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16 octobre 2015 5 16 /10 /octobre /2015 07:50
Commando Fliers Receive Upgraded Merlins

AgustaWestland Merlin Mk3i helicopters arrive at their news base at RNAS Yeovilton, from where they will support the Royal Marines until their intended aircraft, the Merlin Mk 4, becomes available in 2017. (RN photo)


Oct 15, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Royal Navy; issued Oct 14, 2015)



On a very wet day in Somerset, the first of seven next-generation Merlins which will carry Royal Marines into battle arrives at its new home.

This is Merlin iMk3 – ‘i’ for interim – better suited to supporting the green berets on amphibious operations than the ‘basic’ Mk3.

The Merlin is taking over from the venerable Sea King as the workhorse of the Commando Helicopter Force.

A big step forward from its predecessor (it’s 30 years more modern), battlefield Merlin Mk3 – which has been transferred to the Fleet Air Arm from the RAF – prefers operations over land than sea, whereas the Royal Marines operate in both environments.

The iMk3 plugs the gap between the Sea King bowing out of service at the end of March and the arrival of the ‘fully marinised’ Merlin Mk4 in late 2017, when the first of 25 fourth-generation helicopters join the force at their base in Yeovilton.

The interim model features a folding main rotor head, strengthened undercarriage and communications upgrades – but outwardly looks pretty much the same as a normal Mk3.

The Mk4 goes further – enhanced avionics suite, automatic folding main rotor head and folding tail, making it perfect for operations at sea.

For the time being, however, the iMk3, delivered by the Merlin’s constructor AgustaWestland in Yeovil, fills the Sea King’s boots quite nicely.

“Today marks another key milestone in the history of the Commando Helicopter Force.

"With more iMk3s due to arrive soon, we’ll be well on our way to delivering real capability to our primary customer – the Royal Marines,” said Lt Cdr Ben McGreal, 846 Naval Air Squadron’s Merlin Flight Commander.

“It’s also not often that you can say that you’re the first to fly a new type of aircraft in the Royal Navy, so today is a very special day.”

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14 octobre 2015 3 14 /10 /octobre /2015 07:20
Marines: USMC More Vulnerable To Extinction

Los Angeles, Calif - Marine Raiders with 1st Marine Raider Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, transition out of the water during a simulated underwater assault force night-raid in Los Angeles, California, Sept. 3, 2015. - photo USMC


October 13, 2015: Strategy Page


The U.S. Marine Corps is at war with itself over how to handle the future. Many marines have noticed that their traditional (for over a century) role as the overseas emergency force has been quietly taken over since the 1980s by SOCOM (Special Operations Command). It wasn’t until 2005 that the marines officially assigned its 2,600 strong Marine Special Operations Command, to SOCOM. This was in belated recognition that SOCOM, when it was formed in 1986 was indeed the most effective way to manage and use all the special operations units in the American military. Back then there was resistance from all the services, except the army (which had the most special operations troops mainly in its Special Forces.) But the Secretary of Defense overruled the services, and, by 1990, the navy (SEALS) and air force (special aircraft and pararescue troops) had assigned their special operations units to SOCOM control. The marines resisted and got away with it by insisting they didn't have any "special operations" troops or that "all marines are special operations troops," (depending on what day you asked them.)


By late 2001, it was obvious even to the marines that SOCOM was where the action was, and the marines wanted in. After four years of haggling and negotiation, the marines were in with a combination of traditional commandoes, long range recon, and "ranger" type forces. There are also support troops (dog handlers, interrogators and interpreters, intelligence analysts, supply and transportation) as well as a training unit (to instruct foreign troops, a job the marines have been helping the army Special Forces with already.) The marines also agreed to provide, as needed, other marine units that are trained to perform jobs SOCOM needs done. The marines have long had their infantry battalions train some of their troops to perform commando type operations (raids, hostage rescue and the like.) This was done so those battalions, when serving on amphibious ships at sea, had some capability to handle a wider range of emergencies (like getting Americans out of some foreign hot spot.)


At the time some observers (including a few marines) thought that the marines might contribute more forces to SOCOM in the future, or perhaps the entire Marine Corps would join SOCOM and take it over. That last jest was based in reality as before World War II the Marine Corps was the “special operations” force you called in for emergencies overseas. That changed during World War II but many American marines noted the different path taken by the British Royal Marines after the war. After 2001 many American marines thought it might be a good idea to copy their brethren, the British Royal Marines, and convert themselves to a commando force.


