British airborne soldiers protected by main battle tanks for urban operations

In the case of urban operations, combining airborne infantry (or special forces) and main battle tanks already proved efficient. The British army pushes forward in that direction.

UK paras and tanks join forces
Soldiers of the 3rd Para Battallion  in exercise (Picture source: Twitter)

The potent combination of airborne infantry and heavy armour has come together to practice for urban operations. The 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment has joined forces with the Challenger 2 main battle tanks of The Queen’s Royal Hussars for Exercise Green Citadel. The tanks ensured the paratroopers’ protection, while also using their fire support in street-by-street and building-by-building fighting. The exercise took place through the mock village located at Copehill Down, on Salisbury Plain.

Having the skills and confidence to operate in towns and cities is a vital skill for Colchester-based 3 Para as the lead infantry unit in the Air Assault Task Force, which is ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to conduct the full range of military operations. 3 Para took on the AATF role this time, with the unit’s airborne infantry bolstered by artillery, engineers, signallers, medics and logisticians from 16th Air Assault Brigade.

Lance Corporal James Porter, of the 3 Para, said: “This has been very real training, as urban operations closely relate to the warfare we’re seeing around the world now and what we could be called on to do. Working with tanks is something very different for us and we are relishing the challenge. It’s been interesting to see how we could fight together; we’re all soldiers and there’s a mutual respect for each other’s skills.”

Trooper David Yendell, a Challenger 2 operator with Paderborn-based QRH, said: “It’s been very interesting and valuable to train in a close urban environment with the paratroopers. In a tank rolling along a city street we’re a huge target, and infantry can protect us by keeping the enemy at a distance as much as we give them cover - we’ve all got each other’s backs.”


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