Germany

British Troops To Return To Sennelager Training Area In 2020

UK troops have not trained at the centre, which is the British Army's largest on mainland Europe, since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

The Commander of the British Army in Germany says he expects to see British troops back at Sennelager Training Area before the end of the year.

British military exercises were stopped at the centre, near Paderborn, in March due to COVID-19.

Since then, other nations have been training at the centre, including its ranges and Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) simulator facility where most recently German troops have been training.

Colonel Tim Hill, the British Army’s most senior officer in Germany, told Forces News: "We've had a little bit of a COVID-pause but I think we are starting to see more troops here.

"We've got the Bundeswehr [German Army] here this month, a couple of months' time we've got 43rd Netherlands brigade coming to use this particular faciltity [CATT]. 

"Later on in the year, we will look forward to seeing 1st Mercians coming here to utilise training, and I think next year is going to be really busy, as well."

Soldiers from Germany's 203 Panzer Battalion have been training at the CATT facility in Sennelager.

In an area the size of two football pitches, there are 98 simulators that can recreate 350 different vehicles.

WATCH: German soldiers train at Sennelager's CATT facility.

Lieutenant Colonel Marco Maulbecker, the battalion's Commander, said: "[CATT] creates the possibility to train, not only at platoon level in the tank simulators, but also at squadron level and that possibility simply doesn't exist in German simulators.

"That means we have a unique opportunity to train more than half the platoons. That means 20 vehicles, or at battalion level, as many as 40 main battle tanks."

Although no UK personnel are currently training at Sennelager, Col Hill said giving the German Army access to British training facilities is important.

"When they train alongside us in this facility, which they did last year with 1 Yorks, it enables them to practise all those SOPs [Standard Operating Procedures], interoperability command and control challenges when they integrate into a UK battlegroup."

"So, for us, I think this is really important on those fronts."

Cover image: British training at the Sennelager Training Area was stopped in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.