During World War II the Royal Marines had turned themselves into the Royal Marine Commandos. After 1945, when Britain disbanded all of its commando units, the Royal Marines retained three of their infantry battalions as Royal Marines Commandos (commando battalions). These three battalions have remained in service to the present, mainly because they always performed as advertised and were always in great demand.


The marines did change after World War II but in different ways. They gradually dropped their army-like divisional organization, using their three "division" headquarters as an administrative units for managing the battalion and brigade (2-4 battalions) size task forces for whatever assignments come their way. This worked quite well during the last two decades of the 20th century. After 2001 there was a new proposal to completely do away with the marine division. Note that the first one of these was organized in 1942 and six were active by 1945. The 2002 proposal had most marines trained more for commando operations rather than traditional infantry combat. This was a trend that was already present in marine training, although marines were still considered, first and foremost, elite ground combat troops. At the time there was a lot of resistance from marine veterans groups (over a hundred thousand marine veterans of World War II were still around then and they could be a feisty lot.) But the marines did have a tradition of constantly transforming themselves, something even old marines recognize and respect. Any such transformation had to wait because after 2003 (the Iraq invasion) the marines became a supplementary force for the army in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the next decade the marines noted that they could not go back to what they were in 2002 because the army had become more like marines (highly trained and effective infantry) and the marines had become more like these new soldiers.


Many marines are concerned that more people will notice that SOCOM is now the marines of old and that the marines are not nearly as special and specialized as they used to be. To make matters worse in 2006 the U.S. Navy decided to create a new naval infantry force to do some of the jobs the marines had originally done but were now too busy being soldiers to take care of. By 2008 the navy had built a new ground combat force staffed by 40,000 sailors. This was NECC (Navy Expeditionary Combat Command), which was capable of operating along the coast and up rivers, as well as further inland. NECC units were already in Iraq by then and ready to deploy anywhere else they are needed. The 1,200 sailors in the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams are particularly sought after, because of increased use of roadside bombs and booby traps by the enemy. NECC has also organized three Riverine Squadrons which all served in Iraq. NECC basically consists of most of the combat support units the navy has traditionally put ashore, plus some coastal and river patrol units that have usually only been organized in wartime.


In light of all this many marines fear that any new effort by the politicians to eliminate the Marine Corps will succeed. The marines have been avoiding these extinction efforts for over a century mainly because they could demonstrate some unique abilities. Without that advantage the marines are vulnerable.

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26 mai 2015 2 26 /05 /mai /2015 05:50
photo Armée de Terre

photo Armée de Terre


22/05/2015 CNE Laisné - Armée de Terre


La 9e brigade d’infanterie de Marine (9e BIMa) et la 3° commando brigade Royal Marines (3° Cdo Bde RM) ont célébré leurs 20 ans de partenariat le mercredi 13 mai 2015 à Paris aux Invalides.


Une cérémonie binationale s’est tenue dans la cour d’honneur des Invalides, présidée par le général de corps d’armée Charpentier, gouverneur militaire de Paris, accompagné du major general Wilson, représentant le major general commandant les Royal Marines, et en présence des généraux Guionie et Stickland, commandant respectivement la 9e BIMa et la °3 Cdo Bde. A la lecture de son ordre du jour, le GCA Charpentier a souligné l’implication de ces deux grandes unités « […] qui se sont employées à développer des liens fondés sur la connaissance mutuelle, l’estime réciproque et la recherche de l’efficacité opérationnelle ». Le GMP a également a tenu à rendre, au nom du chef d’état-major de l’armée de Terre, « un hommage appuyé aux généraux Le Pichon et Thomson […] qui, le 16 février 1995 à Portsmouth, ont signé le protocole de jumelage qui jetait les bases de cette coopération » toujours bien adaptées vingt ans après.


Le succès des activités bilatérales menées au cours de ces vingt dernières années témoigne du niveau avéré de l’interopérabilité entre les deux brigades, particulièrement dans le domaine de l’amphibie. Cette collaboration se caractérise, notamment, par l’insertion permanente dans les deux états-majors de brigade d’un officier de l’autre nation. Elle se vit également au niveau régimentaire avec le jumelage entre les régiments de la brigade et les commandos (bataillons) des Marines qui effectuent des échanges fréquents (exercices, stages, etc.). Ces liens ont particulièrement été renforcés consécutivement à la signature du traité de défense et de sécurité de Lancaster House en 2010 qui évoque la création d’une force expéditionnaire commune interarmées (en anglais Combined Joint Expeditionary Force - CJEF).


