THE staff of 1 Mechanised Brigade took to the streets of Southampton earlier this month as they helped to plan the future structure of the army.

Exercise Urban Warrior is the army’s experiment based on an examination of operations in an urban environment, which aims to draw out insights to help shape the Army post- 2020.

The exercise involved 362 people from the three forces and the police as well as other civilian agencies, the French Army, scientific, legal and political advisers and academics From a command post called The Arena in Marchwood Military Port, the staff conducted the exercise and added realism by deploying to tactical viewing points (TVPs) in Southampton city centre.

Brigadier Tim Robinson, commander 1st Mech Bde, said: “When resources are tight it is important that we invest time in making sure the way we fight in the future is the most efficient.

“Armies are getting smaller as cities are getting bigger, and we must adapt.

“The scenario starts in the middle of a complex operation in an urban environment - that is where we press the ‘play’ button. After each situation update, three times a day, a ‘plenary’ or discussion session occurs in the Arena.

“This is a very efficient way of doing this. The costs that would be associated with a similar process outside of the army would be huge by comparison.”

Lessons learned included the difficulties of communications in a dense urban area and the need for a better understanding of social media as a means of communication and influence.

During the exercise, the brigade hosted senior visitors from the army, from government and from many of our allies including the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Spain and Australia.

General Sir Nick Parker, commander in chief Land Forces, said: “The fact that we are doing this, that we are prepared to analyse the way we work, is very important.”