Anglo-Dutch task groups link up in Mediterranean

In this anniversary week of Operation Market Garden, the Royal Navies of the UK and Netherlands joined forces in the Mediterranean.

Seventy-six years after Britons fought bitterly to help free Dutch soil from the Nazi yoke at Arnhem, the two NATO allies’ amphibious task groups linked up on their autumn deployments.

HMS Albion is leading the Littoral Response Group accompanied by destroyer HMS Dragon and amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay.

The British force rendezvoused with HNLMS Johan de Witt and HNLMS Rotterdam – which Lyme Bay is partly modelled on – for combined training, including joint manoeuvres, the second mock air attack on Albion by ‘hostile’ aircraft in a week, and a close-range sail past of the UK flagship at full speed by the Dutch vessels.

This meeting was extremely important and demonstrates the good relations and long and strong bonds between our navies

Lieutenant Commander Peter Schilt

Adhering to strict COVID-19 precautions, Albion also welcomed Commander of the Netherlands Maritime Force, Commodore Ad van de Sande, onboard.

“This meeting was extremely important and demonstrates the good relations and long and strong bonds between our navies,” said Lieutenant Commander Peter Schilt, a Dutch exchange officer aboard HMS Albion.

“Both Navies have proven through joint exercises and operations that we are reliable and capable to meet threat challenges together.”

Albion is leading an experimental deployment to test tech, tactics and concepts which will help forge the Royal Marines’ Future Commando Force and the ships, helicopters and craft which carry them into battle.

In addition, the force is working with NATO and the UK’s friends and allies in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region.

The Royal Netherlands Navy is on its Mediterranean Archer 2020 deployment. Similar to the Littoral Response Group (Experimentation) mission, its aim is to test and train amphibious warfare skills alongside supporting NATO allies and partners.

Beyond long-standing ties between the two Royal Navies going back centuries, the Royal and Royal Dutch Marines enjoy a special bond and regularly train and deploy together as a combined UK-Dutch amphibious force.