MCTP conducts training for command elements at all levels from brigade through corps and Operations Group Bravo is specifically tasked with the training of maneuver brigades.
“Our role was to integrate with the existing British observer/mentors and support them in providing training and guidance to the forces currently being trained,” said Col. Thomas Christensen, chief of Operations Group Bravo.
BATUS is the U.K. Ministry of Defence training center in Suffield, Alberta, Canada, where armored and mechanized forces train on battlefield tasks in a field environment similar to the U.S. Army’s combat training centers at Fort Irwin, Calif., and Fort Polk, La.
The training is conducted using the Hybrid Foundational Training scenario, which is very similar to the Decisive Action Training Environment developed as a basis for U.S. forces training. The HFT is highly adaptable and covers all levels of military action from major combat to stability and peace-keeping operations.
Covering nearly 960 square miles — about twice the size of Leavenworth County — the installation is a vast expanse of rolling prairie with few trees. The training area lends itself to fixed and rotary wing operations as well as mounted and dismounted ground operations in both open terrain and simulated urban areas.
In the BATUS training model, the rotational training brigade provides both the Blue Force and Opposing Force from within its ranks. The 28-day training period is focused at the battle group level, which is equal in size to a U.S. battalion. Operations combine 14 days of live fire followed by 14 days of laser-equipped force-on-force simulated combat, which progressively increases in difficulty and operational complexity. Given the harsh winter of the region, training is confined to between April and October, and only four brigade-sized rotations are conducted each training year.
While there is currently no permanent U.S. presence at BATUS, U.S. Reserve Component forces have participated in the past and plan to participate in upcoming rotations.
The unique location and open maneuver area of BATUS offers new and realistic training opportunity in a joint and multinational force environment available nowhere else. While the training conducted at BATUS is oriented toward mechanized forces, there are obvious opportunities for all levels and types of training from medical evacuation to long-range reconnaissance operations.
“Our two country’s forces operate in a very similar fashion,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Fox, observer/controller trainer, Operations Group Bravo. “Tasks that are difficult for a U.S. force to accomplish are equally difficult for U.K. forces. Although the words and terms may be different, the actions and intentions are the same.”
Editor’s note: Lt. Col. Ervin Eddings, Mission Command Training Program; British Army Maj. Anthony Sharman, The King’s Royal Hussars; and British Army Maj. Andrew Grimditch, Royal Tank Regiment, all contributed to this article.