British Army “Red Coat” combat patrol demonstration at Fortress Wales 2016

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

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NEWS: British troops and warships to deploy to Poland for NATO exercises

British Army Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle Poland 2015

British Army Warrior IFV in Poland (yahoo news)

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.

HMS OceanThe 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.

NEWS: Health and safety prohibits Army firing 81mm at max range

British Army 81mm mortar

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.

 

NEWS: British Army reaches deal with Kenya over training ground

The British and Kenyan governments have reached an agreement to allow the continued training of British troops in the African country. While the agreement has yet to be ratified by both governments this is considered merely a formality.

In recent years, Kenya has provided the British Army with it’s largest live firing range outside of the UK and has become integral in the training of troops before deployment to potential combat zones. On average 10,000 British troops pass through Kenya every year.

British ambassador to kenya, Nic Hailey said to the press;

The UK is Kenya’s longest-standing defence and security partner, and both our countries want to see the relationship continue and grow.

VIDEO: Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment “The Tigers”

The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR), known as ‘The Tigers’, are an infantry regiment. The Regiment is made up of a Regimental Headquarters, three battalions and a Reserve company:

  • 1 PWRR – a Regular battalion currently based in Germany
  • 2 PWRR – a Regular battalion currently based in Cyprus
  • 3 PWRR – a Reserve battalion based across the South East of England
  • B (Queen’s) Company The London Regiment, based in Edgware and Hornsey

NEWS: Army reduction ahead of schedule

British soldier army 2013 defence images

The reduction in strength of the British Army is almost three years ahead of schedule according to Ministry of Defence personnel figures released this week as the culture of returning to civilian employment grows within the ranks. In July 2010 the British Army stood at 102,260 active military personnel but the subsequent defence review following the coming to power of the coalition government saw the Army having to cut the number of active personnel down to around the 82,000 mark by 2018 as part of a major restructuring program known as “Army 2020”.

However that figure has already been reached ahead of the next review due later this year thanks largely to the Army’s efforts to encourage voluntary redundancies. Nearly every issue of the Army’s Soldier magazine in recent years has offered advice and help to those who would chose to leave and now it seems the effort has been too effective with current numbers for active duty personnel being 81,700. The drop off in the number of active service personnel was meant to be made up by an increase in part time reserve forces however the number of applicants for reserve units has not been as high as hoped. By April of this year the trained strength of the volunteer Army Reserve had reached 21,030, an increase of 1,000 on the same time last year but still well short of the 30,000 target set for 2018 when the Army was supposed to be at its current strength.

This has lead many analysts and observers to question whether the British Army has the manpower to meet all of its requirements in the coming years while the number of reserve forces are built up. The MoD issued a statement to address the concerns saying;

This government is committed to an army of 82,000 and the funding is in place to deliver it. We have the manpower we need at the moment and, working with the army, we are taking clear action to keep driving recruitment upwards.