Exercise Cypher Strike
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How The Army Prepares For A Frontline Attack On Armoured Vehicles

7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery is a high readiness unit, able to deploy across the globe within five days to support airborne...

Exercise Cypher Strike

Army personnel have been practising how to launch an attack on armoured vehicles close to their frontline.

Troops from 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery have been rehearsing their skills as part of Exercise Cypher Strike in Norfolk and Salisbury Plain.

7 Para RHA serves in the field artillery role with 16 Air Assault Brigade and is a high readiness unit, able to deploy across the globe within five days to support airborne forces.

If conflict were to break out, troops from the regiment would be parachuted into a conflict zone with 1.8-tonne guns.

This week on Salisbury Plain the unit has been practising how to target armoured vehicles at close range.

“It’s a massive adrenaline rush going forward,” admits Bombardier Alex Siggins.

“Because going in, everyone’s shouting. It’s just hard, fast. We could be firing at targets up to 2k and in some cases, up to 4k away.  But we can actually see what we’re firing at. The process is a lot quicker and a lot faster.”

7 Para in a gun pit on Salisbury Plain.
7 Para in a gun pit on Salisbury Plain.

His colleague Lieutenant Will Povey also found the experience valuable:

"Obviously we do quite a lot of our training dry.

"So the chance to get out and do a big exercise, firing as a regiment for the first time in a long time.

"It brings everyone together and it’s a chance to do things as a regiment that we haven’t done for several years."

The regiment has been using two types of guns on Salisbury Plain - one that moves forward and a second that is fired from a gun pit.

Troops practise in a built up environment.
Troops practise in a built up environment.

But if deployed, 7 Para would likely have to operate in more built up environments as well and they have also been practising in more enclosed spaces where guns have to be fired at much tighter angles.

"Often we don’t do it by choice," said Major Paddy Farrell, 7 Para's Second in Command.

“But it might be by necessity and it’s very easy just to go for the wide-open rolling plains.

"Actually deploying those guns into an urban environment, it’s a different skillset which if we don’t do it, then come the day of the race we may well be caught out."