Royal Marines launch final assualt on exercise Albanian Lion

As darkness began to cover their tracks Royal Marine Commandos launched their final assault on a disused submarine base in Albania as part of a long-planned annual exercise.

Alpha and Bravo Companies from 40 Commando were landed ashore by Landing Craft Utility (LCU) and Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) in preparation for the attack on the Porto Palermo Submarine Base, Albania.

As part of Exercise Albanian Lion the Royal Marines joined up with Albanian forces to practise their core amphibious fighting skills, with the objective to recapture the base from opposing forces.

While pushing their way forward the men were met with fierce resistance as the enemy used the tunnels of the submarine pens to their advantage, ensuring a challenging fight. 

Several hours later and, once the tunnels were cleared, Delta company then launched their own attack on enemy occupying higher ground after being landed on nearby beaches by Chinook (CH47) helicopters.

As marines we are expected to be able to operate in any condition and climate and this was no exception.

Marine Dillon Wilde

Albanian Commandos joined the Royal Marines for the final part of the exercise – fighting their way through a network of trench systems that gave their colleagues acting as the enemy, plenty of opportunity to hide.

Marine Dillon Wilde, 21 of Delta Company said: "It has been tough, due to the mountainous terrain. As marines we are expected to be able to operate in any condition and climate and this was no exception.

"The attack went really well. We have had lots of new marines join straight from training so it was good that they have become an integral part of the troop."

While 40 Cdo were fighting their way through the submarine pens, Armoured Support Troop practised driving their Viking vehicles through the marshland terrain on the Albanian peninsula of Kepi I Pallit. The boggy environment gave the Royal Marines the perfect conditions to fully test the vehicle’s range of capabilities.

This was the final phase of Ex Albanian Lion which was the first major workout of the Royal Navy’s Response Force task Group (RFTG) while on their annual deployment called Cougar 14. 

This year Cougar 14 involves Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark, Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) HMS Ocean, the Lead Commando Group of 40 Commando, two Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships and a number of squadrons from the Fleet Air Arm.