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Royal Welsh Battlegroup conducts final exercise in Estonia

Over 800 British, French and Danish troops have conducted Exercise Dragon Charge on the Tapa Central Training Area in Estonia to reaffirm their interoperability and agility. It was the final, major, force-on-force exercise for the Royal Welsh-led Battlegroup, who come to the end of their six-month tour in Estonia serving as NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) on Europe’s eastern flank.

The training activity was an opportunity to confirm the interoperability of the UK-led eFP, strengthening the integration capability of international allies, the British Army’s 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh, the French company Les Loups and the Danish Viking company. It was also a chance to ensure cohesion with the recently deployed and additional British Battlegroup to Estonia, the Agile Task Force, 2 Rifles Battlegroup.

“It was an important week to bring our partners together under the leadership of the Royal Welsh, one final time as the enhanced Forward Presence... Lieutenant Colonel WILLCOX,

The exercise involved main battle tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, light infantry, anti-tank assets and engineering capabilities working together to complete a series of challenging missions. In line with the main effort of Operation Mobilise, ordered by the British Army’s Chief of the General Staff (CGS), this exercise proved that the UK is ‘mobilising the Army to help prevent war in Europe by being ready to fight and win alongside our NATO allies and partners’.

Dragon Charge allowed the Royal Welsh Battlegroup a final occasion to put into practice a total of ten months’ worth of overseas training; time in which their tactics, techniques and procedures have been finely honed through the many individual unit exercises, cross-exposure to their peers, and cultural engagement activity which enriches the human component of interoperability.

Across the four-day exercise, the Battlegroup conducted training serials in urban warfare, assault breaching and night operations with the focus on learning lessons from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. It put to the test the soldiers’ and officers’ communication skills, technical competencies, risk management; and crucially, it connected them once again with the now familiar Estonian terrain, ensuring if required, these soldiers will be ready to defend Estonia for wider European security.

“It was an important week to bring our partners together under the leadership of the Royal Welsh, one final time as the enhanced Forward Presence, to level-up the already extensive training that has taken place during this tour. Nothing can replace the experience of operating alongside one another; it both demonstrates the capability of the eFP and creates bonds between teams, units and nations that will last long into the future.” Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Willcox