Royal Marines from 40 Commando conducting a unit level attack on the Edingham Castle exercise area [Picture: Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Sean Clee, Crown copyright]
7 April 2014 Ministry of Defence
As part of Joint Warrior, Royal Marines of 40 Commando were put through their paces on the damp fields of Edingham Castle in Scotland.
In what was their final attack, the 4 companies of marines waited in wet, muddy woods while surrounding a mocked-up village before firing blank rounds and dummy grenades at the ‘enemy’.
As part of the scenario there were also civilian casualties that needed treatment and fleeing citizens that required protection.
Royal Marines troop commanders made sure those that needed first aid were treated while trying to ensure villagers were not caught up in the attack.
Marine Chris McDougal, of 4 Troop, B Company, 40 Commando, said:
Battle prep for this has been going on for a while and we have been well prepared for what we might face.
We have been laying up since the early hours in a wood block, and it was rainy and wet, but as soon as we began the assault the adrenaline kicked in and we forgot about it.
To reach the enemy, troops from A,B,C and D companies had to fight their way through buildings and smallholdings with steep embankments and criss-crossed tracks, all of which was made harder by the mud and chilly conditions.
The assault, which began at around 5:00am, was the culmination of an exercise which began on Sunday night, with Royal Marines landing ashore from helicopters launched from HMS Illustrious at 3 locations in Luce Bay.
From there they had to free the Castle Kennedy Airfield from the enemy; part of a rebel army that opposed a fictional government as part of a Joint Warrior exercise scenario.
There were other major attacks before the marines made their way to the last enemy stronghold of Edingham Castle.
Marine McDougal added:
The exercise all this week has been really good and worthwhile for us; it has tested all our skills and put everything we know into operation. This morning is going to be a long assault as this is our final one.
Exercise Joint Warrior involves all 3 military services but is Europe’s largest naval exercise.
More than 34 warships from the UK, US, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Turkey and Norway are taking part, with the aim of testing the high readiness of the forces involved and the range of capabilities available for short-notice operations across the globe.
The personnel involved will use the exercise to prepare for imminent deployments to the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Middle East where they will carry out activities such as maritime security operations, reassuring allies and providing humanitarian disaster relief.
Exercise Joint Warrior finishes on 11 April.