British Royal Marines launched surprise raids on Norway coastline

Royal Marines surprised ‘enemy forces’ by launching a series of daring raids on the Norwegian coastline during demanding winter exercises. Deep within the Arctic Circle, the first objective of the mission saw commando forces launch an amphibious attack from UK flagship HMS Albion using boats operated by Norwegian allies.

Embarking on the Royal Norwegian Navy’s CB90-class fast assault craft and Skjold-class corvette, a commando team covertly infiltrated the enemy positions set along the Norwegian fjords of Senja Island, more than 685 miles north of capital Oslo. The commandos’ mission was to cause havoc amongst their adversaries.

The Royal Marines use “Hippo” BRVs (Beach Recovery Vehicles) now based on Leopard 1 main battle tank chassis. In 1944, the first specialized vehicles of this type used on D-Day were Sherman BARVs (Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicles) (Picture source: Royal Navy)

In addition to adopting progressive tactics, the unit embraced Future Commando Force development by operating as 12-man teams, with each commando bringing unique skills and individually chosen for the mission at hand.

Having been maneuvered into position off the coast by the Norwegians, the teams (drawn from 45 Commando’s Recce Troop, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and gunners from 29 Commando Royal Artillery, and Royal Engineers from 54 Commando Royal Engineers) silently landed ashore via small raiding boats operated by Plymouth-based 47 Commando.

The commandos then coordinated a salvo of artillery fire and air support onto the enemy target, quickly destroying their position and allowing the amphibious task group to gain a foothold on mainland Norway.

It was before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis…