News, 1st Battalion | 22 April 2024

Operation INTERFLEX – 1st Battalion is Working Hard to Train Ukrainian Troops in the UK

Update from the 1st Battalion on training Ukrainian Troops in the UK

The 1st Battalion has now entered its’ fourth month on Operation INTERFLEX, the UK’s mission to deliver basic and leadership training to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). The task has been incredibly well received by the troops, with the link between their efforts and AFU benefit on the ground having never been clearer.

They continue to offer our training alongside a coalition of allied nations, including Australia, Denmark, Finland, Kosovo, Romania and Sweden. Working alongside these partners has been incredibly fulfilling and continues to contribute positively to our Security Force Assistance role. A and B Companies continue to deliver three types of courses to our AFU partners: Platoon Commanders, Platoon Sergeants and Section Commanders Battle Courses. These courses have been tailored to enhance the leadership, tactical and administrative skills of AFU troops that have been selected for command, whether that be through background or experience from the frontlines.

A and B Company’s current courses have far less combat experience than previous iterations, but the troops are incredibly motivated and keen to make the most of the training on offer in STANTA. Most recently, AFU troops have been taken through trench and urban exercises. These have been designed to test their Command and Control techniques and hone their Close Quarter Battle skills. During these exercises, AFU commanders were challenged with complex scenarios that involved close quarters fighting, drones and mines.

This kind of training has been incredibly rewarding for the Officers and NCOs of A and B Company. It has given them an enduring sense of purpose and has also provided an excellent opportunity to hone instructional skills that are invaluable to a Security Force Assistance soldier. A and B Companies will soon rotate out of Op INTERFLEX, with A Coy preparing for an OTX in Serbia and B Coy conducting Support Weapons cadres later in the year.

Ukraine soldier training in the UK
Ukraine soldier training in the UK

Meanwhile, C and D Companies have continued with their Op INTERFLEX pre-deployment training in Kendrew Barracks. This training has focused on areas that have found renewed importance since Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, chief amongst these are trench warfare and the use of drones. Soldiers from C and D Companies have completed Operator courses for the Autel quadcopter drones, allowing them to conduct ISR missions, simulate enemy UAS action and provide situational awareness to AFU students. These packages have been accompanied by introductory exercises on trench warfare, which have been honed by tactical vignettes and AFU doctrine that our troops have been exposed to on Op INTERFLEX. C and D Company will soon take point and deliver training to AFU courses till the Battalion’s commitment to Op INTERFLEX ends in the summer.

Whilst the Rifle Companies are rotating, Battalion Headquarters and HQ Company continue to command and administer Training Delivery Unit 1. TDU 1 is large and diverse organisation, collecting almost two thousand AFU, UK and International Partner Forces soldiers. Both Staff Officers and Enabling departments have worked tirelessly to ensure that the subunits have the resources they need to deliver effective training to the AFU.

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