Soldiers forced to fight storm on exercise
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.