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The Corps of Royal Marines (RM), also known as the Royal Marines Commandos, are the UK's special operations capable
commando file:Royal_Marines_in_Sangin_MOD_45151554.jpg, Royal Marines from 40 Commando on patrol in the Sangin area of Afghanistan are pictured A commando is a combatant, or operative of an elite light infantry or special operations force, specially tr ...
force, amphibious
light infantry Light infantry refers to certain types of lightly equipped infantry throughout history. They have a more mobile or fluid function than other types of infantry, such as heavy infantry or line infantry. Historically, light infantry often fought ...
and also one of the five fighting arms of the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were foug ...
. The Corps of Royal Marines can trace their origins back to the formation of the "Duke of York and Albany's maritime regiment of Foot" on 28 October 1664, and can trace their commando origins to the formation of the 3rd Special Service Brigade, now known as
3 Commando Brigade 3 Commando Brigade (3 Cdo Bde), previously called the 3rd Special Service Brigade, is a Commandos (United Kingdom), commando formation of the British Armed Forces. It is composed of the Royal Marine Commandos, alongside All Arms Commando Course, ...
on 14 February 1942, during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
. As a specialised and adaptable light infantry and commando force, Royal Marine Commandos are trained for rapid deployment worldwide and capable of dealing with a wide range of threats. The Corps of Royal Marines is organised into
3 Commando Brigade 3 Commando Brigade (3 Cdo Bde), previously called the 3rd Special Service Brigade, is a Commandos (United Kingdom), commando formation of the British Armed Forces. It is composed of the Royal Marine Commandos, alongside All Arms Commando Course, ...
and a number of separate units, including 47 Commando (Raiding Group) Royal Marines, and a company-strength commitment to the
Special Forces Support Group The Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) is a unit of the British Armed Forces. The SFSG is the newest addition to the United Kingdom Special Forces. It was formed officially on 3 April 2006 to provide specialist infantry and other support to th ...
. The Corps operates in all environments and climates, though particular expertise and training is spent on raiding,
amphibious warfare Amphibious warfare is a type of Offensive (military), offensive military operation that today uses naval ships to project ground and air power onto a hostile or potentially hostile shore at a designated landing beach. Through history the opera ...
,
arctic warfare Cold-weather warfare, also known as arctic warfare or winter warfare, encompasses military operations affected by snow, ice, thawing conditions or cold, both on land and at sea. Cold-weather conditions occur year-round at high elevation or at ...
,
mountain warfare Mountain warfare (also known as alpine warfare) is warfare in mountains or similarly rough terrain. Mountain ranges are of strategic importance since they often act as a natural border, and may also be the origin of a water source (for example, t ...
,
expeditionary warfare Expeditionary warfare is a military invasion of a foreign territory, especially away from established bases. Expeditionary forces were in part the antecedent of the modern concept of rapid deployment forces. Traditionally, expeditionary forces w ...
, and its commitment to the UK's
rapid reaction force A rapid reaction force is a military or police unit designed to respond in very short time frames to emergencies. When used in reference to police forces such as SWAT, SWAT teams, the time frame is minutes, while in military applications, such as w ...
s. Throughout its history, the Royal Marines have seen action in a number of major wars – including the
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) was a global conflict that involved most of the European Great Powers, and was fought primarily in Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. Other concurrent conflicts include the French and Indian War (1754–1 ...
, the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic Wars, Europe ...
, the
Crimean War The Crimean War, , was fought from October 1853 to February 1856 between Russian Empire, Russia and an ultimately victorious alliance of the Ottoman Empire, Second French Empire, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Uni ...
,
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
. The Corps has been largely deployed in expeditionary warfare roles in conflicts such as the
Falklands War The Falklands War ( es, link=no, Guerra de las Malvinas) was a ten-week undeclared war between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982 over two British Overseas Territories, British dependent territories in the South Atlantic: the Falkland I ...
, the
Gulf War The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a Coalition of the Gulf War, 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Ba'athist Iraq, ...
, the
Bosnian War The Bosnian War ( sh, Rat u Bosni i Hercegovini / Рат у Босни и Херцеговини) was an international armed conflict that took place in Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. The war ...
, the
Kosovo War The Kosovo War was an armed conflict in Kosovo that started 28 February 1998 and lasted until 11 June 1999. It was fought by the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (i.e. Serbia and Montenegro), which controlled Kosovo before the wa ...
, the
Sierra Leone Civil War The Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002), or the Sierra Leonean Civil War, was a civil war in Sierra Leone that began on 23 March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the special forces of Liberia, Liberian dictato ...
, the
Iraq War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Iraq War , partof = the Iraq conflict (2003–present), Iraq conflict and the War on terror , image = Iraq War montage.png , image_size = 300px , caption ...
and the
War in Afghanistan War in Afghanistan, Afghan war, or Afghan civil war may refer to: *Conquest of Afghanistan by Alexander the Great (330 BC – 327 BC) *Muslim conquests of Afghanistan (637–709) *Conquest of Afghanistan by the Mongol Empire (13th century), see als ...
. The Corps of Royal Marines has close international ties with allied marine forces, particularly the
United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations through c ...
and the
Netherlands Marine Corps The Netherlands Marine Corps ( nl, Korps Mariniers) is the elite naval infantry corps of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The marines trace their origins back to the establishment of the on 10 December 1665, by the then grand pensionary of the Dutch ...
( nl, Korps Mariniers, links=no).Royal Marines Train In Californian Desert
, mod.uk
Royal Netherlands Marine Corps
, royalnavy.mod.uk
The Royal Marines Commandos have undergone many changes over time.


