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Royal Marines storm British beaches ahead of north European mission

14 May 2021
More than 300 Royal Marines brought their fire and fury onto the beaches of Scotland as they refreshed amphibious warfare skills ahead of deployment around Northern Europe this spring.

The marines of Arbroath-based 45 Commando crashed ashore from assault ship HMS Albion, perfecting their amphibious warfare skills using a range of landing and raiding craft.

This is all in preparation for operations around the North Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic this spring on the Littoral Response Group (North) deployment. 

HMS Albion was used as the headquarters for the exercises, deploying a variety of landing craft from her spacious dock full of commandos and their equipment to the coastline.

The training, known as Wader, is the cornerstone of amphibious operations and helps to prepare sailors and commandos for any eventuality.

It includes capsize drills into the freezing cold water, beach landings in the dead of night and transporting large vehicles onto the beach from landing craft. 

More than 300 Royal Marines completed this training, as well as personnel from the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, 24 Commando Royal Engineers and Commando Logistics Regiment.

This intensive training is treated as a mission rehearsal and provides personnel with the core skills and confidence to conduct an amphibious assault, even in the most arduous conditions. 

Marine Medley of 45 Commando, said: “Although we experience ship-to-shore movement and landing craft operations in training, it is actually quite a complex procedure which needs refreshing. 

“Given that we need to be ready to do this for real at any point, I’m glad we completed a Wader at the start of the deployment. The weather conditions were not fantastic, but it made for a realistic experience when we conduct capsize drills. I’m confident that I know exactly what to do if things don’t go quite to plan.”

The Commander Land Forces, positioned on HMS Albion, works closely with Commander Amphibious Task Force, Captain Simon Kelly, the Commanding Officer of Albion, to bring the commando force together, maximising their ability to deliver their mission objectives.

Lieutenant Colonel Innes Catton, Commander Land Forces and Commanding Officer of 45 Commando, said: “Projecting a commando raiding force to a target ashore is a complex manoeuvre involving many moving parts, often in adverse weather conditions, and almost certainly at night.

“Practice makes perfect, which is very surely the case for difficult amphibious operations, so it also rehearses what to do when things go wrong and how to regain the initiative when challenges, such as capsizing, present themselves. 

“This is not a just a training serial, to Commandos, this is vital battle preparation for being able to fight and win.”

The Royal Marines will be further tested in Exercise Highland Dagger, an 11-day a tactical exercise before the Littoral Response Task Group moves into Northern Europe and the Baltic region for operations with NATO allies.

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