Exercise Citadel Guibert 18, which is taking place this week in Reims, France, plays a key part in the close relationship between 12 UK Armoured Infantry Brigade and their French counterparts in the 1st French Division, say officials.

Both the British and French armed forces provide a rapid reaction force, held at high readiness to deploy on operations anywhere in the world say the British Army in a press release.

“Together they form the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) designed to deploy across the full spectrum of contingency operations, ranging from disaster relief to war fighting.

Exercise Citadel Guibert saw staff from the two nations working side-by-side, as well as with other NATO allies, to practise command and control of an operation to stabilise a fictional region troubled by international disputes, terrorism and humanitarian problems.”

Captain Ian Thornton, 12 AI Brigade Battle Captain, said of the exercise:

“Exercise Citadel Guibert is essentially designed to prove that we can fight effectively as allies, in seamless terms.

The scenario sees an insurgency break away and declare independence. The 1st French Division deploys to ensure the end state. As part of the plan, 12 AI Brigade move over the divisional border to take key objectives and persuade the insurgents to surrender.”

The CJEF is based on a lead nation approach with one or other nation providing the majority of the troops and command structure, depending on the operational and political situation.

The Rapid Reaction Corps-France is a NATO unit capable of commanding national or multinational forces. Its mission is to provide France with a rapidly deployable headquarters that can be employed within the full mission spectrum and under several mandates (French, NATO, EU, Coalition or Partner Nation). It consists of representatives from 15 countries.

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Tightening military links with what will be former EU partners, should help during and after the Brexit transitional period. The Teresa May is right to envision the importance of leaving the EU, but not Europe. I would like to see increased military cooperation between the UK and Germany too. I know the UK will have little or no part in the planned EU Military Council, however, I believe both France and Germany will wish to continue strong and close cooperation with the UK, regardless of what happens to the current NATO status.

Andy G

Who else can france cooperte with? Germany has nothing to offer.

David Steeper

Maurice even if we wanted to. Germany has nothing for us to co-operate with.


Come on David, you know as well as I do that Germany can still field a formidable force, even with the few serviceable L2/6’s they currently have in service. Germany has a bit of an issue on its hands. If it spends billions on rearming its forces to say, 1960’s levels, she might just find herself as a prime contributor to EU and European defence? Current leadership and the hodgepodge coalition government, simply appear not to be too enthused by being top dog in the military stakes.

David Steeper

Maurice there’s precious little evidence that Germany intends to expand it’s military in any significant way. They’ve got us to a small extent but mostly the US for that job while they spend the cash they save on their economy.

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Germany is still a force to be reckoned with. Their ORBAT is on a par with ours but short of the French, who have more paras, tanks, guns and helicopters than anyone but the Turks! We will always be uneasy partners but 200 years of detente must count for something! Macron seems more plausible than previous French premier’s but brexit still rankles for all. The grown ups however are starting to get their heads around it. So must we. Without selling ourselves down the river.

Mr J Bell

Bill..spot on..the last line is telling Without selling ourselves down the river. We need to remember that in terms of defence, security, intelligence we hold most of the cards and are the number 2 militarily in Europe. After France. Although if we get some key programmes right and a small increase in military personnel numbers we could surpass France. Key programmes to invest in More astute class subs aim for a further 3-4 subs. Poseidon MPA 9 aircraft is really a token force able to reactively deploy to threat areas not proactively hunt down and prosecute enemy contacts over a… Read more »


Do you never get bored with fantasy numbers? Have you thought if taking up bird watching or train spotting “If only we had some more Deltics and Mk 2Fs, we could solve the railway problems.”

R Cummings

I think Mr Bell is quite right to be expansive in looking at what we actually NEED as a minimum force, as opposed to slavishly accepting what we’re told we can afford by politicians and governments with different agendas. I doubt that one Brit in 10,000 has the faintest idea how slim our armed forces have become and how little we could now influence any major conflict. They bask in the warm glow of having a couple of big-ticket items, in the SSBNs and carriers, and believe all the government boasting about how little Britain is spending more than anyone… Read more »