L’objectif de cette force est de permettre, d’ici 2016, de disposer d’une capacité conjointe pouvant être engagée dans des opérations bilatérales, mais également au sein d’une coalition internationale (OTAN, UE ou ONU). Dans ce cadre, la 9e BIMa et la 3° Cdo Bde RM participent activement à la montée en puissance de la composante amphibie de cette force franco-britannique. Ainsi, des exercices bilatéraux (CORSICAN LION en 2012, JOINT WARIOR tous les ans, TRIDENT JUNCTURE prévu fin 2015) sont menés régulièrement afin de consolider les procédures opérationnelles communes dans le montage et la conduite toujours complexes d’une opération amphibie.

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27 mars 2015 5 27 /03 /mars /2015 08:50
British D-Day Veteran Awarded France's Highest Honour


26 mars 2015 British Forces News

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17 mars 2015 2 17 /03 /mars /2015 13:50
Royal Marines Storm Browndown Beach

17 March 2015 by Royal Navy

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 17:50
Arctic Huddle: Royal Marines in Norway 2015

9 mars 2015 Royal Navy


The Royal Marine Commandos gather into what is referred to as an Arctic Huddle before been picked up by a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter based at the Commando Helicopter Force. Once on-board the Merlin aircraft the Marines experience flying in sub-zero temperatures prior to being dropped off to carry on with training in the unforgiving environment.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 08:50
Meet the Royal Marine -Turned Viking


4 mars 2015 British Forces News


Meet the Royal Marine-turned Viking...

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3 février 2015 2 03 /02 /février /2015 18:50
Bottom Field 131 Independent Commando Squadron


3 févr. 2015 British Army


131 Independent Commando Squadron is a specialist unit in the Army. The Squadron's role is to provide engineer support to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, who are the UK's experts in mountain and cold weather warfare.

The Bottom Field tests must be passed together before attempting the Commando Course to earn the famous Commando Green Beret.

The tests are the 30-foot rope climb, the assault course in less than 5 minutes, the 200-metre man carry in under 90 seconds and a full regain on the rope over the water tank. All tests are conducted whilst carrying 14.5kg of equipment/rifle.

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17 décembre 2014 3 17 /12 /décembre /2014 17:50
The Commando Who Refused to Die

17 déc. 2014 British Forces news


Watch "The Commando Who Refused to Die" - Paul Vice's incredible story of survival and triumph

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13 octobre 2014 1 13 /10 /octobre /2014 19:50
A Taste of Desert Life for 45 Commando

13 oct. 2014 British Forces News


The Royal Marines of 45 Commando have swapped Scotland's cooler temperatures for the heat of the desert, on Exercise Black Alligator 2014. More than 1,000 personnel from 3 Commando Brigade have deployed to the Mojave Desert in California for seven weeks of live firing training. Our reporter Rebecca Ricks joined them.

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9 juillet 2014 3 09 /07 /juillet /2014 11:50
David Cameron opens the Edinburgh Detachment of the Royal Marines Reserve


09.07.2014 Royal Navy


Lt Col Richard Parvin (RM), the Commanding Officer of RMR Scotland, talks about the opening of the RMR Edinburgh detachment and what the superb new facilities will mean to the Royal Marines Reserve.


He also talks about the importance of the visit by David Cameron and the vital role of the Royal Marines Reserve.


You can find more info, news and pictures from RMR Scotland on their web page:

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12 juin 2014 4 12 /06 /juin /2014 12:50
A Royal Navy Pacific 24 rigid inflatable boat [Picture: Andrew Linnett, UK MoD]

A Royal Navy Pacific 24 rigid inflatable boat [Picture: Andrew Linnett, UK MoD]



11 June 2014 Ministry of Defence, Defence Equipment and Support and Philip Dunne MP


The Ministry of Defence has awarded millions of pounds worth of new contracts to maintain its fleet of small boats.


