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Iron Titan: British Army’s largest land exercise for twenty years

Source: British Army, Defence Industry Europe

Iron Titan is the British Army’s largest land exercise for over twenty years with approximately 8000 troops taking part.

 

It brings together the training of the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division’s (3 (UK) Div) support elements and has been taking place at locations across England and Wales.

3 (UK) Div is training, innovating, and trialling new concepts just days after the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Patrick Sanders, announced the renewal of how the British Army will fight the wars of the future.

 

Iron Titan is the British Army’s largest land exercise for over twenty years with approximately 8000 troops taking part.
Photo: British Army.

 

Brigadier General Matt Brown, United States Army, is the Deputy Commanding General of the Division and has the responsibility to assess how the artillery, logistics, aviation, signals, and engineers work together in the ‘lethal, agile, expeditionary and resilient’ manner described by General Sanders:

“The synchronised delivery of these capabilities is how our Division fights – it’s how we generate tempo and maximise lethality to win.

“That lethality is underpinned by the kind of soldiers’ trust and cohesion that only come from sharing tough experiences.

“Even though we’re at home, the common challenges of distance, scale, weather, and the replicated enemy are making us all better.”

Known as the Iron Division 3 (UK) Div’s infantry and cavalry regiments routinely train in complex field exercises. Those who provide the combat service support and sustainment for the frontline combat troops will be experimenting with new ideas on how to transfer the General’s words onto the battlefield.

 

Iron Titan is the British Army’s largest land exercise for over twenty years with approximately 8000 troops taking part.
Photo: British Army.

 

‘The Iron Division is made up of 1st Deep Reconnaissance Brigade Combat Team, 12th Armoured Brigade Combat Team, 20th Armoured Brigade Combat Team, 11 Signals Brigade and 101st Operational Sustainment Brigade, 7th Air Defence Group and 25 (Close Support) Engineer Group, 4 Military Intelligence Battalion and 7 Military Intelligence Battalion.

It exists as the United Kingdom’s strategic land warfare asset which can call on the considerable firepower of the British Army and concentrate the force which includes Reconnaissance, Armoured Cavalry, Armoured and Mechanised Infantry, Aviation, Artillery, Engineers, and Logistics, referred to as “the full spectrum” of warfighting capability. All of whom will be validated as part of Exercise Iron Titan 23.

From refreshing their basic soldier skills of living in the field to the highly skilled specific roles needed to ensure combat soldiers reach the frontline with the right equipment at the right time. This provides the best opportunity to be successful in the close fight and provide the sustained support over an unknown length of time, known as a campaign.

From the air to the ground, those who protect and sustain the combat troops need to be trained with the same intensity as those in the close battle. These essential supporting units can often find themselves spread out over great distances, so it is vital to maintain communications, uphold their own personal protection as well as protecting the equipment and services needed for the frontline.

 

Iron Titan is the British Army’s largest land exercise for over twenty years with approximately 8000 troops taking part.
Photo: British Army.

 

The Combat Ready Training Centre (CRTC) has created a scenario that will test how the commanders will co-ordinate their manoeuvres to create an integrated effect to secure routes to the imaginary frontline.

All the while the soldiers will be under pressure from Team Hannibal – (fellow soldiers who will act as the enemy) focussed on disrupting logistics and preventing the delivery of firepower.

Major Paddy Pratt from the CRTC and his team are running the exercise:

“Normally we are responsible for delivering collective training to infantry, but Iron Titan is the first divisional level exercise with a focus on logistics elements, Deep-Recce Strike, fires, engineers, and aviation. It is the first time we have had all those capabilities working together to deliver the 3rd (UK) Division required outputs.”

 

 

Major Pratt highlights the importance of training at this level:

“As we look towards how we fight in 2026 we are drawing on all of the lessons learnt from conflicts, particularly in Ukraine, to be able to design our training to make sure we are incorporating these and making training as relevant, realistic and current for soldiers so we make them as ready as possible to face the challenges of tomorrow.”

The interoperability with other nations is key as the 3(UK) Div is enhanced to ‘warfight under the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps – the UK’s NATO Corps’ (General Sanders, DSEI 2023).

Ghost Troop, 2nd Cavalry Regiment (United States) has been fully integrated into the Royal Lancers Battlegroup, the reconnaissance capability of the 1st Deep Recce Strike Brigade Combat Team, for Exercise Iron Titan (the name given to the exercise).

Lieutenant Colonel Robin Davies, Commanding Officer The Royal Lancers explains:

“Working with Ghost Troop on Exercise Iron Titan has provided a great opportunity for us to prove tactical-level interoperability between ourselves and the US Army. They are hugely professional and enthusiastic and have been a pleasure to work with.

“This training has deepened our understanding of each other’s tactics and procedures and has proved that we can communicate and integrate effectively. In doing so we have formed friendships and trust that are enduring and will be essential if we are called upon to fight side by side under a NATO banner in the future.”

 

 

Whilst this six-week exercise across the south-west of England and south Wales allows soldiers to innovate and experiment using their specialist technical skills, the lessons they learn will be a firm foundation to continue to train as they fight to win wars on land.

Brigadier General Matt Brown adds:

“Exercise Iron Titan is all about our readiness to fight and win. We’re in direct support of Op Mobilise, the Field Army’s ‘How We Fight 26’ direction, and we’re developing real proficiency in the fundamentals of our profession along the way.”

“In the largest sense, how we fight in the near future is a product of how we prepare ourselves today – and we couldn’t be prouder of the way the entire team is leaning into this training.”

 

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