The 2nd Battalion, The Rifles is a light infantry battalion based outside Belfast in Northern Ireland and forms part of 38 (Irish) Brigade. They have recently returned from security operations in Kabul and the Falkland Islands and, in the last year, have conducted training missions in Malawi, Uganda and Gabon. The Battalion’s sporting facilities are excellent, with rugby, boxing and football all being played to a high standard and with hockey being the Unit speciality. Adventurous training plays a key role within the 2nd Battalion as expeditions to Mount Everest and regular skiing trips prove.
2 RIFLES Royal Colonel
His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO ADC
RIFLES Exercise in the Transylvanian Alps
In June 2016, A Company (Coy) Group, 2 Rifles deployed to the Land Force Combat Training Centre Cincu, located in the foothills of the Transylvanian Alps to conduct CT1 and CT2 training as part of Ex Sarmis 16.
The Spirit of Lourdes – A Rifleman’s Experience
This year marks the 58th Anniversary of the International Military Pilgrimage (IMP) to Lourdes, France with the Theme for Lourdes, 2016, “Merciful like the Father” in reflection of the year of mercy.
EXERCISE SHAMROCK MAYNE 15.
2 RIFLES ran Ex SHAMROCK MAYNE 15 for 38 (Irish) Brigade at the end of September. The exercise was a challenging patrols competition to practice low level combat skills, junior leadership and physical robustness using Magilligan training area and nearby private land.
17 patrols, both Regular and Army Reserve, from across the Brigade and other Northern Ireland based units took part in the exercise. This included 3 patrols from 2 RIFLES and a patrol from 7 RIFLES. Section strength patrols were initially deployed on a recce patrol and were then dynamically re-tasked once deployed. A series of battle exercises tested their ability to deal with casualties, teach local forces, conduct offensive and defensive action, and call in Offensive Support. The patrols were assessed throughout the event from their receipt of orders through to the post-patrol debrief. A single standard was applied to both the Regular and Army Reserve patrols. It was a challenging exercise, with only 10 out of 17 patrols completing the 40km patrol in 32 hours and of that only 2 patrols meeting the gold standard – both from 2 RIFLES!
After summer leave 11 intrepid members of the 2 Rifles and the wider 38 Brigade set off to Gabon in the heart of Africa. In recent years the local forest elephant population has been decimated by gangs of poachers from neighbouring countries seeking ivory for the Asian market and we were sent to do our bit to help.
Our mission was to run a training package for a collection of Gabonese military, gendarmes, Ecoguards (park rangers) and native trackers who are at the forefront of the struggle against poaching in the vast forests of their country.
It was a great course despite all the minor frustrations that are part and parcel with STTT’s (short term training teams) in a developing country.
All the challenges were surmounted by the team with even the 1 Scots members of the team developing a bit of Franglais in order to communicate with the students.
The local Gabonese were very friendly and appreciative of the training we delivered and we also had fun getting to know the other external instructors who had diverse skills and backgrounds. One conservationist who taught fire making entertained us with stories about the amounts of diseases, insect and animals he had been attacked by over the years working in Africa.
The team managed to remain safe throughout, even after a couple of close encounters with startled elephants under the canopy and experiments with the local food and beer.
Morale was helped by the occasional opportunities to watch sport on the TV on the nearby army base, though in hindsight it might have been better to not watch the England rugby team disappoint yet again.
The next team going to Gabon will have a good opportunity to build on the training we delivered and help the Gabonese tackle poaching head on.