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Rifles And Engineers Put Final Training Into Practice Ahead Of Iraq Deployment

3rd Battalion The Rifles and 21 and 35 Engineer Regiment will train Iraqi forces in close protection and how to deal with IEDs.

3rd Battalion the Rifles along with 21 and 35 Engineer Regiment have been carrying out their final training in Wales ahead of deploying to Iraq in December.

The Iraqi military continues to battle so-called Islamic State and 200 British troops will help train them in counter IED [improvised explosive devices] and close protection.

In Iraq road sides attacks remain a common occurrence and practising for such an eventuality is an essential part of pre-deployment training.

“Inevitably the day to day life in Iraq will be less intense but if the guys go out the door and know they can deal with the worse cases, they’ve got that confidence that if it does go wrong for whatever reason, they’re able to cope with that,” Major Mike Holgate told Forces News.

“The main bulk of the deployment will be centred around Taji just on the outskirts of Baghdad where the battle group headquarters… Taji will be predominately engineer heavy due to the Iraqi School of Military of Engineering being there.”

Other troops will be based in Erbil - in the north of the country – and the rest in Besmaya - to the south of Baghdad.

3 Rifles Map of Iraq 071118 CREDIT BFBS

Practising stop and search is another key part of the training, something actors were brought in to held them with.

“So at the moment a lot of them don’t have the skills that are required to do that job safely and to search for IEDs safely,” said Lieutenant Anna Flight.

“So we’re just helping to bolster their skills and hopefully move onto the phase of them teaching themselves. So we’re doing a lot of ‘Train The Trainer’ courses out there so they can teach themselves and really grow that search base.”

3 Rifles with a casulaty 071118 CREDIT BFBS
3 Rifles practise on a casualty.

The Rifles will also play an infantry role when guiding Iraqi soldiers through the art of building clearance.

“I think we bring outside knowledge,” said Rifleman Michael Frampton.

“Obviously they’ve been through conflicts, countless years now, but we’ve got the professional army and the training side of it… [so] that we can bring them to the next level.”

Long-term the aim is for the Iraqi army to be able to train themselves well enough to fight Daesh; but until that day comes British soldiers, like the Rifles, will likely remain an integral to the training of the country’s security forces.