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 Prix Leclerc History Question

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Dan M
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PostSubject: Prix Leclerc History Question   27/8/2010, 00:21

Gentlemen,

Does anyone know of a place, book or site that would list the winners and dates of competition for the Prix Leclerc trophy?

There was a sub-prize given at the same time called the Montgomery Trophy, named after the Field Marshal himself. Does anyone recall for what this trophy was awarded?

Any help would be appreciated.

Cheers,
Dan.

PS: Canadians won the PL twice.
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JPW
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   27/8/2010, 08:23

Dan

Sorry can't help

Seem to remember it started off in the early 60s as a test of basic Infantry skills open to one team from all NATO Armies (including the French) but National pride got the better of things and instead of selecting teams from Regular units, elite squads of handpicked National Servicemen athletes who did nothing but train for the event were formed by certain nations. As a result of this plus the increasing demands of Op Banner tours in Northern Ireland British ceased to compete after 1971(?) and the whole competition was abandoned a few years later.

More popular was the Armoured Corps equivalent, the Canada Cup, which was an annual shoot out between NATO Armoured Regiments on one of the German Ranges

Can't remember a Montgomery Trophy at all. Will PM you if I have any further thoughts.
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brum
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   27/8/2010, 08:34

I thought the Canadians ALLWAYS won it !
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jim
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   27/8/2010, 09:05

I googled it and got a link, but it says the link is broken?
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   28/8/2010, 04:15

In 1970 the 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards was chosen to represent the British. Eventually they came in third,behind the Canadians and Germans.JPW is quite right. Op Banner demands were increasing.Actually the Bn had to train for the Prix Le Clerc, while at the same time training for a tour of Belfast.We left the Prix Le Clerc team behind which later followed us to Belfast. Before 1970 ,we had never heard of the Prix Le Clerc, and certainly after 1970 never heard of it again.
Every man in the Bn, Cook, mechanic,clerk, barber was given a chance initially to be on the team. Although it involved a lot of shooting, the CO at the time,said he was looking for good athletes, whom he would then train to be marksmen.
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Hardrations
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   28/8/2010, 04:50

[quote="JPW"]Dan


More popular was the Armoured Corps equivalent, the Canada Cup, which was an annual shoot out between NATO Armoured Regiments on one of the German Ranges

quote]

I remember that one sitting on the B/Gen. coffee table in his outer office in Lahr. ( We had to do security checks when on duty in the night.) If I remember correctly it was a Centurion Tank in silver mounted on an oak base. At the time our Centurions (71-74) were dying a slow, painful, noisy death. I remember the B/General being very happy that they had discovered 5 rebuilt Centurion motors/engines in the U.K. and had them immediately shipped to Lahr put into 5 tanks. Later on I watched from hill over looking an advance to contact by the tanks and most of them died a painful death of being to old, to noisy and to undependable as they advanced. It was kind of sad. But eventually they got the Leopard so happiness rained all over the tankers.
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Dan M
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   28/8/2010, 16:08

Gallahad,

Interesting as the 1970 competition is one that I am interested in. Would you happen to have the date that it took place?

The official history of the Canadian regiment involved, The RCR, stated that Pric Leclerc in 1970 took place the week of July 5. A friend of mine who was an officer in the unit at the time, insists that it was earlier in the year, sometime during the spring.

Can you or someone you know provide any clarification on this?

Cheers,
Dan.
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Hardrations
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   28/8/2010, 21:24

Did the Canadians compete that year Dan? They were still in the process of moving down south from the Soest area to Lahr.
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   28/8/2010, 21:42

Dan M wrote:
Gallahad,

Interesting as the 1970 competition is one that I am interested in. Would you happen to have the date that it took place?

The official history of the Canadian regiment involved, The RCR, stated that Pric Leclerc in 1970 took place the week of July 5. A friend of mine who was an officer in the unit at the time, insists that it was earlier in the year, sometime during the spring.

Can you or someone you know provide any clarification on this?

Cheers,
Dan.

