Howler monkeys, tarantulas, black widow spiders and snakes. Just some of the residents who have ‘welcomed’ Royal Marines to the jungle of Belize this week.
Taunton-based 40 Commando are putting all of their basic soldiering skills to the test as they learn to fight and survive in one of the world’s most hostile environments.
Delta Company, the jungle warfare specialists of 40 Commando, have been in Belize conducting vital training under the watchful eye of the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) and Royal Marines directing staff.
The first phase of training saw the Royal Marines conducting break contact drills, close target reconnaissance, survival, patrol and navigation training in the depths of Sibun Gorge.
Meanwhile the BATSUB staff, called trackers, have been teaching the elite Commandos all about operating in the jungle; providing instruction on survival, building shelters and animal traps, creating fire, and understanding what plants are edible, inedible and which are medicinal, as well as what insects and wildlife to avoid in this environment.
The Officer Commanding Delta Company, Major James Knight, said:
“It’s a steep learning curve – fortunately we’ve got a lot of great instructors with us who are taking us through the training.”
When the eight trackers aren’t teaching Royal Marines, the British Army or the United States Marine Corps, they are maintaining the training area for the next group of troops.
“Obviously the heat is one of the issues,” added Major Knight. “And the unusual creatures we’ve encountered while we’ve been out here. But it’s soldiering at its purest form.”
The second phase of the training involves live firing – where the Royal Marines progress from fighting as individuals in close quarters battle, to working in four and eight-man team assaults.
During this phase the troops use the SA80 A3 rifle, Light Machine Gun, General Purpose Machine Gun and grenades. They also learned how to carry out demolition work in the jungle.
The intense heat of the jungle is just one extreme the Royal Marines will face this year. Almost immediately after this deployment they head to the frozen lands of Norway for cold weather survival training alongside NATO partners.
PRESS RELEASE ENDS, courtesy of the MoD.