Rye News is pleased to report the latest news from Kenya, where Rye’s local infantry regiment, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, has been taking part in Exercise Askari Storm.
From January to May 2022 around 700 personnel from 1 PWRR and attachments from other units deployed to Kenya as part of the Land Regional Hub (Kenya) (LRH(K)), with the aim of carrying out Short Term Training Teams (STTT) across Africa and validating as a light role Battle Group (BG) in readiness to deploy as part of the high readiness Joint Expeditionary Force Light Brigade (JEF Light Brigade).
The deployment began with a number of STTTs across Africa which covered the spectrum of expertise held in the BG, including tracking, combat medicine, and protective mobility to name a few. A team from Y Company, 1 PWRR deployed to Uganda to teach protective mobility to the Ugandan Army before their deployment with the African Union, protective mobility is the use of armoured vehicles to move around the battlefield, Captain Gill the team commander said that it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things he has done in his career so far. The STTTs have given soldiers from 1 PWRR the experience of working with other militaries and furthering their experiences in training and development with the added benefit of experiencing a new culture.
While in Kenya, opportunities were taken to carry out community engagement projects in the local area, one of those being the building of a bridge in the local village of Dol Dol, this was completed by 37 Squadron, Royal Engineers who were attached to the BG. As well as this the Rifle Companies conducted an experimentation exercise, looking at dispersion. Each experiment battle lane involved a move from a drop-off point into a Company forming up point under radio silence. Each Company conducted dispersed movement at Fire Team (4 people), Section (8 people), and Multiple level (12 people). On completion of a dispersed move, the companies conducted 3 x Company deliberate night attacks against a thinking enemy provided by a platoon from 2 Mercian. Experimentation has been hugely beneficial to the Companies by pushing the boundaries of mission command and empowering junior commanders. A very positive experience.
The final task for the BG in Kenya was Ex Askari Storm, a 3-week exercise on the Lolldaiga mountain range that sought to test the BG in a number of offensive and defensive scenarios to judge whether the battalion is ready to deploy on operations, these were complex and involved a number of supporting operations such as conducting obstacle crossings with bridging assets. The exercise was challenging for all members of the BG made more difficult by the tough terrain and the abundance of dangerous wildlife such as elephants and lions, these environmental conditions have allowed soldiers across the BG to push their boundaries and to conduct training which many have not experienced before. The BG successfully validated after the exercise and all members performed admirably despite the attempts by the wildlife to scupper our plans.
Kenya has been an amazing opportunity for all those that have deployed, and every member of the BG has gained a positive experience whether that be on exercise or during adventurous training or community engagement. The cultural and environmental challenges of operating outside the UK have helped shape the BG into a better and more cohesive unit in preparation for future operations, wherever they may be. The battalion is now looking forward to some well-earned leave and then preparing for exercises in Louisiana, USA, and Salisbury Plain.
1 PWRR’s home base is currently at Artillery Barracks Woolwich
Image Credits: Tom McShane .