Angus-based Royal Marines have continued commando training missions alongside US Navy forces on Loch Lomond’s bonnie banks.
In the next stage of a deployment which will take the men of Arbroath’s 45 Commando around northern Europe, they were joined by US Navy Seals for live-firing drills and vertical assault training in the majestic Trossachs landscape.
Their latest mission features a variety of military hardware, including landing craft and the distinctive vertical rotor Bell Boeing V-22 Ospreys which recently buzzed the skies of Angus.
45 Cdo from Condor, on the edge of the Angus town, form a central part of the Littoral Response Group (North) deployment.
It will take commando forces and Royal Navy ships – HMS Albion, RFA Mounts Bay and HMS Lancaster – around northern Europe and into the heart of the Baltic this spring.
To prepare for those operations, more than 300 commandos headed on two separate preparatory ‘battle camps’.
Those saw them carry out a variety of essential training exercises alongside US allies to keep them razor sharp for what’s to come.
Members of the US Naval Special Warfare Task Unit-Europe joined 45 Cdo personnel in urban close-quarter combat training missions, live firing drills and vertical assaults near Loch Lomond.
Marine Nathan Bell, of X-Ray Company at the Arbroath base, said: “I enjoyed having the chance to practice close-quarters battle, it’s interesting, but it’s also really important.
“It’s mentally quite tough as well though, because in real life, the scenario you are faced with will be unique.
“You need to be so well drilled that you can rely on your initiative in the heat of the moment.
“Commando basic training sets the foundations of teamwork and discipline which allows us to be successful.”
This training came after amphibious exercises with HMS Albion, the lead ship of the Littoral Response Group (North) deployment.
Rocky terrain around Loch Lomond was used for assault drills by Royal Marines mountain leaders and the US forces.
The commando skill involves scaling sheer rock faces or cliffs to gain a tactical advantage and catch the enemy by surprise.
The mountain leaders are experts in mountain and Arctic warfare.
They found a suitably imposing rock feature overlooking the loch for the exercises.
45’s Yankee Company also worked with the Americans on urban close-quarters battles and amphibious warfare tactics.
Condor’s X-Ray Company training has included using quad-bikes to get rapidly across the battlefield and into the fight.
All commandos have been training in small raiding teams – a feature of the tactics associated with the Royal Navy’s Future Commando Force evolution.
Colour Sergeant Kristian Foster of X-Ray Company, added: “We’ve had a really successful week of what is essentially ‘battle prep’ for operations.
“Going forward, we will take the skills we have developed in order to become lethal against adversaries and invaluable to our allies in NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force.”
45 Commando are now heading on further exercises around Scotland with their Littoral Response Group (North) comrades.