Once upon a time I would have been able to pin point the date. The whole 2CG Bn. went down to Sennelager to watch the Offensive and Defensive Shoot off. The Canadians ,we were told had won the night shoot the night before. It was definitely in the summer,and a very short while before the Battalion was shipped out in early August to Belfast. July 5 seems correct.
I have just sent off an e-mail to a Coldstreamer who was on the team,lets hope that his memory is better than mine.
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Dan M
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   29/8/2010, 02:02

Hardrations,

As a matter of fact, the reorganization prior to the move south is one of the points of contention between myself and my 2RCR friend about the 1970 Prix Leclerc. There are two issues involved. The first is my friend's recollection that the competition was held earlier than July. The second is that as 2RCR had already been relocated back to Canada on July 1 of that year, how could the Canadian team for a competition that began on July 5 been designated 2RCR?

The time line in 1970 goes as follows:
June 28: Personnel from 2RCR and 2PPCLI form a new unit called 3 Canadian Mechanized Commando (two mechanized battalions being squeezed together to form one with a new designation). The personnel from 2RCR and 2PPCLI remaining after the reorganization were to rotate back to Canada to accommodate the new reduced force structure in Germany.
July 1: 1st Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada is re-badged as 2RCR at CFB Gagetown in Canada.
July 5: The Prix Leclerc competition begins at Sennelager and is won by the Canadian team represented by 2RCR.

Now if my friend is correct and the 1970 Prix Leclerc was held in the spring of that year, then everything fits. If it was held over July however, my question remains as to how could the team have been designated 2RCR?

What's not in contention is that the story appeared in the 'Connecting File' which is The RCR yearly publication. So as far as the Regiment is concerned it was won by 2RCR in July of 1970 under the command of Captain Jim Senecal.

I know it's a small and trifling matter but it's the kind of thing that keeps amateur historians like us on the hunt during our weekends and evenings. If Gallahad can confirm the date is indeed July then my search will continue, but in a different direction.

I'd should also like to thank everyone for their help so far. It's been most welcome.

Cheers,
Dan.
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JPW
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   29/8/2010, 08:33

Dan, Gallahad

I was the other side of the square in Loddenheide in 1970 with the rival Guards Battallion but for reasons stated below cannot rememember exact dates. I do however agree with Gallahad that the competition was held in the Summer not Spring 70.

Dan
It was not unusual in the early days of BAOR ,as Steve and I have discovered, for disbanding/amalgamating units who were finalists in prestige competions to leave behind Rear Parties to compete in their original name in the Finals (the East Riding Yeomanry and the 1945/6 Football Cup is one example).

Gallahad,
Am I right in thinking the Batallion turned night into day during the run up to the competion and pre Op Banner training by working at night and resting in daytime?

Looking at the parallel Canadian Army Trophy bragging rights went to
1965 Royal Scots Greys
1966 13/18 Hussars
1967 Lord Strathcona's Horse
1970 16/5 Lancers
1977 Royal Canadian Dragoons

Sent extracts to Hardrations who has recognised his Centurion, sadly my equivalent email to you Dan has bounced.

PS Reason I cannot remember exact dates in 1970 is that my LAD's parent unit was swapping in an Arms Plot move involving 2nd Scots Guards and 1st Welsh Guards and this took place in June/July. More importantly was getting married in early August (have just celebrated the Ruby Anniversary)
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dandc
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   29/8/2010, 13:09

congratulations on your anniversary.
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   29/8/2010, 22:10

JPW wrote:
Dan, Gallahad



Gallahad,
Am I right in thinking the Batallion turned night into day during the run up to the competion and pre Op Banner training by working at night and resting in daytime?


When we came back from ex Op Banner in early December 1970, after going directly on block leave we returned to find that the MPBW were in the process of overhauling the boiler and renewing the pipes in Buller Barrack. The RE's were called in to provide us with field showers. The CO insisted and got Field Conditions allowances for the Bn. Still not satisfied he took the whole Bn to Sennelager on exercise, this is when he turned night into day. Without a doubt it was one of the most enjoyable exercises I have had.
But somebody forgot to tell the cooks that Breakfast started at 1700 hrs,and as a consequence we were receiving 6 meals in a 24-hour period.
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   29/8/2010, 22:16

Dan M wrote:
Hardrations,

I know it's a small and trifling matter but it's the kind of thing that keeps amateur historians like us on the hunt during our weekends and evenings. If Gallahad can confirm the date is indeed July then my search will continue, but in a different direction.

Cheers,
Dan.

