Whilst the majority of The First Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR) were focused on preparations for and the deployment to Kosovo on Operation ELGIN, C (MOGAUNG) Company was preparing for and deploying on Exercise GAULISH 1/21, a combined arms company group urban operations exercise in perhaps the premier urban training centre in the world.
The Centre d’Entrainment aux action en Zone Urbaine (CENZUB – Centre for the training of actions in urban areas) is in northern France and includes Jeouffrecourt and urban town of 10,000 population. CENZUB trains and validates French Combined Arms Company Groups (Sub-Group Tactique Inter-Arme (SGTIA)) in urban operations. C Company exercised alongside and under command of 1er Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes (1er RCP) for three weeks.
The C Company Group included attached teams from Support Company (a recce section, snipers, anti-tanks detachment and machine gun section mounted in RWMiK and a section of mortars). We were also supported by a section of combat Engineers from 23 Parachute Engineers, an FST from 7 Parachute RHA and Royal Military Police from 156 Provost Company. Whilst C Company is a light role Company Group, we deployed with a vehicle fleet of 24 vehicles to lift and support the Company. Our First morning at CENZUB Camp went by Familiarising with the camp with a good Physical Training session! In the first week, we accustomed ourselves to the French weapon systems, the FAMAS, MINIMI and AT-4 (the French light anti-tank and anti-structural munition). We were also issued with French TES kit and were taught combined arms tactics, techniques and procedures including manoeuvre alongside French Armour.
The second week was a busy week of offensive and defensive operations, while being assessed by French instructors and observer mentors. We fought against French armour and conventional and non-conventional enemy, including French Special Forces. The most notable action was the Company hasty defence where we fought continuously at high tempo for over 7hrs, resulting in the Company Group of 130 reduced to 17 men standing. The final week was the Company’s chance to execute all it had learned, to test within the French battlegroup context and innovate with new tactics. Platoons took it in turns to attach with the 1er RCP Companies exercising with us while their platoons joined us in place. The exercise was to defeat the enemies in the towns using our best tactics which we executed highly effectively.
Over the course of three weeks, C Company conducted nine distinct combined arms Company Group urban actions and three major battlegroup actions. Two combined night actions were conducted helping us to train friendly force identification. We also had the chance to exercise dynamic coordination of manoeuvre, find, and destroy armoured and infantry fighting vehicles, conduct combines arms obstacle integration, coordinate direct and indirect fire support, cross-boundary fires, close combat attack (CCA aviation support), aviation casualty evacuation and hand over of targets achieved through liaison officers and the sharing of French and British VHF radios.