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Split ends for HMS Enterprise as she trains with Croatian Navy

29 August 2017
Sun's out. Gun's out. The General Purpose Machine-Gun to be precise as one of HMS Enterprise's gunnery team lets rip under flawless Adriatic skies as the NATO flagship conducts training with the Croatian Navy.

After several days in Split, Enterprise - currently in charge of NATO's Mine Countermeasures Group 2 - trained extensively with the Croatian Navy missile/fast patrol boat Vukovar as she made her way 200 miles south towards Brindisi in Italy.

Vukovar, not 150ft long and with a crew of only 30, is crammed with firepower - a 57mm main gun, eight Swedish-made anti-ship missiles, depth charges and a couple of 23mm machine-guns.

Whereas the peacefully-minded Enterprise, built to survey the oceans and take scientific readings, isn't: she relies on a couple of Oerlikon 20mm cannon, miniguns and GPMGs to fend off any foe.

As well as some gunnery training against floating targets tossed into the Adriatic, Enterprise practised towing the Croatian craft (ten times lighter displacement) before the British vessel's medical team were called into action.

Enterprise's sea boat was lowered into the water with the medical officer, a first aider and life-saving kit and ferried across to the Vukovar to 'treat' a mock casualty.

To date, Enterprise has been a flagship without a task group, but in Brindisi that changed as the first ship assigned to the NATO force this autumn, Turkish minehunter Edremit, joined the Briton for the entry into harbour.

While Turks and Brits were getting to know one another, task group commander Cdr Justin Hains visited Brindisi's civic and military leaders, who stressed the importance of the port and maritime trade links in the southern Adriatic.

It's the task of the minehunting group to support those trade links by keeping the sea lines open and free of mines - be they present day or those from the Mediterranean's 20th Century conflicts.

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