Ex Cerberus 22 is the British Army’s largest field exercise of 2022 with nearly 3500 troops and up to 800 vehicles involved. It is also the Army’s largest exercise on the continent for over a decade. The large-scale command post exercise, Ex Cerberus 22 is taking place in Germany aimed at confirming that the five British Army brigade headquarters that sit within the division are ready for operations. It sees the exercise, previously held in the UK on Salisbury Plain Training Area, move to its new central European location to test its ability move personnel and equipment on a large scale and to operate in an expeditionary setting rather than being close to home.
Colonel Owain Luke, Chief of Staff, Headquarters 3rd United Kingdom Division (3 (UK) Div) who are running the exercise said: “We have deployed here to Germany to use the Land Regional Hub at Sennelager, which has also acted as a real test of our ability to deploy forces to the continent at speed. In addition to British brigades on the exercise. we are also joined by the 3rd Brigade Combat Team from the American 1st Cavalry Division. This exercise is also about building our interoperability with U.S. Forces as well as aligning with NATO procedures and working under Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. The main objective of Cerberus 22 is to test, validate and support readiness of the five brigade headquarters: 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, 12 Armoured Brigade Combat Team, 7th Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team, 101 Operational Sustainment Brigade, and 1st Aviation Brigade Combat Team.”
3 (UK) Div is the United Kingdom’s fighting Division and as such can bring to bear the considerable firepower and concentrate the force, which includes: reconnaissance, armoured cavalry; armoured and mechanised infantry, aviation, artillery, engineers, and logistics; in what is referred to as ‘the full spectrum’ of warfighting capability. Concentrating on continual combat readiness, 3 (UK) Div stands by to protect the UK, its people and project influence as a world class Army. Some of the equipment being used is already based in Germany which allows us to provide a more rapid response which further highlighting the importance of Sennelager and surrounding hubs.
Getting to Germany for the exercise was quite a task and involved movement by land, sea and air. The division flew to Celle in Germany by RAF A400 aircraft and then onwards to Sennelager by German CH53 Sikorsky heavy lift helicopters while its vehicles and equipment moved by sea. Squadron Leader Gordon Summers is the RAF’s representative inside 3 (UK) Div as such responsible for the tactical insert by air of troops and equipment from the UK to Germany. The Brigades are being tested in a realistic scenario against a peer adversary with the divisional headquarters in overall command. Above them, the British led NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) will provide overall NATO command and control over the exercise emphasising the importance of the NATO alliance and demonstrating the true scale of the deployment.