TROOPS from Colchester have been honing their skills alongside their French counterparts to ensure they’re ready for side-by-side operations.

Exercise Gallic Marauder saw members of 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery put through their paces alongside 35e Régiment d’Artillerie Parachutiste at Castlemartin ranges in Wales.

The two-week camp tested the gunners’ ability to control and co-ordinate fire from each others’ weapons on the field.

During the exercise, fire support teams co-ordinated attacks from 105mm light guns, 120mm mortars and airstrikes by French Nazy Rafale fighters.

Lieutenant Colonel Justin Baker, commanding officer of 7 Para RHA, said: “Gallic Marauder is our critical training opportunity to develop the partnership with our French counterparts, developing our understanding and confidence in each other’s kit and procedures.

“We each bring similar capabilities and unique properties to the relationship, with our Light Guns and the French 120mm mortars combining to bring additional flexibility to what we can deliver together.”