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US Marines refute claims of defeat by UK/allied troops in war game

British Royal Marines with Charlie Company, 40 Commando, Royal Marines, assault through an ally way, while conducting break contact drills during Exercise Green Dagger at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, Oct. 9, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Shane T. Beaubien)
November 04, 2021

The U.S. Marine Corps is pushing back against media characterizations on Wednesday that an October war game pitting the U.S. against allied forces, including the United Kingdom’s Royal Marines, resulted in a humiliating defeat for the U.S. side.

In a statement provided to Business Insider on Thursday, the U.S. Marines refuted claims that its troops were asking to reset the war game halfway through. “Exercise scenarios are adjusted as needed to assist commanders in meeting training objectives,” the Marines added.

“This exercise does not provide an opportunity to ‘surrender,’ ‘keep score,’ or ‘reset.’ The objective of the exercise is to heighten unit performance and increase readiness,” the U.S. Marines said in a press release on Wednesday.

Last month, allies from the U.K., Canada, Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates conducted a 5-day war game, known as Exercise Green Dagger, at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California. During the war game, troops from the U.K., Canada, Netherlands, U.A.E., and U.S. troops themselves, were pitted against a defending force of U.S. Marines. Following the war game, the U.K. Royal Navy did say its forces “won decisive battles” against the U.S. Marines and concluded the exercise controlling two-thirds of the simulated battlefield.

While the Royal Navy touted the work of the allied force and characterized the war games as a successful test of its new unit structure, known as the Littoral Response Group (LRG), some media outlets went further in claiming the war game saw a particularly embarrassing performance from the U.S. side.

The Daily Mail is one U.K.-based newspaper that claimed, based on unnamed sources, that the U.K.’s Royal Marines pushed the U.S. Marines to a “humiliating surrender” and “seeing no opportunity for victory, American combatants asked for the exercise to be ‘reset’ halfway through the five-day exercise.”

The war game came after the Royal Marines had spent the prior two months in the Mojave Desert, training their new LRG unit structure in preparation for a Middle East deployment next year.

“Our success has proved the new commando force concept is more lethal and sophisticated than ever before and I am immensely proud of every member of the LRG and their vital contributions,” Lt. Colonel Andy Dow, the commanding officer of the U.K. Royal Marines’ 40 Commando said. “Operating alongside our partners from the USA, Netherlands, Canada and the UAE gives us a fantastic opportunity to test, integrate and continue to push our capabilities in new and innovative directions.”

“Throughout this deployment our focus has been on integrating game-changing capabilities from across the commando force to deliver disproportional effect in the face of a free-thinking peer adversary,” Dow added.