Royal Marines Undergo Reconnaissance Exercises In Arctic Circle

During the training, the commandos swim in temperatures of -30°C degrees and challenging sea states.

Royal Marines have been conducting reconnaissance exercises in freezing conditions deep inside the Arctic Circle.

A small team from the Surveillance Reconnaissance Squadron, 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group, landed in small inflatable boats on the shores of an Arctic fjord.

The squadron's Shore Reconnaissance Team carried out a survey of the area, studying for a beachhead so amphibious forces could land ashore and attack enemy positions.

Sergeant Allan Billot said: "The conditions we face in the Arctic are challenging, so training here gives us confidence that we can operate anywhere in the world."

The team operates small craft in harsh conditions, but to get the best data they must get out of the boat and swim – even in temperatures of -30°C degrees and challenging seas.

Each commando wears multiple layers of clothing to protect them from the weather – including up to three pairs of gloves and mitts, body armour, webbing, helmet, rifle and lifejacket. 

After completing the beach recce, the team moves onto its next target.

The squadron's Shore Reconnaissance Team assess the surroundings of an Arctic fjord (Picture: Royal Navy).

The essential training ensures the specialists are ready for operations, regardless of the environment, the Navy said.

Sgt Billot said the squadron are "constantly testing and adjusting" to ensure they "maintain pace with technological change".

"Our equipment and capability improves as technology advances," he said.

"The latest kit that we have just procured has transformed the level of information that we can provide."

The team's role is to ensure amphibious forces are able to access coastlines, establishing the best points of access and feeding back vital information on the terrain.

30 Commando IX Group are deployed to the Arctic alongside fellow units from across 3 Commando Brigade, including the Commando Logistics Regiment, 45 Commando, 29 Commando Royal Artillery and 24 Commando Royal Engineers.

Last month, specialist Royal Marine commandos completed the first phase of their Arctic deployment in Norway.

Cover image: Small teams of Royal Marines conduct reconnaissance training in the Arctic Circle (Picture: Royal Navy).