Soldiers from the Royal Welsh have been challenged on unfamiliar terrain in Germany to test their ability to ensure they are battle ready.
Exercise Iron Storm, which started in June, was designed for the 1 Royal Welsh Battlegroup to verify its credentials, before it takes up the role of Lead Armoured Battlegroup in September as part of the Army’s Lead Armoured Task Force.
A battlegroup is the foundation on which various fighting formations can be built. It is usually made up of a battlegroup headquarters and various other capabilities depending on the task at hand.
There was a heavy focus on testing the 1 Royal Welsh Battlegroup in a complex urban warfare environment.
The Battlegroup started its validation journey in Sennelager, moving into Bergen-Hohne with a Live Fire Phase and culminating in Altmark for the final phase.
Soldiers need to adapt to unfamiliar terrain and are challenged by a German Opposing Force and a company from 1 Mercian playing the ‘enemy’ with different equipment and tactics, in addition to the complexities of urban warfare in perhaps Europe’s most modern facility Major Hollas, Combat Ready Training Centre
Major James Hollas, Chief of Staff and Tactical Operations for the Combat Ready Training Centre said:
“Bergen-Hohne provides a much better area to plan and conduct Armoured Combined Arms Live Firing in comparison to similar training areas in the UK."
“Altmark presents a complex training area for the Field Training Exercise, particularly the large urban area. It is the first time a British battlegroup has trained here."
“Soldiers need to adapt to unfamiliar terrain and are challenged by a German Opposing Force and a company from 1 Mercian playing the ‘enemy’ with different equipment and tactics, in addition to the complexities of urban warfare in perhaps Europe’s most modern facility.”
The exercise held nothing back for the Battlegroup, which faced everything that could be thrown at it.
It took on a joint enemy force of German forces and B Company 1 Mercian, whose aim was to test potential weaknesses in the Battlegroup’s tactical strategy.
Major Tom Onion, Officer Commanding B Company 1 Mercian said:
“The Battlegroup is being validated whilst we are trying to provide testing conditions for it so we can really think outside the box."
“We can exploit the Task Force doctrine and the training we have received to provide those opposing force elements."
“We have a huge amount of artillery we can use and a lot of synthetic surveillance assets that we can use to really keep the Battlegroup on its toes and give it a hard time.”
Maj Onion added:
“It’s great working alongside the German forces, they know this area inside out and they know the best places where to attack from which we can take advantage of whilst we act as the enemy together."
“It’s also great to see their capabilities, the Leopard 2 tank is obviously a very capable tank which we are working alongside."
“We have also seen them trailing their new infantry fighting vehicle PUMA and we look forward to working with that in the future. The Germans have been outstanding.”
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