Department of Defense PIN 34761.
The Response Force Task Group (RFTG) is Britain’s high-readiness amphibious task force, established following the 2012 SDSR. The Lead Commando Group (LCG) is drawn from 3 Commando Brigade and provides a scalable force able to deploy worldwide to meet crises.
Royal Marines launch amphibious raid on abandoned submarine base
As dawn broke over an abandoned former Cold War submarine base a series of explosions announced the arrival of the Royal Marines as they began a full scale amphibious attack. As part of Exercise Albanian Lion, the Marines landed on the shores of Sazan island and, amid a scenario based around smugglers, social unrest and the rise of terrorist groups, the Commandos attacked the hostile nation from the sea by climbing cliff faces in darkness to surprise the enemy.
The personnel of 42 Commando, based in Plymouth, and part of the Lead Commando Group (LCG), are honing their skills for contingent operations – where they must be ready to react at a moment’s notice – as part of the Royal Navy deployment named Cougar 13.
Unbeknown to the ‘smugglers’ hiding out on the Albanian island, they had been observed for the last few days by the Royal Marines Surveillance Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS).
Once a picture had been built of the enemy locations the initial dawn attack was initiated by explosions which simulated bombs dropped from RAF Hawk Jets.
Troops from J, K & M companies, 42 Commando then started the ground assault of enemy stronghold locations, storming and surprising their enemy.
The attack, which lasted eleven hours, saw the commandos clear their way through a maze of tunnels and buildings gathering information for further operations over the next few days.
Sazan Island, as well as being an old Soviet submarine base, used to be home to a chemical and biological weapons plant and there are more than 100 buildings and 5.7 square kilometres of trenches and bunkers.
The island now is uninhabited but there is a small manned naval base, used mainly to counter contraband routes between southern Italy and Albania.
During the exercise the Troops were visited by Major General Xhemal Gjunkshi, Chief of Defence of the Armed forces of the Republic of Albania and Ambassador of the UK Mr Nicholas Cannon.
They were escorted around the vast training area by Deputy Commander of 3 Commando Brigade, Colonel Kevin Oliver.
Colonel Oliver said:
“We are delighted to be here with our NATO allies for the third year running. The facilities are some of the best training areas the task group has ever used.
“We are extremely grateful for the use of their facilities and for the chance to work alongside the Albanian forces sharing experiences and operations.”
Over the subsequent 96 hours the Marines held further assaults onto positions 150km away as well as an evacuation with British embassy staff which saw British nationals safely extracted from a hostile environment.
As part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group, the LCG is projected from sea by Royal Navy warships into troublespots across the globe as dictated by government.
Lieutenant David Kirk, Troop Commander of 5 Troop, K Company, led the initial assault and said:
“Moving up through the valley was pretty challenging, you’ve got a lot of kit on and the heat even at night time is considerable.”
“Our part of the attack lasted about six hours and although challenging, all our aims were achieved.
“We knew it was going to be difficult before we started so we mentally prepared ourselves beforehand and just pushed on through.”
Tricky bastards, those Kamarians. You’ve got to watch them.
Exercise TALISMAN SABER fleet prepares for battle
Following aggression by the fictional island nation ‘Kamaria’, Australia and the United States have been called upon to form a combined force to restore peace and security to the region.
Now, a large and highly capable Australian and US Navy fleet is amassing in the Coral Sea to prepare for action against the mythical ‘Kamarians’.
This fictional scenario provides the backdrop for Exercise TALISMAN SABER 2013, a bilateral Australian/US exercise aimed at improving combat readiness and the ability of US and Australian forces to operate together.
As the fictional political scenario unfolds, warships from the Royal Australian Navy and the US Navy’s 7th fleet are gathering together for an initial period of force integration training, designed to get the two navies used to working together before engaging in higher level ‘free-play’ combat exercises.
Training so far has included anti-submarine and anti-air warfare exercises, underway replenishments and coordinated manoeuvres involving multiple ships steaming in formation.
Among the fleet is the Upgraded Anzac Class frigate HMAS Perth, sporting its recently-installed anti-ship missile defences.
Attacks by Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornets have tested the ship’s upgraded sensors and combat system while members of Perth’s 5-inch gun crew have proven their skills in live firing exercises against towed airborne targets.
