British Army Royal Welsh Regiment, 1st Battalion (1 R WELSH), on Ex SABER STRIKE 2018 (Crown Copyright, 2018)

Royal Welsh on Ex SABER STRIKE

1 R WELSH Participate in the Multinational Military Exercise SABER STRIKE 2018

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh (1 R WELSH), currently deployed to Estonia on Operation CABRIT, have taken part in Saber Strike 2018, the primary Baltic region military exercise, according to MOD sources.

The Royal Welsh are the lead Battlegroup (BG) element based in Tapa, Estonia, forming NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup. Supporting the BG are the King’s Royal Hussars, 19th Regiment Royal Artillery and elements from the Royal Military Police, Intelligence Corps, Royal Signals, Royal Engineers, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) and Royal Logistics Corps.

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 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.

1 R WELSH wait in ambush on Ex SABER STRIKE 2018.

1 R WELSH wait in ambush on Ex SABER STRIKE 2018 (Crown Copyright, 2018)

The soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh, deployed to Estonia in October 2017, renewing the UK’s commitment to her NATO allies in Europe and providing reassurance in the face of any potential aggression – read ‘Russia’.

Taking over from 5th Battalion The Rifles, which has been in the country since March, 800 soldiers from the Royal Welsh battlegroup lead the multinational enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup, including soldiers from France and Denmark. The battlegroup will be part of the 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade.

The arrival of 1 R Welsh coincided 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 NATO allies.

Sir Michael Fallon, then Secretary of State for Defence, 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, tanks and Typhoons 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.

A bullet riddled car, used on live firing exercises by NATO personnel in the Tapa training area of Estonia (Crown Copyright, 2018)

A bullet riddled car, used on live firing exercises by NATO personnel in the Tapa training area of Estonia (Crown Copyright, 2018)

The UK’s battlegroup forms part of the wider NATO enhanced Forward Presence, with multinational forces deployed across the Baltic States and Poland, led by the US, Canada and Germany. The UK has a further 150 soldiers based in Poland, part of the US led battlegroup and RAF Typhoons have recently completed a four month deployment to Romania, patrolling the Black Sea skies.

1 R WELSH’s involvement in SABER STRIKE follows on from an earlier training exercise in February this year.


Image: Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh (1 R WELSH), seen here in a Warrior Infantry fighting vehicle, taking part in Saber Strike 2018 (Crown Copyright, 2018).