Exercise Cambrian Patrol maintains its gold standard and sharpens focus for 2023
A total of eight patrols scooped the top award during this year’s event, while nearly a fifth of all teams that set off from the Assembly Area in the Vale of Neath posted a DNF (Did Not Finish).
The final results were tallied at the Red Kite Centre at Sennybridge Main Camp following the completion of the Phase Eight presentation ceremony.
A mixture of Reserve and University Officer Training Corps teams were the final patrols to be scored over the 10-day event, which demanded the very best of the troops on task.
Major Rory McCarthy, Officer-in-Charge for the exercise for 160th (Welsh) Brigade, said the usual high standards had been maintained.
“All tasks are assessed by experts from across the British Army and wider Defence and any patrol completing Cambrian will know they have been through a tough examination of their all-round field craft,” he said.
“This remains the premier all-arms patrolling test with a long-forged reputation, very much valued by our international partners from all four corners of the globe."
Soldiers from 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment will have enjoyed their 11,450-mile trip back home from Mid Wales clutching gold medals.
The other seven patrols achieving the elite award were: The Infantry Battle School; 3rd Battalion The Rifles; Gurkha Company (Sittang); 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles; 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles; Gurkha Staff and Support Personnel of 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles; and 13 Air Assault Support Regiment Royal Logistic Corps.
There were 35 Silver awards, 25 Bronze and 11 patrols receiving the Certificate of Merit.
Major McCarthy said: “We assess patrols in line with the Battlecraft Syllabus and Soldier First Syllabus, but there remains a number of factors which make the event so challenging.
“There is the demanding terrain, the uncertain weather and the added complexity of things like news crews filming while troops treat a casualty, as well as being tracked and harassed by a remotely piloted aerial system.
“We also utilised cutting-edge technology provided by industry partners that created a truly immersive experience, elevating this event beyond a simple patrols exercise.
“The aim is to test teams by attempting to recreate the uncertainty and complexity that they will face on operations. The calibre of patrols that took part was high and it was good to see. Teams that do well demonstrate high levels of professionalism, leadership and a determination to succeed despite everything they come up against.
“The Chief of the General Staff is clear that our core purpose as an Army is to fight and win wars on land alongside our allies.
“Exercise Cambrian Patrol offers an opportunity to prepare our people for this purpose. It also represents a proving ground for junior-level leadership that we can offer our soldiers, NCOs and officers.”
Wales hosts 13,000 hectares of military training space and nearly 700 exercises take place every year on private land. Sennybridge is the third largest training area in the UK and Defence spends nearly £1billion with Welsh industry, supporting 15,000 jobs in Wales.
160th (Welsh) Brigade also piloted a cyber operations challenge while this year’s event took place, called Exercise Cambrian Hack, potentially inserting a test of this kind into next year’s phases.
Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE, head of the Army in Wales, said Exercise Cambrian Patrol has been evolving since its early roots in 1959, and would continue to do so.
“This event maintains its relevance and utility to the Field Army and to our allies and partners,” he said.
“It also continues its advance from the industrial age of warfare and into the information age, specifically, the multi-domain environment.
“Exercise Cambrian Hack is one example of how the British Army is developing Exercise Cambrian Patrol. This was very much a pilot, aiming to practise and demonstrate levels of cyber knowledge and skills within Regular and Reserve fighting units and through a themed jeopardy-style capture-the-flag exercise.
“It enabled both brigade headquarters staff and exercise troops to explore the tactics, techniques and procedures deployed during offensive cyber operations and cyber warfare activities.
“It also provided the opportunity to learn how multi-domain integration will change how we operate, warfight and develop capability.
“We will continue to explore how we may integrate this aspect into next year’s exercise.”