Dan , I just got word from a Coldstreamer who was on the British Prix LeClerc team. He stated that the Competition started on 10 July, 10am ,and his team was the first to go through.
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manbargos
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   18/7/2011, 22:58

Just caught up with the "Prix Leclerc History Question" as I was not a member of the site when the topic was running last year. I hope I can add a small part to the history of the competition.
As a National Serviceman with the Bedfs & Herts Regt. and a member of the battalion shooting team, we represented Great Britain in the Prix Leclerc Trophy in 1957 and 1958. As I remember, this privilege was earned by winning the Brigade level of the 'Wavell Trophy', a BAOR competition for all British Units. The finals of this competition were shot at Sennelager at the BAOR Meeting. We came out winners in the finals and also won the BAOR Championship Shield that year (1958).
By the time of the Leclerc Trophy Finals on August 22, 1958, at Grafenwohr in the American Sector, the Bedfs & Herts had moved from Goslar to Dortmund to join the Essex Regt. to form the the 1st Bn. the 3rd East Anglian Regt.
Needless to say, the hospitality of the Americans was superb, the food was 4-star, and the camp boasted such facilities such as 10-pin bowling alleys, live Country and Western evenings, a golf course and, during the week we were there, a Grand Frog-jumping Competition, in which we took the first 2 places!
It transpired that was all we would win, managing only 4th place in the shoot,
The final placings were: 1, United states; 2, France; 3, Netherlands; 4, Great Britain; 5 Canada; 6 Belgium; 7 Germany. We were handicapped somewhat by being the only team with bolt-action rifles (the trusty Lee-Enfield), a distinct disadvantage in rapid shooting.
The trophy itself was a bronze head of General Leclerc de Hauteclocque, which was the work of French sculptors Joel and jan Martel.
If you're wondering how on earth I can remember such details after some 53 years, the answer is that at the presentation ceremony following the shoot, every member of every team was presented with a certificate commemorating the occasion, which I personally still have.
Out of interest, the certificate states that the trophy was "Presented in 1951 by SIR EUGEN MILLINGTON-DRAKE K.C.M.G. formerly Minister in His Majesty's Foreign Service, President of the Reception Committee of the XIV Olympiad, London 1948."
The certificate also states:
"This competition is between teams composed of Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and men, using all infantry weapons. According to the wish of the donor, it takes place in conditions approximating nearly as possible to those of war. In presenting the trophy with this wish, the donor followed he idea of his father, Mr. Henry Millington-Drake, who in 1907 when he was President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Paris, presented a cup to the French Army for a similar competition between regiments."
At the conclusion of the presentation, there was a reception for all competitors consisting of an excellent meal plus cabaret. Then the American team commandeered an army coach and took the other ranks of the British team to their local watering hole for an unforgettable night (I still have the American shirt that I woke up wearing the next morning!
Hope all this gives an insight into the Leclerc Trophy.

Regards, manbargos.
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JPW
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   19/7/2011, 11:49

manbargos

very many thanks for your fascinating first hand contribution, another invaluable contribution to this site data bank

one further question was the competition in your time based on a bisley style test of small arms skills or as other earlier contributors have inferred a test of all round ability, both team and individual, including based on military capability
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manbargos
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   19/7/2011, 18:10

JPW

It was a test of small arms skills - rifle, LMG, pistol. The format was the same as for the Wavell Trophy, basically shooting skills in the prone, sitting and standing positions with some running between firing points.

manbargos
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JPW
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   21/7/2011, 20:33

manbargos

thanks for that, i think the competition must have changed slightly over the years and become more physically demanding, involving more fire and movement, seem to recall in later years that it also included a grenade throwing competion at a target from a slit trench

gallahad may be able to confirm when he is next on line
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   22/7/2011, 02:02

It was in deed quite physically demanding , hence the reason why the 2CG CO opted to seek out the athletic types in the unit and then train them to be marksmen. A mock up of the Prix LeClerc assault course was put in place at Buller Bks, where the team practiced before going down to Sennelager. But I cannot recall, in the phase which we observed,seeing grenades being tossed.
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   22/7/2011, 02:09

And a mention by the Canadians of the Prix LeClerc (1970 I assumed) http://www.legionmagazine.com/en/index.php/2003/03/former-guardsmen-carry-on-tradition/
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PostSubject: Re: Prix Leclerc History Question   22/7/2011, 02:18

Here is another bit of Prix LeClerc History, pardon my French.
http://j-mc.ifrance.com/leclerc/leclerc-2.html
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