The British Army has started shipping operation, aim of which is to transport Challenger 2 tanks to Poland. Challengers will, from October til mid-December, participate in the Black Eagle exercise. The exercise is to involve 1300 soldiers, 100 tanks and armored vehicles and 250 other units.
Yesterday loading of the Challenger 2 main battle tanks belonging to The King’s Royal Hussars Regiment stationed in Tidworth Camp has begun. The tanks will then be transported to the Marchwood military harbour in Hampshire, and then to Poland. The Royal Hussar's are the armoured core of a combat group, which is to participate in the Black Eagle exercise.
Soon after the tanks, the Warrior APCs and finally the soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh Infantry Regiment will also depart to Poland. The unit belongs to one of the reformed infantry regiments, and it is a leading battalion of the mechanized infantry in the British deployment, which is to take part in the exercise.
This British battle group, which will take part in the exercise which is organized in our country is a clear signal that the UK will support NATO's Eastern flank. The unit will reach Polish grounds in the second half of October and it will remain here for ca. 2 months. This will be one of the biggest training gatherings of the British forces in the Mid-Eastern Europe since 2008.
The reform of the British Army assumes that the “heavy” units will be withdrawn from Germany. It turns out that deployment of a heavy battle group to Poland (in peacetime) takes a few weeks. This provokes a question, whether withdrawal of the British Forces from Germany has an impact on quick reaction capabilities in Europe. However, in case of real danger the deployment would probably be much quicker than it seems to be in case of the Black Eagle exercise. The quick reaction capabilities are important due to the fact that the Crimean crisis provided some evidence, according to which the Russians have an ability to act quickly and in a full scale.