Royal Marines have taken part in, and reportedly won, an intensive five-day battle in California in one of the largest military training areas in the world.

According to the Ministry of Defence, Royal Marines Commandos spent the last two months in the Mojave Desert preparing for deployments next year as part of the newly-formed Littoral Response Group (South), which is one of two new Royal Navy task groups centred on commando forces set up to respond to world events.

“Experts from across 3 Commando Brigade came together to form the LRG – with Taunton-based 40 Commando at its heart – at the vast US Marine Corps training facility at Twentynine Palms in California. The conclusion of the exercises, known as Green Dagger, was five days of gruelling warfighting which saw allied forces – from the US, Canada, United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands and UK – join forces to take on a highly-equipped US Marine Corps adversary.” 

According to the Ministry of Defence, the exercise focused around three urban sprawls which were defended by allied forces, the largest of which consisting of 1,200 buildings purpose built for militaries to test themselves among.

The LRG won decisive battles early on and gained ground from their enemy, but, with the US Marines pushing into allied territory, Royal Marines and their allies carried out raids behind enemy lines to stop further counterattacks.

“Our success has proved the new commando force concept is more lethal and sophisticated than ever before and I am immensely proud of every member of the LRG and their vital contributions,” said Lieutenant Colonel Andy Dow, Commanding Officer of 40 Commando, was quoted as saying.

“Operating alongside our partners from the USA, Netherlands, Canada and the UAE gives us a fantastic opportunity to test, integrate and continue to push our capabilities in new and innovative directions. Throughout this deployment our focus has been on integrating game-changing capabilities from across the commando force to deliver disproportional effect in the face of a free-thinking peer adversary.”

The exercise concluded with a last-minute ‘enemy’ assault which was repelled, leaving allied forces in control of over two thirds of the entire ‘battlefield’.

The Ministry of Defence add that ‘LRG South’ is expected to be functional next year with the addition of amphibious ships and aircraft.

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chris stocken
chris stocken
15 days ago

Marvelous

Laurence Harvey
Laurence Harvey
15 days ago
Reply to  chris stocken

Our Marines are world class. Well done to all involved

geoff
geoff
14 days ago

Indeed they are. We are a bit behind the times in some respects here in the ‘wilds’ of Africa but on the subject of the Royal Marines I stumbled across some RM massed musicians performing music in the Albert Hall from Two Steps from Hell. I am sure many of you are familiar with this but if you have not heard please Google especially Dragon Wing and Evergreen for an absolutely stunning performance visually and musically with up to a 99% approval score!! On subject, great performance against the Yanks but I hope we haven’t offended our special relationship allies… Read more »

John
John
14 days ago
Reply to  geoff

I was at the Mountbatten Festival of Music in 2020 & they played Two Steps from Hell pieces, they also played some in the 2021 concert. You can find the 2020 & 2021 concerts (and other years) on YouTube.

geoff
geoff
12 days ago
Reply to  John

Wow John-jealous!! I have never been to the Albert Hall. The RM musicians must rank up there with the best in the world in every respect. I wonder if the musicians are recruited separately or do they also serve on the front line when needed?

Jacko
Jacko
12 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Bandsmen and women were usually medics etc in my day.

that guy
that guy
15 days ago

Small but deadly!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
15 days ago

12 Light Guns with 29RA. A troop of HVM Starstreak LMM in 30 Cdo. 1 squadron of Wildcat ( 847 ) it shares with the AAC in a tiny pool of 34 helicopters. So 4 to 6 cabs. Minimal armament. Armoured Support Group with Viking ATVs, minimal armament. 25 Merlin, maybe 10 available, in 845 and 846. Plus Javelin, 81mm, .50s, GPMG, and Snipers in 40 and 45 Cdos Stand Off Companies. Sigint Troop in Y Squadron, 30 Cdo. Jackals with GMG,GPMG,.50s in the BRS. Similar armament on ORCs of 539 Sqn and 47 Cdo. ( 1 AGRM ) No… Read more »

Ian M
Ian M
15 days ago

Seems a bit like a fighter taking on a swordsman with his trusty Swiss Army knife!

