The British Army Global Response Force paratroopers conducted a three-week desert warfare training with Moroccan 2e Brigade d’Infanterie Parachutiste troops at Exercise Jebel Sahara.
Colchester’s A Company Group 2nd Battalion response force shared its expertise in foot and vehicle patrolling, demolition, marksmanship, and casualty management.
The Moroccan soldiers taught the British paratroopers to operate in the hot and dry environment of the desert.
Both teams also took refreshers on weapons and maneuvering tactics in live-fire battle runs.
The exercise’s final phase involved a six-day war game requiring a team-up of British and Moroccan paratroopers to seize an airstrip and conduct a launch strike operation.
“Exercise Jebel Sahara is all about developing our readiness for operations, wherever and whatever is asked of us,” A Company Commander Maj. Ash Neve explained.
“We’ve been training on demanding and unfamiliar terrain and, by working side-by-side with the Moroccans, we’ve learnt from their experience of the desert and developed a cultural understanding that will help if we operate with North African troops in the future.”
“What is also important is that we’ve trained how we would fight. We’ve taken an expeditionary approach, living in austere conditions and relying on the bare minimum that we’ve brought with us or can source locally.”
UK and Moroccan Army Partnership
The UK and Moroccan armies have built a strong partnership since the first Exercise Jebel Sahara in 1989.
According to the British Army, the bilateral training serves as an opportunity for both forces to share skills, bolster relationships, and improve their interoperability.
“Exercise Jebel Sahara is of capital importance as it allows the engagement on the ground of a relatively large number of troops to carry out various tactical missions.” said Lt. Col. Omar Abou-El-Khebra, Commander of the 22nd Airborne Battalion.
“There has been a significant flow of military knowledge between the Moroccan and British soldiers, who share a relationship based on respect and the pursuit of excellence demonstrated during the execution of combined exercises.”
“Military operations in a desert environment take on a particular character imposed by the nature of the terrain and the climate, which requires advanced physical and tactical skills that cannot be achieved without thorough preparation before engagement.”