Just to confirm, “Cougar” has nothing to do with picking up man-hungry Albanian vamps. That’s an entirely different kind of cougar.
Then again… with a run ashore… who knows?
Royal Marines gear up for Albanian Lion
The first men to arrive, predominantly from 42 Commando in Plymouth, stepped off their plane and immediately set about acclimatising to the rugged conditions and heat.
Already they have undertaken a series of river crossings, abseils and carried out mock assaults on enemy positions – all at heights ranging between 4,500 and 6,000ft.
While they train they await the arrival of the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Bulwark, as well as HMS Illustrious, and their embarked Royal Marines and elements of the Fleet Air Arm.
Once assembled in the Adriatic, off the coast of Vlore, Albania, they will work with Albania’s armed forces to put the Lead Commando Group (LCG) ashore within a high tempo scenario and sustain it as it moves inland.
Albanian Lion is just the first in a series of exercises making up Cougar 13 and begins next week. The exercise offers a full RFTG/LCG run out in ideal conditions with the aim of deploying, supporting and sustaining the LCG whilst ashore.
Sergeant Chris Davies, 30, from 30 Commando Royal Marines, Plymouth said:
“This is the second time I have trained in Albania and the mixture of heat, altitude and mountainous terrain make it the ideal training environment for the Royal Marines.
“We are all rearing to go and looking forward to a high intensity, action packed few days as we undertake Albanian Lion with our colleagues from the Albanian Armed Forces.”
Cougar 13 is a long-planned deployment for the UK RFTG – the naval force formed under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review – which sees the Royal Navy hone its world class maritime skills thousands of miles from home through exercises with a number of key allies.