Barbarians Join The Poachers Preparing For Desert Exercise

Posted on March 4, 2019

Troops from 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment based in Cyprus have been preparing to deploy to the Egyptian desert later this month to take part in Exercise ‘AHMOSE’. Alongside the personnel known as the ‘Poachers’ will be a small detachment of soldiers normally based in Gibraltar. Troops from C Company prepared for their trip to Egypt ensuring they are qualified to act as range staff, overseeing live firing training with the Egyptian Army. The training took place at the individual Battle Skills range at Pyla, just down the road from Royal Anglian’s base at Dhekelia.

The exercise will take place in the desert of northern Egypt and for many of the soldiers it will be the first time they have been to the Middle East.

Second Lieutenant Alex Langley says: “There’s definitely a gap in operational experience.” Second Lieutenant Langley believes it is important to make the most of overseas exercises, “especially when dealing with partner forces. They’re very competent soldiers and eager to get out on deployment, but they just seem to have missed the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

While the Poachers are being trained as range staff, the soldiers firing come from a different unit – the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, known in the British Army as the ‘Barbarians’.

Around twelve of them are heading to Egypt with the Poachers, but they first need to be certified on the firing range.  “It’s getting the guys firing from individual pieces of cover,” says Lieutenant Callum Robertson, “to going down as an individual, to going down as a pair.”

The history of The Royal Gibraltar Regiment dates back to the 1720s. In the Second World War, it manned anti-aircraft guns against Italian and Vichy bombers It became a light infantry unit in the 1990s, defending the rock and deploying soldiers around the world.

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