British and French paratroopers are training side-by-side to be ready to respond together to international crises.
Exercise Wessex Storm sees the 2 PARA Battlegroup, which includes a company from the French 2e Régiment Etranger de Parachutistes, training on c to confirm its skills and readiness to serve as the lead infantry unit within 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s global response force.
The six-week manoeuvres (2 Nov-12 Dec) has started with live-fire battle runs for the French paratroopers to introduce them to British training procedures and British and French paratroopers demonstrating the capabilities of each other’s heavy weapons. The troops fired their anti-tank missiles – Javelin for the British and MILAN for the French – and mortars to show the capabilities of each other’s weapons and the tactics each employs, to be able to work together better.
The 2 PARA Battlegroup is a 1,500-strong unit built around the paratroopers of Colchester-based 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, supported by signallers, engineers, artillery, medics and logistics specialists from 16 Air Assault Brigade. It is training to be ready to deploy at short notice on operations around the world. The involvement of 2e REP is about maintaining the partnership between British and French airborne forces, which have been trained and deploy to deploy together on operations since 2013.
Wessex Storm, which is being carried out with strict protocols to manage the threat of coronavirus, will test the full range of the force’s capabilities, building up to a demanding simulated mission involving parachuting, rapid air landing and air assault operations.