News story

Welsh training area supports troops' Afghanistan preparation

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Rifles have been preparing for a deployment to Kabul later this year at the Caerwent Training Area.

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Rifles practise escort duties during their pre-deployment training [Picture: Crown copyright]
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Rifles practising escort duties

Some 96 soldiers from B Company of 2nd Battalion The Rifles have taken part in the week-long exercise at the Caerwent Training Area in Monmouthshire, which forms part of a wider package of training to practise all aspects of the company’s role.

During the week they carried out a range of training activities to prepare for their important roles of protecting troops, running the media operations centre and escorting the British media and VIPs.

Caerwent Training Area is maintained by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, which delivers the training service, enabling defence training users to live, work, train and deploy at home and overseas.

The soldiers also conducted mobile patrols from forward operating bases, sentry and guard duties and practised quick reaction force tasks and techniques to prepare them for sudden and unexpected situations.

A soldier from 2nd Battalion The Rifles
A soldier from 2nd Battalion The Rifles provides top cover during pre-deployment training [Picture: Crown copyright]

To mimic reality the soldiers carried out high-tempo mounted patrols, up to 3 times faster than what they may encounter in reality, covering everything from journalist escorts to mass casualty extractions.

The exercise involved Foxhound and civilian armoured vehicles, which gave the soldiers the opportunity to get to grips with the vehicles and tactics needed in the mounted role that they will carry out in Kabul.

The Riflemen also learned other mission-specific skills such as life-saving, first aid under fire, using the Bowman radio, compound clearance, and how to speak Dari, the most widely spoken language in Kabul.

Major Shercliff, officer commanding B Company, said:

Caerwent Training Area is an ideal place in which to train and test our troops. There are not only over 400 buildings and bunkers on the site, but also an operating railway and comprehensive road system; ideal for logistics exercises and driver training.

This training area provides my soldiers with the opportunity to increase their collective armoured expertise and prepare for the urban challenges that will face them in Kabul.

Published 15 May 2014