History

The Royal Marines traces its origins back to 28 October 1664 when at the grounds of the
Honourable Artillery Company The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) is a reserve regiment in the British Army. Incorporated by royal charter in 1537 by King Henry VIII, it is the oldest regiment in the British Army and is considered the second-oldest military unit in the w ...
the Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot was formed.


Early British Empire

On 5 April 1755, His Majesty's Marine Forces, fifty Companies in three Divisions, headquartered at Chatham,
Portsmouth Portsmouth ( ) is a port and city status in the United Kingdom, city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire in southern England. The city of Portsmouth has been a Unitary authorities of England, unitary authority since 1 April 1997 and is admi ...
, and
Plymouth Plymouth () is a port city status in the United Kingdom, city and unitary authority in South West England. It is located on the south coast of Devon, approximately south-west of Exeter and south-west of London. It is bordered by Cornwall to ...
, were formed by Order of Council under Admiralty control. Initially Marine
field officer A senior officer is an officer of a more senior grade in military or other uniformed services. In military organisations, the term may refer to any officer above junior officer rank, but usually specifically refers to the middle-ranking group of ...
ranks were honorary
sinecure A sinecure ( or ; from the Latin , 'without', and , 'care') is an office, carrying a salary or otherwise generating income, that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. The term originated in the medieval chu ...
positions awarded to senior Royal Navy officers. This meant that the furthest a Marine officer could advance was to lieutenant colonel. It was not until 1771 that the first Marine was promoted to colonel. This attitude persisted well into the 1800s. During the rest of the 18th century, they served in numerous landings all over the world, the most famous being the landing at Belle Île on the
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula, historical country and cultural area in the west of modern France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country pri ...
coast in 1761. They also served in the
American War of Independence The American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), also known as the Revolutionary War or American War of Independence, was a major war of the American Revolution. Widely considered as the war that secured the independence of t ...
, notably in the
Battle of Bunker Hill The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on June 17, 1775, during the Siege of Boston in the first stage of the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), also known as the Revolutionary ...
led by Major John Pitcairn. In 1788 a detachment of four companies of marines, under Major Robert Ross, accompanied the
First Fleet The First Fleet was a fleet of 11 Age of sail, ships that brought the first European and African settlers to Australia. It was made up of two Royal Navy vessels, three store ships and six penal transportation, convict transports. On 13 May 1 ...
to protect a new colony at
Botany Bay Botany Bay (Dharawal language, Dharawal: ''Kamay''), an open oceanic embayment, is located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, south of the Sydney central business district. Its source is the confluence of the Georges River at Taren Point ...
(
New South Wales ) , nickname = , image_map = New South Wales in Australia.svg , map_caption = Location of New South Wales in AustraliaCoordinates: , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = Australia , established_title = Before federation , es ...
). Due to an error the Fleet left Portsmouth without its main supply of ammunition, and were not resupplied until the Fleet docked in Rio de Janeiro midway through the voyage. Some scholars contend that the Marines deliberately spread smallpox among Australia's Indigenous population in order to protect the settlement, but this incident does not appear in contemporaneous Marine or government records and most researchers associate the disease outbreak with other causes. In 1802, largely at the instigation of Admiral the Earl St Vincent, they were titled the Royal Marines by
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Monarchy of Ireland, Ireland from 25 October 1760 until Acts of Union 1800, the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he was ...
. The Royal Marines Artillery (RMA) was formed as a separate unit in 1804 to man the artillery in bomb ketches. These had been manned by the Army's
Royal Regiment of Artillery The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is one of two regiments that make up the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises t ...
, but a lawsuit by a Royal Artillery officer resulted in a court decision that Army officers were not subject to Naval orders. As RMA uniforms were the blue of the Royal Regiment of Artillery they were nicknamed the "Blue Marines" and the infantry element, who wore the red uniforms of the British infantry, became known as the "Red Marines", often given the semi-derogatory nickname "Lobsters" by sailors. A fourth division of the Royal Marines, headquartered at
Woolwich Woolwich () is a district in South London, southeast London, England, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The district's location on the River Thames led to its status as an important naval, military and industrial area; a role that was ma ...
, was formed in 1805. During the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic Wars, Europe ...
the Royal Marines participated in every notable naval battle on board the Royal Navy's ships and also took part in multiple amphibious actions. Marines had a dual function aboard ships of the Royal Navy in this period; routinely, they ensured the security of the ship's officers and supported their maintenance of discipline in the ship's crew, and in battle, they engaged the enemy's crews, whether firing from positions on their own ship, or fighting in boarding actions. In the Caribbean theatre volunteers from freed French slaves on
