Exercise tests Gurkha Rifles in Kenya

1 Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR) have conducted Exercise Askari Storm in Kenya. The Battlegroup consisted of 1 RGR and E Company, 15th Kenyan Rifles from the Kenya Defence Force plus attachments from across 16 Air Assault Brigade, who joined the demanding 6-week exercise.

The exercise was divided into four tactical phases.

Phase 1 (Warrior): The Companies carried out live firing up to Platoon level night and day as well as Company level blank fire training. This phase was a chance for junior commanders to develop their Platoon level skills, particularly with use of night fighting equipment and thermal sights.

Phase 2 (Centurion): This consisted of 3 Company group battle exercises. Each exercise lasted 36 hours. First was the Enabling Lane, delivering humanitarian aid to a village as well as seizing an enemy held airfield.

The second rotation saw the Companies establish a defensive position to protect a bridge. Finally, the Companies went through the Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise, which was supported by 105mm Light Guns from G Battery 7RHA and 1 RGR’s Mortar Platoon.

B (Sair Bair) Coy again broke the British Army Training Unit Kenya record by clearing their positions on the second day in only 43 minutes.

Phase 3 (Marauder): Marauder was the first opportunity for the troops to operate as a full battlegroup, and was a rehearsal for the fourth phase. This included an attack and obstacle crossing at night.

Phase 4 (Spartan): The Final Exercise. This was conducted as a full battlegroup, which included an Advance-to-Contact, Deliberate Attacks, and Defensive Operations. The battlegroup really excelled in the defensive phase, dominating the tough terrain around the defensive positions.

The Kenyan training areas provide many difficulties, all of which created a realistic environment for expeditionary operations including, flash floods, which can wash away vehicles, difficult terrain, which affected vehicles, equipment and the soldiers, long lines of resupply and communication, local tribal conflicts, as well as risks from malaria, heat and wildlife.