A company commander of 5 Rifles has told of the success of an exercise in Finland that tested how the British Army plays its role in Nato's Joint Expeditionary Force as the Riflemen improved their tactics and co-ordination on the battlefield alongside allies.
Exercise Northern Forest, combined with Exercise Arrow and Exercise Lightning Strike, involved 8,000 service personnel, from five partner nations – Finland, Norway, Sweden, the US, and the UK.
Major Peter Daniell, Commanding Officer of A Company, 5 Rifles, explained how the exercise was immensely challenging, saying: "We were forced to adapt our tactics to remain a relevant part of the battlegroup and, in so doing, we learned a great deal from our allies, whether they were our adversaries on this exercise, or not.
"Ex Northern Forest was an extraordinary training opportunity for A Company.
"It is a rare luxury to train on armour in this vast, complex terrain that offers such advantage to light role infantry.
"From the Finns we learned the value of operating as small, dispersed teams amidst the challenges of avoiding fratricide.
"From the Swedes we learned the confidence to plough our armour through the swampy, rocky forests to make aggressive terrain gains.
"From us, they saw the battle-winning advantage of deploying empowered junior leaders with anti-armour screens forward of our fighting vehicles."
The UK, Sweden, Norway and Finland are members of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF).
The JEF is 10 like-minded northern European nations that also include Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands.
Each nation provides a key contribution to European security.
The exercise took place in the picturesque region of Rovaniemi, Finland, providing a challenging and realistic environment for the participating forces.
Maj Daniell said: "It has been refreshing to be obliged to adapt novel tactics and to challenge the cultural sacred cows of armoured tactics.
"I think that change is as good as the rest and we're just grateful to be outside the Salisbury Plain training area, trying some different terrain and also it's a fantastic opportunity for them to work alongside Finnish conscripts."
Joint exercises such as this ensure the UK and its allies can integrate and operate in combat situations; strengthening joint responsiveness.
It also demonstrates the capabilities of the UK's Armed Forces as an expeditionary force and the UK's commitment to Nato, Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) and international partners.
Exercise Northern Forest, Exercise Arrow and Exercise Lightning Strike have been Finland's largest land force drill in the Arctic Circle in modern times.
The exercise saw a British Armoured Infantry Company joining with a Finnish brigade, a Norwegian Armoured Reconnaissance battalion and a US Army Mountain Division to repeal "an enemy force" comprised of Finnish, Swedish and US Marine Forces as part of a realistic combat scenario.