Page 32 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 32

    FIBUA training in a former Soviet officer academy at Vaziani, Georgia
In summer 2018, A Coy group deployed to Georgia on Ex NOBLE PARTNER 18. The exercise coincided with the tenth anniversary of the Georgian/Russian War. Reminders of the influence and effect of Russia permeate the area as Vaziani training area was a former Soviet airbase and the FIBUA village a former Soviet officer academy, abandoned in 2001 and bombed during the war. Soldiers including the Commanding Officer of the Georgian Battalion talked openly about their experiences fighting against the Russian Army.
The exercise was a US ARMY EUROPE (USAREUR) and Georgian Army led interopera- bility assurance exercise which involved several NATO-partner nations as well as Azerbaijan and Ukraine. This was the third iteration of the exercise, which has grown progressively, and this year totalled 3000 troops from 13 nations. The UK contribution was based around A Coy supported by troops from
Support Coy, 69 Sqn Queen’s Gurkha Engineers and reservists from 6 RIFLES.
The initial weeks of the deployment were set aside for Coy training. A range package included a UGL range, sniper shoot and culminated in a complex platoon attack complete with a GPMG(SF) gun line, engineer demolition and a CAS simulation. The following exercise phase allowed A Coy to implement their conventional defensive SOPs in a challenging environment, dug into trenches on a plateau north of Tbilisi awaiting an enemy armoured attack. Having a full Coy group with support from ATks, MG, snipers and recce meant that we were a tough target, supported by Georgian and Ukrainian companies and an Azerbaijani recce platoon. The armoured thrust was spotted early and neutralised, and the company then defeated the ground attack from the enemy (played by the Georgian SF) and ultimately held the plateau.
A Coy managed to fit 24hrs in Tbilisi during the dry training phase. After the final exercise the Riflemen experienced more Georgian culture with a trip to a 12th Century monastery and the former capital of Georgia. Two Riflemen were recognised by the Georgians for their outstanding contribution to the exercise – a notable achievement as they were the only non-officers to receive this award. Ex NOBLE PARTNER was then officially closed with a large BBQ hosted by the Georgians and Americans allowing all Riflemen to interact with the other nations in a relaxed and social setting. Ultimately, Ex NOBLE PARTNER was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for A Coy and the training value gained from the month away has set the company up for a successful deployment in 2019.
Lt Seb Clarke
OC 3 Pl, A Coy
Rehearsing casevac drills with US Blackhawk teams from 1-171 Avn Bn, Georgian National Guard
          Inserting for the attack with US Blackhawks
 LFTT on the steppe, Georgia

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