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Royal Welsh take on challenging exercise

04 October 2017

Army Reservists from 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh recently spent two weeks in Germany on their Infantry Field Firing Camp.

Exercise Dragons Talon was designed to give the Battalion the chance to develop and enhance their soldiering skills in the challenging environment of the vast Sennelager training area. And it was also an opportunity to learn new skills as both The Queens Royal Hussars and the 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment provided familiarisation training on the Panther and Warrior armoured infantry vehicle respectively.

For the Reservists, who come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, the exercise began with low level infantry skills in a controlled environment before they embarked on a number of close quarter marksmanship, grenade and fire and manoeuvre ranges. From this they rapidly progressed to being tested on section defence, fire-team and platoon attacks through the woods and heathlands of the training area.

The exercise culminated with the Battalion completing a Company attack that saw them conduct a minefield breach, assault specific objectives, neutralise an armoured threat before seizing a bridge and clearing the remaining enemy positions.

For Lance Corporal Pete Toulmin the chance to get out on the ranges had been incredibly beneficial: “It’s a great opportunity for us to carry out training on this scale as it is not something we often get the chance to do. Here we have gone from improving our own individual skills and drills to working all the way up to Company level attacks, it is challenging but it develops confidence and demonstrates our competency as a Battalion.

"The younger guys have adjusted well to working in this environment, they are enthusiastic, integrating really well with the Regulars and while it’s hard work it’s realistic and they are enjoying it.

"Being a Reservist offers so many opportunities to learn so many new skills, it’s a great life experience and you can get to travel to different parts of the world both on exercises, like this, or on adventurous training packages.”

18 year-old student Fusilier Samuel Berry, who is on a gap-year said of the exercise: “It has been a brilliant introduction to the Battalion as I only passed out of training 6 weeks ago! I am hoping to join the regulars after completing my military history studies so this training exercise is a great insight. I am keen to learn as much as I can and I am looking forward to deploying next year to Canada as part of that development.”

“Exercise Dragons Talon has been hugely successful with the level of commitment shown by all outstanding throughout. Not many of the reservists, certainly at Fusilier level, will have done an exercise like this before, it has been a steep learning curve but they have more than matched what has been asked of them.” remarked Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Nigel Crewe-Read adding: “the progression made since the beginning of the exercise to the position where we are conducting something as complicated as a live firing company attack is a credit to how quickly they have developed.

Working with the platoon of soldiers from 1st Battalion of Grenadier Guards, who have been attached to us, has been invaluable in terms of advice and help they have offered and their professional conduct - it is very encouraging seeing the reserves working closely with them and aspiring to reach the same standards.”

Soldiers from the Royal Welsh operate the L7A2 GPMG on the range in Germany.

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