Ex Swift Response will see personnel from across eight NATO nations training together in Eastern Europe (Picture: British Army).
Exercises

UK's Global Response Force deploys on Exercise Swift Response

Training in the Balkans will see a force of more than 3,000 soldiers from eight NATO countries working together.

Ex Swift Response will see personnel from across eight NATO nations training together in Eastern Europe (Picture: British Army).

Some 2,000 UK troops and more than 500 vehicles have travelled across Europe to participate in Exercise Swift Response.

Most of those deploying to North Macedonia are from the 2 PARA Battlegroup, built around the airborne infantry of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, supported by artillery, engineers, logisticians, medics, and signallers from 16 Air Assault.

The training will see a force of more than 3,000 soldiers from eight NATO countries working together under the command of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team to practise how they can respond together to international crises.

Getting the UK's Global Response Force to the exercise area has been described by the Army as a 'major logistical effort', with personnel deploying by road, rail, sea and air.

Over six days, some 220 military vehicles completed a 2,000km drive from Merville Barracks in Colchester to the exercise area in North Macedonia in the Balkans.

Seventy-five were transported by train, and a further 240 vehicles sailed on MV Eddystone to a port in nearby Greece.

Lieutenant Colonel Jack Crossley, commanding officer of 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment, has overseen the deployment. He said: "It's a military cliche that 'amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics', and this has been a real test of our expeditionary logistics."

Most British soldiers flew out from RAF Brize Norton. At the same time, Apache attack helicopters of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps and Chinook support helicopters from the RAF's 18 Squadron took off from Wattisham Flying Station and RAF Odiham to make the journey to the east.

The manoeuvres in North Macedonia are just one element of the broader Exercise Swift Response, which will see multinational forces under the direction of the US Army conducting simultaneous training across Europe – from the High North to the Balkans.