John Clark
John Clark
15 days ago

Absolutely Daniele, well said. Let’s hope we see our new out of area strategy actually turn into the required equipment you detail above. No good reason for it not to.

formations like this are now at the absolute tip of the UK spear.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
15 days ago

Well said Daniele,

Joe16
Joe16
15 days ago

Couldn’t agree more Daniele, the USMC must have been operating under certain ROE, or playing a very specific role for this result to have come about. That is no criticism of the RM, just an objective evaluation of what the USMC normally brings in terms of across-the-board capability.
Must have been great fun for all involved though!

John
John
13 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Training exercises are meant to challenge both sides. Yes, in order for that to happen, the usmc had both hands one of its legs tied behind its back.

No insult intended, as it shows the quality of the troops when placed on equal footing.

Ron5
Ron5
15 days ago

Yeah the marines are crap. Great post (eyes roll).

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
15 days ago
Reply to  Ron5

Did I say that?
No doubt some of our most superb light infantry “

I was talking of the enablers and supporting firepower against an adversary who has those in abundance against whom the RM “won”
I think Joe got my gist.
Careful with those rolly eyes.


Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
15 days ago

And to add, from the article- ““Our success has proved the new commando force concept is more lethal and sophisticated than ever before” Where is the lethal in the enablers and supports I listed? I actually support the concept, but there needs to be something purchased to realise it beyond a new rifle, uniform, some hand held drones and “new” philosophy. Which we are not seeing yet. We can all read that this exercise was of light dispersed forces vs similar, but then we get the spin from MoD justifying what is happening to the Corps in creating this FCF,… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
15 days ago

This is a positive story! £200 mill assigned to FCF, it seems to be having an effect, especially the new tactics. Its not sensible to consider the RM going up against the USMC en masse, now or at any time in the past – very different org. But it is sensible to put FCF up against the new USMC Marine Raider Bns – as they are the same type of unit, with similar mission.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
15 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

James, do you know what has been bought with that £200 million or what is in the pipeline?

I’m aware of the RM new raiding concept with smaller teams. To be fair haven’t they had that capability for years anyway while having a light infantry brigade that could actually deploy, with enablers, albeit limited compared to the likes of 16AA.

Were those USMC Raider Bns the opposing force in this exercise do you know?

James Fennell
James Fennell
15 days ago

Daniele, I don’t I’m afraid. The £200M was allocated before the DCP, and another £40M was included in the DCP – so its £240M in total. Interestingly the Army allocated £140M for development of the Rangers. The most visible stuff are C4 personal weapons and new camo uniforms. I imagine some is going on these ultralightweight vehicles we have seen them testing, maybe Puma drones? – there are PODS for FCF too (precision fires and a C3 POD). As you point out probably some for Switchblade? I expect a fair amount has been spent on development of new tactics and… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by James Fennell
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
15 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Thanks James, that outline on kit was pretty much my limit of knowledge too. I think the vehicles are DAGOR Polaris.

I wasn’t aware of the funding total.

The acquisitions that always seem to be missing are more helicopters, boats, ships, to actually enable these light groups to do the FCF raiding thing.

The things that cost real money. The enablers.

That was the point of my original “semi rant” list above to which Ron rolled his eyes at.

James Fennell
James Fennell
15 days ago

Yes agreed. I think vertical lift wise they have already the 25 HC4s, which are probably more than enough for two LRGs, and can call on the Chinook fleet and a regiment of dedicated AH-64s. Both of these fleets are being renewed. Rangers are another matter, they need NMH and plenty of them. For me the missing piece is AAR for the helicopters to support long-range insertion from over the horizon vessels. HC4 and the newer CH-47s all have provision for probes, I guess the AAR drones planned under Vixen would be useful, but IMHO 6-8 more A400 with AAR… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by James Fennell
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
15 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Yes, I forget it’s name. Nigel C also linked to another Brit example, though I thought that was more SBS than FCF myself.

James Fennell
James Fennell
15 days ago

Well they need to creep in St Nazaire style as FCF, so I guess its good for them too now. They are Commandos once again, so I guess we must stop thinking about them as an amphbious light infantry brigade.

