Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade have been working alongside their Polish counterparts as they train together on a NATO exercise in Poland to practice capturing bridges.

Exercise Anakonda has seen A Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (A Coy, 3 PARA) work with the Polish 16th Airborne Battalion, 16 Battalion Powietrznodesantowy. The troops have planned and carried out missions side by side, to improve their understanding of the similarities and differences between them so that they are better prepared to operate together.

The fortnight-long training at Drawsko Pomorski in north-west Poland is part of a programme of joint exercises and immediate assurance measures designed to reassure NATO allies in Eastern Europe. The main focus of the exercise was a joint parachute assault, with troops jumping from an RAF Hercules and Polish CASA C-295 to capture bridges on the training area.

Major Ben Harrop, Officer Commanding A Coy, said: “This type of mission is what airborne forces were designed for – to parachute in and capture key strategic objectives by surprise within a wider operation. It is fitting that we have practised capturing bridges so soon after the 70th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, which saw British and Polish paratroopers fight together on exactly the same type of operation during the Second World War.”

MoD, Crown copyright

Photos by Corporal Andy Reddy