Six UK companies will benefit from a 5-year contract that will involve support for 1,450 boats used by the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army, and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Police. They are:

The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:

The award of these contracts by the MOD provides the UK’s marine support industry with a steady volume of work, helping to maintain technical and engineering skills in this sector.

The competition attracted interest from across the marine industry, and is another example of the MOD’s commitment to seek best value for money from the commercial market.

Pacific 24 rigid inflatable boat during a man over board exercise
Pacific 24 rigid inflatable boat during a man over board exercise [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

The fleet of boats includes offshore raiding craft, pontoons up to 50 metres in length, police launchers, and Pacific 24 rigid inflatable boats (RIBs), and inflatables.

The contracts will provide maintenance, upkeep, repair, chartering, defect rectification, technical support, provision of spares and replacements.

Alistair Hughes, from the MOD’s Defence Equipment & Support organisation, is the team leader for commercially supported shipping. He said about the new contracts:

Small boats make up a critical component of the UK’s military effect, operating in the UK and globally. They can be seen in all areas of maritime from policing the UK’s naval bases to counter-piracy operations off Africa to training new recruits into the Royal Navy.

The award of the contracts follows 18 months of intensive activity between the team and industry to ensure the continued support of the numerous craft that make up the small boat fleet and find the best deal for the armed forces.

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7 avril 2014 1 07 /04 /avril /2014 16:50
Royal Marines launch final attack as part of exercise

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 from 40 Commando
Royal Marines from 40 Commando prepare to deploy as an amphibious task force from Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Lyme Bay [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Will Haigh, Crown copyright]

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.

Royal Marines board a Sea King helicopter
Royal Marines from 40 Commando board a Sea King helicopter on HMS Illustrious [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Will Haigh, Crown copyright]

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.

An RAF Chinook
An RAF Chinook on HMS Illustrious' flight deck [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Will Haigh, Crown copyright]

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.

A Royal Marine from 40 Commando
A Royal Marine from 40 Commando firing blank rounds during the unit level attack on the Edingham Castle exercise area [Picture: Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Sean Clee, Crown copyright]

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.

A Royal Marine evacuates a casualty
A Royal Marine evacuates a casualty during the unit level attack on the Edingham Castle exercise area [Picture: Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Sean Clee, Crown copyright]

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.

Royal Marines treating a civilian casualty
Royal Marines from 40 Commando treating a civilian casualty [Picture: Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Sean Clee, Crown copyright]
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3 mars 2014 1 03 /03 /mars /2014 18:45
Des soldats britanniques au Centre d’aguerrissement outre-mer et étranger (CAOME) de Libreville



27/02/2014 Armée de Terre


Le commando 40 des Royal Marines a suivi, en février 2014, un stage d’aguerrissement en milieu équatorial au Gabon. Après 3 semaines d’entraînement, les Britanniques ont pu mettre en pratique leurs acquis lors du raid final


Le jour n’est pas encore levé sur le camp des rebelles, dans la forêt d’un pays instable. Celui-ci a fait appel à l’aide internationale pour rétablir la sécurité et l’état de droit. Autour du feu, quelques hommes dorment encore. Un bruit de branche qui craque attire l’attention d’un garde. Les échanges de feux sont immédiats. Encerclés, les quelques personnes qui vivaient là ne font bientôt plus le poids face à leurs adversaires. Le 40e commando vient de s’emparer de la position et de neutraliser l’ennemi. La première phase de la mission est accomplie.


Évoluer sans se faire entendre, se repérer, vivre et combattre dans un milieu humide et hostile, élaborer un schéma tactique pour prendre une position : autant de savoir-faire que les soldats anglais ont pu perfectionner à cette occasion.


Pour le lieutenant Greenway, chef de section, le stage fut « brilliant *». Ses hommes ne le contredisent pas. Tous ont gardé le sourire aux lèvres durant le raid final.



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10 décembre 2013 2 10 /12 /décembre /2013 12:50
Le CPA 30 rend honneur aux héros de la Seconde Guerre mondiale


10/12/2013 armée de l'air


Le 7 décembre 2013, le commando parachutiste de l’air n°30 de Bordeaux-Mérignac a participé à la célébration du 71e anniversaire de l’opération Frankton à Blanquefort (33), sa ville marraine.


Le « 30 » rend les honneurs depuis 1995 aux valeureux commandos anglais qui, par leur ténacité et leur courage, ont au péril de leur vie accompli une des plus périlleuses missions de la Seconde Guerre mondiale.


