NATO Is Training for War: The British military is preparing for one of the largest deployments in Europe since the Cold War. In the upcoming months, close to 10,000 British troops, dozens of main battle tanks, artillery pieces, and armored infantry fighting vehicles will deploy along the borders of NATO.
Drills Next to Russia
The British deployment concerns several different exercises that are taking place at or around the same time. Some of the countries British troops will be in include Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Poland. All of these countries share a land border with Russia.
“The security of Europe has never been more important. These exercises will see our troops join forces with allies and partners across NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force in a show of solidarity and strength in one of the largest shared deployments since the Cold War,” British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said in a press release.
The British military is sending more than 8,000 troops, 72 Challenger 2 main battle tanks, 12 AS90 tracked artillery guns and 120 Warrior armored infantry fighting vehicles. Joining them will be tens of thousands of NATO troops and military forces from partner countries.
“Operating across Europe, the British Army will stand alongside partners, combining our capabilities and shared values, promoting peace and security,” the British defense minister added.
Armor and Airborne Exercises
One of the largest exercises on the menu is Exercise Hedgehog, one of the largest training events in northern Europe. The drill will take place on the Latvia-Estonia border. It will involve about 18,000 NATO troops, some of which are already positioned in the region as part of NATO’s enhanced presence following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The UK makes a significant contribution to the defence of Europe and the deterrence of Russian aggression. The British Army’s series of exercises is fundamental to both. We continue to deploy across Europe, from the Baltic to the Aegean, to train and fight alongside our allies and partners, providing powerful, capable and ready forces to support NATO and show the UK’s commitment to peace and security,” Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse, the commanding officer of the British Field Army, said.
Another large-scale training will take place in North Macedonia. British paratroopers from the elite 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team will also join French, Albanian, Italian, North Macedonian, and American airborne forces. The training event will involve static-line parachute drops and air assaults using rotary-wing assets. In an attempt to improve interoperability, a French company of paratroopers will fall under British command.
“A wide range of units from the Field Army will be involved, from light and airborne forces, to helicopters and armoured forces, supported by artillery, electronic warfare, air defence, surveillance drones, engineers and logisticians. The scale of the deployment, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British Army, will deter aggression at a scale not seen in Europe this century,” Lt. General Wooddisse added.
The NATO exercises are set to coincide with Belarussian military drills and Russian exercises in the Baltics. 1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.