Gallery: 5 Rifles hand over to Mercian Regiment at Tapa

The British Army's 5th Battalion, the Rifles (5 Rifles) has officially handed over to the incoming 1st Battalion, the Mercian Regiment, following a ceremony at Tapa base Monday.

The ceremony also welcomed the 12e Régiment de Cuirassiers of the French Army, whose personnel arrived earlier this month.

5 Rifles had served at Tapa since, the second time the unit has been on rotation there. The eFP Battlegroup is U.K.-led, joined regularly by personnel from France, Denmark and Belgium, and is organizationally a part of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) 1st Infantry Brigade.

The latest changeover represents the eighth and ninth eFP rotations for the British and French armies respectively, and is the first time the 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment have taken part.

Both French Leclerc Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and British Army Challenger 2 MBTs feature in the eFP's set-up, along with a range of other equipment.

The Mercian Regiment was formed in 2007, after the merger of three, single battalion-strong regiments in the midlands region of England, namely the Cheshire Regiment, the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment and the Staffordshire Regiment.

The 1st Battalion is an armored infantry battalion as is 5 Rifles and the majority of British Army units which have formed the heart of the eFP rotations, partly reflecting Estonian Ministry of Defense doctrine for an emphasis on mechanized infantry.

The NATO eFP battlegroups became a reality in 2017 following a decision made at the Warsaw Summit the previous year. The Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish eFP battlegroups are Canadian-, German- and U.S.-led respectively.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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