Royal Marines specialists conduct training reconnaissance in the Arctic circle

Small teams of Royal Marines are conducting discrete reconnaissance exercises in freezing conditions deep inside the Arctic Circle.

A small team from the Surveillance Reconnaissance Squadron of 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group landed in small inflatable boats to conduct a technical reconnaissance mission on the shores of an Arctic fjord. 

The Squadron’s Shore Reconnaissance Team carried out a survey of the area, studying the surroundings to establish a beachhead for amphibious forces to crash ashore and attack enemy positions. 

This essential training ensures the specialist team are razor sharp for operations, no matter how extreme the environment. 

Their role is to ensure that amphibious forces are able to access coastlines, establishing the best points of access and feeding back vital information on the terrain.

Sergeant Alan Billot, said: “The conditions we face in the Arctic are challenging, so training here gives us confidence that we can operate anywhere in the world.”

“Our equipment and capability improves as technology advances. We are constantly testing and adjusting to ensure that we are able to maintain pace with technological change. The latest kit that we have just procured has transformed the level of information that we can provide.”

 

The conditions we face in the Arctic are challenging, so training here gives us confidence that we can operate anywhere in the world.

Sergeant Alan Billot

The team operate small craft in harsh conditions, but to get the best data they must get out of the boat and swim, even in temperatures of -30°C degrees and in challenging sea states. 

Each commando wears multiple layers of clothing to protect from the weather. They wear up to three pairs of gloves and mitts, plus body armour, webbing, helmet, rifle and lifejacket. 

Once the beach recce is complete, the team moves on to their next target. They can operate for weeks on end without support and with few opportunities to communicate back to base.

To join the Shore Reconnaissance Team is a lengthy and tough process.

Commandos must first be Landing Craft specialists and, once they have enough experience in role, they undertake a five-week arduous Reconnaissance Operators course, which develops covert surveillance and reconnaissance skills, and experience of operating behind enemy lines to gather intelligence.

The Shore Reconnaissance Team are one of the technical trades within the Surveillance Reconnaissance Squadron. All teams within the group are technical experts in their field and with a vast amount of experience in deep reconnaissance.

30 Commando IX Group are deployed to the Arctic alongside fellow units from across 3 Commando Brigade, including the Commando Logistics Regiment, 45 Commando, 29 Commando Royal Artillery and 24 Commando Royal Engineers.