
11 Tankbataljon Netherlands
2nd BATTALION 66th ARMOR U.S.A.

1985[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. NORTHAG:
2e LANCIERS Belgium
2nd BATTALION 66th ARMOR U.S.A.
Panzerbataillon 24 Germany
43 Tankbataljon Netherlands
ROYAL SCOTS DRAGOON GUARDS United Kingdom
2. CENTAG:
3rd BATTALION 64th ARMOR U.S.A.
3rd BATTALION 32nd ARMOR U.S.A.
PANZERBATAILLON 63 Germany
ROYAL CANADIAN DRAGOONS Canada
Panzerbataillon 244 Germany

1987[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. CENTAG:
4th BATTALION 8th CAVALRY U.S.A.
3rd BATTALION 64th ARMOR U.S.A.
ROYAL CANADIAN DRAGOONS Canada
Panzerbataillon 124 Germany
PANZERBATAILLON 363 Germany
2. NORTHAG:
43 Tankbataljon Netherlands
4e LANCIERS Belgium
The Royal Hussars United Kingdom
2nd Battalion 66th Armor U.S.A.
Panzerbattaillon 324 Germany

1989[edit]

Rank Unit Nation
1. NORTHAG:
41 Tankbataljon Netherlands
PANZERBATAILLON 203 Germany
2e REGIMENT DE GUIDES Belgium
3rd BATTALION 66th ARMOR U.S.A.
2. CENTAG:
PANZERBATAILLON 123 Germany
2nd BATTALION 64th ARMOR U.S.A.
8th CANADIAN HUSSARS Canada
4th BATTALION 32nd ARMOR U.S.A.

1991[edit]

Team Rank Rank Unit Nation Tank
1. NORTHAG:
1. 4. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 84 Germany Leopard 2
2. C Eskadron, 43 Tankbataljon Netherlands Leopard 2A4
5. 3e Regiment de Lanciers Belgiumn Leopard 1A5
2. CENTAG:
2. 2. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 153 Germany Leopard 2A4
4. C Squadron, 8th Canadian Hussars Canada Leopard 1A4

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Canadian gunners deserve no tanks for this" The Citizen, Ottawa, Page A4, June 26, 1985.

External links[edit]