Things To Do On Op SHADER
The British Army’s Grenadier Guards at Camp Taji, Iraq
For the British Army on Op SHADER, when not patrolling or training local forces, the natural thing to do is organise a combined forces endurance stress shoot.
The British Army has today released photographs showing soldiers deployed on Operation SHADER, the codename for the fight against the Islamic State, taking part in a gruelling test of marksmanship under the sizzling Iraqi sun. With the thermometer hitting highs of 44 degrees Celsius, British Soldiers in full battle dress shot it out with colleagues from the Australian Defence Force at Camp Taji on August 6.
Located in the so-called Sunni Triangle, an area populated by Sunni Muslims, Camp Taji is a former military base of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Republican Guard. Chemical weapons were manufactured here before the base was captured by US forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Americans renamed the base Camp Cooke in honour of the 1st Armoured Division Command Sergeant Major who was killed during OIF I.
The US now operates Camp Taji as a joint base, with Iraqi military forces in a separate compound known as Camp Bennet. The Wall Street Journal published a story highlighting the differences between the US and Iraqi sides of the camp.
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Grenadier Guards (1 GREN GDS), including members of the Guards Parachute Platoon, are currently deployed on Op SHADER to train local forces, including the Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Security Forces.
As well as the Australian Defence Force, other participants included soldiers from Bandit Troop of the US Army’s 3rd Calvary Regiment. The British soldiers were able to put their new SA80 A3 assault rifles up against the US Army’s M-4 rifle.
The German army (Deutsches Heer) also has a small detachment based at the camp, according to Der Spiegel.
The United Kingdom training team also carried out a simulated casualty drill as part of the exercise.
Task Group Taji’s quick reaction force was practicing the skills vital to defending the camp against possible enemy action.
Sources: British Army, Ministry of Defence, Der Spiegel
Image: A British Grenadier Guards soldier, with the United Kingdom training team, fires his SA80 A3 Assault Rifle during a combined forces endurance stress shoot at Camp Taji, Iraq, Aug. 6, 2018 (Crown Copyright, 2018).