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 Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)

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Wilf
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PostSubject: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   24/10/2008, 20:32

I know some of you will be familiar with SLTA or Soltau as it was usually called, and it was indeed a lovely place... if you were into nature! I mean lets face it there wasn't a fat lot there! Because we were posted to Soltau (1 ADOC Bournmouth Barracks) the OC would have us on the area at every opportunity but we wouldn't drive from camp directly to the area, that would be far to easy (and take ten minutes) the OC would drive the company around northern Germany for hours to give the impression we had travelled a long way to get to the exercise area, and indeed by the time we got there... we had.
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Wilf
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   24/10/2008, 21:04

And another thing about SLTA...

If there are any Tankies listening in, fill your effin holes in!

Explanation: I drove around the area in pitch darkness looking for the waggon in front who "just for a laugh" had switched his convoy light off just before a sharp turn which I have to say we often did to each other. I suddenly felt the front of the waggon (which was an old AEC ten tonner or knocker) fall, and water splashed up the windscreen. Kin hell I thought as we scrambled through the cupola, there aren't any rivers on SLTA are there? in the darkness I'd driven into a bloody great hole that was previously occupied by a Chieftain (oh yes it was) of course the hole had filled with water since they buggered off. We had no radio so crawled into our dos bags on the canopy, recovery found us the next day as we were cooking bacon roll on a hexi cooker on top of a half submerged knocker.

The reason troops today don't have exercises like this is because health and safety law has banned driving on convoy lights unless each vehicle has at least two escort vehicles with flashing beacons and all occupants are wearing flourecent vests and scuba kit.

Progress.
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soprano54
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   26/10/2008, 18:55

Andrew wrote:
And another thing about SLTA...

If there are any Tankies listening in, fill your effin holes in!

Explanation: I drove around the area in pitch darkness looking for the waggon in front who "just for a laugh" had switched his convoy light off just before a sharp turn which I have to say we often did to each other. I suddenly felt the front of the waggon (which was an old AEC ten tonner or knocker) fall, and water splashed up the windscreen. Kin hell I thought as we scrambled through the cupola, there aren't any rivers on SLTA are there? in the darkness I'd driven into a bloody great hole that was previously occupied by a Chieftain (oh yes it was) of course the hole had filled with water since they buggered off. We had no radio so crawled into our dos bags on the canopy, recovery found us the next day as we were cooking bacon roll on a hexi cooker on top of a half submerged knocker.

The reason troops today don't have exercises like this is because health and safety law has banned driving on convoy lights unless each vehicle has at least two escort vehicles with flashing beacons and all occupants are wearing flourecent vests and scuba kit.

Progress.

Andrew may I on the behalf of all the Tankies and Cav apologise for not filling in our tank-scrapes! Now just to put you in the 'Rembrandt' these would have been dug by the sqn Dozer tank, which was normally on it's lonesome within a Sqn. Now having dug several scrapes I'm pretty sure that it would have given up the ghost and packed up.................they were very tempremental! Now as you can see we have a bit of predicament does the Sqn Ldr -

1. Task his crews to fill in the vast hole by hand using the two shovels that were part of the CES?

2. Task his ARV overworked ARV to do the job, please bear in mind that in the early days the Cent ARV didn't have a dozer blade and the Recce Mechs will tell you that the one fitted to the front of a Chieftain ARV was an anchor!

I know what should have happened though! The fact that some girt holes had been left in such and such area should have been reported up the chain. Chances are they probably were and your CoC neglected to tell you, but you didn't have a radio so TFS! Very Happy
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Wilf
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   21/11/2008, 08:46

LOL, apologies not necessary Soprano, dodging tank scrapes on Soltau was all part of life's rich tapestry.

We once acted as "enemy" for a tank regiment (Royal Hussars if memory serves) on Soltau. The plan was for us to get close enough to a tank (Chieftain) to hit it with headlight mainbeam from a Landrover, this was obviously done at nighttime. It was quite easy to sneak up on the beast and zap it with a burst of mainbeam, not so easy to get away from it. To our horror we discovered the cheating sodding cavalry were not sticking to tracks as we had to! Incredible how fast a Chieftain can go through bushes. We did this over two nights but due to the damage inflicted to the Landrovers (x2) as we bounced off trees in blind panic trying to escape, this little exercise was not repeated.
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   21/11/2008, 09:52

There is nothing more frightening than being of foot in the dark with tanks all around you, scared me witless on one Autumn Sales.
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Paul
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PostSubject: Night exercises involving tanks.   21/11/2008, 12:06

I remember a story that was going around a number of years ago (too many to remember).

