Jackal 2 vehicle and Land Rover on training camp
Cpl Watson P R © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

Army Reservists from the Royal Yeomanry in Dudley and Telford have completed two weeks’ training which will help prepare them for a six-month NATO mission to Eastern Europe in the autumn.

The Royal Yeomanry soldiers will form part of the UK’s commitment to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe. The deployment, known as Operation Cabrit, will reinforce NATO’s deterrence posture by demonstrating its determination and ability to act as one in response to any aggression against its members.

From 20th to 24th July the troops took part in pre-deployment training at Warcop Training Area in Cumbria while from 27th to 31st July they continued their training at Stanford Training Area in Norfolk.

The training included a series of live-fire tests which took place during the day and at night, with the soldiers on foot and operating from the latest Jackal 2 vehicle as they practiced their fire and manoeuvre skills.

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Bragg, Royal Yeomanry Commanding Officer, said:

Unit member being briefed next to a Jackal 2 vehicle
Cpl Watson P R © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

“We are deploying at the request of the Polish Government, as part of NATO, to act as a deterrent against any potential hostile activity whilst providing reassurance to our NATO allies.

“Our soldiers come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, from bankers to builders, and strategy consultants to nuclear engineers, but on this operation are full-time professional soldiers.

“It is a great opportunity and a fantastic learning experience that will create some long-lasting memories and friendships.”

One of the soldiers deploying to Poland is Corporal Matthew Smith, 30, of Dudley-based B Squadron Royal Yeomanry. Matt lives in Albrighton, Shropshire with his wife, Amy, and one child. He is a self-employed welder. Matt recently completed his training to be a Light Cavalry Jackal Commander.

Unit member in armed position on Jackal 2 vehicle
Cpl Watson P R © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

He said:

“The training was very fast paced but ultimately it’s putting us in the best position to deploy on this operation with a strong team. The tactics course was tough but for a good reason as it helps prepare us for the unexpected.

“The training pushed us mentally and physically but it was the best and most rewarding course I’ve attended in my 12 years in the Army Reserves.”

B Squadron Royal Yeomanry will be providing 11 soldiers for Operation Cabrit while Telford-based D Squadron will send 19 soldiers.

The mobilised soldiers from the West Midlands will be joined by 40 more troops from the rest of the Royal Yeomanry and soldiers from 1st The Queen’s Dragoons Guards, together forming a Squadron of around 150 troops. They will deploy in the autumn, taking over from C Squadron, The Light Dragoons.

The Royal Yeomanry’s primary role is reconnaissance, operating in front of other friendly forces to gather intelligence, often at night and in poor weather conditions.