HAMPSHIRE soldiers have proven they pack a punch in a European training exercise.

The Hampshire Tigers have been testing advanced Javelin anti-tank systems combined with elite snipers in Latvia in an annual NATO two-week exercise.

Dubbed Saber Strike 14 it saw a company of about 120 Tigers, aka The First Battalion, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (1PWRR), go head-to-head with nine other nations in simulated training exercises designed to test the tactics, techniques and procedures of each side.

In the second week the Tigers were placed under the command of a Norwegian Battlegroup Headquarters working closely with US Bradley company and a Norwegian dismounted infantry squad to take on the rest of the assembled nations.

Lt Chris Griffiths, platoon commander, B Company, 1 PWRR said: “This training exercise has opened our eyes to different nations’ tactics and to see similarities and differences between our NATO allies, some of which we will take away with us and put into practice.

“This is classic conventional warfare with limited creature comforts, carrying all that you need on your backs through boggy terrain up to chest height at times. It’s created a great challenge for my men and the company.”

Major Richard Dobson, commander of 1 PWRR, B Company, who is leading the Tigers in this joint venture, added: “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to develop relationships made over many years both in a training environment and on operations. We can build on capacity and interoperability of our NATO allies.”

The Company are set to return to their home base of Sennelager in Northern Germany at the end of June following the exercise.

1 PWRR Battalion forms part of 20th Armoured Brigade, who are currently engaged in numerous defence activities, including operations in Afghanistan The summer will also see other elements of the Brigade in the form of the Queens Royal Hussars (QRH) providing security at the Commonwealth Games.