The British Army’s Global Response Group (GRG) has conducted a simulated response to international crises on Salisbury Plain. The exercise was designed to test the integrated performance of infantry alongside other UK armed services.

The GRG brigade has gained additional artillery, engineer, and logistic sub-units to create a third battlegroup built around its existing Royal Gurkha Rifles battalion (GRB) while the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) joined as a light reconnaissance strike infantry.

Exercise Wessex Storm will challenge the two regiments’ readiness to respond to international crises. The troops are on a simulated mission testing their ability to seize and hold terrain.

The new sub-units worked with rotorscraft: the GRB started the mission by capturing Keevil airfield in a helicopter assault, with the heavier forces of RIR following by airlanding from Royal Air Force (RAF) transport aircraft.

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RIR Captain Toby Eddings stated: “This is an opportunity to work with all arms, the broad spectrum of the British Army’s capabilities, as well as joint operations with the RAF to conduct the rapid air landing and practice that air movement element.

“For our soldiers it is exposure to the Army beyond the infantry, to understand what the engineers and artillery bring and their part in the wider picture, and what is available to them should we deploy overseas.”

British Army readiness for the unknown

Eddings added: “The bottom line of Exercise Wessex Storm for [the RIR] is it prepares us to be the air manoeuvre Battle Group within [GRG].

“It is looking at us to react quickly to operations at short notice in a variety of conditions, against an unknown enemy force, ready for situations that may occur in the future…”

The British Army is preparing for all types of battlespace scenarios under various conditions. The world that the UK Ministry of Defence faces is full of uncertainty. British armed forces have been deployed in a range of different environments against numerous adversaries, from the Sudan withdrawal to the Indo-Pacific deterrence.