Plymouth-based Royal Marines hone fighting skills in South American jungle.

Discussion in 'RM Operational News' started by Rover, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. Rover

    Rover Moderator

    Oct 23, 2008

    PLYMOUTH-based Royal Marines have been honing their jungle-fighting skills in South America - while carefully avoiding becoming lunch to some of its more reptilian inhabitants.

    42 Commando's Lima Company recently carried out the specialist warfare training in Belize to prove themselves as the lead-standby for extreme environment combat troops.

    At its peak there were 160 Marines under training, including elements from across 3Commando Brigade HQ in Plymouth, 24 Royal Engineers in North Devon and 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines in Devonport Naval Base, Plymouth. They were joined by Royal Netherlands Marine Corps and 8 Commando Battery Royal Artillery.

    It afforded the Marines to prove they have what it takes when they moved through a crocodile- infested river with only their eyeballs and rifle breaching the waterline.

    "The quality of professional soldiering inherently improves in such arduous conditions and the morale gained from a tough few weeks together under the jungle canopy is palpable throughout the company.

    "All-in-all, the deployment has left Lima Company in the best possible place to take up the mantle of the lead commando group's fighting capability to fight in extreme environments.''

    The five-week exercise included learning from jungle warfare instructors to include jungle craft, specific tactics and techniques and even a visit to the zoo warn them about what unwanted wildlife could potentially make a home in their sleeping bags!

    A 130-metre-wide river crossing gave commanders a chance to see how long it took the troops to move in large numbers across an obstacle covertly and blended seamlessly back into the jungle.

    539 Assault Squadron – the small boat specialists – deployed to a creek area with their inflatable raiding crafts on the narrow jungle waterways. They practiced their skills with undercover landings onto densely vegetated river banks with only the local Howler Monkeys watching.

    Another of the varied training scenarios took place on the mountainous jungle of a steep gorge with the troops rehearsing what they learned in the UK about personal skills and drills from putting up a hammock, conducting full wet and dry routine in total darkness, navigating in a disorientating environment and refining weapon drills.

    Marines also learned from local Belize trackers hosting a survival day, which revealed the secrets of shelter-building, water collection, what not to eat or touch and how to trap animals for eating if needed.

    From the jungle the Marines moved onto a five-day live firing exercise on a purpose-built training area and then practiced this in the jungle, using machetes to clear their way.

    To round off the hard work, the Marines turned to playing hard and ended with a football tournament and organised water sports.
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