News, 2nd Battalion | 27 October 2023

Exercise EXTEL COLLIOU, 2nd Battalion

Hosted by the 152e Regiment d’Infanterie, Exercise EXTEL COLLIOU saw soldiers from five nations (France, Britain, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland) form an international platoon under a French Platoon Commander and Platoon Sergeant.

To complete a challenging two-week patrol exercise in the mountains surrounding Alsace in the East of France. A Company, 2nd Battalion was led by Corporal Callaway. It was the first time that a British unit had been invited.

For the first week of the exercise, the platoon focussed on developing team cohesion and understanding French tactics, technics, and procedures. This included a series of team based physical challenges including a squadded run up to a historic castle in the mountains overlooking Colmar, water obstacle courses and orienteering.

Exercise EXTEL COLLIOU Royal Anglian Regiment

There was a two-day and night range package, which gave the international platoon time to get used to the French weapon systems including the HK416, firing up to section level attacks. This phase allowed the different nations to share valuable knowledge on low-level drills, which for some soldiers was the first time they’d been exposed to different methods and approaches of range conduct.

Alongside the range package a series of theoretical lessons were taught around basic French tactics. These included platoon attacks, ambushes, urban standing operational procedures, and patrolling.

The first week concluded with the platoon being given a guided tour of the historical city of Colmar, home to the creator of the statue of Liberty Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, and culturally important Gothic and Renaissance architecture. This was followed by a trip to the 152e Regiment d’Infanterie memorial at Hartmannswillerkopf-Vieil Armand, where the Regiment was destroyed in WW1. This was a poignant moment of the exercise, as the platoon could walk through the German trenches on the frontline, which at points were only ten metres away from the French defences and pay their respects to those who had given their lives to defend the highly contested region of Alsace and Lorraine.

Week two began with a final lesson on French tactics related specifically to the actions they would be conducting on exercise. This was followed by a set of orders being given by the French platoon commander. The exercise involved a series of challenging infiltrations and exfiltrations from the objectives under dark, covering over sixty kilometres across difficult terrain. The final objective was to defend a large, abandoned office building in the centre of Mulhouse. Setting up extensive defences inside, then fighting through the building, before moving to the roof and rappelling forty metres with full kit.

The Exercise ended with a raising of the flag ceremony on the 152e Regiment d’Infanterie parade square in-front of the whole Regiment and a celebratory BBQ with gifts from each nation being exchanged. The exercise provided a valuable experience to the section from A Company who gained a lot from working with the different nationalities and exposure to operating in unique terrain.

Exercise EXTEL COLLIOU Royal Anglian Regiment
Exercise EXTEL COLLIOU Royal Anglian Regiment

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