British Army vehicles arriving in Germany for Exercise Cerberus
The large-scale command post exercise is aimed at confirming the five British Army brigade headquarters that sit within the division are ready for operation (Picture: British Army).
Germany

UK troops head to Germany for British Army's biggest exercise in Europe for a decade

British Army vehicles arriving in Germany for Exercise Cerberus
The large-scale command post exercise is aimed at confirming the five British Army brigade headquarters that sit within the division are ready for operation (Picture: British Army).

Personnel from the British Army have headed to Germany for the service's biggest exercise in Europe for a decade.

Exercise Cerberus 22 is the British Army's largest field exercise of the year, with almost 3,500 troops and up to 800 vehicles taking part.

The large-scale command post exercise is aimed at confirming the five British Army brigade headquarters that sit within the division are ready for operation.

It will see the Brigades tested against a peer adversary with the divisional headquarters in overall command.

Above them, a British-led NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) will provide the overall NATO command and control over the exercise.

Previously held on Salisbury Plain, taking the exercise to Germany also tests the ability to move personnel and equipment on a large scale and operate in an expeditionary setting.

Headquarters 3rd United Kingdom Division (3 (UK) Div) are running the exercise, with the UK’s lighting division capable of bringing considerable firepower and a concentration of the force.

British Army vehicles being unloaded in Germany for Exercise Cerberus
Up to 800 British Army vehicles will take part in the exercise after being transported to Germany by sea (Picture: British Army).

This includes reconnaissance, armoured cavalry; armoured and mechanised infantry, aviation, artillery, engineers, and logistics -  referred to as 'the full spectrum' of warfighting capability. 

Colonel Owain Luke, Chief of Staff, 3 (UK) Div, said the deployment to Germany has "acted as a real test of our ability to deploy forces to the continent at speed".

"The main objective of Cerberus 22 is to test, validate and support readiness of the five brigade headquarters: 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, 12 Armoured Brigade Combat Team, 7th Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team, 101 Operational Sustainment Brigade, and 1st Aviation Brigade Combat Team. 

"Each headquarters will be assessed as being ready for operations by testing their ability to plan and execute operations within a simulated warfighting scenario set in Europe."

He also said the exercise was about "building our interoperability with U.S. Forces as well as aligning with NATO procedures" - with 3rd Brigade Combat Team from the American 1st Cavalry Division also taking part.

Watch: British Army reservists take part in attack exercises with Croatian armed forces.

Some of the equipment being used is already based in Germany, at bases such as Sennelager, allowing for a more rapid response.

Colonel Luke said Sennelager is "essential" as it provides "a training location on the continent, a site to store vehicles and an opportunity to stage forward for operations anywhere on the continent if required". 

However, getting the personnel and equipment to Germany involved movement by land, sea and air.

The division flew to Celle in Germany by RAF A400 aircraft and by German CH53 Sikorsky heavy lift helicopters then on to Sennelager, while the vehicles and equipment moved by sea.

Squadron Leader Gordon Summers, the RAF’s representative inside 3 (UK) Div, said the exercise was used as "a training opportunity for both the RAF at Brize Norton and German Military (Bundeswehr)".

"Troops and kit were flown by RAF A400M to the Air Manoeuvre Training and Exercise Centre in Celle, Northern Germany and then our German partners transferred people and cargo onwards to Sennelager by German CH53 heavy lift helicopters," he said.

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