Hundreds of British soldiers have been undergoing intense training in low temperatures in Estonia, say the British Army.
“During the two weeks of Exercise Winter Camp, the 5 RIFLES-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup has trained in deep snow and freezing conditions on the Central Training Area near its base in Tapa. To prepare troops for Winter Camp the Battlegroup took part in a Cold Weather Operator’s Course learning to build shelters, staying out in conditions well below freezing, and surviving jumping into ice cold lakes.”
Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hadfield, Commanding Officer of the Battlegroup, explained in a news release:
“As British soldiers we don’t often soldier in -20 degrees Celsius or this kind of depth of snow. It presents equipment challenges, clothing challenges, as well as different tactics, and the cold weather operators course provides that foundational baseline bit of training, to make sure that we can build upon that and be as good a team as we can be.”
Meanwhile, the British Army say that the Challenger Main Battle tanks of D Squadron Queen’s Royal Hussars “tackled the snow and ice of forest tracks as they trained with the Estonian Defence Force’s (EDF) Scouts Battalion”.
“The Estonians are experienced out here and they know what they are doing with tanks and can guide the commanders to positions they want to utilise us. They can have their CV90s alongside us,” said Trooper Cameron Dixon of D Squadron.
“This is by far the coldest exercise I have done,” he said. “You’ve got to keep warm, eat hot food and move about while maintaining the tanks. You’ve got to keep layered up too and it can be quite tight inside the tank with body armour on, but you’ve got push through.”