from 42 Commando have travelled to Albania for a week-long exercise with the
country's armed forces as part of Cougar 13.
Hot on the heels
of last month’s large-scale exercise Albanian Lion, which was the first
set-piece for the UK’s Response Force Task Group on Cougar 13, elements of 42
Commando have returned to the Balkan country for a further week.
Marines are the nation’s on-call commando unit, ready to deploy anywhere in
the world at short notice should the government determine their presence is
Exercise Dragon Hammer with the Viking amphibious vehicles of the Royal
Marines Armoured Support Group saw the green berets train mainly around the
bay of Vlorë – also the setting for Albanian Lion.
Lima Company used
night-vision technology to practise moving through an underground tunnel
complex at Porto Palermo, near Himarë, which once served as a base for Cold War
submarine operations in the Adriatic.
Their week of
Dragon Hammer concluded with a company-level attack on the small island
fortress of Sazan, just off the Vlorë peninsula – also the focal point for an
assault during Albanian Lion.
Company carried out various exercises with live ammunition – including firing
the new lightweight Glock pistols being introduced across the Armed Forces –
and engaged in close quarters battle. Their week drew to a close getting to
grips with working side-by-side with the Vikings.
deployed on Cougar 13 hoping to show the rest of the Corps what the all-terrain
armoured vehicle, which is based in Dorset, can offer on the battlefield.
Samuel, Officer Commanding Juliet Company, said:
The story of
close co-operation between Juliet Company and the Viking Troop is one that
needs to be read throughout our Corps.
during this exercise, my commanders at all levels were exploiting the Viking’s
capabilities in ways that they would not have envisaged or thought possible
even 3 months ago.
The green berets
completed Dragon Hammer delighted at the unique training environment offered
both by Albania’s landscape and its military facilities.
Colonel Neil Sutherland, Commanding Officer of 42 Commando, said:
Dragon Hammer was
an excellent opportunity – and one that the Commando fully exploited. Arduous,
complex terrain and a challenging environment provided some fantastic training
Live firing with
Viking fully integrated into one of my manoeuvre companies and close quarters
battle in a complex sub-terrain cold war submarine facility, where we fully
utilised black light, are but 2 examples of the excellent training we were able
to run. Overall, it proved to be superb training for 42 Commando.
Cougar 13 is the
routine annual deployment of the Royal Navy’s very high readiness Response
Force Task Group (RFTG). Elements of the RFTG deployed to the Mediterranean and
east of Suez, demonstrating their ability to project a highly effective UK
maritime component anywhere in the world.
includes a series of demanding exercises with partner nations throughout the
region which will ensure that the Task Group is ready to respond to any
contingencies as and when they arise.
The RFTG ships
have now passed through the Suez Canal and are carrying out further exercises
with partner nations.