“I’ve got your back!” shouted a British Army Ranger as he carried a wounded Swedish counterpart on his own back across the austere terrain of the northern Swedish countryside.
I am impressed by the professionalism of both nations' soldiers and how they immediately created cohesion in the group and a good cooperative climate COLONEL TEDDY LARSSON, COMMANDER OF THE NORRLAND DRAGOON REGIMENT
Thankfully this was not for real, but part of Exercise Jagare, a Swedish Armed Forces led reconnaissance exercise which took place in Arvidsjaur recently involving the British Army’s 3rd Battalion The Ranger Regiment (3 RANGER) and Sweden’s Norrland Dragoon Regiment.
This unique exercise has taken place less than six months after the signing of historic security declarations with Sweden and Finland by the British Government to reinforce and fortify northern Europe’s defences in the face of renewed threats, and will forge closer bonds between the two countries.
Sweden has been part of a ten nation alliance known as the Joint Expeditionary Force or JEF, since 2017. The JEF can act as a rapid reaction force in times of crisis both independently and as part of NATO.
Set within the framework of JEF cooperation, 13 personnel from 3 RANGER teamed up with a squad from the 193rd Jägarbataljonen (Swedish Rangers), part of the Norrland Dragoon Regiment, a specialised arctic light infantry unit. In a first, they joined together as one group to take part in arduous unsupported long distance patrols and conduct reconnaissance on multiple targets setting the conditions for actions to be taken using both live and blank ammunition. Operating in Sweden’s unforgiving subarctic conditions also gave personnel an opportunity to practice crossing perilously cold waterways by boat.
The Swedish Rangers are incredibly professional and are real cold weather and patrol experts. Captain Jake Dolan,
Team Commander 3 RANGER
Colonel Teddy Larsson, Commander of the Norrland Dragoon Regiment said:
“The unique thing about this exercise is that for the first time we have integrated Swedish and British soldiers in the same group. In this way we have gained a very effective exchange of knowledge in a short time.”
“I am impressed by the professionalism of both nations' soldiers and how they immediately created cohesion in the group and a good cooperative climate.”
Captain Jake Dolan, Team Commander 3 RANGER explained:
“The toughest part was the terrain. It reminded me of Brecon: wet, boggy and at times we were wading up to our knees in order to cross some of the obstacles. That aside, it was hugely rewarding.
“The Swedish Rangers are incredibly professional and are real cold weather and patrol experts. Being able to share our tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) when working a long way from medical or logistic support was invaluable.”
Working embedded within the same patrol was great, we need to know each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures, the best way to do that is to work on each other’s patrols PRIVATE JOSH WRAY-DOHERTY,
Private Josh Wray-Doherty, 3 RANGER concluded:
“Normally when you go places you have a bit of a language barrier, but their English was better than some of ours! Their scoff house was really good too – just the quality of food – their meatballs, potatoes and peppercorn sauce were amazing.
“Working embedded within the same patrol was great – if we partner in the future, we need to know each other’s TTPs and the best way to do that is to work on each other’s patrols.”
This exercise will no doubt be the first of many such collaborations. They will increase learning opportunities, enhance co-operation, and strengthen bonds that prove that there is truth in the old saying “I’ve got your back if you’ve got mine”.