Marie-Galante Marie-Galante ( gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Mawigalant) is one of the islands that form Guadeloupe, an overseas department of France. Marie-Galante has a land area of . It had 11,528 inhabitants at the start of 2013, but by the start of 2018 th ...
were used to form Sir Alexander Cochrane's first
Corps of Colonial Marines The Corps of Colonial Marines were two different British Marine (military), Marine units raised from former black people, black slavery, slaves for service in the Americas, at the behest of Alexander Cochrane. The units were created at two se ...
. These men bolstered the ranks, helping the British to hold the island until reinforcements arrived. This practice was repeated during the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was fought by the United States, United States of America and its Indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous allies against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Kingdom ...
, where escaped American slaves were formed into Cochrane's second
Corps of Colonial Marines The Corps of Colonial Marines were two different British Marine (military), Marine units raised from former black people, black slavery, slaves for service in the Americas, at the behest of Alexander Cochrane. The units were created at two se ...
. These men were commanded by Royal Marines officers and fought alongside their regular Royal Marines counterparts at the
Battle of Bladensburg The Battle of Bladensburg was a battle of the Chesapeake campaign of the War of 1812, fought on 24 August 1814 at Bladensburg, Maryland, northeast of Washington, D.C. Called "the greatest disgrace ever dealt to American arms," a United Kingdom ...
. Throughout the war Royal Marines units raided up and down the east coast of America including up the
Penobscot River The Penobscot River (Abenaki language, Abenaki: ''Pαnawάhpskewtəkʷ'') is a U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline dataThe National Map, accessed June 22, 2011 river in the U.S. state of Maine. Includ ...
and in the
Chesapeake Bay The Chesapeake Bay ( ) is the largest estuary in the United States. The Bay is located in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region and is primarily separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Delmarva Peninsula (including the parts: the ...
. They fought in the
Battle of New Orleans The Battle of New Orleans was fought on January 8, 1815 between the British Army under Major General Sir Edward Pakenham and the United States Army under Brevet Major General Andrew Jackson, roughly 5 miles (8 km) southeast of the French ...
and later helped capture
Fort Bowyer Fort Bowyer was a short-lived earthen and stockade fortification that the United States Army erected in 1813 on Mobile Point, near the mouth of Mobile Bay in what is now Baldwin County, Alabama, but then was part of the Mississippi Territory. The ...
in Mobile Bay in what was the last action of the war. In 1855 the infantry forces were renamed the Royal Marines Light Infantry (RMLI). During the
Crimean War The Crimean War, , was fought from October 1853 to February 1856 between Russian Empire, Russia and an ultimately victorious alliance of the Ottoman Empire, Second French Empire, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Uni ...
in 1854 and 1855, three Royal Marines earned the
Victoria Cross The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces and may be awarded posthumously. It was previously ...
, two in the Crimea and one in the Baltic. In 1862 the name was slightly altered to Royal Marine Light Infantry. The Royal Navy did not fight any other ships after 1850 and became interested in landings by Naval Brigades. In these Naval Brigades, the function of the Royal Marines was to land first and act as skirmishers ahead of the sailor infantry and artillery. This skirmishing was the traditional function of
light infantry Light infantry refers to certain types of lightly equipped infantry throughout history. They have a more mobile or fluid function than other types of infantry, such as heavy infantry or line infantry. Historically, light infantry often fought ...
. For most of their history, British Marines had been organised as
fusilier Fusilier is a name given to various kinds of soldiers; its meaning depends on the historical context. While fusilier is derived from the 17th-century French language, French word ''fusil'' – meaning a type of flintlock musket – the term has ...
s. In the rest of the 19th Century the Royal Marines served in many landings especially in the
First First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number 1 (number), one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record, specifically the first instance of a particular achievement Arts and media Music * 1$T, American rapper, singer-songwriter, D ...
and
Second Opium War The Second Opium War (), also known as the Second Anglo-Sino War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a colonial war lasting from 1856 to 1860, which pitted the British Empire#Britain's imperial ...
s (1839–1842 and 1856–1860) against the Chinese. These were all successful except for the landing at the Mouth of the Peiho in 1859, where Admiral Sir James Hope ordered a landing across extensive mud flats. The Royal Marines also played a prominent role in the
Boxer Rebellion The Boxer Rebellion, also known as the Boxer Uprising, the Boxer Insurrection, or the Yihetuan Movement, was an Xenophobia, anti-foreign, anti-colonialism, anti-colonial, and Persecution of Christians#China, anti-Christian uprising in China ...
in China (1900), where a Royal Marine earned a
Victoria Cross The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces and may be awarded posthumously. It was previously ...
.


