Exercise Olive Grove has been undertaken by members of 3 Para who have been working with Jordan’s elite Quick Reaction Force on developing a range of infantry skills against the backdrop of the country’s harsh desert climate.
Major Rick Lewin, Officer Commanding of C Company, 3 Para told said:
What we’re trying to do is demonstrate the way we operate and give the Jordanians an opportunity to decide if they like that. Simultaneously, our soldiers are doing precisely the same thing, they’re watching the Jordanians whose shooting on the range is incredibly accurate, and also they were moving through the cover incredibly efficiently and quickly, so this is very much going both ways all the way through.
Among the British units involved will be members of the Queen’s Dragoon Guards who are scheduled to be stationed in Sierra Leone until December. The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) is supporting the exercise with their own troops as well as providing logistical and security services. As part of the exercise, work will be carried out on refurbishing the RSLAF’s Jungle Warfare School.
British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Guy Warrington said;
I am delighted that the Government of Sierra Leone invited the UK Armed Forces to exercises in Sierra Leone. The United Kingdom is grateful for this opportunity and is looking forward to the experience of training and learning alongside Sierra Leone’s military. This elevates the well established cooperation between our military forces to a new level and embodies our confidence in the defence partnership.
Christened Exercise: Guma Sun after the Guma Valley in Western Sierra Leone where it will take place, the exercise is the first time that the two countries have trained so extensively in jungle warfare together. As well as historic military and cultural links to Sierra Leone, British forces have in recent years been increasing its presence in the country. In 2000, during the late stages of the civil war a group of soldiers from the Royal Irish Regiment were ambushed by a militia group and held hostage resulting in a daring SAS operation to rescue them.
British forces and aid workers also assisted in combating the recent Ebola outbreak in the country and continues to provide assistance in helping with the recovery effort.
120 reserve paratroopers have been deployed to the Falkland Islands. It is the first time that a reserve force has been deployed to help garrison the islands since the British government was forced to fortify them in the wake of the 1982 Falklands War. The paratroopers are said to all hail from Lincoln in the East Midlands.
A source in the MoD told the Express;
This is a great opportunity to give them a focus. In the past we’ve pennypacketed reservists. You’d have a group of 20, including a sergeant, put in among regulars. It meant reservist officers never got to command. This allows them to experience duties which are difficult to do here.
The deployment reflects the British Army’s growing trend towards greater use of part-time forces to complement full-time personnel. Known as “Future Army 2020”, the aim is to integrate regular and reserve personnel in to a more harmonious force than has been the case in the past. This would consist of a planned 82,000 regular personnel supported by 30,000 trained reservists. A consequence of this will be that reserve troops will be deployed more frequently on operations in the future. The plan was conceived in 2012 as a response to the then coalition government’s sweeping reforms in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
The MoD admits however that recruitment and retention of personnel is becoming an increasing problem. Recently, the Army introduced gift vouchers to soldiers who could convince friends to sign up indicating just how serious the problem is. Unfortunately, personnel shortages affect all branches of the armed forces and this will no doubt only further the use of reserve personnel in order to maintain the UK’s operational commitments.
A demonstration of a typical combat patrol (pepper potting) by the British Army during the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars. Demonstration given by the 43rd Monmouthshire Light Infantry at Fortress Wales 2016 at Caldicot Castle
The Durham Light Infantry Museum was dedicated to preserving the history of the Durham Light Infantry. Unfortunately the museum closed earlier this week due to lack of funding shutting the door on 200 years of history.
The following photos were kindly donated to Defence of the Realm by Adam Jones whose mother took them for him during a recent visit to the museum before it closed. Adam’s grandfather served with the Durham Light Infantry during World War II and is in the process of recovering his grandfather’s records.
If you have photographs or articles you wish to contribute to Defence of the Realm than you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If successful you will of course be given full credit for your contribution and can even promote your own website.
Up to 1,000 British troops are being deployed to Poland for two major Nato exercises. Exercise Anakonda 2016 will involve up to 800 British troops and is a Polish-led exercise designed to conduct multinational training with NATO and partner nations. It will be conducted in the Ustka and Drawsko Pomorski Training Area, Poland.
Another 150 troops will participate in Exercise Swift Response 2016 which is a NATO training exercise built around conducting NATO airborne forces operations across four European nations. Swift Response is designed to demonstrate the alliance’s ability to operate from intermediate staging bases in Europe as well as conduct simultaneous airborne forcible entry and follow-on missions.
The Royal Navy will also increase their presence in the Baltic during 2016 with planned visits to Polish ports by the frigate HMS Iron Duke and the Royal Navy flagship, the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean (right). A third, undisclosed vessel, will also visit the country later in the year.
Defence secretary Michael Fallon is due to confirm the deployments following talks with his Polish counterpart Antoni Macierewicz. The Russian press have been quick to fire up the conspiracy theories however with the RT news channel hinting that the deployment comes amid Polish fears of Russian intentions in the region. The MoD’s official stance remains that the deployment is purely for training purposes.
British Army troops have been restricted in their use of the 81mm mortar due to health and safety concerns. They will now only be allowed to fire the weapon out to a range of 2km during training exercises because firing it at it’s maximum range of 5km produces such loud noise that it is harmful to the troop’s ears.
The weapon produces a 137db noise when fired at maximum range which violates the Noise at Work rules. However, the Army can disregard the rule under operational circumstances which means that in combat the troops will be permitted to fire it at it’s maximum range even though their training of the weapon in this way will be limited.
The decision has been met with mixed responses from former and current soldiers with some branding the decision as ludicrous. However, there is no denying that a number of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans suffer from hearing problems as a result of their service and the Army and MoD have a responsibility to the health of British soldiers.
The MoD issued a statement saying:
We keep our health and safety policies under constant review and are committed to ensuring Service personnel have appropriate protection during both training and operations…Training exercises have been redesigned to maximise the learning experience within noise level restrictions.