It apparently involved a Land Rover or Jeep. It was said that two soldiers (ID unknown) decided to scare the **** out of two cyclists riding down a track at night.

After the resulting bang, it was discovered that the "cyclists" were the sidelights of a Centurion with the consequent damage to both softskin and occupants being rather severe.

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   21/11/2008, 12:44

Andrew wrote:
LOL, apologies not necessary Soprano, dodging tank scrapes on Soltau was all part of life's rich tapestry.

We once acted as "enemy" for a tank regiment (Royal Hussars if memory serves) on Soltau. The plan was for us to get close enough to a tank (Chieftain) to hit it with headlight mainbeam from a Landrover, this was obviously done at nighttime. It was quite easy to sneak up on the beast and zap it with a burst of mainbeam, not so easy to get away from it. To our horror we discovered the cheating sodding cavalry were not sticking to tracks as we had to! Incredible how fast a Chieftain can go through bushes. We did this over two nights but due to the damage inflicted to the Landrovers (x2) as we bounced off trees in blind panic trying to escape, this little exercise was not repeated.

Chieftain fast, Shocked You're having a 'Giraffe' matey Laughing

jim wrote:
There is nothing more frightening than being of foot in the dark with tanks all around you, scared me witless on one Autumn Sales.

Twas SOP that in the event you got bumped during the night for the driver to jump into his cab and start the ME (Main Engine) and rev the nads off it! while the rest of the crew laid around the tank laughing like drains as the tank hunting ran around like headless chickens, thinking the tanks were moving affraid . Laugh we nearly shat!!! Twisted Evil
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Wilf
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   21/11/2008, 13:30

It was very disorientating when the gits did that (revved the nads of em) we could obviously hear them, and we knew they were close but in the darkness it was often difficult to tell which direction they were comming from. It was at this point that dents appeared in Landrovers as we bounced off trees in blind panic...would this be when the crew were laughing like drains per chance...

PS, if you were in a Landrover and due to terrain and darkness you had to crawl along at walking pace and you suddenly saw the hull of a Chieftain in your rear view mirror trust me, two things spring to mind, it's too bloody close and it's too bloody fast.
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soprano54
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   21/11/2008, 19:29

Andrew wrote:
It was very disorientating when the gits did that (revved the nads of em) we could obviously hear them, and we knew they were close but in the darkness it was often difficult to tell which direction they were comming from. It was at this point that dents appeared in Landrovers as we bounced off trees in blind panic...would this be when the crew were laughing like drains per chance...

PS, if you were in a Landrover and due to terrain and darkness you had to crawl along at walking pace and you suddenly saw the hull of a Chieftain in your rear view mirror trust me, two things spring to mind, it's too bloody close and it's too bloody fast.

Well if you went a hunting in a L/R then you had it coming, most tank hunting gangs arrived on foot ISTR! Now if you had a long distance to cover and were carrying tools for diconnecting final drives then that's a different matter! Twisted Evil Bergen-Hohne circa 92 3RTR were acting as enemy against 33 Armd Bde, which included the Life Guards aka 'Tinned Fruit' , who were equipped with CR1. We sent out hunting parties armed with said tools with the sole aim of disconnecting as many as possible, just imagine the chaos the next morning when they were all revving the fcuk up and not going anywhere!!! scratch
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jim
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   25/11/2008, 09:22

I don't care if it was a joke or not, me and tanks don't mix, especially at night. Sad
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opssig
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   25/11/2008, 16:27

Oh boy oh boy, SLTA yeh what a luvly place. Had my 21st there, heard the first Muhamed Ali fight over a tank radio (C10) there (we, 1st RHA had two cents per Bty as OP vehicles since we were in support of QOH)

I know what is meant by scaring the s--t out you by the sound of tanks at night too.

