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● Royal Marines from the Air Defence Troop set up their command position for the fi nal week of
ow ski-slope honing their skills before stowed, the team were put through icebreaking drills.
ich heading off to a new campsite section attack and contact drills, “The skill is practised in case
still away from the civilisation of the mastering skis, poles, weapons, you fall through the ice whilst
commercial skiing world. firing positions and magazine crossing a lake or river; firstly
out “The next two days were spent changes. On the move. With thick this means that you know how to
“To refining our ski touring skills, mittens. climb out using your poles, but
ural learning how to double pole and Naturally as this is Royal we secondly it means your body gets
ern diagonal gate in order to cover are talking about, such challenges a chance to experience the cold
ead more ground using less effort, were merely a teaser before the water and therefore if you were
the therefore conserving energy. fun and games began with a 70lb to go in for real it would reduce
” “One of the most enjoyable bergen on their backs. the initial shock,” explained Lt
lessons from the course was ski- “The unit Mountain Leader Pearson.
referred to this as the equaliser, “We therefore dutifully lined
“This is when up to 16 men
causing even those who had a lot up and one by one plunged into
hang on for dear life to a rope
of skiing experience to be now the icy pool, took off our bergen
which is attached to the back of
equally terrible skiers. and pushed it out of the water, ● Royal Marine vehicles wait to join HMS Ocean alongside in Harstad (photographer unknown)
a BV (a tracked vehicle), which
“The sheer weight is not swam to the other side of the
subsequently dives over the snow
necessarily the problem,” hole and sang out our name,
dragging its victims along behind.
explained the naval officer, “but rank and number and then asked
“This is great fun. Until the front
it is firstly the lack of balance it permission to exit the ice.
man ‘creams in’ – falls over – and
brings and secondly, when one “It was at this point that Sgt
the trailing snake of skiers behind
does inevitably fall over, it is an Law decided to give each of us a
end up face planting on top of
epic just getting back up and verbal test on some of the theory
putting the bergen on again.” lessons learnt earlier, treading
And life on skis progressed
The tactical phase of the water in a frozen lake definitely
ing from light order – carrying no
exercise brought all these skills sharpens the mind.
our equipment, through patrol order
together as the CLR team pushed “Once we were finally allowed
ing – light order plus a daysack, to
into an area under the cover of to crawl out of the hole it is
r in added burdens.
darkness, digging tents into the traditional, and medicinal, to drink
“The first piece of extra
snow and camouflaging them a tot of rum, so we toasted the
stly equipment that we needed to
beneath white netting. Queen before sprinting back to
ugh ski with was a weapon, this was
ried strapped to our side to ensure that A
ND so to that final iconic image
the warm tent to get changed.”
of Norwegian training: the
op, when we fell over it didn’t meet us channel cut through the ice, the ■ More on the men, women,
and half-way down in the face,” Lt freezing blue water, the expectant ships, units, landing craft and
Pearson graphically described. audience, the overseeing helicopters working in Norway in
the Once weapon was securely instructors, the drenched victim – next month’s Navy News
● Driving onto Ocean’s vehicle deck from the side ramp (photographer unknown)
0024-025_NN_mar10.indd 224-025_NN_mar10.indd 2 119/2/10 17:14:409/2/10 17:14:40
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