Paratroopers play ‘war game’ in the desert to help them prepare for combat

British paratroopers from Colchester have been taking part in Exercise Olive Grove on the desert pla

British paratroopers from Colchester have been taking part in Exercise Olive Grove on the desert plains of Jordan. Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON - Credit: Cpl Jamie Hart

If it ever comes to fighting an insurgent group in a war in the desert, these paratroopers will be more than ready - thanks to a “war game” scenario they are playing out in the Middle East.

British paratroopers from Colchester have been taking part in Exercise Olive Grove on the desert pla

British paratroopers from Colchester have been taking part in Exercise Olive Grove on the desert plains of Jordan. Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON - Credit: Cpl Jamie Hart

Colchester-based B Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (B Coy, 2 PARA) is taking part in Exercise Olive Grove in the Middle East with their counterparts in Jordan to ensure they are ready to fight in demanding conditions in the desert should the time come.

In particular they have been honing their fire and manoeuvre skills on live-fire battle runs and have practised air assault operations from Jordanian Blackhawk helicopters.

The training culminates in a five-day war game, with British and Jordanian troops combining forces to defeat a fictional insurgent group aiming to destabilise a country.

Major Robin Rowell, officer commanding B Coy, 2 PARA, said: “Exercise Olive Grove is all about partnership, and both the British and Jordanian units will come away with improved capabilities.

British paratroopers from Colchester have been taking part in Exercise Olive Grove on the desert pla

British paratroopers from Colchester have been taking part in Exercise Olive Grove on the desert plains of Jordan. Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON - Credit: Cpl Jamie Hart


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“Starting from individual soldiers and building towards both companies working side-by-side, we’ve understood more about the kit and tactics we each use and learnt from each other.

“The desert is very austere and inhospitable terrain that has really tested our paratroopers, and the Jordanians have taught us how to use what cover there is and the need to bring more firepower into the fight on such open ground.

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“We’re both high readiness units and could be called into action quickly, which creates a real bond between our soldiers.

“We’ve made friends on the football pitch and the Jordanians organised an evening of traditional food and dancing for us, which was very enjoyable - that cultural understanding means we’re better able to operate with troops from the Middle East in the future.”

British paratroopers from Colchester have been taking part in Exercise Olive Grove on the desert pla

British paratroopers from Colchester have been taking part in Exercise Olive Grove on the desert plains of Jordan. Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON - Credit: Cpl Jamie Hart

Captain Mohammed Al Omari, of Jordan’s 3rd Company, 81st Battalion of the Mohammed Bin Zayed Quick Reaction Force Brigade, added: “We want to tighten the relationship between the Jordanian and British militaries, and we have built a strong partnership with 2 PARA on this exercise.

“We have worked together well and learnt a lot - the British soldiers have a lot of battlefield skills and experience to share and we’ve taught them about operating and surviving in the desert.”

British paratroopers from Colchester have been taking part in Exercise Olive Grove on the desert pla

British paratroopers from Colchester have been taking part in Exercise Olive Grove on the desert plains of Jordan. Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISO - Credit: Cpl Jamie Hart

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