In a rest area one night I drew guard. Waggon line picket 8-10 and 2-4. About halfway thrugh my second stint, tucked up nice and cosy in back of AEC with a fag and suddenly the whole bloody world shook. Took a peep out in the blacknes, saw nothing, but the noise and clatter, oh boy! Then I knew what it was but couldn't place where from.
Thought about scurrying down to the guard biv but, No! I didn't know where they were and my thoughts were, up in back here at least I can run the length of this bloody truck. If one hits front, I run to back and jump, if it hits back, run tother way and I'm in the cab.
After a while (a long while) I did get brave and ran like hell toward the bivy area only to be hailed by ROS on his way to guard biv.
Bloody QOH!

GHB
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Nobby
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   5/2/2009, 14:29

Hi Guys
I would still like someone to explain to me how come all the Military equipment used to get bogged in but Wolfgang's Bratty van could travel where no other vehicle would dare to tread. lol!
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chris877
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   22/2/2009, 16:51

Cause he could ????
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   24/2/2009, 20:30

I was put off tanks for good on one exercise, and I think it was Saltau, It was nearly 50 years ago. We were doing advance to contact at night, at, I suppose, brigade level as we had tanks in support. Moving to the start point we followed some tanks by convoy light along one of the tracks and they turned right we followed and the vehicle in front stopped suddenly having run into the remains of a Champ that had just been run over by a tank It had been occupied at the time by some umpires. The tank had cut the corner and not seen the Champ sitting quietly in the bushes. The umpires were of course officers with maps which probably explains why they chose to park where they did.
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   1/3/2009, 09:52

In 16 years I only knew of two exercise fatalaties. The first was an accident at nightime where the driver of a Ferret was killed. The second was a despatch rider who crashed into a Chieftain AVLB, again at nightime. On this occasion I went to the funeral, his wife was inconsolable.

Looking back, exercises were bloody dangerous. Particularly where night moves and vehicles were involved, I remember many accidents and near misses that were largely ignored. I suppose exercise accidents were factored in at Brigade and considered an acceptable risk.
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ciphers
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   1/3/2009, 16:59

6 Armoured Div had more than their fair share of accidents in the 50's possibly due to the aggressive exercises we were put through. It was a newly reformed div formed to bolster NATO during the height of the Cold War, and like the Boy Scouts we had to be prepared, so endless exercises. I can recall 3 tank accidents, one where some TA lads were crushed under a Centurion as they slept, one where a Centurion crew were all electrocuted when they brought down some HT wires, the other was a tank radio op who was trapped when the tank toppled into a river. Our own 20 Bde Sigs Sqn lost one of our guys when on the night prior to leaving on exercise he dozed off while 'listening in' and the portable petrol heater he was using went out and fumes filled the wireless compartment. His morse receiver woke him and he automatically tapped a reply and the spark from the morse key ignited the petrol vapour .. KABOOM ..

Len (Ciphers)
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Wilf
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   1/3/2009, 17:23

Like the avatar ciphers Smile

I had the chance to settle in Canada in 1981, chose to go back to Germany. I've thought about that decision once or twice over the years, hey ho. Two of my mates married Canadian girls, one is happily married and (as far as I know) is still living in Medicine Hat, the other was posted to Germany with his Canadian wife who on arrival decided she didn't like Germany and went back home, on her own.

I'm sure exercise accidents were brushed under the carpet. On one exercise (on Soltau I think) we had a cook who was severely burnt when a cooker blew up in his face, another lad broke his back falling from the canopy of a knocker as he pulled on a cam net that suddenly gave way. The more I think about accidents the more I remember. I was obviously lucky.
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   5/3/2009, 15:28