Perth’s bridge and operations room teams have been put through their paces working in close company with US Navy Arleigh Burke class destroyers USS Preble and USS Chung Hoon and Ticonderoga Class cruiser USS Antietam and Australian guided missile frigate HMAS Sydney.
Other members of the ship’s company have participated in several fire fighting and damage control exercises.
HMAS Perth Commanding Officer, Captain Lee Goddard said this initial phase of the exercise training was invaluable, as it set the scene for the next stage of the combined training.
“This initial force integration training aims to bring together a large number of ships that will be working together during the exercise so they can become an effective combined fighting force.
“It gives us the opportunity to establish command and control relationships, refine operating procedures and learn how we can best use the capabilities each ship brings to the task force.
“Once this solid foundation is established, we can safely move into higher level training in a free-play exercise environment where we respond to a rapidly unfolding exercise scenario,” Captain Goddard said.
Perth is participating in exercise TALISMAN SABER alongside other Royal Australian Navy vessels HMA Ships Choules, Sydney, Waller and Tarakan and helicopters from 816 and 808 Squadrons. Also involved in TALISMAN SABER is Spanish combat support ship ESPS Cantabria and ships from the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, including the USS George Washington aircraft carrier strike group and an expeditionary strike group led by Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard.
Exercise TALISMAN SABER will run from 15 July – 5 August, with around 28,000 Australian and US personnel taking part in the 21-day exercise being held in the Coral Sea and in military training areas in central and northern Queensland.
Supporting activities are also underway in the waters of the Timor and Arafura Seas, and throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/TS13-023.
The “Jean d’Arc 2013” amphibious group has returned to the French naval base at Toulon after 5-months operations in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and regional cooperation exercises with India, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.
FS Tonnerre (L9014) is a Mistral-class amphibious assault helicopter carrier in service with the Marine Nationale since 2006. During Operation Unified Protector (Fr: Opération Harmattan, GB: Operation Ellamy), Tonnerre served alongside HMS Ocean (L12), the Royal Navy’s helicopter assault ship. Both ships deployed their attack helicopters in support of operations during the Libyan civil war.
Retour de la mission Jeanne d’Arc à Toulon
Le bâtiment de projection et de commandement (BPC) Tonnerre et la frégate anti-sous-marine Georges Leygues ont accosté à Toulon lundi 22 juillet. La mission Jeanne d’Arc 2013 s’achève après cinq mois de déploiement opérationnel. Les familles ont accueilli les marins en fin d’après-midi.
Parti de Brest le 6 mars dernier, le groupe a parcouru près de 25400 nautiques et navigué pendant 103 jours. Le groupe a ainsi commencé son déploiement par une série d’entraînements à la projection de forces, durant laquelle il a conduit plusieurs exercices interarmées et interalliés.
Il a ensuite poursuivi ses activités en participant aux opérations de lutte contre la piraterie maritime, dans le cadre de l’opération européenne « Atalante » en océan Indien. Plus à l’Est, les deux bâtiments de la mission Jeanne d’Arc 2013 ont apporté leur soutien à la diplomatie navale et à l’industrie française, ainsi qu’à des actions de coopération régionale avec l’Inde, Singapour, le Vietnam et la Malaisie.
Enfin, avant son retour à Toulon, le groupe a soutenu des opérations de lutte contre le terrorisme de la mer Rouge au golfe d’Oman (Opération Enduring Freedom) puis en Mer Méditerranée (Opération Active Endeavour).
Aux activités opérationnelles de ce déploiement longue durée, vient se superposer la formation d’officiers-élèves. La mission Jeanne d’Arc donne ainsi l’occasion aux futurs officiers d’être confrontés à des situations réelles et à être responsabilisés. Tout au long de cette mission, 133 officiers-élèves issus de différents corps d’officiers étaient intégrés à cette mission afin d’y achever leur formation par un stage d’application à la mer. Ils étaient mis en situation et intégrés au plus près des réalités opérationnelles, diplomatiques et maritimes, dans la perspective des responsabilités qu’ils auront à honorer d’ici quelques semaines pour leur première affectation dans les forces.
Department of Defense PIN 20539.