BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ARMOURED RECONNAISSANCE REGIMENT
The history of the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment of today is as old as that of the Ghana Army today. It took its root from the Royal West Africa Frontier Force (RWAFF) establishment when the Gold Coast Recce Regt was formed from cadres of RWAFF as divisional troops for operations in Burma during the 2nd World War in August 1941.
Like many infantry Units, all Recce Sqn which were formed during World War II were subsequently disbanded in 1946 along with the bulk of the Fd Bty (2nd Fd Bty of RWAFF). At the end of World War II, this remnant Regt was designated the Indep Recce Battery on 4 July 1958 under the command of Maj Stevenson, RA. It was redesignated the Ghana Recce Sqn on 1 May 1959 with a strength of Six Officers and 252 Men and moved from the Old to the New Gondar Barracks in June 1959. The first Ghanaian OC was Capt DK Addo who took over from Capt JR Davidson on 13 June 1960. His command was however, short-lived when he had to hand over to Maj GR Dixon, RTR, on 25 Jun 1960.
The first Ferret Scout Cars fourteen (14) in number were received in September 1960 for operations in the Congo. The designation of the Squadron changed to 1 Indep Armd Recce Sqn in October 1960. 2 Indep Armd Recce Sqn (Saladin and Ferret) and LAD were formed during the period April 1960 – 1 February 1961 under Capt/Maj RJG Dontoh from nucleus of 1 Indep Recce Sqn.
Regimental Headquarters (RHQ) for the Armd Recce Sqns was formed at Gondar Barracks on 31 May 1963. Maj RJG Dontoh (formerly OC 2 Sqn) became the first Ghanaian Commanding Officer with Capt JA Kabore as the first Adjutant and WOI Quaye Thomas as Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM). Another reorganization on 1 November 1964 led to the formation of the full Recce Regt with RHQ and the independent status of 1 and 2 Recce Sqns were withdrawn as independent Units.
An Armd Recce Det (Independent) of 4 officers, 23 OR and 5 Ferrets 2 Land Rovers first joined Operation FULL COCK, ONUC, Congo in October 1960 (three months after the deployment of the Ghana Bde). The Det was under the command of Capt DS Buchanan, RTR. Its initial task was to relieve the Liberian Contingent at Mwene-Ditu is South Kasai Province and to support C Coy of 4 Ghana Inf Regt, then operating in Bawkwanga. It was later relieved in December 1960 by personnel earmarked for the formation of 2 Indep Armed Sqn. 2 Indep Armd Recce Sqn under Capt Buchana, RTR, relieved 1 Indep Armd Recce Sqn in February 1961. With Sqn HQ at Lupata, it was tasked to prevent tribal hostilities between the Kanioka and Buluba tribes through patrolling and establishment of road blocks.
The whole Regt suffered unfortunate disbandment on 17 April 1967 following the abortive coup attempt by Bravo Sqn(Ho) against the NLC Regime. It was reactivated on 1 September 1967 with RHQ and A Sqn at Accra, and B Sqn stationed at Gondar Barracks initially. The Bravo Sqn was later designed 2nd Independent Recce Squadron and moved to Sunyani in February 1973.
In 1968 a further reorganization took place in the Regt. The Calvary Squadron which hitherto had been independent was amalgamated with Regiment, with this the designation of the Unit change to Calvary Regiment. This designation was again changed to Armd Recce Regt soon after the 13th January 1972 coup d’tat. Which brought the NRC to power. The Regiment was instrumental in foiling the 15 May 79 uprising. It was thus no surprise that on the successful take over of power by the AFRC and later the PNDC, the home of Armour, Gondar Barracks was made the HQ to act as a check of the Regiment.
The MOWAG Piranha Armd Fighting Vehicles 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 came into service in the Regt in 1977 to replace the Saladin and Ferret armoured cars, which were decommissioned as a result of old age. Currently the 8 x 8 series, CASCAVELS, TACTICAS and RATEL ICVs have been added to the fleet of vehicles. It must be recalled that the Regt started with Land Rovers mounted with C13 radios and LMGs.
Armd Det have also participate in UNIFIL Operations, Lebanon, ECOMOG in Liberia, UNAMSIL in Sierra Leone, CONGO DR as a Battalion, UNOCI in La Cote d’Ivoire as well as UNMIL in Liberia. In all these Ops the personnel of the Regiment crew Armoured Vehicles that are not on its establishment notably, the FINNISH SISU, SOUTH AFRICAN TFM, AMERICAN M113, UKRAINIAN BTRs, BRITISH TACTICA APCs and recently the SOUTH AFRICAN RATEL ICVs and RHINKAL APCs.
The present slogan of the Unit is:
IRONS – FEAR NAUGHT.
IRONS – MILES AHEAD.
ARMY DEE – ENOA NE RECCE
The Regiment is yet to receive its standard (colours).