Posted on May 3, 2019
In fact, Exercise Lionheart involved a massive 131,565 UK personnel – regular, reserve and Territorial Army.
The MOD chartered civilian aircraft and ferries to move over 50,000 personnel into Germany. 290 flights from the UK transported 32,000 personnel. This was then followed up with 150 sailings across the North Sea and the English Channel using civilian ferries – these carried 23,600 personnel with 14,000 vehicles and trailers. 13,000 RAF personnel were also involved, deploying Harriers into the field and operating the newly introduced Tornado aircraft – which only retired from active service this year.
Providing the opposition, there was a force of more than 10,000 – made up of German, Dutch, American and Commonwealth personnel.
The logistics were unlike anything seen today from the British military. It was the same size as if the entire population of Gloucester packed their bags and decided to invade Europe. And, as you can imagine, with anything of this scale, accidents did happen, three British soldiers died and seven were seriously injured.