Sol­diers forced to fight storm on ex­er­cise

Western Mail - - NEWS -

BRI­TISH Army sol­diers tak­ing part in a gru­elling an­nual ex­er­cise had the added ob­sta­cle of Storm Cal­lum to con­tend with.

The Cam­brian Pa­trol event, held in the Black Moun­tains of mid-Wales and hosted by the 160 In­fantry Bri­gade, was made all the more dif­fi­cult as sol­diers were ex­posed to the strong winds and heavy rain.

Fusilier Ethan Cham­ber­lain, 20, a re­servist for two years with 3rd Bat­tal­ion The Royal Welsh, said: “We’ve pre­pared for the dis­tance, the weight car­ry­ing and the other tests we ex­pect along the way, but you can never pre­dict what the weather is go­ing to throw at you.

“Wales is al­ways un­pre­dictable weather wise any­way but this is a few notches above the norm.”

Sergeant Chris­tian Har­ris, 40, 3 R Welsh pa­trol com­man­der, said: “This will def­i­nitely be the sternest test of all be­cause of Storm Cal­lum clos­ing in.

“Do­ing well on this ex­er­cise can be a rite of pas­sage to pro­mo­tion be­cause it’s so highly thought of.

“I sup­pose I’m Cam­brian-hard­ened now – hard­ened to the weather and liv­ing in north Wales helps.

“I’d say the ex­er­cise is 20% phys­i­cal and 80% men­tal, more so when you’re deal­ing with heavy storms like it is to­day, pour­ing down, strong winds on moun­tain tops. At this stage it’s not about medals but get­ting around and com­plet­ing.”

The Cam­brian Pa­trol an­nual ex­er­cise is the the largest of its kind, with for­eign sol­diers wel­comed af­ter win­ning their own do­mes­tic events.

It first be­gan in 1959 and was de­signed by sol­diers form the Welsh Ter­ri­to­rial Army.

This year 137 pa­trols have en­tered, in­clud­ing six over­seas armies tak­ing part for the first time with sol­diers from Nige­ria, Mace­do­nia, Cyprus, Be­larus and Fin­land hav­ing their first crack at com­plet­ing the pa­trol and aim­ing to nav­i­gate their way through the ar­du­ous ter­rain.

The ex­er­cises, which run un­til Sun­day Oc­to­ber 21, will fea­ture pa­trol com­man­ders given a set of or­ders based on a spe­cific sce­nario in­volv­ing enemy forces for on­ward brief­ing to mem­bers of their pa­trol.

They must bat­tle prep and map out a des­ig­nated route, along which they must nav­i­gate through, day and night, and deal with a set of sce­nar­ios, in­clud­ing ca­su­alty evac­u­a­tions, deal­ing with mock im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices, in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing, seek­ing pro­tec­tive mea­sures against chem­i­cal, bi­o­log­i­cal, ra­di­o­log­i­cal and nu­clear threats, a wa­ter cross­ing, and close-tar­get re­con­nais­sance.

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