I've posted elsewhere about the accident where a tank ran over a champ and the Umpires inside it and you are right Andrew if you think about it you do remember more of them. Like the RP or it may have been MP on Night point duty at a X roads in an old town with narrow cobbled streets and high walls. This guy was run down by a Pig travelling without lights. There was speculation as to why he hadn't heard it or got out of the way. After an investigation it was decided he had heard it but because of the echo from the high walls but couldn't tell from where it was approaching, he guessed wrong and stepped to the side right under the wheels. Another one, a fully loaded pig radio CV setting out from Minden on exercise in the early morning, festooned with the usual gear plus several extra jerry cans of fuel on the roof. The driver dozed off and drove into the hedge. As he hit it he floored the loud pedal and it being in 4WD it went up the hedge and flipped neatly upside down into a deep ditch. The filler caps on the pig are inside and, upside down, they leak, The radio batteries broke loose and the resulting sparks set the escaping fuel on fire. The Cans on the roof had split so it was sitting in a pool of petrol that soon ignited too. That was some spectacular fire. By some miracle the crew of 3 all escaped alive although somewhat singed. One of them, an attached Royal signals Cpl, Jock Weir, I think was his name, lost a large portion of his hair and his combats were ablaze when he was dragged out.
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   13/7/2009, 16:36

16/5 Lancers had some deaths 1960-62. 1 Ferret crew parked on the wrong side of the others and the next one in ran over both.
One of our Cents was parked up on the main park at Soltau in June 60 and it was Hissing it down, resulting in major floods.
Some guys, I think RAOC went under the tank to sleep. The tank sank in the night as the ground turned to mush ! My tent ended up about 1.5 feet deep in water, that was on the flat area as you entered the training area, in other places the floods were serious.
We also had a Gun Fitter Sgt who slipped on a turret and slashed his leg open from thigh to ankle on a bazooka plate which was off and leaning against the side of the Cent, he was lucky but lost a lot of blood.
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   15/7/2009, 12:10

Andrew wrote:
Like the avatar ciphers Smile

I had the chance to settle in Canada in 1981, chose to go back to Germany. I've thought about that decision once or twice over the years, hey ho. Two of my mates married Canadian girls, one is happily married and (as far as I know) is still living in Medicine Hat, the other was posted to Germany with his Canadian wife who on arrival decided she didn't like Germany and went back home, on her own.

I'm sure exercise accidents were brushed under the carpet. On one exercise (on Soltau I think) we had a cook who was severely burnt when a cooker blew up in his face, another lad broke his back falling from the canopy of a knocker as he pulled on a cam net that suddenly gave way. The more I think about accidents the more I remember. I was obviously lucky.
Hello, I live in Suffield, if you would like some info about your mate that lives in Med hat let me know, regards, Ian.
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   22/8/2009, 12:14

I have many memories of Soltau Training Area - but the Brattie van comment above is spot on ! He knew the place like the back of his hand and the funny thing was no-one seemed to mind him turning up, the exercise stopping and everyone grabbing a brattie and chips !

Did Ex Liquid Chase there with the Black Watch around 1983-84 (may even have been '82). It was an exercise to trial new kit such as the CAM (Chemical Agent Monitor ?), new Noddy suits etc.

Lots of civvies around who we weren't supposed to ask too many questions of.....

The chased us around STA for bloody days hitting us with "Chemicals" and the whole idea being the new CAM's were meant to mean we only had respirators on for a short time.

We were still in noddy suits the whole time and it was baking bloody hot, dusty as hell and absolutely knackering !
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   5/12/2009, 03:34

And also at Soltau could be found Mercedes Mary.
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PostSubject: SLTA   5/12/2009, 13:18

mercedes mary,it just goes to show there was a better class of girl in northern germany,in tidworth we had to put up with escort edna,dave.
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PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   5/12/2009, 18:20

Wolfgang even has his own Facebook page. Just search for :

Wolfgang - Legend of Soltau Training Area.

The man's a star. Or was. Does anyone know if he's still this side of the turf?

Also, if you search for Soltau using google, you'll find that it's now a nature reserve.....and a holiday destination (seriously...Camp Soltau...it's like Haven Holidays, but for Germans)
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Registration date : 2007-12-28

PostSubject: Re: Soltau Luneburg Training Area (SLTA)   5/12/2009, 21:20

I'm not even going to ask about Mercedes Mary...LOL...oh what the hell, why not???

So, only in Mercedes' or was she...uhm...available in the back of a VW as well? Did she supply her own Mercedes? No doubt after a couple of years of....er....entertaining the troops, she might well have been able to afford her own Mercedes!!
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