Royal Marines prepare for Arctic raids

The specialist Royal Marines of 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM) will soon be storming through the fjords of Norway.

Hundreds of miles inside the Arctic Circle, 1AGRM’s 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines and their raiding and landing craft are readying themselves for war games in the icy waters of the high north.

An advanced party of the Plymouth-based Green Berets – the Corps’ specialists in amphibious warfare based at RM Tamar in Devonport Naval Base – have arrived in Hellarbogen, Norway, and are now conducting their Arctic cold weather training before the main body of the squadron arrives shortly.

Dissected by enormous fjords, and with temperatures dropping as low as -40°c, the arctic region of northern Norway offers unique challenges to the Royal Marines Landing Craft and their Crews.

Major Matt Baylis, Officer Commanding 539 ASRM

In total, 16 craft have arrived 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 the frozen north.

These craft give 539 ASRM the capacity to deliver a company and more of Royal Marines into the heart of combat.

“As the UK’s riverine warfare specialists, 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (ASRM) has to perform in every environment in which the Royal Marines may be called to operate,” said Major Matt Baylis, Officer Commanding 539 ASRM.

“Dissected by enormous fjords, and with temperatures dropping as low as -40°c, the arctic region of northern Norway offers unique challenges to the Royal Marines Landing Craft and their Crews.

“Manoeuvre from the sea is a key component of the Marines’ skillset, and the geography of this region means that our raiding craft can offer troops unparalleled access to NATO’s northern flank.

“Over the coming weeks, the Commandos of 539 ASRM will refresh their extreme cold weather skills, ensuring the amphibious manoeuvre of the Royal Marines.”

The advanced party have completed the Cold Weather Survival Course led by Royal Marines Mountain Leader cadre.

As well as being submerged in freezing water as part of ice breaking drills, the Commandos are tested in snow and ice driving to ensure they are able to adequately support the up-coming exercises.

After the Cold Weather Warfare course, the 1AGRM Commandos will switch their focus to operations on their high-speed craft.

1AGRM’s deployment to the region is essential in ensuring the amphibious mobility of the Royal Marines in the unforgiving Arctic environment.