Canadian Army’s Original Contribution To NATO
In 1951, C Squadron was deployed to Germany for four years as the armoured component of the 27th Canadian Infantry Brigade: the Canadian Army’s original contribution to NATO. They were the first recipients of the 60-ton Centurion tanks.
D Squadron deployed to Korea with 25 Brigade in 1954 and were the last users of the Sherman tank in the Regiment.
In 1955, A Squadron replaced C Squadron in Germany at Werl’s Fort Anne. 56 Recce Squadron composed of Dragoons and Strathcona’s, deployed to the Sinai in March 1957.
The same year also saw the Regiment, less D Squadron, deploy to Germany with 4 CIBG at Fort Beausejour in Isherlohn, staying until November 1959. Meanwhile, the skeleton D (Recce) Squadron, which had remained in Petawawa, deployed to Sinai in January 1959, after having been reconstituted with C Squadron men returning from Germany and 56 Recce men back from Sinai.
The Regiment, of two tank squadrons and a Recce Sqn, stood up in Germany again on 15 June, 1970. For the next 17 years, the RCD would be the armoured backbone of Canada’s NATO Brigade. Serving in Iserlohn until October of 1970 when they moved to Lahr. The Regiment also inherited the Helicopter Recce Troop, equipped with Hiller CH- 112 helicopters. These, however, were retired in 1972.
Canadian Army Trophy (CAT) for Tank Gunnery
While in Germany, a decision was made to replace the Centurions with the German-made Leopard. The first rented Leopards showed up in the spring of 1977. The Dragoons went on to win the Canadian Army Trophy for Tank Gunnery in June of 1977, after having the leased Leopards for only 16 weeks.
In 1978, B Squadron of the 8th Canadian Hussars was reformed again in Gagetown, equipped with brand new Leopards and in 1979 was given the role of flyover reinforcement squadron of the Regiment. In May 1980 the squadron was rebadged to RCD.
They would continue in this role until June 1985 when 4 CMBG was authorized to man the third tank squadron. This is probably the first time that a single regiment has had two squadrons with the same name on establishment at the same time, one in Germany and one in Gagetown. This continued until 1987, when the Regiment rotated back to Canada.