Royal Marines from 3 Commando Brigade have been refining winter mountaineering skills in Snowdonia National Park during Exercise Winter Walker 18, say the MoD.

3 Cdo Bde, including attached Army and Navy ranks have made the journey to Snowdonia National Park to undertake an eight-day arduous mountain training package to ensure they are physically and mentally ready for the harsh arctic conditions of Norway in early 2019.

C/Sgt Cameron Smith (36) said in a press release:

“Mountain training is a prerequisite for all Royal Marines and attached ranks deploying to Norway”, he added, “Mountain training ensures the necessary knowledge, physical and mental robustness to operate in the arctic.”

The release went on to say:

“The Commandos use the difficult mountainous terrain to test basic skills such as navigation and casualty evacuation alongside vertical assault and river crossings which are specialist skills unique to the Royal Marines.

Vertical assault training is used to pass vertical obstacles, whether it be a cliff face or a mountainous feature inland, the skill uses advanced climbing and abseiling techniques to cross the obstacle undetected to surprise the enemy. The technique was developed by the first Commandos during world war two, to launch raids against German forces behind enemy lines.  Modern technology has improved the equipment used but the basic principal has changed very little since the first Commandos.”

Mountain training is carried out annually in both Scotland and North Wales to ensure the Royal Marines are fully prepared to deploy to the harsh arctic environment of Norway to conduct Arctic warfare training.


  1. nothing new in such exercising, OP Clockwork was the regular joint Green death and Norweigan training exercise until a few years ago. However good to see it back on the training agenda.

  2. Absolutely Basil, the Royal Marines being used almost exclusively as line infantry for years in Iraq and Afghanistan , meant degradation of critical core RM skills.

    It’s great to see the RM’s moving solidly back to the core skills that make them such a special force.

  3. Except theRM ability to deploy toaaid NATOnorthetn flankhas been degraded by the decommissioning without replacement if our sole LPH HMS Ocean.
    Stealing vital airlift from the RMs
    I know I know, QE class. But are we seriously goingtoexpose our new £3.5billion strike carriers to a reinforcement mission within range of hundreds of Russian’s trike bombers armed with anti ship missiles and dozens of hostile submarines. Whilst outside of RAF top cover provided by limited range typhoons.
    It is strategic incompetence to think the RM can deploy to NATOs Northern flank without the required assets and support.
    Solution more F35Bs. A few more astute (3-4 of a batch 2) a replacement ideally X2 for Ocean and some more air defence warships + a dedicated long range air superiority interceptor for the RAF or a 3rd QE class with enough crows nest, Merlin’s and F35Bsto ensure air cover and ASW screen

    • This arguement has never really held up to me. We wouldn’t risk a carrier but would risk a lph full of marines and helicopters (lose them as are out of the battle)? I know the thinking behind the statement, but when you think it through it doesn’t really make stack up.

      If we are in a war situation and we have to get the troops ashore, then we have to risk whatever assets we have, no matter what the asset is, the cost would be huge if it was hit. Chances are we wouldn’t risk the landing, f we could not secure the immediate area and have enough air and sea assets to provide adequate air defence.

      • That’s a good post. An assault carrier with a battalion of marines is just as valuable a target as a fleet carrier with the same marines. if I were a Russian general or admiral , I’d throw everything possible at the ships with the marines( before defecting). At least a QE class could carry 12 or 16 F-35s for air defense.

    • I didn’t notice it said “tricke” nor Strike, my brain read strike because that was the obvious meaning it should have been. The brains a wonderful thing.

  4. Never mind supporting assets.

    If it were me first thing to do would be to return 3 Cdo to a true brigade. That means 3 manouvre units and a full cast of supporting assets, which the brigade no longer has.

    Same can be said of 16AA too.

    Mr Bell, agree with extra assets generally but would they be needed here to deploy accord the North Sea? Fly in to an airfield and use Points to move kit, we don’t need to anphibiously assault what we already control.

    Or, if the need becomes greater, pre position. Although being light troops there wouldn’t be much to pre position I

    I’m also curious as to where NATO wants to hold regards your comment on air cover. I presume somewhere way up north around Kirkenes?

    • And before anyone points out the contradiction on “supporting assets” i meant those integral to the brigade! Not F35B and Astutes!

  5. Im glad it is moving in the right direction, however I have had a look back at the Clockwork training undertaken in the late 70’s and 80″s. As a general rule the big assets available were not much greater, in no single clockwork was Intrepid and Fearless both in commission, bulwark was used in a handful of occasions and later Hermes a few times, never both together. Lsls usually 3 or 4 , however there were more merchant ships taken up. Which I think we would struggle with. Although i don’t generally agree with the argument about less assets with more capability, in the case of the three Bay class they can carry and deploy a significant greater range and numbers of kit than the Lsls, and the commando Merlin & Chinook are in a different class to wessex and Sea King 4. Troops wise, yes we need more and I totally agree with comments above. I do not realistically see PoW or QE being used in esr fighting amphibious roles, certainly not within horizon range, maybe as a second line support role.


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