Through the night they work securing the beach and providing a safe drop off point for Royal Marines, their equipment and vehicles.
Over the course of four days scores of vehicles and hundreds of Royal Marine Commandos will have passed through their landing point, a narrow strip of beach lit only by dim port and starboard lights against a wall of darkness.
This is the role of the Amphibious Beach Unit (ABU) part of 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.
They were one of the first units ashore in exercise Albanian Lion and will be one of the last to leave when this large scale bilateral event comes to an end.
Albanian Lion is the first major outing this year for the Response Force Task Group (RFTG) – a Royal Navy task force that includes four Royal Navy warships and five Royal Fleet Auxiliary support vessels, which have come together for a five month deployment, named Cougar 13.
It also sees the RFTG’s Lead Commando Group made up of 42 Commando Royal Marines carry out a series of mock assaults on enemy positions in the area around the Vlore peninsula, in southern Albania, as they continue to return to contingency operations and build their core skill of amphibious warfare.
Playing his role in the beach landing is Lance Corporal Matthew Richards a signaller with 539 Assault Squadron.
He said: “We initially carried out a recce of the coastline identifying what parts would be best for arrivals and departures and the one we selected is perfect for its shallow beach and deep drop off making it ideal for our needs.
“We have units and equipment coming across from three different ships, it’s a busy environment but one that works well.”
Once ashore many of the marines headed a short distance away to the Commando Concentration Area where they could recoup and plan further movements.
Two days into the exercise and units from 42 Cdo had already seized a vital island from a group of pretend insurgents as well as the beach landing site for the ABU.
J Company Sgt Major Nige Perkins, initially embarked on RFA Mounts Bay, said: “Our initial assault as part of the exercise went really smoothly. Units moved onto the island overnight and attacked at first light, once we had the island secure K Company were able to shift their attention to the mainland and secure the beach for the equipment offload.”
The RFTG was formed under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDRS) and this is their third outing on a Cougar deployment working with the Albanian Armed Forces. After Albanian Lion, Cougar moves into the Red Sea, Arabian Gulf and the Horn of Africa for further engagement and exercises.
Colonel Kevin Oliver , Deputy Commando Brigade Royal Marines, said : “Building on last years exercise we have enhanced our contribution by providing a larger force comprising fast jets, helicopters, assault boats and armoured personnel carriers for ground manoeuvre and force protection.”
The RFTG is the UK’s high readiness maritime force at five days notice to act in response to any contingency tasking including humanitarian disaster relief or international military intervention.