The British Army has deployed its Lead Armoured Battle Group to the plains of North East Poland to participate in Exercise Dragon 15. The exercises are taking place just 60 miles from the border with the Russian state of Kaliningrad Oblast. The armoured force will join up to 6,000 Poles, Germans and Canadians on the seven week training exercise which aims to improve the way the allies work together.
On the dusty Orzysz weapon range, dignitaries from the host and visitor countries were treated to a spectacular display of firepower with armoured vehicles from the UK, Poland and Germany firing shells at targets in a mock battle sequence for their benefit while British troops demonstrated the firing of two Javelin anti-tank missiles. The Polish media provided extensive news coverage of the display no doubt as a warning for Russia that the country is now better protected than Ukraine was last year.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Garner, Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, said:
I think our proximity to the Russian border will be noticed, but I think the exercise is really all about exercising closely with our Nato allies and the assurance that that brings, especially to our Polish allies – obviously for them, the threat is very real and credible…I think it shows the UK is committed to NATO.
The British Army have deployed around 350 British Army vehicles 135 of which are Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs). The exercise is being carried out in the wake of British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s statement that Britain is to station around 100 troops in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania in an advisory capacity as a response to the heightened tension with Russia following Russian air strikes commencing in Syria.