Vikings’ African training has moved with the times

A long-serving Norfolk officer says the Royal Anglian Regiment's training regime has changed immeasurably during his career to keep pace with the evolution of warfare.

The 1st Battalion is currently in the midst of a six-week exercise in the punishing terrain at Archer's Post in Kenya.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Andrew 'Titch' Carter, 38, from Snettisham, has served with the Vikings for more than 20 years.

He went on a previous training trip to Kenya in 1998 but said the present exercise was far more rigorous, used more advanced technology and required more complex thinking.

'When we came out here in 1998 we definitely had no DTES or anything with that capability,' he said. 'Thinking back, the training was not as intensive as it is today. We always trained hard in phases, but there was a slow pace of life at the start. This time, the battalion has used Kenya to get more out of the boys on the ground.

'Modern warfare has changed, and so the training has had to evolve with it. There are suicide bombers now, and people who will smile at you one minute and shoot you the next. It is no longer black and white where we stand toe-to-toe with an enemy until someone loses. Before, we could just march straight through and clean up, but now we have a duty of care to look after local people who have been suffering – not everyone is a bad guy.'

WO2 Carter said the one thing that had remained unchanged was the challenge of the African weather.

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'The heat is hideous,' he said. 'We have to take on at least 10 litres of water a day, and once you have taken one position you need to find the inner strength to push on to the next bit until it is completed.'