"FIRE and fury" has been on display in Pembrokeshire over the last few weeks, with a military exercise taking place in the sea near Castlemartin.

The Royal Marines gunners and coxswains have spent two weeks at the Castlemartin Ranges in Pembrokeshire sharpening their ability to accurately hit ‘enemy’ targets from their fast raiding craft in rough seas as part of Exercise Dragon Fire.

According to the Royal Navy

, the 539 Assault Squadron of 1 Assault Group Royal Marines and gunners of Air Defence Troop, 30 Commando IX, have been "unleashing fire and fury on shoreline targets on the tactical phase of the exercises."

The marines have been using an Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC), described as bristling with armaments, and have fired on targets from the sea day and night as part of essential training.

According to the navy, the ORCs are powerful but small – they can reached up to 50mph and are able to carry General Purpose Machines Guns (GPMG), .50 Heavy Machine Guns (HMG) and Grenade Machine Guns (GMGs).

They are rarely stable in any waters, let alone the choppy seas around the Welsh coast, making the exercise a challenging test for gunners and coxswains.

“You definitely need to be aware of everything that’s coming in and understand how it will affect the craft that will in turn affect the gunners,” said Lance Corporal Jake Fonseka, coxswain, 2 Troop 539.

“There’s been quite a lot of sea state, so when we had more junior coxswains on the craft it’s quite key to get a grip on them to ensure they understand their situational awareness and pre-empt any waves heading your way, especially when the gunners are getting the rounds down.

“It’s very important to keep a stable firing platform. The coxswains of 539 are at a high level – most of the lads are at a pretty high level with keeping things stable.”

All the weapons on board the ORCs require highly proficient operators, able to deliver accurate fire to shore from a fast-moving craft in up to sea state three.

This responsibility falls to Air Defence Troop in 30 Commando IX, who remain at high readiness to deploy with 539 Assault Squadron on operations across the globe.

This training, called the Small Craft Gunners’ Course, refreshes the coxswains and gunners on how to operate together, conducting basic sea to shore firing at both day and night, static and underway.