Royal Welsh take on 'The Crystal Maze' - Europe's largest urban warfare training area

Watch: The Royal Welsh takes on the German training area of Schnoeggersburg.

The Royal Welsh have become the first British battlegroup to hone their skills at Europe's largest urban warfare training facility, Schnoeggersburg, in eastern Germany.

Supported by Challenger 2s from the Royal Tank Regiment, the troops from the armoured infantry regiment have been enhancing their skills in urban combat inside the facility which looks deceptively like an ordinary sleepy small town or village.

The infanteers' training mission was to liberate and defend Schnoeggersburg.

Lance Corporal Toby Kearns of Ajax Squadron said: "They've even built like a river going through it, bridges to cross.

"Apparently, they have an underground as well, which is just fantastic.

"There are tall buildings, some of them six storeys high, and you're looking up at these buildings wondering if someone's going to be there with an anti-tank weapon."

The eastern German town of Schnoeggersbur is actually Europe's largest urban warfare training facility.
Schnoeggersburg is Europe's largest urban warfare training facility

Schnoeggersburg covers two and a half square miles and is the newest addition to the Altmark Training Area north of Magdeburg, which is home to the German Army Combat Training Centre.

To increase the believability of the facility, mines and burnt-out vehicles have been put in place to give the town a frontline feel.

Altmark has a fully equipped armoured infantry company included with formidable Leopard 2 tanks to act as its own permanently based opposing force.

The German Altmark Company Commander said: "It's more or less like my own home garden.

"Especially for my soldiers who are doing a very tough and very difficult job here. They know more or less every square centimetre of this training facility right now."

The Altmark Training Area is located north of Magdeburg.
Altmark Training Area is located north of Magdeburg

Major Josh Hagler, a US exchange officer at the training centre, said: "With 520 full concrete buildings constructed, the density of everything going on, the number of roads, the number of windows, the height, the depth, the sheer scale of it is awe-inspiring - and to be blunt a bit anxiety-driving."

Commander of Combat Ready Training Centre (Germany), Lieutenant Colonel Andy Husband, said: "If you remember the television programme The Crystal Maze it's a bit like that.

"Different zones with different influences which allow you to practise different things.

"The size of the village plus that everything from an airport to rural communities to new and old German villages.

"All that combined into one allows you then really to be tested."

"It's vast. It's a huge training area," said Trooper Tim Jones, Ajax Squadron tank gunner.

"Every time you think you're going to come to the boundary, there's more to keep going."

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