Exercises

Exercise Viking Star: British Reservists Train With Danish Army

British personnel have been using state-of-the-art facilities in Denmark.

Members of 4th Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment have been taking part in Exercise Viking Star on the west coast of Denmark.

A total of 181 reservists were joined by 25 regular soldiers from the regiment’s 1st Battalion, and 18 specialists from 37th Signal Regiment during two weeks of wider NATO exercise across the North Sea.

The troops were attached to a Danish battlegroup and are training in light of what is perceived by Denmark to be an increasingly prominent threat from Russia.

British reservists were able to develop urban warfare skills at the Oksbol military training area - the largest of its kind in Denmark. 

The 'Skills House' saw the personnel move through buildings in close-quarter drills, breaching rooms in urban scenarios.

The 'Skills House enables troops to move between rooms, developing military capabilities.

Lieutenant Colonel Greg Murphy, Commanding Officer of 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, praised the facilities and the quality of the live-fire training areas as "like going to a Danish retreat".

The Lieutenant Colonel attributed an increase in the battalion's recruitment to "rewarding, challenging training".

Denmark, meanwhile, has used slightly different methods to keep its military numbers high. 

Conscription means that, for every physically-fit Danish man 18 years and above, signing up for at least four months' military service is compulsory.

After this period, men have the option to continue for another eight months and become eligible for the regular Army.

It is not compulsory for women to enlist, though they do have the right to.

Until 2005, Denmark has had a 12,000-strong conscripted Army, and by 2006, they had built a regular, professional Army, though still maintaining some elements of compulsory service. 

Lieutenant Colonel Murphy recognises the history between the British and Danish forces: "We fought shoulder to shoulder-to-shoulder on the battlefields in Afghanistan, for many a-year they were standing on the line with us out in Estonia.

"So it's just right that we're here training with them, working on our inter-op ability, integrating into the exercise."

The 'strong bond' between the two armies was on display in Denmark.

A growing threat from Russia has sparked further investment into the Danish Army, explained Lieutenant Colonel Henrik Hvilsom from the Danish Royal Life Guards.

"The kind of enemy that we train to fight is an enemy organised very much alongside Russian doctrine and Russian organisation.

He holds the British forces in high regard: "Wherever we go, I feel a very strong bond between our two armies.

"We do things the same way, we tend to laugh at the same jokes - it's almost like attaching any Danish unit."

The reservists will now return to their day-jobs, waiting on the call to fight, whoever the enemy may be.