British and French troops train together
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (5 SCOTS), have recently been training in France with the French Army's 152nd Infantry Regiment.
Exercise Gaulish Hackle took place at the Centre d'Entrainement aux Actions en Zone Urbaine (CENZUB) - a French urban warfare training facility, in December 2011.
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, Libya, and Syria, Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy signed a security cooperation 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 benefits of the exercise to the Regiments Major Brown added:
"5 SCOTS and 152nd Infantry Regiment (152 IR) 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."
Private Nick Wheelan, a member of 5 SCOTS, said:
"The purpose of the Exercise was to begin the formation of a future joint Anglo / French expeditionary force.
"CENZUB is a purpose built urban warfare training facility. It is located in north east France, and comprises a training camp, and a large training area in which there are two urban centres."
Private Jim Hall added:
"We exchanged tactics with the French, and used their Giat Famas assault rifle the standard weapon used by the French Army."
Private Connor Bourke said:
"We also ate French rations during the Exercise which were not a patch on what British Army chefs prepare for us!"
CENZUB is the largest urban warfare training facility in Europe, and to date has cost €100 million to build, with new construction still ongoing.
5 SCOTS will host a French Army unit in the UK during 2012.