Le 7 décembre 1942, des dix hommes, aidés par la Résistance française, qui ont remonté la Gironde dans de petits canots pour placer des bâtons d’explosifs aimantés sur les navires allemands amarrés dans le port de Bordeaux, seuls le major H.G. "Blondie" Hasler et le caporal William Sparks ont survécu. Quant aux huit autres, deux sont morts noyés et six ont été capturés et fusillés.


Cette cérémonie présidée par Madame Ferreira, maire de Blanquefort et le colonel Olivier Celo, commandant la base aérienne 106 de Bordeaux-Mérignac, a été marquée par les témoignages poignants de jeunes collégiens de la ville et la présence d’une délégation anglaise emmenée par le consul du Royaume-Uni à Bordeaux, Monsieur Alastair Roberts.

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3 octobre 2013 4 03 /10 /octobre /2013 16:50
Royal Marines on exercise in Albania

Royal Marines observe their target during Exercise Dragon Hammer in Albania (Picture Leading Airman Jason Ballard, UK MoD)


2 October 2013 Ministry of Defence


Royal Marines from 42 Commando have travelled to NATO ally Albania for a week-long exercise with the country's armed forces.


Hot on the heels of last month’s large-scale exercise Albanian Lion, which was the first set-piece for the UK’s Response Force Task Group on Cougar 13, elements of 42 Commando have returned to the Balkan country for a further week.

The Royal Marines are the nation’s on-call commando unit, ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice should the government determine their presence is required.

The week-long Exercise Dragon Hammer with the Viking amphibious vehicles of the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group saw the green berets train mainly around the bay of Vlorë – also the setting for Albanian Lion.

Royal Marines taking part in Exercise Dragon Hammer
Royal Marines taking part in Exercise Dragon Hammer [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Jason Ballard, Crown copyright]

Lima Company used night-vision technology to practise moving through an underground tunnel complex at Porto Palermo, near Himarë, which once served as a base for Cold War submarine operations in the Adriatic.

Their week of Dragon Hammer concluded with a company-level attack on the small island fortress of Sazan, just off the Vlorë peninsula – also the focal point for an assault during Albanian Lion.

Meanwhile, Juliet Company carried out various exercises with live ammunition – including firing the new lightweight Glock pistols being introduced across the Armed Forces – and engaged in close quarters battle. Their week drew to a close getting to grips with working side-by-side with the Vikings.

The Vikings deployed on Cougar 13 hoping to show the rest of the Corps what the all-terrain armoured vehicle, which is based in Dorset, can offer on the battlefield.

Royal Marines Viking amphibious landing vehicles
Royal Marines Viking amphibious landing vehicles on exercise in Albania [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Jason Ballard, Crown copyright]

Major Chris Samuel, Officer Commanding Juliet Company, said:

The story of close co-operation between Juliet Company and the Viking Troop is one that needs to be read throughout our Corps.

Put simply, during this exercise, my commanders at all levels were exploiting the Viking’s capabilities in ways that they would not have envisaged or thought possible even 3 months ago.

The green berets completed Dragon Hammer delighted at the unique training environment offered both by Albania’s landscape and its military facilities.

A Royal Marine looks through his rifle scope
A Royal Marine looks through his rifle scope from a protected position [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Jason Ballard, Crown copyright]

Lieutenant Colonel Neil Sutherland, Commanding Officer of 42 Commando, said:

Dragon Hammer was an excellent opportunity – and one that the Commando fully exploited. Arduous, complex terrain and a challenging environment provided some fantastic training opportunities.

Live firing with Viking fully integrated into one of my manoeuvre companies and close quarters battle in a complex sub-terrain cold war submarine facility, where we fully utilised black light, are but 2 examples of the excellent training we were able to run. Overall, it proved to be superb training for 42 Commando.

Cougar 13
Royal Marines break cover of a wooded area
Royal Marines break cover of a wooded area to move in on their objective [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Jason Ballard, Crown copyright]

Cougar 13 is the routine annual deployment of the Royal Navy’s very high readiness Response Force Task Group (RFTG). Elements of the RFTG deployed to the Mediterranean and east of Suez, demonstrating their ability to project a highly effective UK maritime component anywhere in the world.

