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Cumbrian soldiers prepare for Afghanistan deployment
3:05pm Monday 8th October 2012 in News
CUMBRIAN soldiers who could be sent to fight in Afghanistan at any moment got to grips with heavy weaponry at Warcop Training Camp near Appleby.
In a week of exercises, troops from the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (2 LANCS), honed their skills on grenade machine guns, heavy machine guns and mortars used by the British Army.
Around 90 infantrymen from the battalion’s Fire Support Company were put to the test on some of the most potent military kit currently available.
Heavy weapons firing is a vital part of readiness should the Regiment – nicknamed The Lions of England – be called upon for deployment to the war-ravaged country.
The mortar training in Cumbria tested the ability of fire controllers to spot ‘enemy positions’ on a hillside, using laser devices to measure the distances involved and passing the positions on to their mortar firing team which can hit targets up to 5km away.
Lieutenant Colonel Neil Unsworth, Commanding Officer of 2 LANCS, said: “The soldiers we have had here throughout the week are the specialist guys who fire our heavy weapons. They have been honing their skills so they can deliver some pretty precise fire.
“Our sister battalion based in Catterick is deploying to Helmand at the moment and they have the same kit that we have got and they come from the same recruiting area.
“Clearly, Afghanistan is a dangerous place and there is a degree of apprehension before anyone goes to a place like that, but across the regiment we have got a great deal of combat experience and so there is real confidence about operating there.”
2 LANCS is based at Weeton Barracks near Blackpool.
Lt Col Unsworth said he and his soldiers benefited from being so close to their family homes and ‘great Cumbrian training locations’.