Mission Statements The Armour Centre
Deliver trained and motivated service personnel with mounted close combat and leadership skills.
History of the Centre
In June 1916 a training camp for the Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps was transferred from Thetford in Norfolk to Bovington Camp in Dorset. Its personnel encamped at Bovington and Worgret Heath, near Wareham, and they carried out their Gunnery Training at Lulworth. Bovington became the location from which nearly all the Tank Corps units were raised during the First World War, and through which recruits passed for training.
After the Armistice of 1918, five battalions were formed into two brigades and became part of the Army of Occupation in 1919. The remaining battalions in France were then reduced to cadre strength and brought back to Bovington. Thus in 1919 the following Tank Corps units were in being in Dorset:
The Gunnery School at Lulworth.
The Central Schools at Bovington.
The Workshops Training Battalion at Bovington.
The Tank Corps Depot.
This organisation became known as the Royal Tank Corps Central Schools. It dealt with the formation of the five post-World War I regular tank battalions and twelve armoured car companies. It was also responsible for recruit training for all these formations.
In April 1937 the Central Schools ceased to exist and became the Armoured Fighting Vehicles School. This school was organised into two wings; Gunnery at Lulworth and Driving and Maintenance at Bovington.
In April 1939 the Cavalry of the Line was combined with the Royal Tank Corps into the Royal Armoured Corps. At the time of formation the Corps consisted of the eighteen Cavalry and eight Yeomanry Regiments already mechanised, together with the eight regular units of the Royal Tank Corps and its seven territorial units. In 1947 the AFV School was re-designated the Royal Armoured Corps Centre.
Today the Armour Centre is the Army’s Centre of Excellence for individual mounted training on Armoured Fighting Vehicles. It is composed of three schools delivering training in the three disciplines of armour (Communications, Driving & Maintenance and Gunnery) and the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment.
The latter provides the overarching moral and personal development for all recruits under training.
ARMCEN is organised and operates as a small ‘training brigade’, comprising 4 training units, each commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel:
Royal Armoured Corps
Training Regiment (RACTR)
RACTR is responsible for RAC Phase 2 (special to arm) recruit training, and RAC Command and Leadership training. All RAC Phase 2 soldiers and officers are commanded by RACTR while undergoing trade training in the ARMCEN technical Schools, Phase 3 Crew Commanders are also administered by RACTR while training in ARMCEN. RACTR instructors deliver small arms and basic mounted and dismounted tactical training for Phase 2 and the Junior Commanders’ Course, and also Command and Leadership training for RAC Senior NCOs and Warrant Officers.
AFV Gunnery School (AFV GS)
The AFV GS is the Army’s Centre of Excellence for Mounted Direct Fire Gunnery. It delivers AFV gunnery training at individual and team level, assures AFV live fire training and provides subject matter expertise to support the operational requirements of the Army and Defence. It also supports D Cbt to set training policy, assure the Field Army’s Mounted Direct Fire training, and support future capability development.
AFV Driving & Maintenance (D&M) School
The AFV D&M School comprises of the Combat and Combat Support wings which deliver AFV Driving and Maintenance training, individual training and provide DM advice to support the operational requirements of the Army and Defence.
AFV Communications and Information Systems (CIS) School
The AFV CIS School delivers CIS individual training and provides AFV CIS expertise to land forces in order to support the operational requirements of the Army and Defence.
Contractor and Admin Support
ARMCEN has been heavily contractorised since 1998 when a regular regiment, which provided administrative support to the Garrison, returned to the Field Army. The Training, Maintenance and Support Services (TMASS) contract is currently provided by Babcock. There is also a contract to deliver driving licence acquisition training for Ph2 trainees.