Britain has deployed 8,000 troops, 72 Challenger 2 tanks, 12 AS90 tracked artillery guns, 120 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles and numerous combat aircraft to exercise in Europe in order to “deter Russian aggression”.

The move, say the Ministry of Defence, “demonstrates the Army’s modernisation into a lethal, agile and global force”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was quoted as saying:

“The security of Europe has never been more important. These exercises will see our troops join forces with allies and partners across NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force in a show of solidarity and strength in one of the largest shared deployments since the Cold War. Operating across Europe, the British Army will stand alongside partners, combining our capabilities and shared values, promoting peace and security.”

Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse said:

“The UK makes a significant contribution to the defence of Europe and the deterrence of Russian aggression. The British Army’s series of exercises is fundamental to both. We continue to deploy across Europe, from the Baltic to the Aegean, to train and fight alongside our allies and partners, providing powerful, capable and ready forces to support NATO and show the UK’s commitment to peace and security.

A wide range of units from the Field Army will be involved, from light and airborne forces, to helicopters and armoured forces, supported by artillery, electronic warfare, air defence, surveillance drones, engineers and logisticians. The scale of the deployment, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British Army, will deter aggression at a scale not seen in Europe this century.”

What exercises are planned?

According to the Ministry of Defence here…

  • Troops from B Squadron of the Queen’s Royal Hussars have deployed to Finland this week to take part in Exercise Arrow. They will be embedded into a Finnish Armoured Brigade, with participation from other partners including the US, Latvia and Estonia. The exercise will improve the ability of UK and Finnish troops to work alongside each other as part of the JEF, deterring Russian aggression in Scandinavia and the Baltic states.
  • In May, Exercise Hedgehog will see the Royal Welsh Battlegroup and the Royal Tank Regiment exercising on the Estonia-Latvia border alongside 18,000 NATO troops, including French and Danish, who are part of the British-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence. Hedgehog is the biggest military exercise in Estonia and takes place every four years.
  • Alongside Exercise Hedgehog, Exercise Defender in Poland is ongoing until late May, with 1,000 soldiers from the King’s Royal Hussars Battlegroup and C Squadron of the Light Dragoons deployed alongside troops from 11 partner nations including Poland, Denmark and the United States. This exercise involves Challenger 2 tanks and other armoured vehicles deploying from the NATO Forward Holding Base in Sennelager, Germany. The deployment is supported by 104 Theatre Sustainment Brigade operating from the UK and in bases in Europe.
  • Exercise Swift Response, which also began this week, sees elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and 1 Aviation Brigade Combat Team operate alongside French, American, Italian, and Albanian counterparts in North Macedonia. There are 4,500 personnel on the exercise including 2,500 British troops. The exercise involves parachute drops, helicopter-borne air assaults and sees a company of French paratroopers integrated into the 2 Parachute Regiment Battlegroup and an Italian battlegroup working to a British chain of command.

The Ministry of Defence added that “these exercises showcase the scale and significance of the British Army’s contribution to the defence of Europe and highlight the continued importance of the leadership role which UK plays as a member of NATO and the JEF.”

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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TypewriterMonkey
TypewriterMonkey
3 days ago

One minute people are talking about a smaller army and tanks being obsolete… and in the next minute troops and tanks are being deployed to Europe.

Grizzler
Grizzler
2 days ago

Yeah – you’d think they would have had somone do some sort of review of UK defence …maybe a strategic one…that may have identified some of the future requirement…..laughable isn’t.

Jay R
Jay R
3 days ago

Let’s face it. The UK now needs 500 MBTs. 2 reasons: Attrition, the Ukraine shows us tanks are expendable. The 2nd is Requirement, the Ukraine war shows us without MBTs you don’t hold ground. The integrated review is obsolete, not the tank.

Steve
Steve
3 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Not so sure on the second point, Ukraine has managed to hold a lot of ground without MBT in the area. Certainly Ukraine war has shown us that MBT used poorly are a massive liability and that defenders can help with that by forcing them to funnel into dense urban areas where they become a turkey shoot.

Jay R
Jay R
3 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Another area where I think the British Army lacks is tracked Sam systems.

