The First Battalion, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (1PWRR) known as the Tigers have been showcasing their capabilities in the annual NATO Exercise, SABER STRIKE 14 in Latvia.
B Company have been operating with the advanced Javelin anti-tank system combined with elite snipers to provide an essential arsenal to the NATO force.
The testing two-week training exercise aims to build on multi-national co-operation and forms part of a series of NATO exercises providing re-assurance to the Baltic region.
The Opening Ceremony included the nine nations standing to attention side-by-side in the 28 degree heat. Speeches were heard from the Latvian Minister of Defence, Mr Raimonds and the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt Col Rayment Graube. Following the speeches, all nations raised their individual flags and a fly past by two US F16 fast jets occured.
Following the ceremony each Company of approximately 100-120 men, from all the nations including the Tigers, went head-to-head in a simulated training exercise designed to test the tactics, techniques and procedures of each nation.
Lt Chris Griffiths, Platoon Commander, B Company 1 PWRR said: “This training exercise has opened our eyes to different nations’ tactics and to see similarities and differences between our NATO allies, some of which we will take away with us and put into practice.
“This is classic conventional warfare with limited creature comforts, carrying all that you need on your backs through boggy terrain up to chest height at times. It’s created a great challenge for my men and the Company.”
Pictured above: Lt Chris Griffiths liaises with an Estonian anti-tank section commander during their successful defence against the US Bradley Company.
The exercise developed further into the second week with the Tigers being placed under the command of a Norwegian Battlegroup HQ; working alongside a US Bradley Company and Norwegian Dismounted Infantry Company. They were able to combine all the skills of each nation and integrate quickly to form an effective fighting force against opponents made up from the rest of the multi-national forces.
Cpl Wolfe, Section Commander, B Company, 1 PWRR said: “We are happily anticipating the test to our skills as dismounted infantry against other armoured nations. The US Bradley is a good bit of kit, but we are confident we can use the ground to our advantage and cause havoc to their armour capability.
“Working alongside foreign forces gives similar difficulties like when on operations like talking and understanding each other, but here is a different environment. We aren’t against insurgents like Afghanistan.”
Commander 1 PWRR B Company, Major Richard Dobson, whose role is to lead the Tigers in this joint venture, said: “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to develop relationships made over many years both in a training environment and on operations. We can build on the capacity and interoperability of our NATO allies.”
Pictured above: A British soldier provides cover fire during a situational training exercise.
2300 personnel deployed
When commenting on the challenge of force-on-force operations, he said: “Fighting against other countries with different doctrine and equipment to what we are used to training against back home results in a far more challenging training environment and something the men have been looking forward to.”
The Company are set to return to their home base of Sennelager in Northern Germany at the end of June following the exercise.
The 1 PWRR Battalion forms part of 20th Armoured Brigade which is currently engaged in numerous defence activities, including Operations in Afghanistan with some 2300 personnel deployed from across the Brigade, including personnel from 1 PWRR.
This summer will also see other elements of the Brigade, in the form of the Queen’s Royal Hussars, providing security to the Commonwealth Games.
Pictured below: An Estonian soldier radios his leadership while conducting security from his vehicle during the final mission of the Saber Strike exercise 2014 at Adazi Training Area, Latvia.