Royal Marines

Commandos in Iceland show how to rescue pilots shot down behind enemy lines

Royal Marines have been training over the barren landscape of Iceland as they practised rescuing pilots shot down behind enemy lines.

Commandos remained in the cold north after the largest military exercise in Norway in 30 years to join their American counterparts and the Icelandic Coast Guard in staging helicopter raids to 'recover' colleagues in the face of both a hostile environment – and 'hostile' forces.

Joint Personnel Recovery involved rescuing downed aircrew, their passengers and, if necessary, their equipment from behind enemy lines in a mission relatively new to the Royal Marines.

A dedicated unit has been formed from 42 Commando based at Bickleigh near Plymouth for the mission - a unit which has trained extensively around the world, frequently making use of the expertise of the US Marine Corps.

They have trained in Virginia, Guam, Belarus.

With the first foray by the new carriers into the Arctic Circle – HMS Prince of Wales has been operating both in the Atlantic and northern Norway over the past month – the commandos extended their skills and experience by practising similar rescue missions in the frozen landscape.

Iceland sits on the edge of the Arctic Circle, with temperatures just below zero by night at this time of year and barely above zero by day.

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