HMS Albion Leads Amphibious Forces for Exercise
(Source: Royal Navy; issued March 21, 2019)
HMS Albion returned to sea to lead amphibious forces in a two-week exercise off the Cornish and Devon coast.

The assault ship was joined by Commander of the Amphibious Task Group (COMATG) Commodore James Parkin and Commander of 3 Commando Brigade Brigadier Matt Jackson for Exercise South West Sword.

For the Devonport-based ship, this is her first time back at sea after an intensive 11-week maintenance period.

The fortnight of programmes proved to be valuable for mission specific training as the units involved prepare for Joint Expeditionary Force and NATO operations later this year.

HMS Albion, Royal Marines from Lead Commando Group, helicopters from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, RFA Lyme Bay, landing craft from 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM) and Albion's own 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines battled rough seas and strong winds to perfect their amphibious skills.

Captain Peter Laughton, Commanding Officer of HMS Albion, said: "Returning Albion to sea after a prolonged period alongside for maintenance and leave has required a massive effort from the A-Team and they have performed brilliantly.

"South West Sword has been a huge success despite the unrelenting Atlantic lows that have battered the south coast.

"Embarking the Joint Staffs, led by COMATG and Brigade Commander, has brought into sharp focus the primary role of Albion, and as Fleet Flagship we are looking forward to flexing our amphibious muscles over the coming year."

During the two weeks, 521 marines from 1AGRM, 40 Commando and 30 Commando practised vehicle skills and beach assault drills on Cornwall's Pentewan Beach while a Merlin helicopter from 845 Naval Air Squadron (NAS), two Wildcats from 847 NAS and two Chinooks from 27 Squadron RAF practised deck landings and troop movements from Albion and Lyme Bay.

Thirteen raiding craft have also been involved as well as Commando Logistics Regiment, the Army's 24 Commando Royal Engineers and 29 Commando Royal Artillery and a number of vehicles from SV trucks to Land Rovers and a specialist beach recovery vehicle.

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