The 40 Commando Battle Group deployed to the deserts of California to take on their US Marine Corps counterparts in ‘a peer-on-peer warfighting scenario’, say the MoD.

According to a news release, British Army troops from 24 Commando Royal Engineers (Commando Sappers) and 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery (Commando Gunners) joined the Royal Marines Battlegroup for training at the vast range complex of the Marine Air Ground Combat Training Centre at Twenty Nine Palms in California.

“Marines from 40 Commando partnered with 7th Marine Regiment USMC as the adversary taking on 2nd Marine Division – providing a force to be the lethal tip-of-the-spear. 40 Commando’s A Coy and B Coy were joined by commandos from across 3 Commando Brigade to form a Battle Group that included ranks from 24 Commando (Army) and 29 Commando (Army).”

Image Crown Copyright 2019.

The British Army said in a release:

“The huge desert ranges provide the unique ability to fire in any direction for many miles; offering a particularly exciting opportunity for the gunners of 29 Commando who conducted direct-fire training.

Typically, a gunner will fire their artillery shell off towards the horizon (up to 17km away) and rarely see it landing. However, direct-fire simulates a last resort scenario where the gun is fired horizontally at an enemy within 1km; flanked by a fire team laying down fire on machine guns and rifles. The shells thudded the ground in the near-distance giving the scenario a real war-fighting feel.”

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Peter E

The true findings of the exercise will presumably be classified. But it would be interesting to know how light role infantry supported by the 105mm Light Gun (and presumably Javelin and 81mm mortars) go in a “peer to peer” contest. One would imagine that the opposing force will have quite a different mix of fires to bring to bear. One wonders also what ISTAR assets our Marines take with them to the fight. If the guns are being employed in the direct fire role, presumably the Mk 1 Human Eyeball is still well employed. No mention, for instance, of Watchkeeper,… Read more »


“F-all” is usually the answer to ISTAR assets available unless your on real world ops.
‘Notional’ green eyes and some muppet in a tent blagging it on the net will be the order of the day. Dont be fooled by the social media bluffing, nowt has changed to support the infantry.


Surely we will be bringing our A game to a fight against a USMC Division.

Daniele Mandelli

Well most the integral ISTAR that the RM possess are with 30 Commando. No mention in the article, but that does not mean elements were not present.

Watchkeeper is in Cyprus still trying to achieve a deployable battery!
Protector not around yet, and the RAF’s Reapers are more strategic in nature.

I have no idea if 40 or 45 Commando use any small nano drones myself, like Black Hornet.


Who do 32 regt ra support with their drones? I believe the US are the only other people that use desert hawk so maybe some compatibility between forces?

Steve Martin

I would assume such assets were provided by the partnered 7th Marine Regiment USMC as they form the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). Take a look:

Daniele Mandelli

It is sobering just how limited we and most the world are by comparison.


I wonder if this will highlight any deficiencies in the gear we have… or lack thereof.
I imagine both ‘sides’ will learn a lot from this exercise.
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Simon m

In the video they did mention that they were using a Ghost AI uav although it was unclear whether this was on loan from the yanks – which I suspect it is!

andy reeves

what was the result?


I wonder if watchkeeper will ever be armed? I know the previous government had trouble getting parliament to accept armed drones but hopefully that will change and we can have watchkeeper armed with hellfire like it’s intended.

Sky Soldier

Away games are always the most fun!!