Royal Marines ready for Northern Flank

Royal Marines from across 3 Commando Brigade (3 Cdo Bde) have been refining winter mountaineering skills in Snowdonia National Park during Exercise Winter Walker 18.

3 Cdo Bde, including attached Army and Navy ranks have made the journey to Snowdonia National Park to undertake an eight-day arduous mountain training package to ensure they are physically and mentally ready for the harsh artic conditions of Norway in early 2019.

C/Sgt Cameron Smith said, “Mountain training is a pre-requisite for all Royal Marines and attached ranks deploying to Norway”, he added, “Mountain training ensures the necessary knowledge, physical and mental robustness to operate in the artic”.

The Commandos use the difficult mountainous terrain to test basic skills such as navigation and casualty evacuation alongside vertical assault and river crossings which are specialist skills unique to the Royal Marines.

Mountain training is a pre-requisite for all Royal Marines and attached ranks deploying to Norway

C/Sgt Cameron Smith

Vertical assault training is used to pass vertical obstacles, whether it be a cliff face or a mountainous feature inland, the skill uses advanced climbing and abseiling techniques to cross the obstacle undetected to surprise the enemy.

The technique was developed by the first Commandos during world war two, to launch raids against German forces behind enemy lines.  Modern technology has improved the equipment used but the basic principal has changed very little since the first Commandos.

Mountain training is carried out annually in both Scotland and North Wales to ensure the Marines are fully prepared to deploy to the harsh artic environment of Norway to conduct Artic warfare training. 

The Marines have a long history of operating in mountainous and artic environments, stretching back to the cold war era, when the Commandos were tasked with holding the Northern flank.

Ex Winter Walker 18 is designed to reinvigorate the traditional commando skills to operate in mountain and cold weather environments.  The package has trained ranks from across 3 Cdo Bde in the core skills required to operate within this role.

Lt Simon Williams (29) Royal Navy said, “Snowdonia National Park provides a testing environment and re-enforces the commando ethos whilst also developing individual and team skills”.