An action-packed training exercise featuring Royal Marines ‘invading’ a piece of Devon took place today (Thursday) at HM Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth.
Members of 10 Landing Craft Training Squadron, part of 1 Assault Group, Royal Marines (1AGRM) took part in their final examination highly dynamic exercise on Wilson’s Beach near Bullpoint.
In glorious sunshine, a variety of landing craft landed armed Marines on the beach where ‘insurgents’ were hiding and an ensuing small-scale arms battle took place. Once the Marines had ‘secured’ the beach track-laying and beach recovery vehicles followed from the landing craft having been off-loaded from a larger ship out to sea and used in the action. Simulated naval gun fire, smoke grenades and thunder flashes were detonated to provide realism.
The exercise was part of a capability assessment of Royal Naval personnel who are on a landing craft vocational course – the culmination of 14 weeks of landing craft specialization training. Ranks from Marine up to Royal Marine Sergeant took part in the practical demonstration where a three-day operation was crammed into one hour. The students were unaware of the exercise content until shortly before it happened.
The scenario included surveillance of a beach where ‘Insurgents’ were suspected of operating out of derelict buildings. It was up to the students to plan and enact the raid to secure the beach and capture insurgents whereby demonstrating all they had learned on the course.
As well as the landing craft, much of the specialised amphibious equipment on which the Royal Marines depend was on show and over 25 men were assessed. Some of the supporting participants were Royal Marine recruits from the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone, near Exeter.
One of those being assessed was Sergeant Johnson, whose role on this demonstration was to design the landing and choose the correct craft, equipment and manpower to use and then execute the exercise. He had to write a narrative and explain to observing visitors exactly what happened as well as direct the landing on the beach, all with only twelve hours notice, as part of the course.
He said: ‘’my role was to plan and coordinate the exercise. I was pleased with they way everything was executed. We train continually for this type of event. The standard procedures we train with can be used anywhere in the world.”
Major Jim Fuller, the Officer Commanding 10 Squadron said: “Exercises like this are invaluable and Plymouth offers exceptional training opportunities. 10 Squadron is extremely fortunate to have been able to conduct its landing craft exercise here and looks forward to starting to plan for the next one.’’