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Bold moves from Royal Marines as they storm beaches in US-led war games

45 Commando Bold Alligator
27 October 2017
Royal Marines stormed the marshlands and sands of North Carolina in the largest, most dynamic war game staged by their American counterparts on the Eastern Seaboard this year.

Now in its seventh year, Bold Alligator sees marine corps and soldiers from around the world converge on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

45 Commando from Arbroath accepted the invite alongside troops from Norway, France, Canada, Brazil, the French Foreign Legion, and Mexico.

"Camp Lejeune is over one and a half times the size of the Isle of Wight, so this gives us the opportunity to do some really large-scale training," explained Sub Lieutenant Johnny Danks, 45's Education Officer.

45 Commando's weapons company rolled out their Jackal vehicles. Designed for rapid assault and fire support, Jackals provide a stable weapons platform as well as protection from improvised explosive devices.

"The four Jackal shoots were a brilliant training opportunity said Lt Chris Byrne, Officer Commanding the fire support machine-gunners of 1 Troop, Whisky Company.

"The sheer size of the range offers much greater training benefit than anything we could have achieved in the UK - the much larger ranges and the greater amount of time and ammunition allowed for everyone to pass mandatory shoots and consolidate their skills."

Overall Bold Alligator has been a fantastic opportunity for us to hone our amphibious skills in a fast-paced and complex scenario with our closest international partners

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Forbes, Commanding Officer of 45 Commando Royal Marines

Having tested all the individual parts, Bold Alligator reached its climax with the 'liberation' of North Carolina (playing the part of a fictitious land attacked from the outside by aggressive neighbours and from within by insurgents) involving all the various elements.

It fell to the Royal Marines - and their allies - to move ashore from a ship and retake MOUT, the Military Operation Urban Terrain facility, a replica town where troops can practise and rehearse close-quarters battle and explosive and mechanical 'methods of entry' drills (such as blowing up doors… or battering them down).

"At this point the lads' morale is hoofing - decent training, loads of opportunities with a clear purpose - despite sweating profusely in full Personnel Protection Equipment in temperatures at least 30˚C and 100% humidity," said Corporal 'Mac' McCallum of Yankee Company.

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Forbes, Commanding Officer of 45 Commando, said both the exercise and the setting had been just what his unit needed.

"The training areas of Camp Lejeune provide the perfect ranges to practise our firing and manoeuvres - we can practice and repeat serials, consistently improving and testing ourselves in new scenarios.

"Overall Bold Alligator has been a fantastic opportunity for us to hone our amphibious skills in a fast-paced and complex scenario with our closest international partners.

"Our ability to launch from the sea at a time and place of our choosing and to fulfil a variety of roles, from amphibious operations to disaster relief, as we've seen in the Caribbean over the last few weeks, is a skill unique to the Royal Marine Commandos."

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