Status and roles

Through much of the 18th and 19th centuries Marine officers had a lower standing status than their counterparts in the Royal Navy. A short-lived effort was made in 1907, through the common entry or " Selborne scheme", to reduce the professional differences between RN and RM officers through a system of common entry that provided for an initial period of shared training. By the early twentieth century the Royal Marines had achieved a high professional status, although there was a serious shortage of junior officers. Numbering about 15,000 during the Edwardian era, enlistment for other ranks was for at least 12 years, with entitlement to a pension after 21 years of service. After basic training new recruits were assigned to one of three land-based divisions and from there to warships as vacancies arose. From 1908 onwards one gun turret on each battleship was manned by RMA gunners. The RMLI continued their traditional role of providing landing parties and shore-based detachments. Specialist positions on board ship, such as postmen, barbers, lamp trimmers and butchers, were reserved for Royal Marines. After 1903 the Royal Marines provided bands for service on board battleships and other large vessels.


World wars


First World War

During the
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, in addition to their usual stations aboard ship, Royal Marines were part of the
Royal Naval Division The 63rd (Royal Naval) Division was a United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European ma ...
which landed in
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...
in 1914 to help defend
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ; es, Amberes) is the largest city in Belgium by area at and the capital of Antwerp Province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 530,504,
and later took part in the amphibious landing at Gallipoli in 1915. It also served on the Western Front. The Division's first two commanders were Royal Marine Artillery Generals. Other Royal Marines acted as landing parties in the Naval campaign against the Turkish fortifications in the Dardanelles before the Gallipoli landing. They were sent ashore to assess damage to Turkish fortifications after bombardment by British and French ships and, if necessary, to complete their destruction. The Royal Marines were the last to leave Gallipoli, replacing both British and French troops in a neatly planned and executed withdrawal from the beaches. The Royal Marines also took part in the
Zeebrugge Raid The Zeebrugge Raid ( nl, Aanval op de haven van Zeebrugge; ) on 23 April 1918, was an attempt by the Royal Navy to block the Belgium, Belgian port of Bruges-Zeebrugge. The British intended to sink obsolete ships in the canal entrance, to preve ...
in 1918. Five Royal Marines earned the Victoria Cross in the First World War, two at Zeebrugge, one at Gallipoli, one at Jutland and one on the Western Front.


