British commandos undergo extreme survival training in Norway


British commandos have been put through their paces as they underwent extreme survival training Norwegian woodland where temperatures can drop to -30C (-22F).

Pilots and aircrew from the Joint Helicopter Command were challenged during Exercise Clockwork, a cold weather warfare course at the Norwegian air base at Bardufoss.

Before taking to the skies over the Arctic Circle, the aviators of the UK’s Joint Helicopter Command must complete the cold weather warfare course – a tradition which has been taking place for 52 years.

The exercise gives them vital insight into surviving and fighting in one of the planet’s most inhospitable environments, where the sun barely rises and temperatures can plummet to around -22F.

Specialist Royal Marines instructors of the Mountain Leader Cadre lead the fliers through this challenging training, which includes jumping into icy water to cope with cold shock and living out of survival shelters. 

The group of military personnel are also challenged to move on skis and snowshoes on long distance marches.

The raw and insightful series of pictures reveal the tough conditions they face during the course in blistering cold and snowy conditions. 

Overcoming some of the harshest weather conditions, the commandos battle with only a few hours of daylight and freezing temperatures as they train to survive in dangerous conditions. 

During the exercise, they take part in the infamous ice breaking drills which sees them stepping into freezing cold waters and submerging themselves.

The military personnel step into the hole cut out of a body of water covered in ice with their backpacks and must climb out unassisted with only ski poles to help them.

They also have to learn survival skills, building shelters in the snow covered woodland and living off the land around them. In the latest series of snaps, they can be seen huddling together around a fire they had made.  

Once completed, the fliers are ready to take to the skies and carry out their own specialist training in Arctic flying, engineering and refuelling and providing aerial support to Royal Marines on the ground – and hunting and destroying enemy targets over the mountainous terrain.

Naval Airman Matt Vickers, an aircraft handler from 845 Naval Air Squadron of the Commando Helicopter Force, is living out of a brushwood shelter in the Arctic wilderness during the cold weather course.

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