Teamwork tested during Exercise Citadel Guibert

British and French forces practise how they would plan and operate together on a joint mission.

Exercise Citadel Guibert 18, which is taking place this week in Reims, France, plays a key part in the close relationship between 12 UK Armoured Infantry (AI) Brigade and their French counterparts in the 1st French Division.

Exercise Citadel Guibert is essentially designed to prove that we can fight effectively as allies Captain Ian Thornton (12 Armoured Infantry Brigade)


Both the British and French armed forces provide a rapid reaction force, held at high readiness to deploy on operations anywhere in the world. Together they form the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) designed to deploy across the full spectrum of contingency operations, including disaster relief as well as being able to respond with military capability to the next crisis.

Exercise Citadel Guibert saw staff from the two nations working side-by-side, as well as with other NATO allies, to practise command and control of an operation to stabilise a fictional region troubled by international disputes, terrorism and humanitarian problems.

Captain Ian Thornton, 12 AI Brigade Battle Captain, said of the exercise “Exercise Citadel Guibert is essentially designed to prove that we can fight effectively as allies, in seamless terms.”

“The scenario sees an insurgency break away and declare independence. The 1st French Division deploys to ensure the end state. As part of the plan, 12 AI Brigade move over the divisional border to take key objectives and persuade the insurgents to surrender.”

The CJEF is based on a lead nation approach with one or other nation providing the majority of the troops and command structure, depending on the operational and political situation.

The Rapid Reaction Corps-France is a NATO unit capable of commanding national or multinational forces. Its mission is to provide France with a rapidly deployable headquarters that can be employed within the full mission spectrum and under several mandates (French, NATO, EU, Coalition or Partner Nation). It consists of representatives from 15 countries.