Between the wars

After the war Royal Marines took part in the allied intervention in Russia. In 1919, the 6th Battalion RMLI mutinied and was disbanded at Murmansk. The Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) and Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI) were amalgamated on 22 June 1923. Post-war demobilisation had seen the Royal Marines reduced from 55,000 (1918) to 15,000 in 1922 and there was
Treasury A treasury is either *A government department related to finance and taxation, a Finance minister, finance ministry. *A place or location where treasure, such as currency or precious items are kept. These can be State ownership, state or roya ...
pressure for a further reduction to 6,000 or even the entire disbandment of the Corps. As a compromise an establishment of 9,500 was settled upon but this meant that two separate branches could no longer be maintained. The abandonment of the Marine's artillery role meant that the Corps would subsequently have to rely on Royal Artillery support when ashore, that the title of Royal Marines would apply to the entire Corps and that only a few specialists would now receive gunnery training. As a form of consolation the dark blue and red uniform of the Royal Marine Artillery now became the full dress of the entire Corps. Royal Marine officers and SNCO's however continue to wear the historic scarlet in mess dress to the present day. The ranks of
private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" is a song by British singer Dusty Springfield, released as a single on 20 November 1989. It was Springfield's third single in a row to be a chart success, after an absence of ...
, used by the RMLI, and gunner, used by the RMA, were abolished and replaced by the rank of Marine.