James
James
2 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Starsteak seems to work quite well.

AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Ukraine have a lot of MBT, many more than UK..

If British Army was at war like this and as long would have been without Challengers by now.

Steve
Steve
1 day ago
Reply to  AlexS

For sure, but we don’t have a land border with anyone, and especially not anyone that is a threat. Our military isn’t really for defense, it’s for fighting at distance.

James
James
3 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Its also shown that a number of troops running around with very portable anti tank weapons can take out MBT’s with ease.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
3 days ago
Reply to  James

Against the Russians old junk yes ATGM have worked brilliantly.

I doubt the Ukrainians would be able to do the same against modern western equipment and tactics. The west has far better optics thermal/nightvision way more different types of drones. I just don’t think they would be able to get near western troops without getting slaughtered.

Jay R
Jay R
3 days ago

Russian junk?

Jon
Jon
2 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

If they weren’t junk before…

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
2 days ago
Reply to  Jon

lol 👍

Farouk
Farouk
2 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Jay,
The following You Tube video from last Sept illuminates the Junk issue
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q83AIJCGaQ

James
James
2 days ago

Thats a massive assumption that the western designed portable equipment is not even slightly designed to be capable of taking out western tanks, of which the designers will no doubt have designed them against.

Drones as you mention it are another area completely and the main argument against the tank, need numerous layers of defence for a tank to be able to defend against drones.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
2 days ago
Reply to  James

Sorry, you’ve misunderstood me. The ATGM i do not doubt that they would very likely take out a western tank. What I doubt though is Western tank falling into the same number of ambushes. The would definitely fall in to some but nothing like what the Russians have. Western tanks have far superior optics and would have a much better chance of spotting people waiting in ambush. The west also has all sorts of drones flying over head that would more likely spot waiting ambushes. Then there’s the different doctrine the west uses compared to the Russians. Let put it… Read more »

Sean
Sean
3 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Why on earth do we need 500 tanks?
What major military power are we going to war against without our NATO allies?
It makes more sense for Poland and Germany to have huge tank fleets, and for us to concentrate on sea and air capabilities. We’d still need tanks for an expeditionary force but to blow upwards of £3.5 billion on just tanks…! 🤦🏻‍♂️

Jay R
Jay R
3 days ago
Reply to  Sean

WW3 looms. We need more of everything.

James
James
2 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

If that kicks off who gives a toss how many tanks anyone has, they will make naff all difference to anyone!

Grizzler
Grizzler
2 days ago
Reply to  Sean

So we shouldn’t need to send any tanks into Europe at all then – phew thank god for that …Boris best call them back.

Sean
Sean
2 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

No we shouldn’t except that Germany hasn’t the tank force it should have because it’s so underfunded defence. 🤷🏻‍♂️
Poland does have the numbers, but those are temporarily dropping due to their donation to Ukraine, which is why we are covering them.

grizzler
grizzler
2 days ago
Reply to  Sean

So they dont have enough then

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Agreed. A modest increase back to 3 regiments going forward and a small increase in the 148 CH3 is sensible. That enables all 3 mechanized or armoured BCT to have an armoured regiment.

500 tanks is around 9 regiments worth, not had that many Armd Reg s8nce BAOR and in 98 we had 6.

Fantasy fleets.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 days ago

The sensible voice of reason as always 👍

Farouk
Farouk
3 days ago

A little off topic but duty rumour has it those pesky Ukrainians have done it again: I quote:
“”Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate of the Russian Navy Black Sea Fleet is reportedly on fire near Zmiiny island in Black Sea.””

Last edited 3 days ago by Farouk
ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
3 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Just seen that on the Daily Express. Good for them if they’ve taken another ship out.

Sean
Sean
2 days ago

The Independent is reporting it too! 🤞🏻

Matt
Matt
2 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Daily Express and Independent.

Two peas in a pod. 😎

And they both require a second, reliable, source.

Hope it’s true, and India can wave goodbye to the one due for delivery soon.

Last edited 2 days ago by Matt
ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
2 days ago
Reply to  Matt

Hope it’s true, and India can wave goodbye to the one due for delivery soon.