The deployment includes a series of demanding exercises with partner nations throughout the region which will ensure that the Task Group is ready to respond to any contingencies as and when they arise.

The RFTG ships have now passed through the Suez Canal and are carrying out further exercises with partner nations.

Royal Marines emerge from a tunnel
Royal Marines emerge from a tunnel during Exercise Dragon Hammer [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Jason Ballard, Crown copyright]
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29 août 2013 4 29 /08 /août /2013 07:50
The UK's Response Force Task Group deployed on Cougar 13 [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Arron Hoare, Crown Copyright]

The UK's Response Force Task Group deployed on Cougar 13 [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Arron Hoare, Crown Copyright]

28 August 2013 Ministry of Defence


A large-scale exercise which will see more than 600 Royal Marines hone their skills alongside their Albanian counterparts is now underway.

Exercise Albanian Lion is the first major outing for the Response Force Task Group (RFTG) – a Royal Naval force comprising 4 warships and 5 support vessels which are exercising in the Mediterranean and Gulf over the next 3 months under the name Cougar 13.

The exercise will see the Lead Commando Group of 42 Commando, the Royal Marines unit that stands ready to react to events anywhere in the world, carry out a series of mock assaults on enemy positions near Bise designed to improve their core amphibious warfare skills.

This will be the third time the 2 forces have worked together since the RFTG was formed after the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Royal Marines from 42 Commando
Royal Marines from 42 Commando carry out a mock assault on an enemy position [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Sean Clee, Crown copyright]

Ahead of the exercise, Colonel Kevin Oliver, Deputy Commander of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, met with Major General Xhemal Gjunkshi, Chief of General Staff of the Albanian Armed Forces, at Tirana International Airport.

Colonel Oliver said:

Building on from last year’s exercise we have enhanced our contribution by providing a larger force comprising fast jets, helicopters, assault boats and armoured personnel carriers for ground manoeuvre and force protection.

We already have reconnaissance teams in place, as we would in a real-life scenario, who will guide in the landing force.

Badges of the Royal Marines and their Albanian counterparts
Royal Marines are training alongside their Albanian counterparts [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Sean Clee, Crown copyright]

Once the forces have landed they will push forward through enemy terrain while being supported by the RFTG ships which can sustain them logistically and cover their progress with firepower should that be required:

Albania has some of the best training areas ever used by our Task Group,” added Colonel Oliver. “We are extremely grateful for their use and for the chance to work alongside Albanian forces, sharing the experience of operations.

The Cougar 13 deployment will operate in and around the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf and the Horn of Africa. It involves exercising with partner nations and will demonstrate the capacity of UK Armed Forces to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world as part of the RFTG.

Royal Marines from 42 Commando taking part in a river crossing
Royal Marines from 42 Commando taking part in a river crossing [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Sean Clee, Crown copyright]

The RFTG is commanded by Commodore Paddy McAlpine from the fleet flagship, HMS Bulwark, and is the UK’s high readiness maritime force at 5 days’ notice to respond to any contingency tasking including humanitarian disaster relief or international military intervention.

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7 juin 2013 5 07 /06 /juin /2013 16:50
Royal Marines specialist mountain leaders guide a commando company through the Himalayan mountain range in India [Picture: Petty Officer Dave Husbands, UK MoD]

Royal Marines specialist mountain leaders guide a commando company through the Himalayan mountain range in India [Picture: Petty Officer Dave Husbands, UK MoD]

6 June 2013 Ministry of Defence


The Royal Marines elite mountain leaders branch has introduced a new course, available to all marine-level ranks.


The Royal Marines want to show that the world of mountain leaders goes far beyond climbing, mountain training, clambering out of holes in ice or building makeshift snow shelters.

Joining the mountain leaders cadre also opens up the world of reconnaissance and information-gathering in the brigade patrol troop; the small, specialist team which goes in ahead of the main Royal Marines force.

A Royal Marines commando conducting vertical assault training
A Royal Marines commando conducting vertical assault training in Cyprus (library image) [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Si Ethell, Crown copyright]

Typically the mountain leaders branch, which traces its roots back to the cliff assault unit in the Second World War, has been the domain of corporals and above.

But the Corps is now expanding the branch to all marine-level ranks as it introduces the mountain leader 3 course; the most experienced being mountain leader 1.

