British and French soldiers train together at Otterburn

British and French sol­diers have been tak­ing part in a train­ing exer­cise this week at the Otter­burn Train­ing Area in Northum­ber­land as part of the con­tin­u­ing rela­tion­ship between French and British Army units.

A French sol­dier from 8th Marine Infantry Para­chute Reg­i­ment tak­ing part in Exer­cise Boars Head at Otter­burn Train­ing Area [Pic­ture: Sergeant Russ Nolan RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The British sol­diers are from 5th Bat­tal­ion The Roy­al Reg­i­ment of Scot­land (5 SCOTS), while the French come from the 8th Marine Infantry Para­chute Reg­i­ment, a unit of the French 11th Para­chute Brigade. 

They have been train­ing togeth­er on Exer­cise Boars Head, a com­pa­ny lev­el live fir­ing exer­cise which builds on the two coun­tries’ mil­i­tary co-oper­a­tion fol­low­ing the sign­ing of the Defence and Secu­ri­ty Co-oper­a­tion Treaty by Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron and French Pres­i­dent Nico­las Sarkozy in Novem­ber 2010. 

Offi­cer Com­mand­ing A Com­pa­ny, 5 SCOTS, Major Neil Brown, explained the ratio­nale and pur­pose of the exercise: 

“Dur­ing Novem­ber 2010, on the eve of the events that hap­pened in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the Prime Min­is­ter and French Pres­i­dent signed a secu­ri­ty co-oper­a­tion treaty. 

“The Prime Min­is­ter and Pres­i­dent Sarkozy cre­at­ed a joint mech­a­nism to address out­side threats against the UK and France. Its pur­pose was to save expen­di­ture on weapons, and to form joint expe­di­tionary forces.” 

Explain­ing the lat­est exer­cise Major Brown continued: 

“5 SCOTS and 8th Marine Infantry Para­chute Reg­i­ment exchanged dif­fer­ent meth­ods of mil­i­tary tac­tics used by the two armies to make it eas­i­er for both for­ma­tions to train, and ulti­mate­ly serve in future con­flicts together.” 

The train­ing involved a wide range of live fir­ing exer­cis­es, from pla­toon to com­pa­ny lev­el, and sup­port­ing weapon sys­tems, and saw the French com­pa­ny con­duct­ing live fire attacks sup­port­ed by a British fire sup­port team in a demand­ing environment. 

16 Air Assault Brigade, of which 5 SCOTS are a part, have been tasked with build­ing an oper­a­tional part­ner­ship with the French 11th Para­chute Brigade, with par­tic­u­lar focus on con­tin­gency oper­a­tions as the UK returns 16 Brigade to con­tin­gent capability. 

16 Air Assault is the British Army’s largest brigade, with 7,400 sol­diers, and com­bines the speed and agili­ty of air­borne and air assault troops with the poten­cy of Apache attack helicopters. 

The brigade deployed to Afghanistan between Octo­ber 2010 and April 2011 and since its return has focused on its core role as the Air­borne Task Force, ready to deploy on oper­a­tions any­where in the world at short notice. 

Com­man­der Land Forces, Gen­er­al Sir Nick Park­er, and his French coun­ter­part, Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Hervé Char­p­en­tier — Com­man­der Forces de Ter­restres, vis­it­ed the train­ing area on Thurs­day 16 Feb­ru­ary 2012. 

Gen­er­al Park­er said: 

“The UK-France sum­mit being held in Paris today, Fri­day 17 Feb­ru­ary, will pro­vide min­is­ters with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to review progress since the treaties were signed in 2010 and announce new areas of co-operation. 

“France like the Unit­ed King­dom is one of the few nations with both the capa­bil­i­ty and will to deploy over­seas. Their Armed Forces are a sim­i­lar size to ours and have sim­i­lar capa­bil­i­ties, and the abil­i­ty to oper­ate togeth­er in the future will be impor­tant for both nations. 

“Exer­cise Boars Head demon­strates the UK’s ongo­ing com­mit­ment to work­ing with the French and is part of a wider pro­gramme of rec­i­p­ro­cal train­ing events being run both here in the UK and also in France.” 

5 SCOTS vis­it­ed France in Decem­ber 2011 and took part in a joint exer­cise with a French Army unit at CENZUB, the French Armed Forces pur­pose-built urban war­fare centre. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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