Last edited 15 days ago by James Fennell
netking
netking
15 days ago

It seems 9 usmc marsoc units were also on the side of the royal marines as well. I’m sure it was a valuable exercise for all involved but we shouldn’t read too much into it without the details.

Airborne
Airborne
15 days ago

Spot on assessment mate, while higher quality individuals and small team skills, the bigger picture is pretty dire and rather limited! More investment required with a little more ballsy calls on the newer kit that’s available. As for the shakies being better than H, not better mate but a little less arrogant and realistic 🍻 cheers mate!

Grant
Grant
14 days ago

All of these enablers available for less than, ohh I dunno some Spanish / Austrian medium weight lightly armed tanks….

Richard Thornton
Richard Thornton
2 days ago

This has always been the Achilles heel of the Corps. There are no better expeditionary forces in the world. Only limited by resource and in the past, the reluctance of the RN to fund the RM properly as an equal part of the Navy. This is hopefully changing now. I was fortunate to spend 26 years in the Corps, and the changes have been astounding in that time. Some good, some bad and some very damaging, but, with a keen interest in what’s going on and oppos that are doing some of the heavy lifting in enabling FCF to be… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 hours ago

Hi Richard. A very interesting post.
Glad you enjoy my posts, but remember I’m just very well read! It’s you guys I look up to.

Respect.

You should post more here, your experience and input would be invaluable.

Richard Thornton
Richard Thornton
16 minutes ago

Hi Daniele, Thank you, I would love to do that👍 I can only speak from my experience which is clearly as limited as anything else, but may add a bit of ‘hands on’ experience in certain cases👍 being unplugged so to speak gives one a very different perspective on things. But I still maintain a firm enough grasp of what’s occurring with trustworthy oppos at the coal face to have an up to date and realistic view of what’s going on which certainly helps. I love reading some of the comments tho, and some are bang on the money, too… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
15 days ago

Good show, a legacy of indefatigability carries on. Hats off to the Americans as well for the access to such training facilities

Terence Patrick Hewett
Terence Patrick Hewett
15 days ago

Exercises are not about “winning” or “losing” They are about finding out what happens “if”: finding out weaknesses and strengths: testing technology.

Daddy Mack
Daddy Mack
15 days ago

Don’t really see the RM and USMC as peer adversaries; the RM Commandos are more akin to Navy Seals/US Special Forces than a regular fighting force which is what the USMC is. And if I’m not mistaken the USMC has a larger headcount than whole of the British Army. Kind of like comparing Apples and Oranges.

Esteban
Esteban
15 days ago
Reply to  Daddy Mack

From what I gather the USMC raiders were with the UK commandos. The OPFOR were the marines that do that all the time. It is a sprawling facility. And yes, the active duty USMC is larger than the entire UK military. That is not counting the over 100,000 Marine reserve.

Donaldson
Donaldson
14 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

Dutch and UAE troops with them too, Reverse the roles and a MEU would demolish team blue.

Stephen Ford
Stephen Ford
15 days ago

Great Stuff Lads!! The Best Fighting Unit in the World!!🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧⚓🇬🇧⚓

Something Different
Something Different
15 days ago

It seems like a positive result (with the caveats outlined in other comments) but the corporate language is really not suitable for public focused communication. I have no problem with peer to peer comms featuring jargon if it gets the job done, but the military does have to think about it’s audience before issuing its messaging.

John F. MacMichael
John F. MacMichael
15 days ago

I find this report encouraging. The more willing you are to do a hard exercise in which you lose and learn from that result (rather than running a pre-scripted game that makes you look good but does not actually test you) the more likely you are to win in actual combat. Or, as the old Romans knew, the more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war.

Thomas
Thomas
14 days ago

As a US Marine, let me clarify something. 40 CDO fell under the command of the 7th Marine Regiment, and fought alongside 2d BN 5th Marines, 3d BN 11th Marines (arty), 1st ANGLICO, MARSOC, and the UAE presidential guard. All these units fell under the CO of 7th Marines. 40 CDO did phenomenal work, but they were certainly not alone or fighting on their own. They even used 7th Marines vehicles (if you look on some of the pictures a red “7th Reg” license plate is visible). Saying the Marines asked for a reset isn’t anything unusual. That falls under… Read more »

David Steeper
14 days ago
Reply to  Thomas

Thanks.👍

Thomas
Thomas
14 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

https://www.29palms.marines.mil/Articles/Article/499317/marines-behind-itx/

This is an older article, but the Coyotes at TTECG would be the ones supervising the exercise (it’s not called ITX any more, it’s changed to SLTE…..which just confuses us).

