The U.S. military has its rivalries, but more often than not, those go away once an operation starts. The rivalries in the armed forces of the UK may not transition so smoothly. Royal military police are investigating a recent training exercise that "descended into chaos" where paratroopers and Gurkhas started ripping into each other with "poles, bats, and heavy machine-gun barrels."
A British paratrooper at Exercise Askari Storm. (Forces News photo)
The incident stems from a rivalry that started two years ago after the same two groups started the same fight for the same reasons. Exercise Askari Storm features the paras from 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment assaulting a fortified position held by the Royal Gurkha Rifles, who are playing the opposing forces.
The exercise Askari Storm takes place in Kenya annually. (Photo by Forces News)
"It was like a scene from a football hooligan film," A witness told the British tabloid The Sun. "Soldiers were fighting using rifles and spare general purpose machine gun barrels as clubs."
Apparently the paratroopers had been harassing the Gurkhas for the duration of the eight-week exercise. So when it came for the final showdown, the fighting became more than a training exercise for the men.
It seems like a bad idea to antagonize a unit whose motto is "Better to die than be a coward."
No kukri knives were drawn. (photo by Forces News)
The Hollywood-style royal rumble featured more than 100 men, and an unknown number of melee weapons. According to The Sun, the winner of the brawl was unclear.
"I'm not sure who you'd declare the winners, the Gurkhas used surprise well so they may have clinched it," they quoted one witness as saying.