Category Archives: Arctic

Extreme Cold Weather Over-Mittens

The British Army’s Extreme Cold Weather clothing system works on a layering principle, with gloves being no exception. Two layers are generally issued, an inner warm mitten and an outer layer that is thin but waterproof. This traps a layer of air between the two mittens and helps keep the wearer’s hands warm, Tonight it is this outer mitten we are looking at in detail. This over-mitten is made of a thin impermeable DPM camouflage goretex fabric and is a large, but simple mitten shape:The palm of the over mitten has a series of raised bumps over it to aid grip:In order to keep the inner air layer in the mitten, the back of the wrist has a tightening strap and buckle to help seal the glove from cold air:A drawstring at the cuff also helps seal the mitten form the cold:The inside of the cuff of the over-mittens have a label indicating size, NSN number and care instructions:Here we can see the overmittens being worn by members of 3 Commando brigade training in the Arctic in 2010:The Daily Mail reported on this training exercise at the time:

Hundreds of Royal Marines have endured freezing temperatures of almost -30c in the Arctic as they prepare for combat in Afghanistan.

Soldiers with 3 Commando Brigade are training in northern Norway where they are being taught extreme cold weather survival skills in up to six feet of snow.

Marines have been learning to ski, make shelters and use weapons on the 10-week programme headed by 45 Commando based in Arbroath, Angus.

The course is designed to provide key team-building and extreme environment experience ahead of the unit’s next tour of Afghanistan, expected next year.

Major Tony Lancashire, who as commander of Zulu Company leads around 100 men, said: ‘If you can survive here, you can fight anywhere in the world.

‘Most of our lads have been to Afghanistan and we’ll go again. If they can look after themselves here, then that will carry forward to Afghanistan as well.’

The temperature in Innset dropped to -20c last week, with the added windchill taking it down even further to a low of -28c.

Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Lee described it as ‘the toughest soldiering there is’.

He said: ‘The biggest challenge for them is undoubtedly coping with the very demanding environmental conditions. You pay hard for a mistake here.

‘You need to learn the basics, you need to understand how effectively to soldier in these conditions, and these men are rising to that challenge supremely well.’

Lt Col Lee, who took up the post in September, added: ‘For me, this is a magnificent training opportunity, both for the toughest soldiering there is, but also for breeding that teamwork and that camaraderie on which a commando unit is based.’

The Commandos have swapped their familiar green berets for fleece-lined hats while operating in the Arctic.

White sheets over their combat gear acts as camouflage and masks are worn to protect their faces from frost bite.

The Marines have been sleeping in four-man tents and eating calorie-packed freeze-dried meals made with snow melted down on their stoves.

Some are veterans who are simply refreshing their skills, but for many it is their first time in Norway and their first experience on skis.

Their skills will be tested at the end of the programme when they take part in a major international exercise called Cold Response in March.

The operation, which takes place in Norway’s Bogen area, involves 5,000 troops including 200 from the U.S. Marine Corps and will include a launch from the water to test the unit’s amphibious capabilities.