A composite company comprised of platoons from every one of 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) companies, commanded by A (Delhi) Company, has recently returned from Exercise DELHI GAULISH, an urban operations exercise on Salisbury Plain. The exercise, planned and executed by Sergeant Bir Bahadur Limbu Iwaram, was designed to hone skills in the urban environment prior to deployment on Exercise GAULISH in France.
Following several weeks of preparatory lessons at Sir John Moore Barracks, the company deployed to a huge underground training area near Chippenham called Corsham Tunnels. This vast complex of tunnels once comprised the Central Government War Headquarters, a former top-secret facility designated as the country’s emergency headquarters during a nuclear conflict with the Soviet Union. 1 RGR’s use of the tunnels was one of the first by any unit. With over 60 miles of roads, highly complex room structures, and with the complete absence of ambient light, the area proved an incredibly useful and unique training environment.
Throughout the first two days at Corsham Tunnels, the platoons rehearsed a range of offensive urban actions and perfected standard operating procedures. The platoons progressed from simple room clearances to complex multiroom assaults in pitch black conditions and without any radio communication. The composition of the tunnels meant the training environment varied from long roads that offered limited cover from fire to highly concentrated systems of bedrooms that are rumoured to have once been allocated as the living quarters of the Royal Family.
The company subsequently redeployed to Copehill Down Village in the heart of the Salisbury Plain Training Area to further take advantage of some of the best urban training facilities the British Army has to offer. The company conducted training at the Low-Level Urban Skills Training (LLUST) house where a series of sensors allowed riflemen to review their own actions by having their performance played back to them. The simunition training used is known as the Marker Round Training System (MRTS) and is increasingly being used as a means to increase the reality of training. The force-on-force serials were very well received by the riflemen who seemed to enjoy the more realistic approach to training, particularly when pitted against their numberi.
Having also practiced a number of elements of defence in the urban environment, the week concluded with a company-level assault that demanded competent coordination between platoons. Lieutenant Juno Tousignant, an exchange officer from 1 RGR’s partnered French unit, 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment (1 RCP), was one of the commanders and thrived under the pressure of leading a highly motivated platoon of Gurkhas.