Prior to 1993 the Engieneers provided to divisions came from the Divisional Engineer Regiment and 32 Armoured Engineer Regiment a Corps asset. The divisional Engineer Regiment consisted of 3 Field Squadrons and a support squadron that held most of the major plant items. Plant equipments such as the Medium Wheeled Tractor were allocated for specific activities and as such tended to be held centrally.
The field Squadrons were allocated to Brigades and routinely would task organise field troops to Battle Groups. The field troops provided battle groups with a range of mobility, counter mobility and survivability capability including.
- Minefield Breaching
- Minefield Laying, using Ranger and the Bar minelayer
- Wire Obstical Construction
- Explosive digging
- Booby trapping
- Bridge blowing
- creation of field defences such as trenches, vehicle scrapes and HQ dugouts
The field troops deployed three field sections in FV432 which could be fitted with the Ranger scaterable mine dispenser or tow the bar mine layer. In addition they provided a Troop leader, Recce Sergent and Troop Staff Sergent each with A CVRT who provided Recce, Planning and Liaison functions. These capabilities could be supplemented by the battalion assault pioneer section, more commonly found in light units, but armoured units frequently had some capability or Infantry soldiers most of whom were trained for the construction of wire obstacles and nuisance minefields.
In addition to the field squadrons the Battlegroup could also be allocated a section from the Armoured Engineer troop allocated to the Brigade. Routinely a Battle Group could expect to be supported by 2 AVLBs and an AVRE (or was it the other way round?). These principally provide Obstical breaching capability, either through the deployment of bridges or facines into ditches and smaller gaps.
AVREs would be fitted to acheive the task required the obvious combinations being a dozer blade with facines and ploughs with Giant Vippers. The vehicles could tow multiple AVRE trailers which would carry additional facines or stores. The crews were also trained sappers and could support other tasks although this would be a bit of a waste of the main asset.
Centurion AVRE towing Giant Viper
My representation of this capability for my 1980s British Battle Group will include
1 CVR(T) representing the HQ or Recce Capability
1 FV432, towing a bar mine layer and mounting a Ranger Scatterable mine discharger
1 CET to represent a range of plant that might be deployed from the Support Squadron
1 Centurion or Cheiftain AVRE + Trailer
1 Cheiftain AVLB
Which at 1:3 is a little rich in AVREs and AVLBs but represents the full range of capability available and the fact that assets would often be split to support separate subunits as well as being grouped on Particular tasks and besides the Wagons look great and you can't really go to war with out the Royal Engineers or the Royal Artillery....... Ubique
As I intend to produce three variations on the BG theme, early 80s, late 80s and early 90s there will be some minor equipment variation.
Early 80s Centurion AVRE
Late 80s Cheiftain AVRE
Early 90s Sheilder
All other vehicles will remain the same throughout,
ORBAT 1980s British Battle Group, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 7
BAOR 32 Armoured Engineer Regiment - potted history
Armoured Engineer Branch of RE Association - photo galleries
Encyclopaedia of the Modern British Army
Royal Engineers BAOR and BFG Blog
British Army Units 1945 on Location and Dates - RE Regiments