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24 NAVY NEWS, DECEMBER 2007
● Pick of the day... B Company 7 Indian Paras
demonstrate the art of ice climbing
F
OR the fi rst time in
Himalayan Warrior to see found it hard to sleep or had takeaways…). Leh to Khardung La – widely “It’s a land so familiar to our
six decades British
whether these experienced little will to eat and most Royals “Thankfully all my symptoms proclaimed as the highest pass military forebears, and yet for
troops headed to
mountain fi ghters could live and, suffered from headaches and stopped as we moved through in the world navigable by motor us today it’s an exotic and very
crucially, fi ght in the world’s dehydration. the acclimatisation package, vehicle. ‘foreign’ destination,” he added.
the Indian sub- highest mountain range. “As soon as we landed I although I still suffer from It stands some 5,600 metres “But it’s also one where we
continent to train.
The company set up camp began to feel light headed and shortness of breath and being (18,380ft) above sea level know our forces share many
Not since the days of the
in Leh in the northern Indian dizzy which grew into a strong exhausted during physical – 3½ miles – and here, for three common bonds and traditions
Raj have British forces moved
province of Ladakh, about 300 headache,” said C/Sgt John exertion. No change there, days, the Royals and Indian from our shared colonial past.
through India bearing arms.
miles north of Delhi, which Dewhirst. then,” C/Sgt Dewhirst added. paratroopers waged war. We were extremely privileged
It took a special breed to re-
sits on a plateau 3,300 metres “I’ve conducted mountain Once used or at least coping The two forces linked up to to have this opportunity –
write the history books – not
(10,800ft) above sea level training around the world but with living and exercising at high launch mock attacks on the particularly as we were led to
least because they were fi ghting
Royals may accomplish the never at this altitude. Nothing altitude, the Royals went into checkpoints which stand at the understand that we were the
in the Himalayans.
super-human but that doesn’t can prepare you for the feeling action. It’s all very well living northern and southern gateways fi rst British land forces to train in
M Company of 42 Commando
mean they are immune to you get here.” at 10,000ft, but warriors must to the pass, as well making a cliff northern India for 60 years.”
headed east for the
altitude sickness. So the six days of fi ght. assault and conventional attack Indian paratroop offi cer Maj
appropriately-
Every green beret on acclimatisation were vital. On The green berets are Britain’s against the pass itself. Sandeep told the commandos
named
Himalayan Warrior suffered from day one the green berets would experts in cold weather/ “The biggest lesson learned upon their departure that he
the illness: some men had trouble be out of breath after simply mountain warfare but typically harked right back to one of the hoped Himalayan Warrior
breathing, climbing stairs. By day six all the they conduct their training in key principles of war: fl exibility. would be “the start of a lasting
others team bar four men were able to northern Norway. Through professionalism, relationship between the Royal
climb for three hours carrying Cold? Yes. Unforgiving? Yes. willingness to accept new ideas Marines and our paratroopers”.
their packs. High? Not especially. and being as fl exible as possible, Perhaps it will be. But before
They also got to grips with Fortunately, B Company 7 our two nations made a combat- another passage to India by the
Indian weapons, Indian Indian Paras are experts in high- effective task force,” said Capt green berets, the Arctic slopes
culture and Indian altitude warfare. The Indians Tim Lewington, second-in- beckon once more as the Royals
history (but no Indian have 60 years of experience command M Company. return to Norway in the new
patrolling – and defending – their His boss, M Company’s year.
country’s sometimes troubled Commander Maj Martin Collin
northern borders. said the spell in India constantly ● File and ice... M Company
And so the British and Indian reminded his men of the ties trudge through the Himalayan
elite forces headed north of between the two nations. snow
Pictures: PO(Phot) Dave Husbands, 3 Cdo Bde
024_NN_Dec.indd 1 20/11/07 14:03:22
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