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Dec 6 2021

1st Royal Welsh Battalion prepares for NATO's eFP on Sennelager range in Germany

SZCZECIN, Poland - 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh (1 Royal Welsh) have swapped their Headquarters on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire for the vast Sennelager Training Ranges in Germany, where they have been taking part in exercise Gothic Dragon. The exercise forms part of their training pathway to Estonia next year as part of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP). The British Army operational deployment to the Baltic states and Poland is also known as Operation CABRIT (Op CABRIT).

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British soldiers with 1 Royal Welsh prepare for deployment to Estonia as part of NATO's eFP / Photo by British Army

One of the British Army's most experienced armoured infantry units, the Welsh Warriors were put to the test through a series of mounted and dismounted live firing exercises both day and night across the vast rural training area. In addition, troops took part in elements of Combat Ready Training whilst also receiving synthetic training time in the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer.

"This is our preparation to get to the start line of our main training event, which is Exercise Tallinn Dawn, the validation exercise which we will undertake next year which will show that we are good to go to Estonia as part of Op CABRIT, and ready to integrate with the Estonia Brigade as part of their defence plan," says Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Streatfeild, Commanding Officer 1 Royal Welsh.

Whether mounted or dismounted, all personnel and vehicles have to get to a point where they can prove they are safe to operate and deploy.

1 Royal Welsh, who recently celebrated its 300th anniversary, is one of the British Army's oldest and most decorated regiments. It has the freedom of 28 towns and local authorities, including 25 in Wales and have previously deployed on operations in Somalia, the Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Iraq. This will be their second tour of Estonia having deployed there in 2017.

Captain Lucas Colley, 1 Royal Welsh's Regimental Signals Officer says many of the Fusiliers are new to this element of training: "The Combined Arms Training is designed to get the Battlegroup ready for two important initiatives we are involved with in 2022. It is the first overseas exercise many have been away on, including some of the seniors, as COVID affected a lot of our training over the last year." Captain Colley adds, forging partnerships with other nations will play a crucial role in their future training:

Interoperability is the hallmark of what we are doing and will be doing in the future. We have the Danish and Estonians working with us currently and soon we will work closely with other NATO partners including Latvia and Lithuania.
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Currently training on the Sennelager range, 1 Royal Welsh had already been deployed to Estonia in 2017 / Photo by British Army
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A British service member with 1 Royal Welsh prepares for an upcoming deployment to Estonia in Sennelager, Germany / Photo by British Army

Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Streatfeild looks forward to the future. He explains that over the coming months there will be no let-up for these Welsh Warriors: "In the New Year, we enter Tallinn Dawn, the validation exercise. This is a combination of training where we will be conducting a Combined Arms Live Firing Exercise which is effectively where we bring everything and everyone together. In addition to this element there will also be dry training and simulator training, it's going to be a busy time."

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office / Original story by British Army

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