Hey maybe after seeing how crap Russian gear is they might want to buy a nice new T31 or maybe even a T26.

Jay R
Jay R
2 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

This is very significant. That is a major vessel. Again what failed. Failure to aquire the missiles, or failure to intercept?

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Early days yet, but one of the class in the Black Sea is said to have shot down a TB2 earlier in the war. The ships are armed for air defence with a maritime version of Buk, which is pretty good by all accounts. Both Ukraine and Russia have had results with the land based version. Plus they have the ubiquitous AK630s either side of the hangar. Remains to be seen how it has been it and why?

Grizzler
Grizzler
2 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

You would have though they would have learned how to correctly store ammo on board after that last fire wouldnt you…

Jon
Jon
2 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

It’s claimed (Internet gossip) to be the Makarov, sister ship to the Admiral Essen that Ukraine has also claimed to damage.

This must be really satisfying to Ukraine. After 2014, Ukraine stopped supplying Russia with gas turbine engines, and it was Essen and Makarov that took the brunt, being fitted with inferior Russian engines. It was even thought that the last three frigates in the class would have to be sold to India. Alas, Saturn engines are improving, so the the final three are scheduled to join the Russian navy later this decade.

JohninMK
JohninMK
2 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Looks as if it was just a rumour. Nothing anywhere about it since. Probable another use of computer game footage. I put a bigger response in the thread started on it as a subject.

She’s basically not only skipping her modernization cycles but also not even in fighting condition. The S-300FM illuminator have problems, AK-630 have problems, OSA have problems and apparently her MR-800 Air Search Radar interfered Satcom antenna. and she sent into combat in such condition. so sad.

Airborne
Airborne
1 day ago
Reply to  JohninMK

So stupid, why sad?. Do you want the Russians to take land illegaly and continue to kill people?

Steve M
Steve M
2 days ago

We used to have troops deployed in Europe to deter Russia (Soviet Union) for 40 years it was called BAOR! so nothing new really used years of penny pinching to$$ers now having to smell the crap they have shovelled for 25years

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago

It doesn’t demonstrate an agile lethal global force MoD, quit your spin.

It demonstrates HMG are prepared ( rightly ) to commit what forces we have left after their endless cuts despite everything.

Grizzler
Grizzler
2 days ago

As an alternative view on that …if Dowding had given into peer pressure in 1939 and sent all our fighters over to France…we’d have been buggered in 1940 wouldnt we.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be on the front foot or provide assistance to our allies …but as an advocate for a small (ish) tank force you cant really expect all of it to be sent over to Europe, unless we truly will have no need of it in the UK.
What are our Eurpoean allies providing in the way of heavy armour

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Yes, Dowding was right.

Given that I see no need for Tanks on the UKs streets I don’t have an issue with them sent to where they may be needed.

My issue is there should be 3 regiments, not 2.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago

And it still doesn’t demonstrate being agile, lethal or global because of “modernisation” ( cuts ) which was my main point. I always call out the MoD spin for what it is. They also came out with the same flowery nonsense after SDSR 2010 and New Chapter 2004. AM Stirrup told us the cuts would modernise the forces ready for the challenges of an uncertain world. And here we are. The Army has been globally deployable for decades. The Army is less lethal than its ever been. Where is the new artillery with precision guided munitions and the other improvements… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 days ago

To be fair it seems the artillery is coming. Perhaps not as soon as some might like and maybe not in the numbers, we’ll have to see on the latter. The tube artillery decision (155mm) for IOC later this decade is likely to be wheeled, for the lower cost, lower logistics requirement and mobility. Several good options exist and it should be a low risk program (I know, I know). What a replacement capability for 105mm looks like is less clear, apart from it not being towed in order to support shoot-n-scoot in the face of proliferating counter-artillery solutions. It… Read more »

grizzler
grizzler
2 days ago

I dont disagree – I was just saying that we cant give all our force to defend europe…mainly because we dont have enough.

p_thomas
p_thomas
1 day ago

Hellos..I never leave messages I just watch, but this time I’m thinking. . .all this about UK tanks/ lack of etc.. would anyone know if the UK did in fact destroy the 72 challenger ranks that were put up for final disposal a few years back