Face it! US Marine Corps and British commandos ‘combat’ during jungle warfare drills in Hawaii

British Royal Marines recently completed a five-week deployment to the Hawaiian island of Oahu, where they participated in intense jungle warfare and amphibious training exercises with the US Marine Corps (USMC).

The exercises included patrolling, reconnaissance missions and ambushes, as the Marines refined and updated their techniques for jungle warfare in the dense wilderness of the Pacific island, according to the press release issued by the Ministry of Defense of the UK earlier this month.

In addition to jungle training, Plymouth-based 47 Commando also conducted amphibious training exercises. They became familiar with the small USMC assault craft and conducted daily reconnaissance training in Kaneohe Bay.

The jungle mission began at Camp Pendleton, the major USMC base in California, where participants were given lectures before flying to Oahu.

The Marines shared techniques and experiences with each other before fire and movement exercises, preparing the troops for their foray into the jungles. For some 40 Commando Marines, this was the first time they had operated in this environment.

The first few days in the jungle involved patrolling, navigation, disengagement drills, and ambush exercises.

“It took a bit of time to get used to the new environment, as the standard skills and drills we are familiar with became much more challenging in the jungle,” said Marine Luke Ruston.

Two teams of seven commandos each were ordered to two observation posts, patrolling through the jungle and watching their objective overnight. After gathering the information, the teams launched a combined assault against their enemy along the route they had been observing.

This was followed by covert reconnaissance at night as the commandos gathered information on a route for a larger force to pass through.

Royal Marines from 40 Commando during their exercises in the jungle on Oahu
Royal Marines from 40 Commando during their jungle exercises on Oahu (UK Ministry of Defence)

“We moved quickly over the difficult terrain and fought through the thick jungle,” Ruston said. “After 48 hours on target, we covertly patrolled from the target area, reconnected with the other team under cover of darkness, and arrived at our pickup point by first light.”

After that, the commandos took a short break to explore Oahu, with trips to the famous North Shore, the beaches of Waikiki, and a visit to the Pearl Harbor Museum and USS Arizona Memorial, before returning to the jungle for their last exercise.

The commandos practiced in the USMC Middle Eastern mock villages made at Bellows, located on the southeast side of the island, which has a market and props, actors playing civilians and ‘enemies’, including high-value targets.

“We practiced hand-to-hand battle techniques, entering rooms, and eventually building a compound clearing with the entire team before we were given various scenarios to deal with, including connecting with local elders, building assaults, and high value attacks. target recovery,” Ruston said.

Importance of Jungle Warfare to the UK

As EurAsian Times discussed earlier, there is a growing focus within European countries on the security challenges that China poses to Europe’s interests in the Indo-Pacific.

Increased tensions in regional hotspots such as the South and East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait could directly affect European security and prosperity.

For example, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly noted in his speech last year at the Milken Institute Asia Summit that at least 1.7 million British citizens live in the Indo-Pacific region, and UK trade relations are worth over $250 billion.

“Peace and stability in this region matter in the UK. 60% of world trade goes through shipping lanes here in the Indo-Pacific, so security here directly affects UK households,” Cleverly said.

Therefore, the UK, like the US, must invest time and resources in training its forces to operate in jungle and maritime environments, so that they are prepared for a possible future conflict in the area of ​​operations. of the Indo-Pacific, which essentially comprises these two environments. .

1st Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines and sailors learn essential jungle survival skills to better support operations in the Indo-Pacific region. (III Marine Expeditionary Force)

40 Commando conducted similar exercises in Guam last year with the USMC 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. They practiced USMC Expeditionary Forward Base Operations tactics to locate and target enemy ships from land.

Expeditionary forward base operations tactics involve small teams deployed with limited support, something commandos are adept at, to islands or bottlenecks to gather intelligence and restrict the movement of enemy forces in strategically important areas.