Army

US Soldiers Give British Troops Driving Lessons In Germany Ahead Of Exercise

The troops are doing the training ahead of Exercise Defender Europe 21 which aims to test the US' ability to reinforce Europe in a crisis.

British soldiers have been learning to drive American military vehicles ahead of a major multinational exercise.

Troops from 104 Logistic Support Brigade will be operating at continental ports offloading US military equipment from ships for Exercise Defender Europe 21 and are required to drive a range of American vehicles.

The exercise, which is designed to test the US' ability to reinforce Europe in a crisis, is set to start next month.

In preparation, the Royal Logistic Corps soldiers have been receiving training in Moenchengladbach in west Germany.

One of the vehicles the soldiers are learning to drive is the US Army's 11-metre Palletized Load System battlefield truck.

Capable of hauling 16.5-tonne payloads across the most treacherous terrain, the trucks supply American combat troops with everything from beans to bullets. 

Craftsman Arron 'Shep' Sheppard, 104 Logistic Support Brigade, is one of the soldiers learning to drive the vehicle.

He said: "Their turning circle's a lot wider than ours so it's a completely different way that you have to drive the vehicle compared to ours.

"It's quite easy to pick up how to operate them, but when you first get into it you kind of look at it and think 'what is this?'” 

British troops are also learning to drive Humvees.

Another vehicle the British troops are learning to drive is the Humvee - High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. 

Corporal Elena Mountford, 5 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, said: "Reversing my vehicle in a Humvee with a trailer, that was quite a challenge.

"There was a lot of cones that got run over. It's a good job they were cones really!" 

Defender 21 will feature multinational training throughout Europe.

Soldiers from 104 Logistic Brigade are expected to deploy to ports as far away as Greece. 

Master Sergeant Lucas Pedigo, 16th (US) Sustainment Brigade, said: "In a port, it will be a little more difficult to manoeuvre around.

"That's why in this training we've focused on moving in smaller areas.

"They are all vehicle mechanics or recce mechanics in the logistics field and they were terrific at understanding how the equipment works."

Last year's Exercise Defender Europe was curtailed due to COVID-19.