The Cold War
In 1947 the Regiment was reformed in Nottinghamshire as an armoured regiment of the Territorial Army, roled as a general reserve. The next year, the Soviet Union blockaded Berlin, the first move in the Cold War, which was to be the focus of the Sherwood Rangers’ service for the next four decades and more. The Regiment was re-roled to armoured reconnaissance during the early 1960s, but then reconverted to armour, equipped with Centurion tanks.
The primary task envisaged was to operate as a highly mobile force able to protect the massive, widespread logistic assets of the Corps, and certain key bridges, against covert attacks and airborne descents by Soviet special forces, in addition to the full range of medium armoured recce tasks for general battle. Over 20 years of dedicated commitment by the Squadron was acknowledged in 1989 when, on an exercise in Germany designed to test the 1 Br Corps recce assets, which included 8 Regular and 8 TA sabre squadrons, the Sherwood Rangers were formally assessed as the best of the 16 squadrons tested. Some even say that it was this very result, communicated to the Kremlin, which precipitated the Soviet withdrawal from Germany and ended the Cold War in the ensuing months!
In 1967 a major defence review was designed to reduce the size of the TA but increase its operational effectiveness, to counter the end of National Service and the continuing escalation of the Cold War. The Sherwood Rangers became a sabre squadron of the Royal Yeomanry, a NATO-assigned armoured reconnaissance regiment equipped on war establishment scales. The Squadron was over 150 men strong, operating 30 armoured fighting vehicles (first Saladin/ Saracen/ Ferret, then Fox/ Spartan /Sultan) and around 15 soft-skins. Resourced well, superbly supported by a team of 11 instructors from the Regular Army, and another of 5 local civilian permanent staff, the Squadron trained hard to fulfil its purpose of reinforcing 1Br Corps in Germany at less than a week’s notice against the constant Soviet threat to Western Europe.
In 1992, as part of the changes arising from the end of the Cold War, the Sherwood Rangers squadron was selected for transfer to the only TA regiment retaining the armoured reconnaissance role, the Queen’s Own Yeomanry. Primarily equipped now with Scimitar and Sabre, they were part of the newly formed NATO Rapid Reaction Corps. In 1997 further changes brought them back to the Royal Yeomanry as an Armoured Squadron providing crewmen trained on the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank.
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