Royal Marines of O and P Squadrons, 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group have been exercising in the Netherlands.

According to the Ministry of Defence:

“They were given free range of the training areas at Dutch Army’s infantry school at Harskamp, near Arnhem, for the fortnight-long Exercise Gelderland Strike – named after the region of the Netherlands.

Joining the commandos for the second iteration of the exercise were officers from the Ministry of Defence Police who work with 43 Commando to form the ring of steel around Britain’s nuclear deterrent 24/7, 365 days a year.”

It is the mission of both to secure and defend the Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class submarines when they are in base at or sailing from/returning to Faslane, as well as the nearby ammunition facility at Coulport.

That means both commandos and police must work together seamlessly and above all master operating in a busy, complex and dangerous urban environment by day or night.

One of the highlights of the two-week training package was an attack on a mock village.

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Mike Saul

You will note in the header photo the marine using a C7/C8 assault rifles.

43 Commando group ditched the SA80 in favour of the C8 in 2016


Why? and are the rest going to follow their lead.

Mike Saul

No, the official reason given at the time was that the C8 was superior short range weapon in built up areas plus it was used by UK SF.

As I understand it the rest of the RM and British army will continue to use the SA80A2/3.


Thanks for that.


Thank you for that Mike, I was just wondering why no SA80 in photo

Mike Saul


Daniele Mandelli

Interesting. Thank you.

Mike Saul

More info cut and pasted from a unofficial RM website The C8 had been in limited used by 43 Commando already but it is understood by IHS Janes that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) bought a further 300 of the Canadian-made carbines as part of a re-equipment effort that was completed at the end of 2015. The C8 is now 43 Commando’s standard weapon. The unit is the first outside of the Special Forces to completely drop the L85A2 in favour of the L119. Aside from United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF), the L119 is in various degrees of use by… Read more »


In other words the L119 is specifically used because it is actually inferior to the L85. It creates less collatoral damage

Mike Saul

The C8 can reliably use the lower velocity round required by 43 Commando whereas the SA80 cannot is my understanding.


This may because the SA80 requires a certain amount of propellant to operate the push rod that cycles the block. Whereas, the C8 like the AR15 uses recoil blowback to cycle the block and uses a weaker return spring. In other words the low velocity round does produce enough gas to operate the SA80s cocking mechanism.


Doh – meant doesn’t produce enough gas…


Maybe silly question, but maybe because SA80 is bullpup rifle it might be to limited in close fighting in ships etc being restricted to right hand fire? I have never used this style rifle so not sure if it’s limited or not, just seems so to me

Mike Saul

The SA80 has had a long painful history and did have many faults.

Poorly conceived, designed and built.

The SA80A2 is far superior, but requires careful handling and cleaning to maintain it as an efficient weapon.

The RM decision to adopt the C8 is officially down to the specific ammunition required by 43.


One of the main issues with the development of the SA80 was that no one on the Development team has ever handled a rifle. There were no gunsmiths on the team at Enfield.

Forgotten Weapons on Youtube has quite a few episodes on the SA80, its development and why it is what it is. A good watch if you are interested.


Under what circumstances would the police and these fleet protection chaps be required to undertake an attack on a village…?

Daniele Mandelli

Ignore the term village. Imagine the hundreds of buildings in Faslane, Aldermaston, Burghfield instead.

FIBUA training.

FIBUA mock villages is just a name. Mod has several.

Does not mean the MDP and FPGRM are literally attacking a village. But in the event they could.


OBUA now I’m afraid – ‘Operating’ is more PC than ‘Fighting’… I know…. I know…

Much prefer FISH as it was nicknamed… Fighting in somebody’s house! 🙂

Or Fish and chips…. fighting in someone’s house & causing havoc in people’s streets!!

Daniele Mandelli

Oh! Cheers.

OBUA sounds crap!


Well the hippie village at Faslane should be atacked and burned down for starters.

Daniele Mandelli



What quite have they done…except hold a contrary opinion on nuclear weapons!