British troops have arrived in the Netherlands this week as part of a massive 2,500km move by road to Norway for Exercise Trident Juncture, NATO’s flagship exercise in 2018.

In Norway, 2,700 UK personnel will contribute to the large-scale and complex exercise which will test NATO’s most important founding principle of collective defence in an article 5 scenario – when an attack on one is an attack on all.

With some 150 aircraft, 40,000 participants and 10,000 vehicles, this is the largest collective defence exercise NATO has conducted in over a decade.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“NATO is the bedrock of our defence where Britain plays a leading role. Whenever the call comes, the UK is foremost in stepping up to support our friends and allies across the globe.

This exercise demonstrates the strength of our collective defence. Together we are ready to tackle any threat, from any direction.”

Earlier this week British Army vehicles and equipment were loaded onto Channel Tunnel trains before arriving in The Netherlands today as part of the complex logistical task of transporting a Battlegroup to Norway – a journey that includes road, rail and ferry.

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Billythefish
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Billythefish

Why don’t they just sail across the North Sea in a transport vessel?

Frank
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Frank

Presumably, they want to test the current ability for large-scale deployment, via railway, to mainland Europe. As would happen in the event of Russian aggression.

David
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David

I think they should count into the 40,000 phantom divisions as per the Russian exercises so it shows 150,000 instead of 40,000. We should also create some imaginary weaponry like galactic battlecruisers and startroopers with terminator style attack units and force our media to plaster it over the news like RT do.

antidote
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antidote

We seem to have a different take on propaganda compared to the Russians. We tend to underplay our abilities, whereas Russia overplays theirs.

In reality, the Russians are weak as people. The only things they have going for them, in a time of war, are that they, ie those in control, will use their own people as cannon fodder to win, and they will ignore every treaty and international law in the book. Both of which can be quite effective in winning in the short term.

George
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George

Hi folks,
Yes good point about why not have used ships? I would guess the issue is also to look at the various options of transporting military hardware via other means rather than rely on sea as this may be risky and voulnarable to attacks. Best to keep options open and test various methods. In addition, this also gives good practice to other transport providers such as Channel Tunnel private providers, which of course would be reacquisitioned during a state of emergency.

Frank
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Frank

In 2012 the last dedicated unit, the 79th Railway Squadron, was disbanded and the capability of ferrying armour by train abandoned.

This same capability was re-instated (or planned for) not four days ago: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1028069/army-will-take-on-Russia-by-train (yes I know it is the Express, but filter out the rubbish that is still good news).

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Frank the MOD still move armoured vehicles and other stuff by train on a regular basis from Ashchurch Bicester Didcot Kineton to SMC Marchwood.

Just not the army doing it?

I thought 17 PMR had a railway capability still, or may be it’s with the reserves now.

Frank
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Frank

Not this is of course very true, perhaps the MoD want the army to take ownership of it now?

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

The TA had a Railway squadron. Apparently they trained in steam engines at various preserved railways, giving fuel to the rumour of a “Strategic Reseve”

Having people from Network Rail working with the Reserves is a capability worth expanding in my view.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Apart from Franks point, maybe the ships simply are not there to be used if the Commando’s are already using them?

Lyme Bay and Cardigan Bay are headed for Oman I believe. And at least 1 Point. No idea where the other Points are, maybe on the South Atlantic run?

Good that they are using the railways in my view.

Billythefish
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Billythefish

Most likely analysis is that the UK can no longer assure the safety of the home waters and ports due to the reduction in naval capability, therefore must attempt to use continental railways (which themselves would be rendered unusable fairly quickly).

Billythefish
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Billythefish

Sorry – last comment I promise – if there are no RFA ships able to be tasked (as may be the case in the actual time of need) then they should be drilling scenarios where ships are taken up from trade (STUFT) to ensure this is still a ready option should the need arise.

Pongoglo
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Pongoglo

Nice to see lots of Foxhounds in their smart new green livery me thinks!

BV Buster
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BV Buster

They do look odd in green.

Lusty
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Lusty

Judging by the videos released on Social Media by the Army, they’ve utilised at least one Point Class for this.

I know two ships were used to ferry equipment to Oman, and at least one of those is taking part in the exercises.

BB85
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BB85

Does anyone know if the Fox hound is expected to remain in service long term or will it be replaced by the JLTV?
Just wondering if it was one of the vehicles purchased as an urgent operational requirement that will then be sold off when we receive the JLTV.
Does anyone know if the Mastiff’s etc where ever shipped back from the middle east?

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Mastiff went into core budget like the other UOR vehicles.

Equips 3 Heavy Protected Mobility Battalions currently.

Being replaced by 4 Battalions on MIV.

The Foxhound battalions didnt last but I see the RAF Regiment is using them? Is this standard issue or for exercise only?

BB85
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BB85

Thanks for the info.

Pacman27
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Pacman27

We bought c.400 of them didn’t we and I think they do offer a good capability.

I thought these were retained – certainly the photo above would indicate that they are standard equipment and they also look in very pristine condition.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Pac I’m curious who now uses them?

6 Infantry Battalions were equipped with them and renamed Light Protected Mobility Battalions but that lasted a year or so and already they’ve reverted back to Light Infantry.

So if they are retained I’m pleased to see it.

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

Not exactly on par with a 1980s Reforger though.
Still, it will keep the Loggies happy messing about with trains and ferries.