BRITAIN’S newest reserve infantry unit is gearing up for its first major overseas deployment – less than a year since forming.
About 120 soldiers from 4th Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (4PWRR) will be jetting off to Denmark next month for a two-week training mission.
The milestone operation will see the part-time soldiers – many of whom are from the Portsmouth area – working on essential military skills.
It is the first time troops from the battalion will be working together since forming in November, with army top brass seeing it as a key proving ground for the unit.
Soldiers will be operating through the day and night in simulated battle scenarios, ranging from conventional infantry assaults, to urban close-quarters combat and even hostage rescue scenarios.
They will also be working alongside comrades from the three other battalions in the regiment, with regulars from 1PWRR, based in Germany, joining the exercise to provide mortar training.
Lieutenant Colonel Ben Baker, 4PWRR’s commanding officer, said the operation would be treated exactly like a real-world deployment, from start to finish.
He said: ‘This is the biggest test that we will have faced since forming almost a year ago.
‘We’re excited, from a battalion headquarters point of view, to see how much we can achieve in the two weeks there together.
‘We have seen just how much we can achieve in a weekend training period. So two weeks together is a very exciting prospect.’
The team will deploy on Sunday, September 9, returning a couple of weeks later, and will be operating in the expansive Oksboel Training Area near the country’s east coast.
One of the exercise’s main aims ia to give 4PWRR a chance to take on an overseas deployment, working at platoon level, as well as maintaining relationships with the Danish military.
The operation is split into four phases, the first being the deployment – packing all the kit and vehicles needed for the trip.
Once in the country, 4PWRR will tackle battle craft training, building up from section to platoon-level skills, including whole attacks by platoons.
The next key phase will see troops travel west to the country’s capital of Copenhagen to meet their Danish counterparts before starting their urban training.
Troops will run room clearance drills as well as section attacks and hostage rescue. Soldiers will go head to head with a live enemy, using simulated ammunition – ‘simunition’ – similar to paintballs.
The training is helping to prepare 4PWRR for future deployments to Afghanistan, South Sudan and an upcoming Nato exercise in Norway.
Lt Col Baker said: ‘We are only one of two new infantry battalions created in recent years and the fact that in one year we’re able to deploy on an overseas exercise is hugely significant.’
The battalion has bases in Tudor Crescent, Cosham as well as Crawley, Farnham and Edgware