Whilst not explicitly Mission Specific Training (MST) for Mali, the exercise was an excellent opportunity to not only integrate with The 1st BattalionThe Royal Irish Regiment, who will lead the Task Group on Operation NEWCOMBE 4.It was not since 2018 that SCOTS DG had deployed to the desert: we left with anewfound understanding of its austerity, the capabilities of our equipment andvehicles, and indeed each other. The Long Range Reconnaissance Group (LRRG) hadbegun to take shape.
The early part of 2022 was spent on individual MST, where the squadron spread to the four winds gaining a breadth and depth of qualifications that reflect the nuances of the mission ahead. It was not until late-February that the squadron reassembled for live-firing ranges, the first time since mid-November that we had been complete in the same place. Two weeks were spent in Warcop and Lulworth to meet conduct mounted and dismounted training, after which we faced a short turnaround in Leuchars preparing for our final validation package, delivered by the Mission Ready Training Centre.
Over the next month, the assembled Task Group exercised across Salisbury Plain and Thetford training areas to refine tactics, techniques, and procedures currently used in-theatre, which were then tested on the Mission Rehearsal Exercise(MRX). The MRX lasted for two weeks and replicated a number of the scenarios that UK troops have experienced on previous rotations. These ranged from mass casualty situations, interacting with other UN troop contributing countries, dealing with victims of conflict-related sexual violence, and reaction to hostile incidents.
After a short final stint of live firing in Castlemartin, it was time to head back up the road for some well-earned pre-deployment leave. In a relatively short period of time, B Squadron has successfully switched from a focus on conventional warfighting to peacekeeping on a United Nations mission with an entirely different set of demands. LRRG 4 will relieve LRRG 3 in-theatre by early June and begin its six-month tour under the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), returning in early-December.