WATCH: Why are Bulford troops in Estonia on an operation?

5 Rifles Sounding Retreat Sept 2016 5 (MOD)

1:42pm 20th March 2017

Salisbury Plain soldiers have spent their first weekend in Eastern Europe as part of a special task force, and we've been finding out more about their job there.

120 troops from Bulford's 5 Rifles have been sent to Estonia.

In a video from the Army, which you can see below, 5 Rifles Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wilson, (pictured below) explains what they're there to do:

"Our purpose is to reassure the Estonian government of the commitment to the defence of a fellow NATO member. Secondly, it's about deterrence, and that's deterring Russian military aggression."

5 Rifles CO Lt Col Mark Wilson (MOD)

Here's that video in full, where the CO also talks us through the kit they've taken across Europe:

You can read more about the arrival of 5 Rifles in Estonia on our news page at www.spirefm.co.uk/news

The British deployment is being joined by others from France and Denmark, with other operations in different parts of Eastern Europe.

The number of our soldiers involved will grow to 800 British troops in the next few months.

This map from NATO shows where troops will be based from each of their member states:

NATO Estonia 5 Rifles map (British Army)

The Army's been setting out what the troops' mission will be:

"This Battlegroup will be a defensive, but combat capable force, including armoured infantry, equipped with Warrior Armoured fighting vehicles, tactical UAVs and troop of Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks.

"British forces will actively support the Estonian Defence Force's 1st Infantry Brigade in its role protecting Estonia, conducting joint exercising and training to build a strong multinational force.

"The UK-led Battlegroup will build on our strong relationships with the armed forces of the Baltic States and Poland. Through the Trans-Atlantic Capability Enhancement and Training initiative, British troops will work alongside other Battlegroups in Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to reassure our Allies that we stand by our NATO commitments to European security."

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