Royal Marines

Royal Marines Test New 12-Strong Teams During Cyprus Exercise

Some of the concepts and equipment the Royal Marines have been using in Cyprus could become part of the Future Commando Force.

Royal Marines on exercise in Cyprus have been trying out working in larger teams, as they try out possible future concepts.

Personnel have been trying out working in groups of 12 instead of eight, with the aim of providing more specialists on the ground.

The largest-ever deployment of Royal Navy ships has taken place in Cyprus, with more than 1,000 sailors and Royal Marines testing and developing new ways of responding to crises.

Some of the techniques and kit the Royal Marines have been using could become part of the Future Commando Force - a widespread programme of modernisation for the commando force.

During Littoral Response Group (Experimentation) (LRG(X)) in Cyprus, personnel used the waters, shores and exercise areas of the island to see how drones, autonomous equipment, new technology and kit can transform the way Royal Marines operate. 

While on the ranges of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, the Royal Marines experimented with new ways to operate.

"For us in 40 Commando, to be out here trialling and advancing our understanding of these 12-man teams and the ramifications of that, it’s a fantastic opportunity," Marine Frederick Jones from Bravo Company, 40 Commando, said.

"A lot of lessons have been learnt," he added.

40 Commando Bravo Company from Royal Marines test new Future Commando Force 12-man teams in Cyprus ranges on LRGX November 2020 DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Royal Marines had the opportunity to test new 12-person teams in Cyprus.

"Looking forward to the future we have certainly proven that we are competent with these new formats, with this new 12-man team, pushing forward to take on more responsibility around the world, wherever that may be."

Marine Jones said this was "the first time" 40 Commando had the opportunity to conduct this kind of trial outside the UK with a "climate that’s a little less rainy" and more similar to what they expect from countries where they "tend to operate in".

He added that it gave them a chance to "really push" themselves by training in different terrain with areas they do not know.

The time spent on the island was also a chance for them to hone and refine their basic skills and drills.

"We are shooting anywhere from three metres up to 300 metres, this is one of the most important aspects," Corporal James Whittet from Bravo Company, 40 Commando, told Forces News from the training ranges.

"You’re not going to build a house without a foundation, and this is effectively the foundation of it," he added.

Member of 40 Commando Bravo Company Royal Marines semi-anon shooting on Cyprus ranges as part of LRGX Future Commando Force November 2020 DATE UNKONWN CREDIT BFBS.jpg
The time spent on the island was also a chance for 40 Commando to refine their basic skills and drills.

Each shot was analysed with instant feedback on how they could improve further.

Cpl Whittet explained: "There’s a centre console as you round hit the target because this is an electronic range.

"That will feed back to the console, tell you exactly where your shot has landed [and] from there you can get feedback, close your grouping up, good groupings, you need to move your point of aim – simple things that help your marksmanship over time."

The lessons learned from their time in Cyprus will inform and lay the foundations for the Future Commando Force getting the job done in a way they have never done it before.

"It’s an exciting environment," Marine Jones said.

"For a lot of lads it’s their first time coming out here and experiencing soldiering in this kind of climate, which is important looking forward with what we want to achieve as a Future Commando Force."

Want to read more about what the Royal Marines did in Cyprus? Check out our pieces on personnel carrying out a mock raid on a ship and their use of drones.