Middle East

Exercise Desert Warrior 3: How British Troops Are Training The Kuwaiti Army

British Army training teams are working with the Kuwaiti Army in the Gulf.

British soldiers have been training the Kuwaiti Army in urban warfare, as part of Exercise Desert Warrior 3 in the Middle East.

More than 100 personnel from 2nd Battalion The Merican Regiment, reinforced by 24 troops from 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, are in Kuwait.

They are in the country to teach the troops from 57 Battalion with the use of Tactical Engagement Simulation (TES) equipment. 

TES uses a laser system that alerts a soldier when they are hit, but also records near misses and even indirect fire.

Major Ben Smyth, Officer Commanding, (B) Malta Company, 2 Mercian, praised the troop's efforts.

"It's been a fantastic opportunity to showcase expositionary warfare," Maj Smyth said.

"Whilst it's not warfare, it's the ability for the company to be able to deploy out into a foreign country, set itself up, in what was initially quite austere conditions and deliver its task.

"This has been a short-term training team to deliver a training package on urban operations," he added.

Both battalions are currently based in Cyprus.

Kuwaiti Army Credit BFBS 061219
TES enables soldiers to get as close to the experience of actual combat.

During Exercise Desert Warrior 3, Kuwaiti soldiers stormed through a series of buildings, killing a mock enemy.

The exercise saw troops working in small teams, one group flanking around the side of the building, while another section provides suppressing fire.

Corporal Ashley McGraw, 2 Mercian Trainer, said British personnel give the Kuwaiti troops "a quick exercise" to see how they conduct their battle plan.

"We would then take them back, give them a quick exercise and a battle pitch of where the enemy are, and then we would take a step back to see how they conduct their exercise and how they're going to take that building," Cpl McGraw said.

Most of the soldiers operate the Kuwaiti Army’s Warrior armoured fighting vehicle, and for many this was their first time working with the UK military.

British Troops with Kuwaiti Army Credit BFBS 061219
British troops train alongside Kuwaiti forces twice a year for four weeks.

Cpl Fahad Alenezi, Gunner, 26 Battalion, Kuwaiti Army said "at first it was hard" to train with British troops. 

But he added the British soldiers made it "smooth" and "safe" and that "all credit" goes to them.

British troops train alongside Kuwaitis twice a year for four weeks, in a defence and security collaboration that can trace its origins back to the Treaty of Friendship signed between Kuwait and the UK in 1899.

Defence and security have formed the cornerstone of the bond, particularly after Britain's role in the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, following the Iraqi invasion.

More than 50,000 British troops were involved in driving Saddam Hussein’s Army back across the border to Iraq.

The allies lost 290 troops - and 45 British soldiers gave their lives in the liberation of Kuwait.

British troop 2 mercian in Kuwait for live tactical training Credit BFBS 06.12.19
British troops also had the chance to go through their live firing tactical training.

The exercise came as Prince William visited troops to watch demonstrations of urban tactics and close-quarter battle techniques during Desert Warrior.

It was a familiar exercise for the Duke, himself a forces veteran, although this time his brief was to watch, kitted out with protective glasses and ear defenders, as British troops and their Kuwaiti counterparts stormed a building.

The Mercians are scheduled to remain in Kuwait for a month, during which they are also getting the chance to learn from the Kuwaiti Army.

Upon their return to Cyprus, 2 Mercian will begin preparations for their relocation to the UK, when the whole battalion moves to Weeton Barracks near Blackpool next summer.