UK Royal Marines hit ‘enemy targets’ in Norway


Royal Marines from 539 Assault Squadron, part of Devonport’s 1 Assault Group (1 AGRM) have hit ‘enemy’ targets during training raids in the icy fjords and mountains of Norway.

Commandos of 539 ASRM, the corps’ amphibious assault experts, are currently testing themselves inside the Arctic Circle, ensuring they are equipped for battle in the high north.

Based at Hellarbogen, nearly 640 miles north of Norway’s capital Oslo, the specialist Marines are working on operating their high-speed raiding craft, bringing fire and fury from the waterline in one of the harshest environments in the world.

The latest seaborne assaults have seen 539 navigate along the fjord waterways to nearly 42 miles to the south of their base in freezing conditions, before storming buildings in live firing raids at Ramsund Naval Base’s ‘kill house’ to test their close combat skills.

The assault experts have also turned their focus to high above the water’s edge, leading fighting patrols in the snow-glazed mountains as they ramp up the heat on the Royal Marines’ winter deployment.

“We have been operating our landing craft vehicle personnel (LCVP) and offshore raiding craft (ORC) in support of 1 Troop,” said Captain Rob Smith, officer commanding 2 Troop.

“They’ve been finalising their time in the field by conducting fighting patrols and tactical harbours in the hills surrounding Gratangen Fjord. Meanwhile, we’ve been trialling some of our long-range insertion techniques in this environment to identify any adjustments required for the extreme cold.”

“Aside from the clothing needed to overcome the wind-chill experienced at high speeds, the sub-zero temperatures can cause equipment controls to freeze over and ropes to become rock hard. Each of these challenges requires practice to ensure that we are able to deliver results in any conditions that we may face.”

The craft are a rapid means of manoeuvring personnel into combat and key to bringing the might of the Royal Marines to the frontline. In total, 16 craft are currently in the high north — six offshore raiding craft, eight inshore raiding craft and two landing craft vehicle personnel — having been loaded up in the UK and transported by Sealift ro-ro, MV Hurst Point, to Scandinavia.

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