Soldiers from the Royal Gibraltar Regiment recently returned from eight weeks at the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK).
The eight soldiers took part in what was billed as “one of the most arduous Infantry exercises of their careers so far.”
Set in the shadows of Mount Kenya and just a short drive from Nanyuki, 200km north of Nairobi, BATUK provides the British Army with one of its premier light-role training areas. It provides the logistic support to visiting units and, under an agreement with the Kenyan government, a variety of army units carry out exercises there.
For visiting troops it is not just the soaring temperatures that they have to deal with; they also have to share the training area with a host of African wildlife.
Exercise Askari Storm is one of the largest light-role infantry unit exercises and it provided the soldiers with “excellent opportunities” that are not available in either Gibraltar or the UK.
Large live firing exercises, both day and night, involving over 500 soldiers is as close to the real thing as you can get and all of the soldiers thoroughly enjoyed the chance to improve their soldiering skills. Scenarios involving clearing trench systems, large scale defensive and offensive exercises, dealing with simulated chemical weapon attacks, reacting to hostile enemy forces in a realistic environment and dealing with an extremely realistic civilian population all added to the value of the exercise for the troops.
The troops also got the opportunity to undertake adventurous training and to see a variety of African wildlife on Safari; “a fitting reward after six weeks on exercise.”
LCpl Field, LCpl Hall, Ptes Barton, Brunskill, Ignacio, Knox, Rooney and Wallace were all attached to the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment (POACHERS), and trained alongside other members of the Queen’s Division from the 2nd Battalion Princess Of Wales Royal Regiment (2PWRR) and 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (1RRF). At the same time as this was taking place, a team of nine officers and soldiers from the Regiment deployed to Morocco to conduct a short term training team (STTT) alongside the Light Dragoons (LD) Battle Group.
Maj Valverde, WO2 Thomson CGC (1 PWRR), Sgt Canepa, Cpls Lippingwell, Payne and Aohar, LCpls Rogers, Budgen and Thorpe all deployed to conduct this annual training task as part of Exercise Jebel Sahara 16.
The team was responsible for delivering training regarding Infantry tactics in both conventional and non-conventional operational scenarios, to members of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces.
“The Moroccan forces are well trained and have experience in counter-insurgency, desert warfare and combined air-land operations. The training provided by the STTT was well received, as it always is, and the contribution from the members of the RG made for another successful defence engagement exercise with Gibraltar’s North African neighbour,” said the Ministry of Defence.