Royal Marines Take On Joint Viking

Royal Marines from Viking Squadron and Charlie Company of Taunton-based 40 Commando have completed Exercise Joint Viking.

The exercise, which takes place in the Finnmark region of north Norway over 200 miles into the Arctic Circle, is the culminating phase of the Royal Marines Winter Deployment 17 (Aquila 17).

The exercise saw supporting elements from the United States Marines Corps, Norwegian Army and Dutch Korps Mariniers embark with the Royal Marines on an arduous eight-day mobility action.

Troops travelled up to 100km per day in Viking ATV(P)s (All-Terrain Vehicles (Protected)), on Skidoos, and on skis. 

The challenges of living and surviving in below zero temperatures and unforgiving terrain are substantial. Sergeant Matt Hoey said:

"The training tested mobility in one of the world’s harshest environments with temperatures reaching minus 20 degrees Celsius, and gusts of up to 80kmph."

Navigating in the Arctic environment presents challenges for the Viking crew; from thin ice on the vast lakes to white-out conditions where the sky and the horizon are indistinguishable.

The time-consuming procedures of measuring ice thickness to support a convoy of 14-tonne Vikings means traversing a lake can take multiple hours.

Captain Edward Talbot RM, OC 1 Troop Viking Squadron said: 

“The area provided some challenging navigation and off-road driving. We learned a huge amount from the Norwegians, in particular making the best use of terrain and driving in deep snow.”

When static in a location, it is paramount that shelter is erected quickly to provide protection from the elements.

Digging three feet into the snow not only provides vital Defence from the wind but also affords camouflage and concealment.

Sergeant Matt Hoey, 40 Commando Company Mountain Leader 1st Class, said:

“The challenges of living and surviving in below zero temperatures and unforgiving terrain are substantial, soldiering adds a further degree of complexity. You must remain focused, motivated and professional.”

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