Dying for Kiev

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)
19/12/22

Over twenty years ago, at the end of 2001, the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair supported the need to bring down the despotic Taliban regime in Afghanistan, as a strong supporter of international terrorism and a serious threat to Western democracies. To support this thesis, he used a catchphrase: “dying for Kabul”. That is, according to Blair, the West had to understand that the achievement of the objective would not have been painless, let alone at no cost (of lives).

Coming to the present day and the ongoing conflict between Ukrainians and Russians, we learn from the British newspaper The Times what aliquots of Royal Marines would have recently conducted operations covert on Ukrainian territory. The newspaper writes about missions “from the high level of political and military risk” and the employment of some 350 marines in Her Majesty's service.

They were probably referring to the training activities, conducted by the Americans and the British, involving Ukrainian personnel.

In this case the would have been affected 42 Commando RM, In particular the K company in charge of SALT missions (Support Augment Liase Train), i.e. the education and training, support and connection in favor of allied forces, through the establishment of dedicated teams called STTT (Short Team Training Teams).

If instead the newspaper were referring to operational activities, if we are talking about Royal Marines, it would be appropriate to mention the SBS (Special Boat Service), whose assets essentially come from Green Basques, but which for operational use are placed under the command of the DSF (Director Special Forces) as part of the UKSF sub-fund (United Kingdom Special Forces). This segment also includes the SAS (Special Air Service), lo Special Reconnaissance Regiment, the SFSG (Special Forces Support Group), which includes a company of marines, the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing and 18 Signal Regiment.

The SBS, stationed at the Poole-Hamworthy base, is formed by 4 squadrons, called C, M, X and Z, each of which is specialized in particular operations: the C and X squadrons are specialized in direct actions, with insertion through small vessels, such as RHIB, Keppler tandem canoe, VSV (Very Slender Vessel). While Z Squadron, while carrying out the same activities as the previous two squadrons, mainly employs SDVs (Swimmer Delivery Vehicle), such as the Type Mk VIII Mod. 1 and the SWCS (Shallow Water Combat Submersible). M Squadron preferentially engages in Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT, Maritime Counter-Terrorism). However, for some time now, these specializations have been relaxed, but each squadron is subject to a six-monthly rotation, in order to provide SBS operators with the widest possible preparation in carrying out a variety of missions.

Each squadron consists of 4 Troops of 16 raiders. In turn a Troop it is divided into numerically variable detachments from 4 to 8 elements, depending on the needs that the mission requires.

Therefore, given London's growing commitment to the conflict, a use of marines from the SBS and the could be conceivable 42 Commandos to carry out training activities but also special operations to the detriment of the Russian device present on Ukrainian territory. Only that the new tenant at 10 Downing Street should follow Tony Blair's example and speak more clearly, perhaps coining a new phrase: “to die for Kiev”.

Photo: US Army

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