Royal Marines

SRS: The eyes and ears of UK Commando Force

Watch: The SRS are able to travel long distances to gather information on the enemy.

The Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS), primarily made up of Royal Marines from 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group, is dubbed the eyes and ears of the UK Commando Force.

Captain Olly Frost, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron, 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group, told Forces News, they generally work "in the deep battle space, up to 90 days ahead of the main commando force.

"As an early theatre entry force and an advanced force, we're there to understand the situation as best we can to enable the strike teams to give them a broader picture of what theatre they might be entering into."

Their focus is to gather information on the enemy and topography, so either larger amphibious forces can follow or lethal Royal Marine strike teams can carry out their operations.

It is not the role of SRS to be part of long firefights but they could come under attack, so it is important they practise getting out of an area and back to their boats as quickly as possible.

One of the squadron's many strengths is being discreet, which often means travelling long distances behind enemy lines.

Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron SRS Royal Marines Norway Training ski doo 130323 CREDIT BFBS
SRS can travel long distances behind enemy lines using over-snow reconnaissance vehicles or Ski-Doos.

These journeys could be by a mix of small boats, over-snow reconnaissance vehicles or Ski-Doos and they can also use skis or helicopters and can parachute in too. 

Captain Olly Frost, explains the importance of being able to take unconventional routes, "we hold the assault capability... whether that be access up ice, waterfalls or more conventionally up cliffs and terrain that generally people can't access.

"It gives us an opportunity to approach from avenues that people aren't expecting, maintaining the element of surprise which is incredibly important for us as we operate ahead of conventional or generally accepted support timelines.

"We tend to focus in the High North – but our skillsets are globally employed," he added.

SRS have to excel at all methods of tactical insertions, which is why this training is key and in the high north, commandos are pushed to their limits as they operate in Arctic conditions.

Watch: Royal Marines mission objective to become 'mountain ghosts' in Arctic exercise.

Capt Frost said the harsh conditions are part of the appeal for training there: "If you don't do the correct thing at the correct time, there are real-life consequences to your performance ability.

"Whether that's you're not wearing the correct equipment you should be that time, you're at risk of frostbite or frost nip or, in worse cases, hypothermia.

"The emphasis is on the individual teams because if they don't make those decisions they become combat ineffective."

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