The Canadian Army Trophy (CAT) competition
was an international tank gunnery among the armor forces of the NATO countries in Western
Europe. See historical overview.
competition was held from 15- 19 June on Range 301's center lane at Grafenwöhr, there were 24 tank platoons from the six participating nations (Belgium, Canada, Germany,
Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States) competing against
one another. There were significant rules and conditions changes made from previous years that governed the preparation and conduct of the competition, each Army Group would designate a minimum of one company from two different battalions; each separate brigade designates a minimum of two companies per country's Corps. The random selection of the tank companies to compete would be made by AFCENT (Allied Forces Central Europe) no later than 1 April 1987. Additionally, each crew was not to shoot more than 134 rounds for training from 1 October 1986 until the competition. The British (3-tank) tank platoons were
presented 24 targets, while the other countries' 4-tank
platoons were presented with 32 targets. Scoring was
much different compared to a Tank Table XII, a total
of 22,600 was a perfect run. Scoring was based on target
hits, hit times, ammunition bonuses (only if all targets
were hit), and hit bonuses (only if all targets were
hit), machinegun hits, and penalties. The main gun targets,
which were ½ sized NATO TT VIII targets, were
at ranges between 1600-3000 meters and would remain
standing after being hit until presentation time had
expired. No target would be presented twice, so the
judges could actually count holes in the targets to
verify target hits; "cookie bites" did not
count as hits.
In the earlier
contests the national winner was determined by adding the cumulative scores of its firing units. Since 1983, the national rankings
have been determined by averaging scores of each nation's teams and the "bragging rights" by the score of the
highest shooting national tank platoon, while the trophy is
awarded to the Army Group with the highest cumulative firing score.
1987 was the first year
that the United States finished first since beginning its participation in the competition in 1977. The M1 Abrams crews of the
United States finally outmatched the skills and equipment capabilities
of the other NATO countries' armored forces. A Company 3-64 Armor participated
with the M1IP and my platoon, 1st
Platoon, had finished in 3rd place overall and in CENTAG, the winning Army Group. 1st Platoon, D 4-8 Cavalry took high platoon and a platoon from the 4th Company 124th Panzerbataillon took second place. All top three platoons were all from CENTAG. If
we had hit the one target we missed, my platoon would have won.
Thanks A13, that was your target!!! I made the stencils and painted the turret artwork on all 14 tanks in the company, which is visible in the USAREUR CAT 87 brochure to the right and in a picture below.