Royal Welsh on Exercise in Estonia
British Army Lead Battlegroup on Ex Winter Camp
The British Army are currently deployed on Op CABRIT supporting NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP), with forces located in Estonia and Poland.
The eFP in the Baltic States sees the deployment of a robust, multinational, combat-ready force, that forms part of a wider package of initiatives designed to enhance Euro-Atlantic security, reassure our Allies and deter our adversaries.
About 800 military personnel are working alongside and supporting Danish, US, Croatian and Romanian military forces as well as the home nations of Poland and Estonian.
Op CABRIT Deployment
The Royal Welsh are the lead Battlegroup (BG) element based in Tapa, Estonia. Supporting the BG are the Kings Royal Hussars, 19th Regiment Royal Artillery and elements from the Royal Military Police, Intelligence Corps, Royal Signals, Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers and Royal Logistics Corps.
The Royal Welsh was formed in 2006 by the amalgamation of The Royal Welch Fusiliers and The Royal Regiment of Wales, two distinguished infantry regiments of the line, whose legacy goes back to the year 1689.
The 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh operates as the Lead Armoured Infantry task force in the British Army; a new concept in Army 2020 and sees the Battalion regularly deploy to BATUS in order to remain at Full Operating Capability.
Members of the 1st Battalion have completed operational tours of both Iraq and Afghanistan and have recently deployed on Operation HERRICK 11 and Operation HERRICK 16. During Operation HERRICK 11, members of the battalion played a leading role spearheading Operation MOSHTARAK in order to clear insurgents from areas of central Helmand.
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh, deployed to Estonia in October 2017, renewing the UK’s commitment to our NATO allies in Europe and standing ready to defend in the face of any potential aggression.
Taking over from 5th Battalion The Rifles, which has been in the country since March, 400 Royal Welsh soldiers arrived from their Lucknow Barracks base in Tidworth, Wiltshire. They will be part of an 800-strong UK presence.
Following an official ceremony earlier today, they will now lead the multinational Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup, supported by the King’s Royal Hussars, Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery as well as soldiers from France and Denmark. The battlegroup is part of the 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade.
Facing the Russian Threat
The arrival of the Royal Welsh coincides with the second in a series of visits from four RAF Typhoons to Estonia, ready to train and work with UK personnel on the ground as well as our NATO allies.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “Nobody should be in any doubt of our unwavering commitment to the security of Europe through NATO in the face of Russian belligerence.
“In the face of intensifying threats, the UK has stepped up across Europe, with soldiers and tanks, typhoons and troops deployed from Estonia to Romania.
“Our Enhanced Forward Presence is a strategic tripwire that we will maintain on an enduring footing.”
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Owain Luke added: “Having completed a demanding period of training in the UK and Canada earlier this year, we are delighted to have finally arrived in Estonia.
“We now look forward to training and operating with the 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade and our French and Danish allies as part of NATO’s wider defensive posture across the Baltic States and Poland.”
Ex Winter Camp
Winter Camp is a multi-national, UK/Estonian lead exercise that will test and confirm mission specific training whilst operating in a cold weather environment. It will test the soldiers and equipment whilst enhancing the interoperability between NATO nations.
The Royal Welsh are working closely with the 19th Regiment, Royal Artillery, who are equipped with the AS90 Self-Propelled Artillery gun.
Image: British Army 1st Battalion Royal Welsh on Ex Winter Camp in Estonia (Crown Copyright, 2018).