1,500 UK personnel rehearse defending Estonia from invading forces in Nato's Ex Spring Storm

Watch: 1,500 UK personnel join Nato forces in exercise defending Estonia from invading forces.

Troops from all three services of the British military have taken part in a major Nato exercise in Estonia.

Exercise Spring Storm sees 1,500 British personnel join servicemen and women from 11 Nato countries, the first time the UK has conducted a brigade-sized deployment to the country.

Brigadier Giles Harris, Commander, Nato enhanced Forward Presence, told Forces News the exercise was about "beginning to visualise and understand the planning to pull forward a brigade into Estonia in a time of crisis".

"Russia has invaded Ukraine, that has changed the optic, and we've all seen the renewed momentum in Nato's planning here in the region."

Taking place annually, this iteration of the exercise saw roughly 100 Royal Marine Commandos storm a beach in Estonia – a reaction to Russia's threat to the country's coastline after invading Ukraine in 2022.

Lieutenant Maguire, X-Ray Company Group, 45 Commando Royal Marines, told Forces News that Nato forces would be "well positioned to assist, if required, on the Estonian coastline".

"I can speak for our capabilities in regards to the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines, and we know what we can do," he said.

"We'd be very confident if we needed to assist Estonia in the littoral space."

Watch: British Challenger 2 wins Nato tank competition.

Alongside amphibious landings by sea, personnel practised an attack from the sky – with 200 French paratroopers from the 8th Marine Airborne Regiment flying overnight from France to jump into Estonia.

The exercise is a rehearsal for defending the country from an enemy invasion force attacking on all fronts – with Nato Allies rushing to Tallinn's defence.

Lieutenant Colonel Edouard Bros, French National Military Representative to Estonia, told Forces News it was an "opportunity to drill our reinforcement capability on short notice".

"For this year, we decided to have some paratroopers coming because, of course, when you talk about quick response, the paratroopers are one of the fastest capabilities that you can bring on the ground."

Like Ukraine, the key domain is land, with densely forested terrain meaning soldiers have to learn how to win the battle for bridges and junctions.

Brigadier General Vahur Karus, Commandant, Estonian Military Academy, told Forces News this sees personnel have "limited fields of fire [and] limited fields of observation".

He explained this means "holding or capturing a crossroad, a road, a railroad, a crossing site, gives you an immense advantage over the enemy".

Spring Storm marks an increase in the UK's commitment to Estonia, with hundreds more troops on the ground for the exercise.

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