Royal Marines

Royal Navy ensures practice makes perfect in Arctic

After two years of preparation, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines are preparing for NATO's biggest Arctic exercise for 30 years.

After spending two years preparing for the exercise, Royal Navy personnel and Royal Marines Commandos are ensuring practice makes perfect in one of the most challenging environments on the planet.

Royal Marines Commandos are deployed from 3 Commando Brigade alongside the Royal Navy ahead of NATO's Exercise Cold Response – the alliance's largest exercise for 30 years.

Rehearsing amphibious skills, the personnel are not only honing their operational effectiveness but ensuring they can do it in a cold-weather environment – operating in the snow, on land, by sea, in the air and at night.

Watch: HMS Prince of Wales at the centre of largest Arctic exercise in 30 years.

HMS Albion, described as the Royal Navy's 'Swiss Army knife', is acting as the command platform, with RFA Mounts Bay also supporting the exercise.

And it is on RFA Mounts Bay Royal Marine that Vanguard Strike Companies are embarked, ensuring they are ready for amphibious operations.

Lance Corporal Oliver Yeaman, 539 Raiding Squadron, 47 Commando, Royal Marines, told Forces News one of the Marines' main focuses is beach landing.

"So our part in that is taking the [Offshore Raiding Craft and Inflatable Raiding Craft] out to the beach," he said.

"And it's just having that interoperability between the [amphibious] side and the on-the-ground side so we can work together and deliver."

It is as a team, across all ships, capabilities and platforms, that the commandos build up muscle memory of how to operate together in the fjords of Norway.

Practising over and over again during the day, the Royal Marines must then master it at night.

LCpl Yeaman said the Marines "generally" operate at night, but it takes time.

"We put the troops through these wader exercises so they know how to do this... and basically, to be as safe as possible," he said.

Moving between craft, onto and off land, the Royal Marines need to repeat and review so they can be as quick and effective as possible.