Ex Joint Warrior 13 British and French Troops on the Move for Joint Warrior
As part of Ex Joint Warrior, 16 Air Assault Brigade is testing the transport and logistical procedures required to deploy on operations anywhere in the world at short notice.
The 1,300-strong Air Assault Task Force (AATF) was being mobilised to be ready to fly into action by parachute and helicopter at West Freugh, near Stanraer in Scotland. They would be joined by some 300 soldiers from the French 11e Brigade Parachutiste (11e BP). The two brigades are at the forefront of closer military co-operation between Britain and France and have trained together to develop the Intermediate Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (i-CJEF). Joint Warrior provided the final test of i-CJEF’s readiness for contingency operations, ranging from disaster relief to war fighting. HQ staffs have worked together to integrate command and control procedures and units have carried out joint field training in both countries.
On 19th April the combined force started to converge on the Joint Air Mounting Centre (JAMC) in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, the departure point for troops heading off on operations. As well as checking some 300 vehicles and booking soldiers in as if they were boarding flights, logistics specialists practised moving kit by sea. Prioritising the heavy equipment that needs to be flown in during the early stages of an operation and what can arrive up to six weeks later by ship is an important decision for commanders.
Maj Nick Galle, who is in charge of logistic planning, said: “It is important to test the practical elements of moving troops and equipment at short notice and getting them ready to depart by air or sea for where they are needed. By rehearsing these moves now, we will be better prepared if we are called on to do it for real.”
British and French armoured vehicles, fuel tankers, engineering vehicles and trucks were loaded on to MV Anvil Point at Marchwood Military Port in Hampshire on 22nd April to set sail for Scotland.
Sgt Dilo Suka, of 17 Port and Maritime Regt RLC, was in charge of loading the vessel. A former merchant seaman, he said: “It’s important to thoroughly plan how vehicles are loaded, and we’ve got the resources, manpower and time to do that which might not be available at the destination. You don’t want to arrive and start unloading to find out that the first vehicle that is needed is the last one that can get off the ship.”