Salisbury Plain plays host to European Union Battle Group

Some 1,200 troops from across Europe recently descended on Salisbury Plain to take part in a major training exercise involving the European Union (EU) Battle Group.

Companies of soldiers from Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and The Netherlands, arrived at the Wiltshire training area to participate in the exercise.

The exercise, which was planned and delivered by 42 Commando Royal Marines, ran in three phases: Company level training including an urban operations package in Copehill Down Village; a live firing exercise which took place on the west side of Salisbury Plain; and a Commando Brigade Test Exercise.

EU units used a wide range of equipment including Viking, BV 206 and HUMvee, all of which were closely monitored by the Salisbury Plain Training Area Safety staff during the exercise, which ran from 3 to 18 May.

Salisbury Plain Training Area is maintained by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which delivers the Training Service, enabling Defence training users to live, work, training and deploy at home and overseas. 

Lt Col Mark Hiskett, Principal Training Safety Officer DIO Ops Training South West, said:

“DIO’s priority is to support our Armed Forces and their allies, as they prepare for operations. This exercise was the first of its kind for us and was an essential opportunity for these disparate organisations to come together and conduct joint planning and training.

“The size and nature of Salisbury Plain means that it offers excellent training facilities, ideal conditions and the perfect backdrop for complex and diverse exercises such as these.”

At over 38,000 hectares (94,000 acres) the Plain is the UK’s largest training area and offers first-class and diverse training facilities to enable the British Army to meet its training requirements to prepare for operations worldwide.

Salisbury Plain is the only Training Area in the UK large enough to support this exercise. The area is able to cope with two fully established Transition Support Units – equivalent to a large battalion equivalent.

Copehill Down is a Fighting In Built Up Areas (FIBUA) urban warfare and close quarters battle training centre. It is the principal FIBUA training facility in the UK, designed to enable collective training for combined arms groupings at battle group level and below.


Further information:

Press enquiries to Tony Moran, Senior Communications Officer 0121 311 3879 or email

DIO website:

Notes to Editors

1. The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is part of the MOD. We are responsible for managing and maintaining land and properties, as well as providing related support services, to meet the current and future needs of the MOD and personnel at home and abroad, and to support current operations.

2. Our work includes providing, supporting and improving: operational units; single living and service family accommodation; training areas and historic military sites. DIO actively manages these and supporting services, such as soft facilities management and guarding, to ensure the needs of Defence are met, value for money is achieved, heritage protected and environmental goals achieved.

3. Picture captions – please credit      ‘Crown copyright/MOD 2013’:

-        Dutch Viking armoured vehicle on Salisbury Plain during the European Union (EU) Battle Group exercise.

-        Soldiers on Salisbury Plain participating in  the European Union (EU) Battle Group exercise




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