Page 64 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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The Battalion this year has been conducting some work into operating in the urban environment aimed at improving our understanding of operating in a complex terrain. Most work by the British Army currently is focussed on tactical employment of vehicles and we sought to look at how light forces can best be employed. There have been 3 main events this year which have been focussed on urban training.
The first was a study day hosted by 2 RIFLES on behalf of 38 (Irish) Bde in October 2018. We were fortunate enough to have Dr Matthias Strohn from Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR) to give a historical perspective from Berlin to set the scene. Also included in the day were briefs from Force Troops Command on Information Manoeuvre, and Defence Intelligence looking at current and future threats related to the urban environment. Overall it was a thoroughly insightful day and pitched at an audience rank ranged from Corporal to Brigadier.
In June we hosted the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in Ballykinler to assist with their Close Action Environment modelling system. This system aims to provide a realistic model of an urban setting and produces several results (time, blue casualties, red
casualties, ammunition expenditure) for an assault onto a building or set of buildings. The DSTL team were interested in ensuring the model was accurate and measured a section breaking into a skills house. The second part of their study was looking at the nine-man section, which had been employed by the Americans since the Second World War. A section of Riflemen from C Company were run through a few scenarios using both eight and nine-man sections and then provided feedback to the DSTL team. The general feeling on a nine-man section was that it was not as effective as it reduced the situational awareness of the commander, who felt that he should be at the front ensuring that each room was cleared thoroughly.
The third piece of urban work was Exercise URBAN BUGLE, a series of Tactical Exercises Without Troops (TEWTs) and studies in England. Thirty members of the Battalion deployed to Birmingham and Donnington for two and half days of urban related activity. Day one saw a series of TEWTs using Ironbridge Power Station as the backdrop to discuss the implications of working in a heavy industrial area; including the implications of working around Critical National Infrastructure. Ironbridge itself is currently undergoing demolition but has been opened to the military for training, and so it was a great opportunity to look in detail at this area. Day two focussed on three stands in Birmingham city centre: one at the Bullring talking about clearing of complex structures; a second stand in the International Convention Centre looking at tunnel systems; and finally, a stand on a hotel rooftop looking at fires and general consid- erations overlooking the urban cityscape from an elevated position. On the final day we were fortunate enough to have West Mercia Police brief on Counter Terrorism and a brief from a fellow Rifleman, Lieutenant Colonel Guy Chambers (the Joint Regional Liaison Officer), on Military Aid to the Civil Authority. Overall the week was well received and gave the junior commanders in the Battalion the opportunity to think at a higher level and stretch themselves and their thinking.
The focus on urban training has pulled out some crucial learning points which the Battalion can take forward onto Mission Specific Training and deployment on Operation TORAL in 2020, as well as into the future.
Major Robin White
Officer Commanding C Company
Urban Study and Training
Luckily a clear day in Birmingham on the high rise stand on the Regency Hyatt Hotel rooftop!
 Lieutenant Burns leading the Bullring tactical exercise without troops stand on Exercise URBAN BUGLE

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