Exercise Askari Storm in Kenya has tested to the full the “future proof” operational skills of more than 700 soldiers, regular and reserve, in the 1st Battalion The Welsh Guards Battle Group.
At dawn the first attack goes in.
With some of the most demanding terrain and conditions on the planet, Kenya provides some of the toughest training our soldiers can experience. Altitude, mountainous terrain, and soaring temperatures, make even the simplest manoeuvres difficult and exhausting. Added to which, this exercise isn’t just assessing skills that worked well in the past, but those that will be needed in future conflicts.
Soldiers set off in the evening on their 10 km advance to battle.
The Battle Group Exercise enabled more than 240 personnel from 36 organisations to meet and train together for the first time. This was vital for the success of their future role when, if operational necessity dictates, they are deployed on operations.
Soldiers from the Battle Group carry out a gruelling section attack up a steep Kenyan hillside.
In particular it was a great opportunity for members of 3 Royal Welsh and 105 Battery to integrate fully with their regular partnered regiment, the Welsh Guards and hone their soldiering skills to the highest standards. In the future the British Army will deploy in Battle groups made up of personnel from a range of units, regular and reserve, employing a multitude of skills and capabilities.
Royal engineers build a bridge at night, in order for the rest of the battle group to advance.
The exercise progressively built up from section, to platoon and then to company level training in the first weeks, before culminating in a battle group operation for the final week. Immersed in a fictional UN operational scenario, the Welsh Guards had a complex mission to achieve in just a short period of time – just as they would in a real life situation.
The scenario saw the soldiers facing a wide range of missions and tasks from building river crossings, interacting with the local media, to clearing a region of both an invading conventional force and a growing insurgency operating in and amongst the local population.
The detailed human picture encompassed mixed tribes and religions, adding a further layer of complexity to their task. This is the modern battlefield every soldier now faces on operations, from defending in 6ft trenches as the enemy attacks at dawn, to negotiating the safe extracting of refugees from a camp in the crossfire just hours later.
Soldiers patrol through the night to reach their objective.