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Norfolk troops spearhead multi-nation military exercise in Poland

PUBLISHED: 13:15 22 June 2018

The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.

The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.

The British Army

Norfolk-based soldiers have spearheaded a multi-national battlefield training exercise in Poland to reassure eastern European nations of their safety from any potential Russian invasion.

The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.

Troops from 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (QDGs), who are based at Swanton Morley, near Dereham, were deployed to the north east of Poland as part of Operation Cabrit.

The complex training involved 18,000 soldiers from Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and the UK.

The QDGs, also known as the Welsh Cavalry, provided the reconnaissance element of the training as part of NATO’s enhanced Force Presence.

The scheme was devised in 2016 to reassure eastern European member states of their safety from any potential Russian invasion.

The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.

The training exercises saw the QDGs integrating with the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade, US Strykers, Romanian air defence and Croatian rocket systems.

Major Ben Parkyn, officer commanding C Squadron QDGs, said: “The challenge is how do I talk to the Battlegroup around us with Croatian rockets and the Romanian air defence and how do I let the US know, as their reconnaissance element, what the enemy picture is on the ground. It really boils down to the communication and logistics aspect of it.”

Operating just 60km from the Russian border gave the training an added edge according to Major Parkyn.

He said: “There is a live threat and it brings the situation in training to life.

The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.

“This is as close as it get to realism and the fact that it’s multi-national is even better because it’s a real challenge to make it work.”

Spearheading the battle exercise, while working with different nationalities, was invaluable experience according to Corporal Tristan Thomas, 33.

He said: “This is the first time I’ve not worked in British call signs and with another nation. The main thing was to iron out any communications creases so we had smooth link ups.

“It’s about recognising that we are individual forces but we come together as NATO, and it works.”

The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.

The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards on exercises in Poland. Pic: The British Army.

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