Cyprus

Poachers On Patrol: Royal Anglian On Exercise Turbulent

2 Royal Anglian is currently Britain's regional standby battalion in Cyprus.

The British Army's regional standby battalion in Cyprus has been testing its ability to fight on foreign soil.

There are two infantry battalions based in the country, with the regional standby battalion capable of deploying anywhere in the Middle East or Africa within 48 hours.

At present, the role falls to 2 Royal Anglian, nicknamed the 'Poachers', and personnel have been taking part in Exercise Turbulent to practise their readiness to deploy.

Since moving to Cyprus 18 months ago they have trained with the Spanish armed forces and have plans to train in Egypt in March.

It is part of a strategy to acclimatise to working in hotter environments in case they are deployed to the Middle East or northern Africa.

Before Exercise Turbulent began, troops were required to check in at RAF Akrotiri, as if they were flying out to a foreign country.

They were then driven to nearby Episkopi.

For 24 hours, parts of the base become 'Etropia', an imaginary state under attack by an imaginary insurgency force.

The Poachers' task is to help the local security forces and subdue the enemy.

2 Royal Anglian on Exercise Turbulent
The Poachers helping the security forces of 'Etropia'.

“It gives us an opportunity to all be tested,” Major Jim Phipps, Commander of Charlie Company, 2 Royal Anglian told Forces News.

"As a Company group, the first test is to get to this stage and to have met our notice to move.

"Then all of us have the test of getting out into the field, having a good run out.

"It’s not often that you get the chance to do training as a full company group.

"It’s a great opportunity for everyone, from myself to the newest private soldier to check that they really can do the business.

"It’s good for the confidence."

Over several hours, C Company pressed on, attacking each enemy position in turn, all with the help of riflemen, reconnaissance troops, snipers, mortar teams, anti-tank units and a team of assault pioneers.

2 Royal Anglian on Exercise Turbulent

“So far it’s all going to plan,” said Captain Ben Humphries, 2 Royal Anglian’s Training Officer, three hours into the exercise.

"We see this as the first phase of exercise, we’re going to do a night attack in the early hours of tomorrow morning and then leading into a defence of Paramali itself.

“So far," he added, "the Company’s actually doing pretty well.

"For the first time it’s been run out since probably about October last year."