Paras Build on their Urban Combat Skills

Paratroopers have been practising the urban combat skills they might need for operations as part of the Army’s rapid reaction force.

Ex Bayonet Strike has honed the compound clearance skills built up by B Coy 3 PARA during their deployment to Afghanistan in 2010/11. The skills are key to 3 PARA’s current role in the Airborne Task Force (ABTF), which is ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice, to do anything from disaster relief to war fighting.

The training took place at Rock Barracks in Woodbridge, Suffolk, where buildings have been adapted for house-to-house fighting. Over the three-day exercise troops practised entering and searching buildings, working up to securing and entering a complex of buildings to detain identified enemy personnel. It built on the Intelligent Targeting methods developed by 3 PARA for operations in the Nad-e Ali (North) area of Helmand Province. The approach focussed on using intelligence and surveillance to identify the structure of insurgent networks and local communities, with the information used to precisely target individuals and groups to undermine the insurgent threat.

Intelligent Targeting helped 3 PARA make progress in improving security in the area, enabling the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to reach local people and build their confidence as an alternative to the Taliban. The tactics, techniques and procedures have since been studied by ISAF to share with forces operating across Afghanistan.

Maj Geoff Hargreaves, OC B Coy, said: “Our skills from Afghanistan are about capturing rather than killing a targeted individual and they are useful to maintain for 3 PARA’s current role in the ABTF. Operating inside buildings places troops in a very complex physical and human environment. We are going into pitch-black buildings that could have any number of obstacles placed inside and can be heavily defended with a small number of people. At the same time, there could be innocent civilians alongside enemy forces. This is fighting amongst the people and limiting damage and civilian casualties is a key consideration to avoid alienating communities we are trying to help.”

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