The new course sees marines taught how to carry out surveillance and vertical assaults, spending 2 weeks in Glencoe for practical mountain training, and take part in 2 exercises where they practise close target reconnaissance and guiding attack troops to their objectives.

Royal Marines conducting a helicopter embarkation drill
Royal Marines conducting a helicopter embarkation drill during a cold weather warfare course in Norway (library image) [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Sean Clee, Crown copyright]

Major Ads Rutherford, in charge of mountain leader instruction at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon, explains:

Military mountaineering is different because everything we do is orientated to having an effect on the ground in terms of combat operations.

We teach guys to work in cold weather conditions which range from 3°C to -30°C, as well as desert and jungle. We teach them to own the environment in which they operate so they can exploit the unique capability they have for UK defence.

A Royal Marines commando scales a cliffside
A Royal Marines commando scales a cliffside during vertical assault training in Cyprus (library image) [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Si Ethell, Crown copyright]

What is perhaps less well known outside the Corps, however, is that mountain leaders are also taught specialist communication skills and how to be reconnaissance operators – skills vital in the patrol troop.

The troop – part of the Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron, based at Stonehouse in Plymouth – has seen action in every major Royal Marines operation from the first Gulf War to Afghanistan.

They’re taught how to parachute – demonstrated recently over south-west Scotland during the Joint Warrior exercise, how to drive a multitude of vehicles, how to provide first aid, and how to escape or evade capture.

A company of Royal Marines conducts vertical assault training
A company of Royal Marines conducts vertical assault training in Cyprus (library image) [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Si Ethell, Crown copyright]

Colour Sergeant Lee Waters, who runs the mountain leader 3 course at Lympstone, said:

We can see everything, hear everything, and get an understanding of exactly what is going on in our area.

It’s become a very important part of the training for mountain leaders. It’s no longer just about the climbing and tactics.

Now we concentrate massively on the end product and making sure from the marine-level right up to the mountain leader 1s that all have a thorough understanding of how important their role is and how time-sensitive information is treated.

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23 avril 2013 2 23 /04 /avril /2013 07:50
Royal Marines from 42 Commando set off from HMS Illustrious for a live firing exercise ashore [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Ray Jones, Crown copyright]

Royal Marines from 42 Commando set off from HMS Illustrious for a live firing exercise ashore [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Ray Jones, Crown copyright]


19 April 2013 Ministry of Defence


200 Royal Marines commandos have attacked 4 'enemy' positions near Cape Wrath in Scotland as part of Exercise Joint Warrior.


For 2 weeks the multinational exercise will involve more than 30 warships, over 65 aircraft and more than 12,000 people.

As part of a scenario in which they responded rapidly to a developing threat, Royal Marines from 42 Commando were landed several miles inshore of Cape Wrath by Chinook and Sea King helicopters to attack the target positions.

Supported by 4.5-inch guns on HMS Diamond and HMS Westminster, plus the 105-millimetre light guns of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, the marines took around 3 hours to push their way through the enemy to reach the shore.

The marines of 42 Commando also used their own 81-millimetre mortars, along with those of the Swedish marines taking part, as well as general purpose machine guns to launch an all-out attack on the target positions.

Royal Marines being inserted into the field by an RAF Chinook
Royal Marines of Juliet Company, 42 Commando, being inserted into the field by an RAF Chinook [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Jason Ballard, Crown copyright]

Following the training exercise they then launched a night-time raid on the same area.

This is exactly how it would happen in a real life situation,” said Captain Dave Thatcher, 29 Commando Regiment, one of the training team managers. “All the ammunition being used is live, and when the marines get to the targets they will see something there that will denote it is a position they are meant to attack. It is as realistic as we can get.

It is also one of the few places in the UK where we can practise this type of large-scale firing exercise. This particular part of the exercise is all aimed at getting 42 Commando back to contingency as part of the Lead Commando Group.

As part of 3 Commando Brigade’s Lead Commando Group, 42 Commando will be ready to react to rapidly unfolding world events as they happen. Exercise Joint Warrior draws on their core amphibious assault skills rather than those used on land operations such as Afghanistan.

Brigadier Martin Smith, Commander of 3 Commando Brigade, said:

While the Lead Commando Group can undertake a wide range of missions, we need to be prepared to fight if necessary at short notice and in unfamiliar environments.

