Royal Marines of 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM) will soon be “storming through the fjords of Norway”, say the Ministry of Defence.

1AGRM’s 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines and their raiding and landing craft are readying themselves for war games in Norway.

In total according to a release, six Offshore Raiding Craft, eight Inshore Raiding Craft and two Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel – having been loaded in the UK and transported by MV Hurst Point to Norway.

These craft give 539 ASRM the capacity to deliver a company and more of Royal Marines.

“As the UK’s riverine warfare specialists, 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (ASRM) has to perform in every environment in which the Royal Marines may be called to operate,” said Major Matt Baylis, Officer Commanding 539 ASRM.

“Dissected by enormous fjords, and with temperatures dropping as low as -40°c, the arctic region of northern Norway offers unique challenges to the Royal Marines Landing Craft and their Crews. Manoeuvre from the sea is a key component of the Marines’ skillset, and the geography of this region means that our raiding craft can offer troops unparalleled access to NATO’s northern flank.

Over the coming weeks, the Commandos of 539 ASRM will refresh their extreme cold weather skills, ensuring the amphibious manoeuvre of the Royal Marines.”

1AGRM’s deployment to the region is essential in ensuring the amphibious mobility of the Royal Marines in the Arctic environment, say the MoD.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah coz we are always at war in cold places!!! Is there a strategic defence review coming up????? Bet that’s a cheap ex to run!!!!!

  2. I am a great admirer of the R.M. However what will a few commandos do to stop the nasty ruskies come over Northern Norway. Not a lot.

    As with most things run by the MOD, we have some good people and some good kit, but we dont have enough of anything to be a real deterrent. Even our most expensive gold plated £1billion each destroyer ( and we use it to stop yobs on speed boats?) has no offensive surface weapons, bar a pop gun, and we have to rely on foreign partners to do the dirty work.

    I am slowly coming to the conclusion that we should be more like Germany and just play at defense, and send more money, “foreign aid”, to poverty stricken murderous thugs.

  3. Norway isn’t Ukraine or Georgia. The Ruskies wouldn’t be coming anywhere easily. Invading Norway would be a terrible miscalculation. Air cover from the U.K. would surely be a possibility? Rough range of Typhoon T1 is 1800 miles… linear flight line to northern Norway is 1000 miles… not sure how that calculates to loiter time but as Robert says, tactically deployed as part of a larger stategic effort they are capable of kicking some serious teeth in. I was attahced to 3 Commando Brigade. Serious soldiers.

  4. Royal Marines have spent every year from January to March in the Arctic when I served, 45 Commando RM were the primary arctic trained Commando with 42 also trained. The nature of our drafting system meant that every marine got to experience artic training. Plus the 3 Commando Helicopter Sqns.
    The story mentioned here is just one element of the Corps in training. I served for 25 years, of which 7 yeaRd was as a Landing Craft Coxswain.

  5. Around 100 marines are training in fjords of Norway. This both cheers and saddens me. It’s great that our lads have got top notch kit and are continuing to undergo world beating training, It’s sad that there are only 100.
    I have been doing a lot of research into how many combat armed front line troops we actually have and I’m getting closer and closer to the answer of “depressingly few”. I appreciate this is a problem for most modern militarys, and I also appreciate how crucial the support troops are, but I firmly believe we are significantly below our critical mass and further believe that this reality gets hidden by just quoting troop numbers as a whole.
    As an example, let’s use 3 commando brigade. It’s quoted as 8 battalions, others say 5000 troops. God knows what it actually is. But within their structure you find the main punch (men with weapons wise, not engineers, not marines assigned to protect various UK facilities, not signals or logistics or HQ) coming from 3 battallions. 40, 42 and 45 commando. So that’s down from 8 to 3 battallions. Next, each battalion is made up of 6 companies, but only 4 of those are fighting companies. Finally, amongst those 4 fighting companies, from what I understand, only 2 go and engage the enemy, the other 2 are ‘stand off’ companies that provide support if needed. Now I’ve read somewhere that there are around 130 marines in a company. God knows how accurate this is, but if we use it for the illustration above, it puts the infantry fighting element of 8 battalions of men down to 780 individuals. On top of this, from what I understand, not all 3 battalions are at the same degree of readyness, so that puts this figure at either 260 or 520 men.
    So when people say ‘there are x total number marines’ the above needs baring in mind.
    Another good example is the government’s goal of being able to deploy a force of 50000 troops. Again, the more you scratch the surface the more you find the actual number of front line infantry troops goes down and down. For starters for this one, this figure includes all elements of the force i.e air force and navy troops are included in this figure. If you keep chopping down, as a rough estimate id say we had Around 10000 infantry troops, including armoured brigades, in this force. This worries me as time and again military strategy says you need troop mass to decisively win engagements. We can have the best logistics and support train in the world but if there are only 520 men at the front end of it…

    • Nice post John.

