Ex IRON PYTHON

Support Groups

Ex IRON PYTHON in Nov 18 saw the entirety of 3 Regt deploy on Exercise as a Battlegroup with 2 Apache and 1 Wildcat Squadron with the full Battle Group Support Group – the biggest Aviation Battle group deployment for many years.

The aim of the exercise was to link in to 101 Log Bde and to test how they would supply Aviation during Warfighting – and to test out own linkages between the SG and the flying Squadrons.

The SG deployed from Wattisham Flying Station to the Harrier strip on STANTA -the Divisional Support Area (DSA) ahead of the Regt in order to establish a Distribution Point (DP) ready for the remainder of the Regt to roll through. This was the SG’s first opportunity to lay out a DP in anger, there were some initial frustrations especially with the time it took to move stores across the DP; tasks given timings on paper often took far longer, however we were learning and as the exercise progressed so did our ability.

After successfully resupplying the Regt at STANTA the SG then moved up to North Luffenham where we set up the SG HQ and dispersed the vehicles in readiness to start supporting BGHQ and the Sqn’s at Kendrew Bks about 15 miles away across Rutland Water. The first DP to Kendrew was a baptism of fire: new routines; pitch dark and cold; rain and unclear locations for either BGHQ or the Sqns led to the resupply growing from an estimated 5hr task to well over 10hrs to complete. All frictions that you could expect in real life.
By the end of the first week there was a steady resupply from 27 Regt RLC allowing us to practice DP by day and by night, night DP’s were largely conducted on NVG allowing loading and unloading whilst emitting only a small light signature. As well as supporting the BG by conducting tactical DP’s and drop off’s as far north as Dishforth; 125 miles north of the SG location. The SG also provided an arming and refuelling team held at SG and provided manning for the FARE during mission 4, SG also moved nearly 50,000 litres of diesel and drove more than 25,300 miles during the exercise.
Sgt A R Wepener, 3 AAC

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