3 months ago

British soldiers seen firing guns on suburban French streets - to bemusement of locals

British troops are pictured shooting machine guns in a suburban French town - to the bemusement of locals.

Soldiers, thought to be the Gurkha regiment, are seen taking firing positions and even recovering fallen comrades in Cahors, a small town in southern France.

One bizarre scene sees soldiers firing a heavy gun down a street, while a lady walks by on her phone followed by an elderly woman.

The surreal sights and rattling gunfire last week were part of Orion 2023, a major French Joint Forces Command exercise aimed at reinforcing operational readiness and involving 12,000 service people.

Last Thursday (8 March), the RAF reported flying two sorties of an Atlas C1 transport aircraft to insert a company of 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles and their equipment to integrate with the French Marine 8th Parachute Regiment for the tactical, combined arms exercise.

Bystander Sami Salmi, who captured the scenes, said: "Operation Orion hit the city of Cahors on March 9 and March 10.

"The soldiers fired into the town with weapons, and they had vehicles that were in place on all the bridges of the city and the entry points.

"Helicopters also circled very low over the city."

First run in 2021, Orion 23 is described by the RAF as a major exercise for France’s armed forces. They say it provides "the perfect opportunity for multinational, combined arms training in a scenario developed by NATO that exercises all the way from planning to high end war fighting".

Planned to be realistic and testing, the exercise spans across different geographical terrains.

Orion 23 will equally assess the cross-governmental response to crises, outside the sphere of operation for the Armed Forces.

Gurkhas are known to be as fearless in combat as they are good natured in daily life. They are renowned for their loyalty, professionalism and bravery.

Browse more videos

Browse more videos