77th Brigade in Belize for Mayan Storm
British Army Media Operations Film Jungle Warfare Training
Soldiers from the British Army’s 77th Brigade have been in Belize to film jungle training as part of Exercise Mayan Storm. Elements of 4 RIFLES, 1 SCOTS and the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, together with the Royal Marine’s 42 Commando have been on jungle warfare training, giving the Army’s information operations experts of 77th Brigade the opportunity to shoot some unique footage as troops practice stealth maneouvre in one of the most challenging environments.
The British Army has maintained a presence in Belize since its independence. The Central American country was formerly known as British Honduras and continues to be a part of the Commonwealth. Currently the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) enables close country and tropical environment training to troops from the UK and international partners.
The 4th Battalion, The Rifles (4 RIFLES) and the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 SCOTS) are part of the Army’s Special Infantry Group, meaning that they are tasked to deploy to austere and high-threat theatres, while the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery (The North East Gunners) are a Light Gun support regiment equipped with the L118 light gun, a 105 mm towed field gun. Members of 77th Brigade were there to shoot a series of videos showing the soldiers training for jungle warfare.
The British Army Training Support Unit Belize is manned by 12 permanent staff and employs more than 100 local civilians. The BATSUB carries out up to five dismounted close combat exercises per year, of varying size, as well as hosting the final exercise of the notoriously tough British Army Platoon Commander’s Battle Course, which runs three times a year.
BATSUB is based in Price Barracks, which is also home to the Belize Defence Force.
A star of one of 77th Brigade’s videos, Corporal Vaughan, 4 RIFLES, said:
You have to traverse steep banks, cross rivers and get your way through dense jungle. You need to be fast, agile and use maximum battlefield discipline in the trees as the enemy will be on you before you can see them. We have the confidence that our core skills have been tested and perfected in the most austere environment, so we will be ready for any future operations.
Lt Col Peter Baines, Commanding Officer 4 RIFLES, tweeted a video of Mayan Storm, commenting “Forget PlayStation. This is real.”
Image: a soldier on Mayan Storm jungle warfare training in Belize partially obscured by foliage, highlighting one of the challenges of the environment at BATSUB (video still, Crown Copyright, 2018).