Exercises

Exercise Rattlesnake: UK Troops Get Rare Access To Special Forces RZR Vehicles

British troops used the RZR vehicle to resupply and help them get their crucial water supply while on Exercise Rattlesnake in the US.

British personnel have gained rare access to an American Special Forces off-road vehicle while training on one of the biggest exercises in the world this year.

The Welsh Cavalry 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards are in the United States for Exercise Rattlesnake in Fort Polk, Louisiana, known as 'The Box' – one of the most feared training areas in the US Army.

The exercise is designed to test personnel to their limits and Forces News joined the Welsh Cavalry as the only media outlet granted access to cover the exercise.

During the exercise, the British Army troops have used the RZR vehicle to radically change the way personnel resupply and help them get their crucial water supply.

Major James Curry, OC, A Squadron, 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, told Forces News the vehicles "are a game-changer". 

"Water consumption out here is through the roof," he said.

"We're consuming up to 10 litres a day per man and we just can't carry that, because the more you carry, the more water you need to consume."

Watch part one of our Exercise Rattlesnake series here.

The RZR vehicle is being used to resupply troops on the ground but can also be used to extract casualties.

The vehicles provide assistance to the personnel, who have to cross difficult terrain during the exercise.

However, they are not just used to resupply the troops.

WO2 Ross Hopkins, Squadron Sergeant Major, A Squadron, 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, told Forces News they can also be used to extract casualties.

"Predominantly where we'd use the back seats is for either kit carriages… or if we do take any casualties we can then extract this kit out, put injured personnel, in real-time or exercise play, strap them in and then extract them off the battlefield," he said.

Captain Joseph Ward, 3 RHA, attached to A Squadron, 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, told Forces News the exercise, which sees the participation of thousands of troops, tests how well UK personnel can operate alongside their US counterparts.

"What we're testing is the interoperability of slotting in somebody at company size within an American battlegroup...  and saying how well can you execute having not met these people before, moving with very little equipment," he said.

"What you're doing is plugging in the man and saying, 'how well can we perform?"