Lieutenant Colonel Ru Streatfeild, who’s main the organisation’s battlegroup in Estonia, mentioned British troops have been “buzzing” and immensely proud” to be serving to reinforce the nation’s japanese border with Russia.
Troops led by the UK’s 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, which he instructions and have lately been deployed to the Baltic State, took half in a large-scale train on Tapa army base, solely 70 miles from the Russian border, on Thursday.
Exercise Bold Dragon concerned round 2,300 troopers from UK, French, Danish and Estonian ranks utilizing tanks, together with the British Challenger 2 tanks, armoured infantry, engineers, artillery and logistics.
It noticed the allied forces go head-to-head in opposition to the Estonians within the mud, snow and boggy situations to additional hone Nato’s warfare capabilities and ways and make sure the easy working of working collectively.
Speaking in the course of the train Lt Col Streatfeild mentioned the warfare in Ukraine had given his troopers “a razor-like focus”.
“We are literally under NATO command right now. There are NATO plans in place, and whatever orders we are given under a NATO structure, we will execute them,” he mentioned.
Asked if Nato forces have been ready within the occasion of a Russian invasion, he mentioned: “100 per cent. There is swagger. They are on their game and they are ready.
“It is not that people revel in this. But soldiers want to do a job. They want to put their tradecraft into practice.
“This is what they join the Army to do.”
He added: “Our soldiers are immensely proud to be here. It is an immense privilege. But it is also an immense responsibility.”
He mentioned Nato forces weren’t simply in place to guard the safety of the japanese flank but additionally the “freedoms we often take for granted”.
“It’s those western liberal values; it’s free speech, it’s the ability to be able to buy your own house or car, all those western norms, they’re underpinned by security and that’s what Nato is here for.”
The battle group commander mentioned he “absolutely” is aware of how he would counter a Russian assault, including: “We are getting to know this terrain really well.
“And for the Estonians, this is their terrain. They’ve defended it before and they will defend it again.”
There are at present round 2,000 Nato troops in Estonia, together with the Royal Danish Army Viking Company and the French seventh Alpine Hunter Battalion.
On Wednesday Estonian officers known as for Nato member states to double the variety of troopers within the nation so as to deter Russia from advancing additional into Europe.
Gunner Joe Watson, 19, from Wakefield mentioned he isn’t involved in regards to the prospect of warfare.
“It doesn’t really concern me. We did join the Army for a reason. You have always got to be prepared for it,” he mentioned.
“And as a gunner, you don’t really think about it. You just do your job and try to do it well.
“Everyone understands that if we do go, it will be big.
“But we are focusing on defending Estonia. That is exactly what this is.”
He added: “I am proud to be here. I think a lot of the Estonians are very grateful that lots of the British Army are here, especially the armoured units. And this makes you quite proud to be in this job.
“I’ve got quite a small family, they are dealing with it quite well. My dad is obviously proud. They are all quite proud to be fair.”
Lance Corporal Rhydian Stephens, from Ammanford in Carmarthenshire, who’s connected to the Royal Welsh as a B-company medic mentioned: “We heard the news about the war when we were out doing training exercises in Germany and obviously people got excited. It’s what we joined the army to do.
“We joined the army to help.
“But for now we’re just watching what’s happening at the moment on the news and doing what we need to do here in Estonia first.”