Scotland

Elite French Troops Train With Sister Battalion In Scotland

France's mountain unit Chasseurs Alpins has come over to develop skills with soldiers from 2 SCOTS.

Members of the French army’s elite mountain infantry are training with soldiers from their sister battalion in Scotland.

Members of the Chasseurs Alpins units are taking part in live firing exercises with the Second Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The units have a long history of cooperation and the Royal Highland Fusiliers are hosting their French comrades for the next few weeks.

The French troops are visiting to train with soldiers from 2 SCOTS.

 

Based in the Alps along the French-Swiss border, Chasseurs Alpins units generally operate in mountainous terrain but are also adept in urban warfare.

The close relationship with 2 SCOTS allows both units to share expertise and work with each other closely.

One of their number became one of the first French soldiers to be awarded a campaign medal by the British Army since the Second World War - after serving with the Fusiliers on Operation Shader in Iraq.

While they are over here learning from their hosts - both sides are benefitting from the training.

The French soldiers are getting to grips with the SA-80 rifle - standard issue weaponry for the British military.

They have mainly used the French-made FAMAS assault rifle in the past and have been trying out the SA-80 while in Scotland.

"Personally I do like it, I know my soldiers like it too," Lieutenant Yann of the Chasseurs Alpins said.

"They find it easy to use, easy also to shoot quite accurately with the goggles we have.

"I think they like it, they are really happy to discover that weapon."

The trip to Barry Buddon Training Camp has given the French unit a taste of the new weaponry they are hoping to adopt.

As well as learning from each other the visit has allowed troops to get to know each other better.

While there are some differences between the jocks and their French counterparts - there has also been a lot of common ground.

Corporal Robert McClean said it has been an opportunity to bond:

"There is a small language barrier, however they are just the same as us in different combats."

The trip to Barry Buddon Training Camp has given the French unit a taste of the new weaponry they are hoping to adopt.

Now they will continue their training with 2 SCOTS in Salisbury on company attack exercises, building on their skills and the relationship these two units have.

Captain Cedric of the Chasseurs Alpins said: "Since a long time, the battalion has had relationships with this battalion.

"It is an opportunity to discover, and a way to train and a way to make war and a way to fight."

Lieutenant Harry Inman says it is an invaluable experience:

"It gives our soldiers as well as the officers a chance to work with foreign forces - something that not every regiment in the British Army can say they are doing.

"So for our soldiers, the jocks, to be working with the French Army, not only broadens their experience but gives them an opportunity to teach and develop the guys who have come across to us."