Royal Marines hone skills in Norway

Pilots of the Royal Marines’ high-speed raiding boats have been honing their tight formation skills in the ice-filled fjords of northern Norway.

Commandos of 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM) are readying themselves for raids in the perilous surroundings of the high north, where temperatures can plunge to a teeth-chattering -30°c.

As part of preparations, 539 Assault Squadron of Plymouth-based 1AGRM tore through the water at close proximity at speeds of up to 50mph, refining their ability to spearhead amphibious attacks in freezing conditions on their specialist Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC).

This is vital training in their newly upgraded craft, ensuring coxswains are acclimatised to the unique surroundings of the fjords before taking Royal Marines into the heart of combat in up-coming seaborne raids.

It’s the first time I’ve personally manoeuvred a boat section though an area of surface ice and had to overcome the challenges it presents.

Corporal Ryan Joslin, ORC Section Commander

It is no easy task piloting the ORCs through an area of surface ice – especially at high speed, making these run outs in the waters around Hellarbogen, Norway, essential.

“It’s great getting myself and the rest of the lads used to a completely new environment,” said Corporal Ryan Joslin, ORC Section Commander.

“We’re typically used to operating the craft in milder climates, which presents different challenges for the craft and coxswains.

“Since being upgraded, this is the first time we’ve had a chance to use the new engines in extreme cold weather and they’ve handled it perfectly so far.

“This, mixed with the incredible scenery is making every trip out in the water, as cold as it is, pretty special.

“Floating ice can be hard to spot and poses risks to the craft. It’s the first time I’ve personally manoeuvred a boat section though an area of surface ice and had to overcome the challenges it presents.”

The craft are a rapid means of manoeuvring personnel into combat and are key in bringing the fire and fury of the Royal Marines to the frontline.

In total, 16 craft have arrived in the high north – six Offshore Raiding Craft, eight Inshore Raiding Craft and two Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel – having been loaded up in the UK and transported by Sealift Ro-Ro, MV Hurst Point, to Scandinavia.

1AGRM’s deployment to the region is essential in ensuring the amphibious mobility of the Royal Marines in the unforgiving Arctic environment.