Road to Afghanistan - Maintainers on the loose in Germany.
By: Sgt Scott Clipsham
LdSH(RC) Maint Trp
2 Dec 2008
After spending nearly a month and a half in Wainwright supporting the Squadron, we now find ourselves in five star German Hotel. Far from the canvas, and wind storms that we endured with the rest of the squadron during Sept and Oct. Maintenance troop is now nearing the end of its 3rd week of 7 in Germany. From the beginning of the Leopard 2 Maintenance course it quickly became apparent that this is a far more complex machine than our Leopard C2’s back home.
The first few days of the course concentrated on familiarization of the vehicle with respect to Chassis, ARV (Armoured Recovery Vehicle), and Turret systems. By the end of the first week, one turret and several power pack’s had been removed from their chassis’. And everyone was adjusting well to life in Germany.
By the end of week two the ARV team had become well practiced in recovery operations. The chassis team had covered suspension, fuel systems, and the all important crew heater. And the turret team delved in the wonderful world of electrical schematics. There was a lot of classroom work, but all the while technicians itching to be turning wrenches and repairing tanks. The highlight of the week was a trip to the city of Kassel to tour a factory that assembled components of Leopard 2 and other military vehicles. This was followed by a guided tour of the city. Unfortunately it was at this time that we had to say goodbye to our ARV drivers, as their course had come to an end.
Now as we near the end of week three sighting systems have been removed and replaced, the complete winch assembly has been removed from the ARV, and the chassis team’s work area looks like a Battle tank chop shop. Many members of the course spent the weekend in Berlin, while the remainder toured the local area.
Looking ahead there is much to be done, as we have only scratched the surface of maintaining the tank. Plans are being made for more trips to Berlin, Hamburg, and all the while looking forward to returning home near the end of December to spend Christmas with our families.