Topic: Canadian Army
Canadian Gunners Deserve No Tanks for This
Ottawa Citizen, 26 June 1985
Twenty tank platoons from six NATO countries competed in the tank shoot out held every two years and considered a measure of the ability of tank crews,.
Points were scored for number of hits, speed of engagement and economy of ammunition use, said Jane's Defence Weekly in its issue published Tuesday.
Two Canadian platoons, both from the Royal Canadian Dragoons based at Lahr, West Germany, faced tanks from the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and West Germany. The Canadians came last and 18th out of 20 in the competition, which ended earlier this month in Bergen-Hohne.
The Canadians, all professional soldiers, were also bested by tanks crewed by conscripts.
The best overall performance came from a West German platoon using advanced Leopard 2 tanks followed by a Dutch platoon also equipped with Leopard 2s. But the most consistently high scoring came from the new U.S. M1 Abrams tanks.
British tank crews were hampered by the outdated Chieftain tanks but still outshot the Canadians.
Although the Canadian army is equipped with Leopard 1s, which are inferior to both the Leopard 2 and the Abrams, the Royal Canadian Dragoons were also beaten by both Belgian and West German platoons using Leopard 1s.
"Leopard 1 proved to still be a formidable performer in the hands of a skilled crew," said Jane's in its report on the competition.
The magazine called the shoot "a comparative test of NATO' front-line tank platoons." It also quoted Gen. Leopold Chalupa, NATO's commander in chief of allied forces in Central Europe, as saying at the end of the competition: "What we have here is a fair representation of the standards across the board."