British Army, SCOTS, Royal Regiment of Scotland, Foxhounds on Operational Deployment (Crown Copyright, 2012)


Scots Soldiers Deploy to Iraq in Fight Against ISIS

Over 100 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS) – the Royal Highland Fusiliers – deployed Monday, 4 December 2017, to undertake a vital training and mentoring role in Iraq, according to the British Army. They left for the task from their base at Glencorse Barracks in Penicuik, near Edinburgh, to join more than 600 British soldiers currently in Iraq in non-combat roles, helping to train Iraqi forces to counter the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL, aka Daesh) in the region on Operation SHADER.

Over the last three years UK forces have helped train over 58,000 Iraqi Security Forces, in skills including countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), infantry skills, combat medical techniques and engineering skills.

With the addition of the 2 SCOTS personnel, the UK commitment from all three services to the fight against Daesh across the Middle East now numbers just over 1,400.

Intensive Training Ahead of Iraq Deployment

The personnel from 2 SCOTS have been training for this role for the past six months, including a challenging mission rehearsal exercise, which saw them tested to the maximum for two weeks.

Lt Col Campbell Close, Officer Commanding, explained the upcoming deployment:

We’re on our mission rehearsal exercise for Op Shader – the land component for British Government operations to assist the fight against Islamic state – to help in the development of Iraqi forces so they can secure their own country.

Cutting-Edge Patrol Vehicles

Preparation for 2 SCOTS included training on the STANTA range in Norfolk. Using Foxhound vehicles and pickup trucks to represent Iraqi vehicles, 2 SCOTS rehearsed the sort of driving skills that will be required on their deployment.

The Foxhound Light Protected Patrol Vehicle is at the cutting edge of protected patrol vehicle technology, providing unprecedented levels of blast protection for its size and weight. Featuring blast survivability close to that of a Mastiff – and just a little bigger than the Snatch Land Rover it replaces – the Foxhound is ideally suited for manoeuvring around narrow backstreets of towns and villages. Weighing in at six tones, it has a top speed of 70mph and can do 0-50mph in just 19 seconds. Four-wheel steering makes it extra agile, with a 40ft turning circle.

The regiment is currently taking part in their mission rehearsal exercise in Norfolk, where they are training for their mentoring and force protection role before they deploy to Iraq

One scenario rehearsed by 2 SCOTS involved improvising a training location when the intended Iraqi Forces camp was rendered unusable. When the soldiers deploy on Op SHADER, this is the sort of daily challenge they could face on the ground.

Commander of C Company, Major Ollie Bridle, said:

We have been training for this mentoring mission for the last six months and we are looking forward to passing on our considerable soldiering skills to the Iraqi Security Forces, to allow them secure the future of their own country.

35 Engineer Regiment Join 2 SCOTS on Op SHADER

2 SCOTS will be joined by other cap badges on their deployment, such as 35 Engineer Regiment. Located in Paderborn, Germany, 35 Engineer Regiment is part of Force Troops Command (FTC) supporting 20 Armoured Infantry Brigade.

Cpl Neil Kilbride, Section Commander of 35 Engineer Regiment, told

We’ve been able to integrate really well, working with forces protection we have the feeling that we’ll be really secure out on the ground when we’re delivering training to the Iraqi armed forces.

The mission comes at a time when the situation in Iraq is rapidly developing. The soldiers have clear aims, to train Iraqi forces and provide force protection, but they will be prepared to meet unexpected events in a dynamic operational theatre.

3 SCOTS, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, will be deployed in January 2018 and are currently training for their role.

Source: British Army (Crown Copyright) and other sources.

Image: British Army Foxhounds of the same type as driven by 2 SCOTS, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (Crown Copyright, 2012).