Royal Marines Mortars Norway CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
Royal Marines

Royal Marines Light Up Arctic Circle With Mortars

The live firing exercise was conducted by 40 Commando's Mortar Troop around the mountains of Bardufoss.

Royal Marines Mortars Norway CREDIT ROYAL NAVY

40 Commando’s Mortar Troop conduct a live firing exercise (Picture: Royal Navy).

Royal Marines lit up Arctic fjords and valleys as they laid down mortar rounds in the dark during winter training in Norway.

The live firing exercise was conducted by 40 Commando's Mortar Troop around the mountains of Bardufoss.

It is the latest chapter in their winter deployment to the Arctic Circle.

Royal Marines Mortars Norway CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
Troops will now travel to Norway on an annual basis as part of the UK's Arctic strategy (Picture: Royal Navy).

The exercise, named Aquila 19, sees all aspects of the commando’s abilities – in the air, on the water and on the ground – tested so they remain ready to react.

Overseeing one of the shoots was 27-year-old Captain Nate Brown, he said:

“It has been an excellent opportunity to fire the 81mm mortars in the Arctic.

Royal Marines Mortars Norway CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
With wind chill, temperatures can fall to lows of -35°c (Picture: Royal Navy).

It is a challenging place; one like no other.

"If we can function and excel [in] the harshest places it maintains our ability to operate as specialists anywhere on the planet.”

In mid-February this far north it is only light for eight hours a day. 

Royal Marines Mortars Norway CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
Royal Marines are learning how to operate in Arctic conditions (Picture: Royal Navy).

This means handling and firing mortars is extremely difficult with temperatures and wind chill as low as -35°C.

The sections conducted several co-ordinated illumination fire missions, exercising the tactical ability of both the mortar section and mortar fire controls in the Arctic.

During their time in the Arctic, 40 Commando hosted Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who says the Arctic will assume ever-growing importance in coming years.

	Gavin Williamson arctic training 170219 CREDIT 40 Commando Royal Marines
Gavin Williamson took on the ice breaking challenge (Picture: 40 Commando Royal Marines/Twitter).

The Duke of Sussex also spent part of Valentine’s Day visiting Naval Service personnel in the region.

The Royal Marines have committed to a ten-year training programme with their Norwegian counterparts, which will see around 1,000 Marines travelling each year.

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Royal Marines decorated the igloo with pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex prior to Prince Harry's arrival (Picture: Royal Navy).