      Correction on Commando’s. As it gets even worse. The teeth of 3 commando that could be deployed into Norway are only 2 “battalions” now.

      40 and 45 Commando.

      42 is now used as a specialist MCT unit with many varied roles, no longer available to 3 Commando as a line unit. Mortars, GPMG and other heavier kit removed, along with manpower, which was redistributed as part of RN manning crisis.

      Supporting elements –

      UKLF CSG is the “HQ” Regiment, with signals, air defence the BRF ( used to be mountain and arctic warfare cadre, and the RM answer to Pathfinder platoon ) and EW Sigint elements. Renamed 30 Commando.

      Commando Logistics Regiment supports these, and includes Medical Squadron. This is partially army manned.

      Other army elements include –

      A reduced 29 Reg RA, with only 12 guns, in two 6 gun batteries, an HQ Battery, and 148. Was 18 guns once but with 42s removal the supporting battery went.

      24 RE. created from the original 59 Commando Squadron RE. Has never achieved full regimental strength.

      The wider Corps of RM has 8 small Regiment or battalion sized units as you say, but these are not all assigned to 3 Commando. The other elements are –

      1 AGRM, much reduced in size since the landing craft squadrons on Ocean and the 2nd LPD were lost. Retains one squadron of 4 LCU and 4 LCVP on whichever LPD is in use, 10 squadron at Poole as training unit, and 11 squadron at Instow for trials.

      43 Commando. Commachio Group being it’s old name.
      Reduced by 1 Squadron and used at Faslane, Coulport, and on Trident convoys in support of Trident.

      SBS. Not really included as part of DSF.

      Other minor units – 539 Assault Squadron, Armoured Support Group RM with the Viking ATVs at Yeovilton and Bovington.

      Commando Training Centre RM at Lympstone.

      So your main point is spot on. On paper a corps of several thousand.

      But the reality of what coukd actually be used as a line brigade in the field in Norway very different.

      In my mind specialist troops such as these, and the Paras, should be expanded.

      Cheers.

    • The “Stand Off Companies” were a product of Commando 2020.

      They engage with longer range weapons, like a Fire Support company in an army Infantry Battalion. ( 81mm, GPMG, .50 cal, Javelin ) Two each Commando. One would be equipped with Viking, the other wheeled vehicles.

      So all would still engage, not just the two “Close Combat” Companies.

        • No idea on books. I have so many I know longer buy them.

          Just do lots of research on the net, and don’t believe everything you read on the official Mod pages, as they are often out of date and only give a brief outline.

          I also believe there are ex RM on UKDJ who can comment better than I ever could.

          Cheers.

  6. Its been a longtime since 1975 – 1999.
    Served with 359ASRM. There were 14 of us in 1982. NOW well i am the last. I miss them all and have a hard time with nightmares BUT GOD HELP ANYONE WHO WHO GETS ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THEM. BROTHER’S ALL.

  7. John. The problem is the same to a lesser or greater extent with all the services. As far as everyone else thinks they exist to provide the maximum war fighting capability possible. As far as the services themselves think they exist to provide as many cushy non-jobs for their people in general and the Ruperts in particular as possible. The Navy is bad, the Army is worse and the RAF is horrific.

  8. Personally I very much doubt if there are any Rupert’s left in the Army but maybe I can be corrected?
    And yes I would love to see a LARGE contingent of RN Marines go on exercise in Norway, instead of a 100.
    I do take the point about the many senior ranks in the UK services, as compared to the Israeli forces, or the US Marines.
    It does seem we are spending more and more money for less and less capability.
    A £90 million aircraft can only be in one place, whereas if we had three or four we could cover a lot more airspace, and be more of a deterrent.
    1 of F-35 vs 3 or 4 F16s or even the Saab Gripen NG?

    I see the US NAvy is keeping a bunch of FA18’s and the Israelis are buying more F15’s as the F-35 is not considered capable in the strike role (which it was never designed for anyway).

    • Hi John only picking up on the last point really, yes you can have more F16s for the price but most nations are replacing them, even the US are placing more with air national guard and in reserve. Yes the US navy are keeping a fair number of F/A18s but that mainly seems to be because of F35C delivery/testing speeds, as a post initial strike option and the fact they can easily act as refuelling buddies, when I last checked they still send up a 18 up at the start of every recovery phase. I believe they will be keeping the E/A18 Growlers (hehehehe) because of the specialist nature and investment.

      On the F35 comment the F35 is the result of the Joint Strike Fighter program it’s primary design purpose is strike and ground attack role, followed by fighter cover role. It’s absolutely absurd to make a claim it wasn’t designed for that purpose.

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