Tigers training to be Rangers

Soldiers are training on the windswept Stanford Training Area ranges in Norfolk to develop the specialist skills they will need to serve in the British Army’s new Ranger Regiment.

The Regiment, trained and ready for unconventional action, is a key capability in the Army’s evolution to becoming lighter, more agile, more lethal, and more expeditionary through the Future Soldier programme.

Exercise Apollo Sabre is a stepping-stone for 2nd Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (2 PWRR) to progress from their current role as Specialised Infantry, who deploy overseas to train and advise allied military forces, to becoming members of the Ranger Regiment which forms up on 1 December. The new role will require soldiers who are able to work in small, self-reliant teams in any environment and are able to conduct special operations themselves or alongside partners special forces. 

Given the nature of how and where they will operate, the Ranger Teams need to be able to look after themselves, with medical care an important consideration in how the unit’s soldiers are being trained. Developing soldiers’ medical skills and familiarising them with innovative lifesaving equipment has been a key part of this month’s exercise for 2 PWRR, who are known as the Tigers, and who will become 2 RANGER.

Ranger Teams will include a Combat Medical Technician (CMT) and an infantry soldier with additional medical training to serve as an assistant for the lead medic. 

The Regimental Medical Officer, Major Nics Wetherill said: “Deploying as small teams working in remote locations for prolonged periods of times, Ranger medics need the skills and equipment to deal with everything from primary healthcare, emergency medical treatment and trauma injuries - everything from insect bites to gunshot wounds.

“Having the confidence in themselves and their own skills to be able to adapt what they have to provide the best possible care for the situation they face is vital.”

The Ranger Team medical kit is designed to maximise the medical capability within the constraints of what they can carry, and includes such innovations as portable oxygen concentrators which allow medics to create oxygen to give to casualties without having to carry bulky oxygen cylinders. Telemedicine kit – such as the Pando messaging system (secure text messaging) and data enabled Tempus Pro monitor - give the Ranger Task Groups access to a second opinion and advice from specialists who, if required, can see a patients’ vital signs in real time. 

A key training serial on the exercise saw medics practise evacuating an injured soldier using a 4x4 adapted to transport casualties.

The Regimental Medical Officer said: “Ranger Teams will be using vehicles that are very different to the Battlefield Ambulance that CMTs will have worked in before in their Army career. We’ve developed a set-up that can be used in most vehicles and means that a casualty can receive treatment while they’re being moved to a location with better medical facilities.

“And, with the advances in telemedicine, it might be one CMT in the back of the vehicle but they’ll be supported by that ability to reach back to experts, and they will not be working alone.”

The Ranger Regiment will be part of the Army’s Special Operations Brigade, which is itself part of 6th (United Kingdom) Division that brings together the Army’s specialist intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and information operations capabilities.