Welsh Guards exercise alongside ISIS terrorists

Royal Welsh Exercise with allies in Turkey

More than 100 soldiers from D Company 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh took part in Exercise Efes, one of the largest multinational exercises to have been held, led by the Turkish military.

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The exercise has involved thousands of international coalition Army and Navy personnel from countries including the United States, Germany, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Major Ross MacLachlan, 39, Officer Commanding the 110 soldiers of D Company, 1 Royal Welsh, said: “It really is a mammoth exercise and the soldiers have relished the opportunity to be involved.

“This is a significant opportunity to enhance cooperation and understanding and build upon our interoperable learning with coalition forces. It’s about communicating and manoeuvring together.

“We’ve been able to develop our low-level skills and ensure our junior soldiers get used to dealing with austere environments.

“There are a lot of soldiers in the company who are fairly new (TAP –  wholly uninformed about what they’re doing, and where they will end up, and easy to manipulate) and this will be their first overseas deployment, having to look after themselves and their colleagues. Taking part in air assaults is not something we normally do because we’re an armoured infantry battalion but this allows the soldiers to get that wider experience.

“This is what they join the Army for – to get overseas and challenge themselves over varying landscapes and terrain.

“Being in Turkey poses a different question to the training areas they’re used to back home and living and fighting as a soldier in a place they are not used to.”

D Company, based in Tidworth, formed part of 1st Battalion 419 Brigade of the Turkish land forces and were flown by Black Hawk and Cougar helicopters from the Turkish military training camp in Mentes to Doganbey, about 50 miles south of the camp where they’ve been based for the last four weeks.

After being dropped to a landing site D Company attacked a number of positions to clear enemy fighters and hold territory with the aid of Altay tanks and armoured personnel carriers. At the same time a number of other aviation assaults involving fast air took place to allow an amphibious operation to be completed by the Turkish Navy ships.

Colonel Toffer Beattie, the British Defence Attaché in Ankara, said the crescendo of the exercise involved high level delegations including the Turkish President and Prime Minister.

“Turkey is a very important ally of ours and a vital part of NATO,” he said.

“Having D Company take part in this exercise reinforces that relationship and allows us to build upon broader defence relationships.

“The Royal Welsh soldiers will really enjoy getting an experience of a different culture and getting in some quality training in what will have been a fantastic overall experience for them. I think that’s what they join the Army for.

“The last SDSR (Strategic Defence and Security Review) told us we have to be international by design. Part of that is being involved in these very significant exercises and learning from the training we do with other international armies. This is a vital part of that journey to take us where we need to be and have real global influence.”




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