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British troops move across Europe for Ex Steadfast Defender

The British Army’s first ground troops taking part in a series of multinational NATO exercises arrived in Germany earlier this month en route to Poland.

Soldiers from 7th Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team - also known as The Desert Rats - are among 40,000 troops from across the NATO alliance taking part in Exercise Steadfast Defender 2024, a series of eleven exercises. 

The Brigade Combat Team took part in Exercise Brilliant Jump, the first of the series which practised the rapid initial deployment of NATO ground forces. 

Troops from the Desert Rats flew into Sennelager to join their vehicles which travelled by sea from Marchwood near Southampton to Emden in Germany. They then completed a 1000km road move to the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in Poland where they joined Polish troops, as well as those from Albania, Spain and Turkiye.

Exercise Steadfast Defender 24 is designed to demonstrate the strength of NATO’s collective defence. Exercise Brilliant Jump tests and trains the Alliance’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) land forces in the planning and execution of a rapid deployment and their ability to respond to a potential crisis.

The 7th Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team, took command of the ‘spearhead force’ on 1 January 2024. The powerful and highly mobile VJTF can deploy within days anywhere in the world in support of NATO allies.

The spearhead Battle Group is led by the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment with the Brigade Combat Team’s Combat Support and Service Support units providing artillery, engineers, logistics, mechanics and medics. Other specialist capabilities include drones, air defence and explosive ordinance disposal.

The Task Force also includes 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and troops and capabilities from eight other NATO allies. They form a highly mobile response force that can deploy within days, providing the spearhead for NATO’s Response Force.

The British troops will now travel further east into Poland, cross the Vistula River and take part in Exercise Polish Dragon 24. This will see the soldiers working with units from other NATO forces in Combined Arms Manoeuvre dry and live fire training.

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