Reservists From 2 Royal Irish Practise Urban Warfare Skills

Twenty soldiers from Moldova and Belarus joined 2 Royal Irish on Exercise Urban Ranger.

More than 100 reservists from 2nd Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, have been testing their combat skills on exercise in Wales.

Troops have been based at Sennybridge Ranges in the Brecon Beacons for the last two weeks, practising live firing and learning new urban warfare tactics. 

Twenty soldiers from Moldova and Belarus joined 2 Royal Irish on Exercise Urban Ranger.

Major Doug Beattie told Forces News: "Sennybridge is one of these premier training areas in the whole of the United Kingdom and it offers us the opportunity to train at very high levels which we don't get when we're in Northern Ireland.

"So, to get across here, to be able to train, [it] really gives us an opportunity to stretch our muscles a little bit and practise some of the skills that we just couldn't do in Northern Ireland."

The soldiers were split up into two teams, one protecting the fictional Cellini Village, and the other, an 'enemy force', launching an attack.

2 Royal Irish on Ex Urban Ranger 130919 CREDIT BFBS
Soldiers clear and secure a building in 'Cellini Village'.

"The value and the benefits from providing short-term training teams are immense," said Major Glenn Thomas.

"It builds our capability, it builds our capacity.

"Although we are delivering the training, it's very interesting to see what they do, how they do it and sometimes to massage your own tactics potentially in the future."

The skills practised by the soldiers on Exercise Urban Ranger represents a whole different challenge to that they will face on Exercise Cambrian Patrol next month.

Cambrian Patrol, an annual exercise, is regarded as the world's toughest patrolling test.

Troops from 2 Royal Irish will deploy to Cyprus next year on a UN peacekeeping mission.

It is both physically and mentally exhausting, with troops expected to cover up to 40 miles of tough Beacons terrain in just 48 hours.

"It's [Exercise Cambrian Patrol] is three-and-a-bit weeks off, so this is the last chance to really test ourselves," said Corporal Samuel Hendry.

"Last year the team got gold, so no pressure!"

Next year, many soldiers from 2 Royal Irish will be deployed to Cyprus to work as part of the UN peacekeeping mission patrolling the island's buffer zone.

Exercise Urban Ranger is seen as the first of many preparing them for future challenges.