Soldiers form 'bubbles' to carry on military battle training

A member of The 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, gets in the prone position after disembarking

A member of The 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, gets in a battle-ready position - Credit: Cpl Danny Houghton

Soldiers from across the region serving in a Colchester regiment have formed 'bubbles' so they can continue military training to prepare for an emergency call to go into battle.

3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) is currently serving as the Air Manoeuvre Battlegroup, which has to be ready to respond at short notice to international crises.

Members of The 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, get ready to assault a position.Balancing th

Members of The 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, get ready to launch an assault - Credit: Cpl Danny Houghton

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many normal activities - but the battalion has formed bubbles, so they can continue socially distance training while still minimising mixing between soldiers.

However, it is being varied with distance learning from home and personal fitness - with  A Company doing concentrated training at Merville Barracks this week.

Members of 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment assault a position.Balancing the need to maintain

The week of activities has seen troops try to take over a building - Credit: Cpl Danny Houghton

Their activities have included planned and launched helicopter raids from the barracks onto Fingringhoe Ranges, where they worked in their platoons to attack and seize buildings.


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The rest of the week includes rifle practice at Middlewick Ranges, parachute ground training and annual fitness tests.

Members of The 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, on board a Puma helicopter, ready to assault a

Soldiers from the Colchester regiment onboard a Puma helicopter - Credit: Cpl Danny Houghton

Major Shaun Clarke, Officer Commanding A Coy 3 PARA, said: “These are all core skills and capabilities that our role as paratroopers demand and I would say that, by doing the preparatory work remotely, we’ve been able to compact two weeks of activity into the week that we’re together in barracks.

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“The soldiers miss being away from work and each other, and that means when we are together there’s a more focused and disciplined approach from everyone.

Major Shaun Clarke, the OC of A Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, poses for a portrait

Major Shaun Clarke, Officer Commanding A Coy 3 PARA - Credit: Cpl Danny Houghton

"We concentrate resources so that when we are bringing the company together what we are doing is important training that justifies the risk.

“A real benefit of working remotely is that we’ve empowered junior ranks.

A member of The 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, gets in the prone position after disembarking

The Colchester regiment's training is being mixed with distance learning from home and personal fitness - Credit: Cpl Danny Houghton

"A platoon commander or sergeant hasn’t got the time to be checking in on 30 blokes every day, whereas a corporal can speak to the seven guys in his section.

"Almost by taking away the section away from them, we’ve given the section commander the responsibility to run his section.

"Also, working online we can have a corporal delivering a lesson to the whole company, rather than just the platoon that would fit in a classroom, and that makes people step up.”

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