Commando Logistic Regiment drive into the Arctic wilderness

Personnel from Commando Logistic Regiment (CLR) have taken on one of the most challenging driving tests around on the ice and snow of the Arctic Circle.

As they prepare to support the Royal Marines in the high north, drivers from the dedicated logistics branch of the Green Berets have journeyed out into wilderness of Norway, testing themselves and their twin track Viking and BV 20 all-terrain vehicles.

Barnstaple-based CLR will be offering vital support to Commandos as winter warfare training hundreds of miles inside the Arctic Circle gets underway shortly. It’s an assignment they have been preparing for since the turn of the year.

The regiment’s all-terrain vehicles are equipped to carry and protect Royal Marines, delivering them to the heart of the action and – in the Viking’s case – bringing its own firepower with a mounted heavy machine gun.

Despite ambient temperatures reaching -40°c, this region is a great training area.

Colour Sergeant Alex Hayden

Chief Viking Instructor for CLR’s Armoured Support Group, Royal Marines Colour Sergeant Alex Hayden, said: “Viking is a very capable vehicle, well suited to operating in the Norwegian snow.

“Despite ambient temperatures reaching -40°c, this region is a great training area.

“It enables us to challenge our Royal Marine students whilst also cross-training with the United States Marine Corps and integrating with our NATO allies.”

The drivers of the specialist vehicles must complete driving qualifications in the harsh environment, making sure they are equipped to handle them in one the world’s most unforgiving regions, to deliver troops into combat.

CLR have been at Royal Norwegian Air Force Station Bardufoss, the staging area for sorties into the Arctic Circle, since early January, preparing specialist kit stores, accommodation and medical provisions.

The regiment will be in position, providing the Royal Marines with the support they need to bring their fire and fury to the enemy during up-coming winter war games alongside allies in the region.

In addition to this, 100 personnel from across CLR will join a Logistic Task Group for the first time in years, to partner with Norwegian counterparts and relearn vital skills for sustaining troops in combat in the high north.

Of course, the unit are also getting stuck into the staple cold weather survival course – a five day package of lectures, hands on demonstrations and three nights out in temperatures reaching -30°c led by the Royal Marines Mountain Leaders cadre.

The survival course concludes with the infamous icebreaking drills, where personnel gain the practical experience of breaking through the ice of a frozen lake and how to recover themselves to dry land.