Thursday, September 29, 2005

RG: Largest scale Battalion exercise ever

Exercise Jebel Sahara * from Alice Mascarenhas in Jebel Sahara, Marrakech

Troops preparing to embark on Pumas of 33 Sqn during Exercise Jebel Sahara, a bilateral exercise between the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and the Moroccan Armed Forces in October 2004In extreme climatic conditions and severe bone-dry arid terrain The Royal Gibraltar Regiment has just completed the largest scale battalion exercise ever in its history in the High Atlas Mountains and in the outskirts of Marrakech in Exercise Jebel Sahara.

A conduct challenging and realistic exercise, this is as close as it gets to a real war scenario, and has tested the regiment at an individual level from the Commanding Officer to every regular soldier through to the TA which has been in Morocco for the first time, and just as importantly has tested how the battalion as a whole works under pressure in acute desert conditions.

33 Squadron's Pumas go hot and high during Operation Jebel Sahara 2004This joint exercise has seen support from throughout the British army and the RAF deploying Chinook and Puma helicopters which has proven paramount in the movement of troops, supplies and ammunition, over the past few weeks, and has also had the full co-operation of the Moroccan Army with their BIP parachute troops forming a large part of the exercise. Also here are the medics, the chefs, range team, shovel unit and entire logistics unit.

Commanding Officer Mark Randall said the exercise had been orchestrated to meet mandated standards whilst at the same time developing unit cohesion, enhancing procedures as well as efficiency.

Its architect has been Major John Perez the next CO of the regiment and has included several exercises such as Tarik Warrior, Mountain Viper and Desert Strike, all held in very different locations testing every aspect of the soldier in such an operation. In all the exercise has seen some 500 people involved with the Royal Gibraltar Regiment being 250 strong.

Now in its sixth year Jebal Sahara has evolved into a very large scale exercise within the British Army. The theme for this year was offensive operation which is part of the new mission of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment. The weeks of training and sheer determination on the part of many, has lead to its success with the regiment, meeting its objectives as a battalion in a modern British Army.

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