By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
A Section from the Ghana Army (GA), has embarked on a skill enhancement and capacity building training with the British Army, and as part of a training exchange program, they will also be participants with other Armies, in a hectic international military training exercise codenamed Exercise CAMBRIAN PATROL ’21.
Exercise Cambrian Patrol (Ex-CP), also known as Ex Cambrian Patrol or The Cambrian Patrol, hosted by Headquarters 160th (Welsh) Brigade, is an arduous British Army event that concentrates on leadership, teamwork and achieving a set mission through mental and physical toughness, and slated from 8–17 of October, 2021, in Wales, with participants taking 48-hours to exhibit their competencies.
The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) – Major General Thomas Oppong-Peprah, has stated previously that, as part of his vision for the Ghana Army (GA) as concerns training, the Army would collaborate with other Armies to further train its Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO).
The Cambrian Patrol, with an aim to provide challenging patrols exercise in order to enhance operational capability, is run on annual basis, with participation from all three Services of the United Kingdom Armed Forces and a variety of overseas Armed Forces.
Deemed one of the most arduous and prestigious military events, the 2-day 60km patrolling Ex-CP also tests candidates’ leadership, field craft, discipline, mental and physical robustness, with the aim to provide a challenging patrols exercise in order to enhance operational capability, making the training mission and task orientated, while checking how various Sections achieve their mission.
Skills that may be assessed during the scenario-based patrols are; Dismounted Close Combat Skills, Orders Procedure, Battlefield Casualty Drills (BCD), Counter-Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Drills (C-CBRN). Countering the Explosive Ordinance Threat (C-EO) and Media Handling.
The rest are Operational Law and Ethical Behaviour. Recognition of aircraft, vehicles, weapons, mines and other equipment, Obstacle Crossing Drills, Artillery Target and Emergency Close Air Support Procedures, Operational Law and Ethical Behaviour and Patrol Reporting and Radio Communications Skills.
Ex-CP, considered the premier examination of patrolling skills in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), has the modern soldier carrying personal kit and equipment weighing 32lbs as backpack, across rough terrain, rough weather, with the Cambrian Mountains of mid-Wales taking a toll, mentally and physical, day and night, with very little food and no sleep.
Some scenarios the exercise has dealt with in times past included the following; First-Aid and Casualty Evacuation(s), Navigating a minefield, Dealing with mock improvised explosive devices (IED’s), Intelligence gathering and observation, Seeking protective measures against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats: A drone released a chemical agent (in 2017), Tactical (and cold) water crossing, Close-target reconnaissance (CTR) and Defensive shooing under attack.
Awards for winners are; Gold medal – 75% or more of the points available and no less than 65%% on any single assessed task, Silver medal – 65-74% of the points available and no less than 55% on any single assessed task – Bronze medal – 55-64% of the points available.
In 1959, a group of Welsh Territorial Army (now Army Reserve) soldiers designed a weekend training event, set in the Cambrian Mountains of Wales, featuring long distance marching and culminating in a shooting match on the Sennybridge Training Area (SENTA).
In August 1960, British Army Major General Lewis Pugh, a Welshman, furthered this event into Exercise Cambrian Patrol. During the 1960s and 1970s, the format was largely a march and shoot scenario, with self-loading rifles, starting in mid-Wales and covering 70 miles over 4 days to a finish at SENTA with military skills tests on the way. Each team had a base camp party that put up tentage/bashas and a cook tent for the end of each day or night phase, and in the 1980s, Ex-CP transitioned to a tactical format.
From 2006 to date, when other Armed Forces joined in the fray, some of the countries that have participated with the British Army and the Royal Air Force (RAF), are; Albania, Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Georgia, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Pakistan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.