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Royal Marines defend Sweden during mock invasion

11 May 2023
A Royal Navy amphibious task force has arrived in Stockholm after defending Sweden’s complex coastline from a mock invasion.

Amphibious flagship, HMS Albion, led the Littoral Response Group (North) (LRG) into the Baltic Sea for Exercise Aurora – the largest Swedish national defence exercise in more than quarter of a century.

Royal Marines made quite the impression during three amphibious landings on the Nordic nation’s complex coastline, with Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson stating that he’d like the commandos in the country ‘next year and every year’.

In all, the LRG worked with hosts’ armed forces and those from Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia and Lithuania, with Albion also home to a number of US Marines throughout. 

Marines from 45 Commando stormed the beaches of Gotland – a strategically important island in the middle of the Baltic – and on the Stockholm archipelago, a complex network of 30,000 islands in the approaches to Sweden’s capital. 

In front of the Swedish premier, defence minister Paul Jonsson and military figureheads, Royal Marines crashed ashore on the island of Korso, on the eastern edge of the archipelago, showing allies’ ability to stop an enemy invasion.

The politicians and military contingent also visited Albion at sea, as bonds between the UK and Sweden deepen, while there is a blossoming partnership with the 4th Marine Battalion based in Gothenburg. 

Commanding Officer, Captain Marcus Hember, said: “Aurora has been a great proving ground in demonstrating the flexibility of amphibious ships like HMS Albion, enabling fast and lethal strikes by our embedded Royal Marines in 45 Commando whilst seamlessly supported by the ship and its crew.

“We’ve demonstrated our ability to exercise with our regional partners adding significant capability and shown we can ‘turn up when needed’.”

There was also a night-time raid on an airfield in Oskarshamn, in Southern Sweden.

Commandos launched from Albion, landing at midnight and linking up with the 35th Swedish Regiment, before causing havoc to the ‘enemy’ airfield.

Major Lee Stewart, in command of X-Ray Company of 45 Commando, said: “The scenario here in the Baltic is that an adversary has begun an invasion of Sweden. 

“The UK, US and other partner nations have been called upon to help defend Sweden and defeat the enemy.”

He added: “Aurora is one of the best exercises we’ve taken part in for some time.”

At sea, the Royal Navy’s Coastal Forces Squadron swarmed around the LRG, developing tactics to support landing operations. There were also a range of maritime warfighting exercises.

The LRG now stops in Stockholm to host a number of engagement events, continuing to build on the UK’s strong friendship with Sweden.

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