Joint Warrior, which brings together land and maritime firepower and manoeuvre forces, is hugely important in making sure that we can link together all elements of our capability.

As well as the British forces using the exercise areas, Dutch, French and Swedish forces will be practising their firepower in the trenches and on the ranges.

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13 novembre 2012 2 13 /11 /novembre /2012 22:15



21.10.2012 Photographer: PO(Phot) Sean Clee


British and French amphibious assault craft take part in Exercise Corsican Lion.


Elements of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines conducted a WADER training package on the French Island of Corsica. The exercise saw British servicemen, train alongside their French counterparts in amphibious landing techniques from British craft and French craft. The training took place off Solenzaro Beach in Corsica as part of Exercise Corsican Lion.

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24 octobre 2012 3 24 /10 /octobre /2012 17:38




24/10/2012 armée de Terre - Communauté Défense


Du 16 au 26 octobre 2012 un groupement tactique embarqué composé des 300 militaires de la 9e brigade légère blindée de marine (9e BLBma) et d’une cinquantaine de Royals Marines a pris part à l’exercice Corsican Lion 2012 à bord du bâtiment de projection et de commandement Mistral. Objectif : améliorer l’interopérabilité des moyens amphibie franco-britanniques.



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27 septembre 2012 4 27 /09 /septembre /2012 16:45
Naval force gears up for Cougar 12

Young Royal Marines Commando Officers in training conducting a beach insertion exercise Picture MOD 2012


27 Sep 12 UK MoD - A Training and Adventure news article


More than 3,000 sailors and marines are gearing up for a three-month training deployment to the Mediterranean - this year's key workout of the UK's high-readiness task force.


The deployment, known as Cougar 12, will see Royal Navy warships, Royal Marines commandos and naval airpower, which make up the Response Force Task Group (RFTG), train with French and Albanian maritime forces.


The RFTG was created under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and is a rapid reaction force that deals with unexpected world events that require military intervention.


Cougar 12 will start with a beach assault by the Royal Marines in the UK's South West, from 1-9 October, before the entire Group meets up in the Mediterranean later in the month.


Four warships, one amphibious support ship, a giant transport ship, three commando units, and helicopters and personnel from eight Fleet Air Arm, RAF and Army Air Corps squadrons are committed to the three-month deployment - in all more than 3,000 sailors, Royal Marines, soldiers and airmen.



Naval force gears up for Cougar 12

Three Sea Kings are recovered to the deck of HMS Illustrious

[Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Ray Jones, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]


They will take part in two large-scale exercises, interspersed with various smaller exercises and training and goodwill visits - in some cases to places which rarely see the White Ensign.


The deployment will be the second test for the RFTG which was called upon last year to support operations off Libya: HMS Ocean launched repeated Apache gunship strikes from her flight deck while HMS Liverpool spent seven months enforcing the no-fly zone and preventing arms from reaching pro-Gaddafi forces by sea.


Twelve months on and Portsmouth-based HMS Illustrious will be taking HMS Ocean's place as the helicopter carrier assigned to the task group.


Illustrious will be joined by the nation's flagship, HMS Bulwark, from where Commodore Paddy McAlpine, Commander UK Task Group, and 3 Commando Brigade's Brigadier Martin Smith will direct Cougar 12.


They will oversee two key exercises: Corsican Lion, working hand-in-hand with the French and, later this autumn, the Group will shift to the Adriatic to work with the Albanian military.


Corsican Lion, in the second half of October, will see the RFTG link up with France's flagship, the aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle - the most powerful surface ship in western European waters.


Her flight deck will be the launchpad for Super Étendard and Rafale jets, offering a first real glimpse of how the RFTG should look at the end of the decade when the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier enters service with the Royal Navy.


In the nearer future, Corsican Lion is the most important strand of Cougar and a major step along the road towards forging a fully-operational Anglo-French force by 2016.


There will be planned exercises with the US and Algerian forces and visits to Algeria and Malta - particularly poignant for Illustrious as she has ties with the island going back to her predecessor and the dark days of the Second World War:

    "Cougar 12 provides us with a superb opportunity to rekindle our amphibious capability after a prolonged period when our focus has been on operations elsewhere," said Cdre McAlpine.


His force stands at five days' notice to deploy anywhere in the world should the Government require it; in theory the Task Group can poise off the coast of 147 nations - three out of four countries in the world.


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