Yorkshire’s Reserve Infantry. Frequently deployed, our Yorkshire and Teesside-based Reserves participate in, support and lead, some of the most challenging and demanding activities the Army Reserve undertakes. From delivering on operations, to training with key Allies and contributing to UK Resilience with commitment and compassion.
The 4th Battalion have enjoyed a brilliant past few months packed with highlights. From exercising in the US to kayaking on the Amazon, to sporting success, the soldiers in 4 RYORKS have been doing Army Reserve to the max. The one event generating the most excitement was the Battalion’s deployment on Ex NORTHERN STRIKE 23 in August.
We force generated Normandy Company with the addition of 16 soldiers from the 1st Battalion to join roughly 5,500 US National Guard soldiers on exercise in Michigan. This long-standing annual exercise is in a fantastic location: vast wooded areas and two large OBUA villages meaning there is a real emphasis on fighting in the complex terrain that light role infantry are optimised for. Moreover, the exercise provided us with a capable peer enemy from the United States Marine Corps.
Normandy Company made great use of the US assets available and conducted training that you just can’t do elsewhere, including winching casualties onto Black Hawk helicopters and training with a Mortuary Affairs unit. The undoubted highlight was taking C Coy of the 1-179 Infantry under command, to conduct a BG attack on the large urban area with drones and attack helicopters in support. Halfway through the attack the 1-179 Infantry company commander turned to me and said “this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done in the Army!” And he wasn’t wrong!
The outcome was a hugely rewarding exercise that developed individual skills and collective TTPs, building the soldiers confidence in themselves and their team, and thriving in a demanding training environment and against a free-thinking enemy. We wrapped up the exercise with an opportunity to explore the local area and even took in a baseball match in Grand Rapids. This was an ADE that had it all: overseas, good weather, excellent training area, worthwhile training, the chance to meet and work alongside allies, develop our key warfighting skills, and to go somewhere new.
Much of the training we have done this summer was in preparation for Ex NORTHERN STRIKE but it would be remiss of me not to mention the Patrol Competition back in April. This was an excellent weekend that crammed in so much activity. Covering a variety of stands ranging from CBRN to CIS to CASEVAC and Section attacks, with lots of miles and plenty of navigation this was a really testing but worthwhile event for all those that took part. It culminated in a timed run of the ITC obstacle course, but for many the highlight was the bayonet fighting range that tested our soldiers’ aggression, endurance, and will to overcome the enemy. The Patrol Competition also served to determine the Champion Company for 2023, and congratulations go to Quebec Company for their victory in a tightly contested field.
A key part of the Reserve ‘offer’ is the opportunity to do adventurous training. Whilst the 4th Battalion has managed to deliver a glut of AT in the UK, from hill walking in the Peak District to mountain biking in the North York Moors, we have managed to follow up our skiing expedition in February with another epic adventure: kayaking in the Amazon. A small team of 15, led by Capt Claire Norton, deployed to Manaus in the Amazon Rainforest to paddle 227km on the Rio Urubu, a tributary of the Amazon. A test of resilience, determination, endurance as well as kayaking skills, this is the amazing, once-in-a-lifetime adventure that only the Army provides and makes soldiering in the Army Reserve so worthwhile.
We continue to do as much sport as possible with an emphasis on competition. This last six months have seen some real success in triathlon, road cycling, rock climbing, and angling amongst others. We have also played our annual cricket fixture against 4 LANCS, and contributed to the team that played against the Royal Household at Windsor. But the highlight was winning the Lord Mayor’s Race at the Bradford Dragon Boat competition. Corunna Company formed the backbone of the team and with zero training on dragon boats, but with maximum commitment and enthusiasm, the team established an early lead and dug deep to bring home the trophy. An incredible effort and a great day for all involved.
The Band have also been very busy, covering multiple local events, including an Armed Forces Day parade in York, but again, much like the rest of the Battalion, it is the overseas deployments that have made it such a memorable Spring and Summer. First was a deployment to Cyprus in support of the British High Commission and Commander British Forces Cyprus, and then a trip to the Netherlands to play at the Vierdaagsekruis in Nijmegen (The Four Day March). This was a fantastic event and the Band played to most, if not all, of the 40,000 plus participants.
Take a look at what our Yorkshire and Teesside-based Reserves have been doing.