In this post we are going to conduct an interview with a fellow Cavalry, the questions have been taken from the participants of our Discord channel.
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Until now, during my stay in cavalry, I can say that it is a weapon that is mostly worked on a vehicle and that therefore it is not as physically tough as any light infantry can be, although it is no less operational for that.
What is the difference between mechanized infantry and cavalry?
Mechanized infantry are essentially semi-armored vehicles that support cavalry against infantry units, which are the ones that can really do damage to cavalry. Mechanized I. vehicles have greater mobility, speed and even greater capacity for deployment of personnel and exploration due to their characteristics. In the cavalry, the most important thing is the battle tank, except for some vehicles, its function is not to deploy personnel on foot. They have great similarities, but they are not the same.
How is the adaptation phase?
After basic instruction at CEFOT comes unit instruction and is usually harder than basic instruction. Physically, it becomes much more demanding as you now have to really prove your worth to the unit you're going to serve in. The first contacts with the cars are also made. Then, when you're in the squad, it's not hard to adjust, a few weeks with the "veterans", learning from the tanks you'll be working on and you're good to go.
What vehicles are used in cavalry?
In cavalry, reconnaissance-type vehicles such as the VAMTAC, VERT, or even VEC are used. They are expected to be replaced by the VCR dragon 8x8, of the anti-tank type such as the BMR, also of the armored type such as the VRCC CENTAURO or LEOPARD, and also in some platoons of Mortars are used by some units. We could say that these are the most used vehicles in cavalry.
What do you like most about cavalry?
What I like most about cavalry is precisely the pure contact with chariots. You and your crew are the ones in charge of making everything work, tinkering with the vehicle every day, fixing it, perfecting it and testing it. Use it in maneuvers and enjoy its movement, its shot and even the sound of its engine. It is a great feeling of a job well done and militarily speaking there is nothing that contributes more to me.
How is the day to day in cavalry?
The day in a cavalry unit begins as in the rest of the units, with an IFM (Military Physical Instruction) session. Later, we go to the lines (where we have all the vehicles) and work on them. They are carried out from the most basic maintenance, such as: checking the levels of the vehicle, hours in use, kilometers traveled, etc. Even activities such as: barrel cleaning, undercarriage review, battery power, vehicle cleaning, etc.
And last but not least, the instruction of the position inside the vehicle: shooters, loaders, bosses, drivers, explorers. What corresponds to each type of vehicle.
Can only cavalry members access Cuirassiers and how to access?
In general the cavalry has the majority of armored vehicles. The ease of access depends on the unit, if they only have armored vehicles everyone will enter. If they have other less "comfortable" vehicles such as a VEC, the most modern soldiers usually go and when they get older they have more possibilities of going to battleships.
Each position of the vehicle can have an exam to pass or fail in order to acquire the aptitude of shooter, loader, driver, etc... There are also other units with armored vehicles, even mechanized infantry is an example.
What motivated you to choose cavalry over others?
Cavalry always caught my attention. The feeling of being in a tank is incredible. The immensity of its size, its weight and its power combined with its speed is something that has impressed me since I was little.
How operational is Cavalry?
Cavalry is a highly operable weapon. We can carry out both attack operations, with intelligent deployments since our vehicles have different conditions for different terrains. Likewise, they also have different calibers and ammunition for a wide range of objectives, whether enemy personnel on foot or in a vehicle.
We also have the ability to continue attacking during the withdrawal thanks to the versatility of our combat, due to our conditions and guns. So it could be said that we could be deployed in any environment, against any enemy, and either to attack or to defend.
What makes the difference in cavalry?
The main thing I see differently from other weapons is the relationship between different jobs and ranks. In the battle tank, there are jobs, but they experience the same loneliness, the same cold, the same heat, the same sleep and the same stress as you. That causes that while you are inside the car, they are at your same level. All of this helps to make it easier and more normal on a day-to-day basis for more equal treatment between boss and subordinate, since they know that you are going to end up working practically under equal conditions. The ease of soldiers to relate to officers and non-commissioned officers and even the friendship outside of work that arises is what I see special in the cavalry, the twinning.
How is the unit? Do you do a lot of shooting exercises?
As we say in my unit cavalry is sometimes "run to wait and wait to run". By this I mean that sometimes it can be a relatively quiet day at work, but another can be much more intense due to external factors. In a cavalry unit, due to the economic situation, it is difficult for them to always be instructed, since everything related to tanks is expensive: fuel, large-caliber weapons, expensive spare parts, etc. There are days of shooting, but it is not as common as in other types of units, in terms of individual weapons I mean. As for shooting exercises with the car, there are several times a year, but not very regularly. That is why you have to take advantage of each shot, so that the crews are instructed in it.
Do you usually get out of maneuvers a lot?
It depends on each unit. As I already explained, it is a weapon that depends a lot on the money that it has allocated and budgeted. It won't go out as much as other infantry or sapper units, but when it does go out it's usually an important drill in the training sense, with all sorts of exercises, positioning, scouting, shooting, assaults and reconnaissance. So you could say that you don't get out as much as you'd like, but when you get out of maneuvers they take advantage of it very well.
To put a figure, you go out more or less 4 or 5 times a year, some of them for 2 weeks in Zaragoza.
How is the fellowship theme?
In my personal experience I can say that I have been very lucky. I have met many colleagues of different seniorities and ages and for the most part, they all have a very adequate treatment, even since you arrive as a novice. We all help each other, pull those who can least, and stop those who go a little too far. In short, if you are a good partner they will be with you.
What function do you develop in the maneuvers?
In the maneuvers there is usually a "theme" to carry out, of more than 24 hours, with a specific mission that has already been stipulated, in which attack movements, camouflaged listening posts, ambushes, shooting intervene. During the first days we rehearsed those movements separately and then applied them to the mission. Reconnaissance and information gathering missions are carried out, reaction instruction to improvised explosives...
There are maneuvers that take place in conjunction with other weapons such as sappers and artillery that help complement the situation and give us even more instruction.
Finally, what advice would you give to those who want to follow in your footsteps and enter the cavalry?
I would tell them to come in wanting to work and learn, and I would also let them know that the most important value in this weapon is camaraderie. You can be the fastest, the strongest, the best in close order, the best in topography, the best in everything, but if you don't have companionship, everything else is for nothing.
Your managers and colleagues are going to be locked up with you for hours in a vehicle and they need your help, your initiative and your respect so that everything goes well. It is important to listen to those who have been in this for more years than you and when you have the knowledge and can teach, do it with the respect and enthusiasm that you would like them to have with you.
Do you usually go abroad deployed?
Yes, the cavalry usually has several missions abroad, being an operational weapon. Lebanon, Mali, Latvia. They are usually some of the most requested for the field of cavalry. Inside the unit they will take the oldest volunteers first and then they will take out the rest of the necessary people.
Me sangran los ojos de leer esto, 28 años en caballería y me entero de sandeces por aquí, serán las nuevas generaciones de soldados que no dicen mas que tontadas.