Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Royal Marines head ‘behind enemy lines’ on fjord raids

22 February 2022
Royal Marines practised raiding the rugged Arctic coastline, putting the final touches to preparations for the largest NATO exercises in Norway since the 1980s.

Green berets from 40 Commando and 539 Raiding Squadron of 47 Commando combined to land on ‘enemy-held’ beaches around Sørreisa in northern Norway using small raiding craft to crash ashore, carry out their mission and quickly exit.
 
Small groups of commandos have been patrolling Norway's fjords and raiding ‘behind enemy lines’ using expert strike teams to complete objectives.
 
These teams, deployed on small inflatable boats – named Inshore Raiding Craft – land and move covertly to a target, neutralise their ‘adversary’, collect valuable evidence and fall back to the water with the heavily-armed 539 Raiding Squadron covering them as they complete their missions.
 
539 of Plymouth-based 47 Commando use their Offshore Raiding Craft – equipped with .50 calibre machine guns and General Purpose Machine Guns – to provide crucial support from the water but also bring extensive expertise in manoeuvring into hard to reach areas along coastal areas.
 
The squadron have shipped their purpose-built raiding craft to Norway – 10 IRCs, eight ORCs and two larger landing craft for vehicles and larger numbers of troops – and honed their specialist skills in operating high-speed raiding boats in the extreme cold, which they have done for decades to ensure the amphibious mobility of the Royal Marines in the unforgiving Arctic environment.
 
Taunton-based 40 Commando are building on previous Arctic deployments, but arrive in Norway fresh from desert training in California on Exercise Green Dagger.
 
This deployment has tested seasoned Arctic operators and first-timers alike, but the commandos are now confident in long-range ski reconnaissance and scaling sheer cliff faces on vertical assaults.

40 Commando have also continued to develop tactics in operating in small lethal teams to bring maximum punch to an adversary while offering a flexibility and lower profile that larger– more overt – forces would not. 
 
Together, 539 and 40 Commando's Charlie Company have taken the training to a new level and now look towards Exercise Cold Response, the largest gathering of NATO forces in the region for some 30 years.
 
Hosted by the Norwegians in March and April, 35,000 troops from 28 nations will gather in a demonstration of commitment to security and prosperity in the region.
 
The UK’s Commando Forces will be focused on raiding Norway’s coastline from amphibious ships HMS Albion and RFA Mounts Bay during the exercises. They will be backed by aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, which will deploy to the high north with her escorts in her role as NATO command ship.
 
As part of their role in the larger task force, the commandos will look to raid enemy positions in small teams and make way for larger amphibious forces to land ashore.

 

 

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.