Royal Marines have put the seal on desert exercises with an intensive five-day battle in California alongside allies across one of the largest military training areas in the world. Commandos have 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.
“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. 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,” said Lieutenant Colonel Andy Dow, Commanding Officer of 40 Commando.
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. 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.
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 commandos took advantage of one of the best military training areas in the world to experiment with new tactics and share knowledge with allies. This deployment has ultimately readied the commando element of LRG(S) for operations next year, joining its sister task group, Littoral Response Group (North), ready to react to unfolding events around the world. The LRG North has already deployed to the Baltic this year and has a focus on events across Europe, while LRG South will operate east of the Suez Canal. LRG South is expected to be functional next year with the addition of amphibious ships and aircraft.