Royal Marines hit Arctic coastline on commando raids

Royal Marines are on amphibious commando raids from the fjords of northern Norway as part of challenging winter training.

Ahead of stepping off on Exercise Cold Response – the UK’s largest Arctic deployment in nearly a decade – Green Berets of 45 Commando and 47 Commando have combined to raid along the frozen Norwegian coastline.

This is all in preparation for further raids inland as part of the Norwegian-led Cold Response 2020, which will see around 15,000 troops from ten nations test themselves on the seas and along the demanding Arctic shoreline.

These latest missions saw commandos take on well-defended coastal locations, used by the ‘enemy’ to control vital supply lines into the Nordic country.

The key for the raids, which are being conducted during the day and under the cover of darkness, was keeping the element of surprise before destroying infrastructure in a coordinated attack.

The small, fast raiding craft of Plymouth-based 47 Commando took a force of marines ashore using Offshore and Inshore Raiding Craft, while others moved into position on skidoos before the assault on the enemy stronghold.

“Amphibious raids are the commando forces’ bread and butter. As the UK’s elite amphibious troops, we’re one of the few nations in the world that has a genuine ship-to-shore capability,” Warrant Officer First Class Nicholas Ollive Royal Marines said.

“Although conducting these sorts of missions may be second nature to some of our people, that’s no reason to rest on our laurels; regular training in difficult conditions ensures that we remain at the top of our game.

“This is even more important in the Arctic where the consequences of a mistake can be even more serious and the meaning of the phrase ‘train hard fight easy’ becomes self-evident.”

 

These raids and those coming up on Cold Response will see Royal Marines continue to experiment with Future Commando Force tactics.

They will work in small teams designed to disrupt and incapacitate threats.

“As the unit prepares for Exercise Cold Response, we can look forward to some challenging training that will push our people in this unforgiving environment,” added WO1 Ollive, 45 Commando’s Regimental Sergeant Major.

“Part of our training is experimenting with the Future Commando Force concept – operating in small teams deep within the enemy’s backyard to have a disproportionately deadly effect; tactics which are perfectly suited to raiding operations.

“Operating in the Arctic is part of 45 Commando’s DNA – they were the first unit to specialise in cold weather warfare in the 1970s and have regularly deployed to Norway since.

“The specialist skill-set which the Royal Marines offer is almost unique among the NATO countries and 3 Commando Brigade’s involvement in Cold Response is considered a force-multiplier.” 

Ships, helicopters, armoured vehicles, commando units, medics and specialist raiding craft are all committed to the Norwegian-led Exercise Cold Response.

More than a thousand Royal Marines have been in the region since January on Arctic training missions building up to Cold Response and will launch on amphibious raids as the tip of the task group’s spear.