Royal Marines complete sweltering jungle exercises in Guam

Topic: Fighting armsRoyal Marines Storyline: 40 Commando

In sweltering tropical heat and punishing humidity, Royal Marines and their US counterparts have been on intensive jungle exercises on the Pacific island of Guam.

Bravo Company of 40 Commando, based in Taunton, plus detachments from Plymouth-based 47 Commando and 29 Commando met up with the US Marine Corps in the heat of Guam to work on jungle skills and experiment with new tactics.

Temperatures soared above 40°C and 79 per cent humidity as the commandos went on jungle ambushes, reconnaissance patrols, break contact drills and beach raids alongside Cherokee Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/5 of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

“This was all carried out using techniques from both sides of the Pond and we learned valuable lessons throughout,” said Marine McDonnell from 40 Commando. 

“It was mainly an experimental exercise involving jungle patrolling, contact drills, land-to-sea defensive techniques and working at reach with limited support.”

The Bootnecks helped push the boundaries of American tactics – known as Expeditionary Advanced Based Operations – which sees small teams deployed with limited support (something commandos are experts in) to islands or chokepoints for intelligence gathering and to restrict the movement of enemy forces in strategically-important areas.

Marine Ridgeway said: “We spent a few days in the jungles and hills of Guam practising USMC Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations tactics for locating and targeting enemy ships from ashore. 

“We also carried out break contact, casualty evacuation drills alongside patrolling in small teams.”

47 Commando – the raiding specialists of the UK’s commando force – used a compound mocked up to replicate the tight surroundings of a ship to share knowledge and expertise in close-quarters battle and boarding and capturing ships, both at night and during the day.

The training also included small teams of Royal Marines integrating with USMC small boats and sharing expertise on amphibious beach raids, while the green berets also had a short stay on a US Navy ship.

It concluded with a fitness competition between USMC, US Navy and the Royal Marines, including a five-kilometre run, 400-metre open water swim and an obstacle course, before a Corps vs Corps football match, which ended in a 5-4 penalty shootout win for the British.