SVR crew in action, rescuing a beached ORC

Royal Marines engineers have been practicing their support skills on the shores of western Scotland.

The boat group from Plymouth's 539 Assault Squadron put their ability to provide support in the field to the test.

The unit should be able to deploy two hovercraft, eight raiding craft/gunboats, and eight inflatable raiders with all their kit in five days.

It took the team of 13 engineers two days to reach the Kyle of Lochalsh and neighbouring Loch Kishorn, all part of Exercise Raging Torrent.

The convoy made up of trucks, vehicles, a mobile workshop - a container equipped with a lathe, pillar drill and various hand tools and its own power plant - and a newly-introduced specialist crane to launch and recover the craft.

The commando vehicle mechanics and Royal Navy marine and weapon engineers set up camp on the shore at Kishorn.

Royal Marines from 539 Assault Squadron worked their way through the Caledonian Canal in 2015.

CPO Luke Jones said:

"Overall [Exercise Raging Torrent] successfully demonstrated its capabilities and proved to be a major asset, not only recovering wheeled vehicles but providing crucial support for the craft."

The foreshore on Loch Kishorn is made up of large pebbles and stones which were sucked into the jet drive intakes, causing the raiding craft to run much slower than usual.

The engineers fixed the problem, thanks to their mobile workshop.

Some of the beaches and landing sites proved to be unsuitable for the hovercraft, one of which became stuck and required rescuing.

Beached LCAC Recovery

The job proved to be a perfect for the new Support Vehicle Recovery and its crane.

Once lifted to safety it was repaired and back in the water in two hours.

After ten days in Kishorn, the team moved 50 miles down the coast to set up a second forward support base on the white sands south of Mallaig before carrying out another boat recovery.

So as well as proving that 539's boat troop could deploy to a remote location with its mobile support team and vehicles at short notice, the grandly-titled Exercise Raging Torrent also proved that the Support Vehicle Recovery does exactly what was expected of it.

ORC's beached at Mallaig