David Steeper
14 days ago
Reply to  Thomas

LOL oh my god trying to remember all the effing acronyms ! Gonna take an aspirin and lie down.

Netking
Netking
14 days ago
Reply to  Thomas

Thank you. This is the kind of post that really adds value to these boards. You should post more often.

James
James
14 days ago
Reply to  Thomas

Great post Thomas. I hope you don’t mind but copied it to a couple of UKAF pages to clarify as there is a little too much jingoistic BS from our guys. Devil’s in the detail!

Thomas
Thomas
13 days ago
Reply to  James

Not a problem. A better comparison for RMs would be the 75th Ranger Reg. TBH, the only thing the RMs and USMC share is they operate from the sea, otherwise tactics and operating concept (by necisity and design) are completely different.

I worked with the RMs a little bit in Quantico and Iraq, great dudes (albeit a little different seeing guys play “naked bar” in DC).

Airborne
Airborne
14 days ago
Reply to  Thomas

Mate pretty much what many of us thought and realised how the serials went! Good job but as ever a good, team job!

Richard Thornton
Richard Thornton
1 minute ago
Reply to  Thomas

Absolutely mate👍 This was a ‘win-win’ situation, and a learning curve for ‘All’ involved. This kind of thing works because of trust between units that’s been built up over a long time. Lessons become TTPs and that is what all involved come away with. Valuable knowledge and tasking. I am sure this will inadvertently build up a healthy appetite to not let anything that went badly, happen again, and make the things that went well/are sustainable/achievable go even better/lighter/more lethal and economical for the future. in these interoperability exercises, ‘everyone’ learns ‘something’, and that’s how training should be! I bet… Read more »

Snuggs
Snuggs
14 days ago

This story has been completely blown out of proportions by British media. Talk about the biggest piece of misinformation/disinformation in a while to have gone viral. 40 Commando was a part of the AdFor (adversary force). The AdFor was made up of all the visiting militaries (UK, UAE etc) PLUS 2nd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment (USMC) PLUS USMC Marine Recon units from Camp Pendleton. In addition to all these forces, the AdFor is also given every single tool possible, and advanced time to get to know the terrain. Those fighter jets that the Royal Marines called upon to repel the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Snuggs

Pretty much my original point. Interesting extra details, thanks.

James Fennell
James Fennell
14 days ago
Reply to  Snuggs

Good post – thank you

Thomas
Thomas
14 days ago
Reply to  Snuggs

I’d wager the RMs are more akin to an amphibious 75th Ranger Regiment. They are an extremely capable unit, but they have a fairly narrow mission set/core tasks compared the USMC.

I’m not worried about image, we are not thin-skinned enough to worry about it too much and we have worked closely with the brits for too long to really give a s**t about the media.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  Snuggs

I was with you until you waxed lyrical about the size of the USMC and their ability to ‘sdestroy the RMs is they really wanted to” – we know that. That was not the point of the article – to compare strengths. It was about the quality of the Royal Marines on the exercise.

Snuggs
Snuggs
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I can tell you didn’t read until the end where I said a more accurate force on force portrayal would have been USMC Raiders vs the Commandos. THAT would be a more accurate test of quality.

Grant
Grant
14 days ago

Yet the Government wants to half the size of the RM…. and replace it with some Rangers batalions dreamt up by MOD Desk generals who wish they were American….. perhaps we should give more cash to a fighting force that always proves its worth and dispense of all these light infantry units which would get minced on a real battlefield and only exist because getting rid of the Black Watch would be a crime against humanity…..

John
John
14 days ago

Know what all that matters is that they come home safe and sound great that they all can work together proud to be scottish great to be British hat off to all involved and for what each and everyone of yous put on the line to keep us safe thank you

Michael pulham
Michael pulham
14 days ago

I have always declared that our royal marine commandos are the best!