not all would be ready in time. This rule is in force as the route passes through Isiolo, a town in which the road splits the Muslim and Christian communities. Occasionally, small arms fire is exchanged across the road during darkness, and BATUK therefore needs to be sure that troops passing through can do so in daylight hours. Aside from this, the journey encapsulated the natural variety Kenya has to offer. LAB(E) sits in the shadow of Mt Kenya, roughly 2000m above sea level. To reach Archer’s Post, we had to cross hills that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Scotland or North Yorkshire (and the weather certainly wouldn’t), before dropping over 1000m vertical to the southern edge of the Kaisut Desert.
One of the many long road moves from LAB(E)
Once at Archers Post training area, the temperature did not drop below 27C at any point, and was pushing towards 40C at the hottest part of the day. It was in this phase that we had our first encounters with the 1 GREN GDS BG. They were put through three Company level 36hr serials, one of which was live firing. We therefore had to provide an enemy to their convoy escort and obstacle crossing, and their pre-dug company defensive position. The Squadron worked hard in the heat and had particular success in holding up the obstacle crossings with carefully placed OP’s and accurate fire missions. Notable leadership was shown by junior commanders when assaulting the dugin defensive positions, as the Grenadiers obstacle plan meant that small teams working quietly and quickly were most effective in keeping momentum, taking trenches and confusing the enemy. The phase ended with the first opportunity
A patrol leaves the Squadron Leaguer
for the BG to run out, attacking the Squadron in a Forward Operating Base. The cunning and deviousness on display from HCR soldiers ensured the Grenadiers had a rough time achieving their mission, despite their overwhelming numerical superiority. The third and final phase of the exercise began after a much needed three day maintenance period as the arid scrubland in Archer’s Post had taken its toll on the vehicles. Another long move from LAB(E) saw the Squadron and BG deploy onto Loisaba training area. This hadn’t been used for around 10 years before our arrival, and we were therefore sharing it with a considerable amount of wildlife, including roughly 200 elephant and a pride of lions; the latter of which was encountered more than once at a rather shorter range than was comfortable. After disrupting the BG river crossing by excellent use of our core recce skills, and thereby delaying their plan by 12 hours, the Squadron withdrew to prepare to attack the BG defensive position. Assaulting a dugin BG in just company strength was always going to be a tough task, but after a lengthy insertion tab to try and get all the way round to their rear area, the Squadron managed to dislodge a Coy and cause nearly 20 casualties in their BGHQ. Real robustness and determination was shown by all, and we started the final mission in high spirits. Having created a militia training base around a flat-pack village built and in-
B Squadron Gp on completion of the FTX
10 ■ Household Cavalry Regiment
B Squadron hold off the 1 GREN GDS BG dawn assault
habited by locally employed contractors, the Squadron put the final touches on our dug-in positions and obstacle plans before awaiting the BG assault. As before, the 1 GREN GDS BG struggled to deal with a forward OP screen and subsequent fire missions, although the deception they achieved when crossing a river 5km to our front was exceptional. An excellent final battle ensued when the BG crossed their line of departure, and as ever, initiative at the lowest level made sure they were tested and forced to work hard to clear every single position. Overall, the exercise was a fantastic and unusual opportunity for HCR soldiers that took them to a country most had never been to before. Overlaying core recce skills with quickly improving dismounted infantry tactics ensured that the contest between the B Squadron Gp and 1 GREN GDS BG was evenly matched throughout. The theme seemed to be that we would win the distance battle with our core recce skills, before their superior dismounted close combat skills told. After some much deserved and enjoyed adventure training, including mountain biking and white water rafting in the Great Rift Valley, the Squadron Gp flew home to settle back into routine at Combermere Barracks.