EXCLUSIVE: Pushing The Limits To Become Tomorrow’s British Army Leaders

Gunners from 7th Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery have been braving the harsh terrain of Sennybridge in an effort to boost their...

Soldiers have been rigorously training to become Britain’s next military leaders.

Gunners from 7th Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery (7 Para RHA) have been braving the harsh terrain of Sennybridge, Wales, in an effort to boost their rank to Lance Bombardier.

In the second part of our exclusive coverage, the troops are tasked with occupying a harbour to defend their platoon.

Troop Commander Lieutenant Ben Braithwaite explains that they are taught lessons in self-leadership from the start.

“Every time we do something, whether we go on patrol… [or] do an attack, we appoint them as Commanders and they lead themselves.”

The leaders-in-training need to clear the open ground and find cover but days of unending rain make the conditions difficult.

Once they are covered among the trees, they go into a defensive formation to protect the area overnight.

The instructors are planning some surprise attacks but the troops don’t know when to expect them.

When daylight comes, the soldiers continue with the course and learn to combat contact drills.

Bombardier Andrew Cousins explains why the drills are important:

“If they get contacted by the conducting reconnaissance patrol… They’re able to withdraw themselves outside of the killing area.”

According to him, contract drills help bring out leadership skills in the Gunners: 

“We’re getting those key points out of them; command and control. Get those leadership qualities out.”

The soldiers must repeat the drills over and over again until they have mastered them.

It is tiring training and Gunner Matthew Lovely says 'they are all knackered', but he understands the importance of the drills:

“[It’s] to see if you can deal with these circumstances under the serious pressure and fatigue.”

Gunner Lovely and the rest of the troops will be training for several more days, testing their resilience to prove they are ready to be tomorrow’s leaders.