A contingent of British Army personnel, based mainly in Cyprus, have deployed to the northern deserts of Egypt to train with the Egyptian counterparts for four weeks.
This article was submitted to the UK Defence Journal by Robert Clark.
Exercise AHMOSE (named after the Pharaoh and founder of the eighteenth dynasty) will see members of 2 Royal Anglian, ‘The Poachers’, deployed alongside members of both the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and 4 Rifles.
All three battalions bring regional expertise to this training exercise. Currently the Regional Standby Battalion and based at Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area, east Cyprus, ‘The Poachers’ have been exercising around the eastern Mediterranean for two years, and before that fought in Afghanistan in addition to a previous posting in Cyprus.
Permanently stationed at the other end of the Mediterranean perched on the Atlantic and dominating the straits, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment have trained annually in north Africa as part of the British Military Advisory Training Teams in Morocco, forging close ties with the Kingdom since 2000.
Expeditionary in nature as one of the re-orbatted Specialised Infantry Battalions, 4 Rifles are the British Army’s designated north Africa and Middle East specialists, providing additional regional expertise to Exercise AHMOSE.
These three units have been training for this oversees deployment in recent weeks, conducting live firing packages and coaching courses to enable the soldiers to deliver world-class coaching and mentoring to members of the Egyptian military they’ll be working alongside for the next month.
The Egyptian Army has been waging a counter-insurgency in the restive Sinai Peninsula, far from where the British forces will be operating, since 2011 and the Arab Spring, and again from 2013 with the ousting of President Morsi. Egyptian fatalities resulting from the current violence against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Sinai Province, have been in the thousands, with no immediate end in sight.
With a training package centred around core Infantry skills, including marksmanship, contact drills, medical lessons and counter-IED, it is hoped that over the coming weeks some of these hard-earned British skills will be passed onto their Egyptian counter-parts who are still heavily engaged in the fight against Islamic terrorism.