Army RIFLES prepare to join the Royal Marines

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Army RIFLES prepare to join the Royal Marines

Post by Guest on Sat 29 Mar 2008, 2:39 pm

The 600 infantrymen of 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES), are currently training in the jungles of Belize. They are about to become the fourth unit of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and will soon be deploying with the elite marine unit to Afghanistan.

A Rifleman proudly displays his 'Commando dagger' badge during training in Belize
[Picture: PO (PHOT) Dave Husbands]

As part of their normal operational cycle, the Chepstow-based 1 RIFLES are in Belize conducting Jungle Warfare Training. They are expected to return to UK in early April 2008, prior to deploying to Afghanistan with 3 Commando Brigade.

The transfer of 1 RIFLES under FLEET command represents a continuation of the very close co-operation that the Royal Navy and Army already enjoy.

Brigadier David Capewell, Commanding Officer 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, said:

"This is a really important moment for 3 Commando Brigade and 1 RIFLES. It means that 3 Commando Brigade will have four manoeuvre units - 1 RIFLES being the fourth manoeurvre unit - and it gives the Brigade a huge amount of operational agility.

"It allows us to conduct brigade-level programmed OCP [Operational Commitments Plot] work as well as having an offset unit on the OCP. So, benefit all-round, but most importantly benefit to both organisations - I get a fourth manoeuvre unit, and 1 RIFLES become part of 3 Commando Brigade.

"3 Commando Brigade has a history as the UK's independent amphibious brigade. 1 RIFLES are not commando-trained at the moment, but they are part of the Commando Brigade and there are many constituent parts of the Commando Brigade that aren't necessarily all commando-trained, so we will find them useful work - interesting and demanding work - across the spectrum of our activity."

"I'm very satisfied that 1 RIFLES have got exactly what they want out of this jungle training and we can now start moving forward with HERRICK preparatory training."

Sgt Lee French, 1 RIFLES, said that he was looking forward to his battalion joining 3 Commando:

"Hopefully we'll be fully encompassed within the Brigade itself, so we'll get to go on the old big ships and take part, and have a few more interesting exercises that are a little bit different to what we're used to and a bit more out of reach - Norway - something I haven't done before - and a few farther reaches that we haven't done. So it will be, hopefully, a more interesting experience."

Initial integration into 3 Commando Brigade is expected by the end of April 2008, with full integration, including a specialist amphibious training, by April 2010.

Although there is no requirement for 1 RIFLES to become fully Commando trained at unit level, opportunities will become available to individuals to volunteer to undertake the All-Arms Commando Course at the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone.

The RIFLES consist of five light-role infantry battalions currently attributed to Small Scale Peace Keeping tasks.

The RIFLES have a long history, including links to the great 19th Century General Sir John Moore and the Peninsular Campaign. The historical series, 'Sharpe' starring Sean Bean dramatises the antecedents of the RIFLES during this period.

The 'RIFLES' were formed in 2005 from an amalgamation of the Royal Green Jackets, The Light Infantry, The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry and the The Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry.

Source: MOD -


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