Royal Marines raid northern Poland and call in rocket strikes as NATO show their might in the Baltic Sea
Royal Marines raided Poland’s northern coastline and called in rocket strikes as NATO showed its collective might in the Baltic Sea.
Commandos landed silently from Britain’s amphibious flagship HMS Albion on to a beach on the Pomeranian coast at Ustka, two hours’ drive west of Gdańsk, to reconnoitre a forest, paving the way for marine forces from across the alliance to come ashore.
The UK’s specialist Commandos and a Royal Navy amphibious task group have been at the heart of Baltops, a large-scale annual exercise involving 6,000 troops from 19 allied nations which focuses on securing the peace and prosperity of the region.
The Commandos cleared the path for their allies, providing invaluable intelligence before United States Marines and troops from Italy, Poland, and Romania were guided into position on the coastline.
Commandos sent co-ordinates to the task force at sea for American HIMARS rocket launchers to unleash a barrage of fire and fury, striking targets and allowing NATO forces into the area.
X-Ray Company from Arbroath-based 45 Commando launched from HMS Albion – the assault ship at the head of the Littoral Response Group (North) alongside landing ship RFA Mounts Bay, meeting up with the Shore Reconnaissance Team of the specialist Surveillance and Reconnaissance Team, known as the eyes and ears of the UK Commando Force.
They had scoped the coastline for the best landing places, laying the groundwork for safe passage inland for large NATO forces.
47 Commando Raiding Group used their small inflatable raiding craft to bring their fellow Royal Marines ashore, along with US Marines.
The scenario also saw a bombardment from US Marine Corps HIMARS prior to the ground troops moving onto the objective.
148 Battery from 29 Commando Royal Artillery, sent target co-ordinates to the task force at sea, who relayed it the information to the USMC, showcasing how NATO can operate effectively together.
That was also underscored by the presence of Golf Company from 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, US Marine Corps, who worked alongside the 45 Commando team on Albion throughout Baltops.
“Working with the Royal Marines and Navy has been a fantastic experience,” said the USMC Company Commander Major Ryan Rullman.
“We have progressively strengthened our ability to work together at the tactical and operational levels, and successfully integrated our primary command and control systems.”
Captain Marcus Hember RN, Commander of the Littoral Response Group (North) Task Group – and also Commanding Officer of HMS Albion – said the UK force’s time in the Baltic had underlined the UK’s commitment to the region and the collective might of NATO.
“In bad times, good friends turn up; the UK’s commitment as a NATO ally to Baltic and Northern European security is steadfast and this exercise is just another example following on from months of Albion and LRG(N) working closely with our Allies and partners in the region,” he continued.
“We have shown we are stronger together.”
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Hall, Commanding Officer of 45 Commando Royal Marines and Commander Land Forces Littoral Response Group (North) added: “Integrated by design as an amphibious naval force, Royal Marine Commandos and the Royal Navy have a long history of working together by sea, air and land to deliver a comprehensive, agile and flexible response wherever it is needed.
“Baltops 23 is an important opportunity for us to exercise this capability with our NATO allies, reaffirming our commitment to security and stability and proving that together we are stronger.
“The UK Commando Force and USMC have significant experience of working together and this presents another opportunity to build on our shared history.”
The task group has been deployed to the Baltic since April and has operated closely with regional allies and partners, including training in Sweden and Estonia.