Page 94 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 94

   The men of Representative Company enjoy their Christmas Lunch in Mazar-e Sharif
 R Company Overview
R Company has been in fine form and is now taking a welcome chance for respite following a busy year on operations. Over the past year we have sent teams on operations and exercises in Afghanistan, Iraq, the USA, Kenya, Morocco, KSA, Jordan, Tunisia and Egypt. Each deployment has been different and varied, and it has been crucial that the Riflemen learn and adapt quickly, working hard to understand the culture of the host nation. This was inculcated during our training with great success over the last year of operations and demonstrates that our Regimental tradition of the thinking Rifleman is alive and well.
The main focus of our operational cycle was in Afghanistan and Iraq, with R Company forming the majority of the first team to deploy to the latter. Establishing a new task with an unknown partner in a complex multi-national environment was further complicated by frustrations with Iraqi visas becoming stuck in the rigorous Iraqi bureaucratic system. This led to the movement at short notice of OC and 2IC R Coy between theatres and the establishment of the ‘R Coy Visa Hunting Club’, those select few individuals who, as a result of the visa issues, enjoyed the benefits of the RAF’s hospitality as they criss-crossed the Middle East.
Another new facet of our Specialised Infantry role has seen two riflemen complete a six-month Arabic
language course and then deploy on
operations immediately, to consolidate
their skills. The majority of the rest of the company undertook a five-week course in the basics. We found that in the Middle East a little language goes a long way!
Overall the operational cycle has created opportunities that were unthinkable eighteen months ago and the Riflemen have developed at an impressive rate. The operational effect that we provide while deployed overseas, working in small numbers alongside our partners, is quite disproportionate to our size.
Maj Simon Bedford-Smith & Capt Harry Sawers
Partnering in Saudi
In July 2019, a small four-man team from 4 RIFLES were sent on Op CROSSWAYs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to deliver a Counter-irregular Warfare Course. All team members having recently come back from operations in either Afghanistan and Iraq, or exercise in Kenya, showed great flexibility to focus their efforts to the task in hand and deployed with a clear aim and bags of enthusiasm.
Primarily a defence engagement task, Op CROSSWAYS, is set in place to protect UK interests in Saudi Arabia, through delivering small bespoke courses to elements of the Royal Saudi Land Forces. This is nuanced and different from other tasks 4 RIFLES are engaged in; the importance of delivering impressive training outweighing the importance of delivering critical training was a bit of an odd transition for the team.
The students were a real mixture of seniority and experience, ranging from Sjt to Lt Col. The training had to be adapted on the ground to suit the needs of all those involved. Cpl Gill concentrated his efforts on delivering low level lessons including counter-IED training, medical training, and reaction to contact drills – albeit that his attempts to convince the students that Houthi rebels use of magic to dodge bullets may have something to do with a lack of zeroing weapons on the Saudi side were less than successful! Meanwhile, Capt D’Souza delivered estimate and planning training to the officers up

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