Second World War

During the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, a small party of Royal Marines were first ashore at Namsos in April 1940, seizing the approaches to the Norwegian town preparatory to a landing by the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western ...
two days later. The Royal Marines formed the Royal Marine Division as an amphibiously trained division, parts of which served at Dakar and in the capture of Madagascar. After the assault on the French naval base at Antsirane in Madagascar was held up, fifty Sea Service Royal Marines from commanded by Captain Martin Price were landed on the quay of the base by the destroyer after it ran the gauntlet of French shore batteries defending Diego Suarez Bay. They then captured two of the batteries, which led to a quick surrender by the French. In addition the Royal Marines formed Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisations (MNBDOs) similar to the
United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations through c ...
Defense Battalions. One of these took part in the defence of Crete. Royal Marines also served in Malaya and in
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island country, island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Pen ...
, where due to losses they were joined with remnants of the 2nd Battalion of
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Argyll (; archaically Argyle, in modern Gaelic, ), sometimes called Argyllshire, is a historic county and registration county of western Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the Unit ...
at Tyersall Park to form the "Plymouth Argylls". The Royal Marines formed one Commando (A Commando) which served at
Dieppe Dieppe (; Norman language, Norman: ''Dgieppe'') is a coastal Communes of France, commune in the Seine-Maritime Departments of France, department in the Normandy (administrative region), Normandy region of northern France. Dieppe is a seaport on ...
. One month after Dieppe, most of the 11th Royal Marine Battalion was killed or captured in an ill staged amphibious landing at Tobruk in Operation Agreement. Again, the Marines were involved with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, this time the 1st Battalion. In 1942 the Infantry Battalions of the Royal Marine Division were re-organised as
Commando file:Royal_Marines_in_Sangin_MOD_45151554.jpg, Royal Marines from 40 Commando on patrol in the Sangin area of Afghanistan are pictured A commando is a combatant, or operative of an elite light infantry or special operations force, specially tr ...
s, joining the British Army Commandos. The Division command structure became a Special Service Brigade command. The support troops became
landing craft Landing craft are small and medium seagoing watercraft, such as boats and barges, used to convey a landing force (infantry Infantry is a military specialization which engages in ground combat on foot. Infantry generally consists of li ...
crew and saw extensive action on
D-Day The Normandy landings were the landing operations and associated airborne operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 of the Allies of World War II, Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and ...
in June 1944. A total of four Special Service Brigades (redesignated Commando brigades in December 1944 as the "SS" abbreviation was unpopular) were raised during the war, and Royal Marines were represented in all of them. A total of nine RM Commandos (
Battalion A battalion is a military unit, typically consisting of 300 to 1,200 soldiers commanded by a lieutenant colonel Lieutenant colonel ( , ) is a rank of commissioned officers in the army, armies, most Marine (armed services), marine fo ...
s) were raised during the war, numbered from 40 to 48. 1 Commando Brigade had just one RM Battalion, No 45 Commando. 2 Commando Brigade had two RM battalions, Nos 40 and 43 Commandos.
3 Commando Brigade 3 Commando Brigade (3 Cdo Bde), previously called the 3rd Special Service Brigade, is a Commandos (United Kingdom), commando formation of the British Armed Forces. It is composed of the Royal Marine Commandos, alongside All Arms Commando Course, ...
also had two, Nos 42 and 44 Commandos. 4 Commando Brigade was entirely Royal Marine after March 1944, comprising Nos 41, 46, 47 and 48 Commandos. 1 Commando Brigade took part in first in the
Tunisia Campaign The Tunisian campaign (also known as the Battle of Tunisia) was a series of battles that took place in Tunisia during the North African campaign of the World War II, Second World War, between Axis powers, Axis and Allies of World War II, Allied ...
and then assaults on
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...
and
Normandy Normandy (; french: link=no, Normandie ; nrf, Normaundie, Nouormandie ; from Old French , plural of ''Normant'', originally from the word for "northman" in several Scandinavian languages) is a geographical and cultural region in Northwestern ...
, campaigns in the
Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland; french: Rhénanie; nl, Rijnland; ksh, Rhingland; Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly Middle Rhine, its middle section. Term Historically, th ...
and crossing the Rhine. 2 Commando Brigade was involved in the Salerno landings,
Anzio Anzio (, also , ) is a town and ''comune'' on the coast of the Lazio region of Italy, about south of Rome. Well known for its seaside harbour setting, it is a Port, fishing port and a departure point for ferries and hydroplanes to the Pontine I ...
,
Comacchio Comacchio (; egl, label=Emilian language, Comacchiese, Cmâc' ) is a town and ''comune'' of Emilia Romagna, Italy, in the province of Ferrara, from the provincial capital Ferrara. It was founded about two thousand years ago; across its history it ...
, and operations in the Argenta Gap. 3 Commando Brigade served in Sicily and
Burma Myanmar, ; UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John Wells explai ...
. 4 Commando Brigade served in the
Battle of Normandy Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and terr ...
and in the
Battle of the Scheldt The Battle of the Scheldt in World War II was a series of military operations led by the First Canadian Army, with Polish Armed Forces in the West, Polish and British Army, British units attached, to open up the shipping route to Antwerp so that ...
on the island of
Walcheren Walcheren () is a region and former island in the Dutch province of Zeeland at the mouth of the Scheldt estuary. It lies between the Eastern Scheldt in the north and the Western Scheldt in the south and is roughly the shape of a rhombus. The two ...
during the clearing of
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ; es, Amberes) is the largest city in Belgium by area at and the capital of Antwerp Province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 530,504,
. In January 1945, two further RM Brigades were formed, 116th Brigade and 117th Brigade. Both were conventional Infantry, rather than in the Commando role. 116th Brigade saw some action in the
Netherlands ) , anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Kingdom of the Netherlands , established_title = Before independence , established_date = Spanish Neth ...
, but 117th Brigade was hardly used operationally. In addition one Landing Craft Assault (LCA) unit was stationed in Australia late in the war as a training unit. In 1946 the Army Commandos were disbanded, leaving the Royal Marines to continue the Commando role (with supporting Army elements). A number of Royal Marines served as pilots during the Second World War. It was a Royal Marines officer who led the attack by a formation of
Blackburn Skua The Blackburn B-24 Skua was a aircraft carrier, carrier-based low-wing, two-seater, single-radial engine aircraft by the United Kingdom, British aviation company Blackburn Aircraft. It was the first Royal Navy carrier-borne all-metal cantilever ...
s that sank the
Königsberg Königsberg (, ) was the historic Prussian city that is now Kaliningrad, Russia. Königsberg was founded in 1255 on the site of the ancient Old Prussian settlement ''Twangste'' by the Teutonic Knights during the Northern Crusades, and was named ...
. Eighteen Royal Marines commanded
Fleet Air Arm The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the :Fighting Arms of the Royal Navy, five fighting arms of the Royal Navy and is responsible for the delivery of naval air power both from land and at sea. The Fleet Air Arm operates the Lockheed Martin F-35 ...
squadrons during the course of the war, and with the formation of the
British Pacific Fleet The British Pacific Fleet (BPF) was a Royal Navy formation (military), formation that saw action against Empire of Japan, Japan during the Second World War. The fleet was composed of empire naval vessels. The BPF formally came into being on 22 N ...
were well represented in the final drive on Japan. Captains and Majors generally commanded squadrons, whilst in one case Lt Colonel R.C. Hay on HMS ''Indefatigable'' was Air Group Co-ordinator from HMS ''Victorious'' of the entire
British Pacific Fleet The British Pacific Fleet (BPF) was a Royal Navy formation (military), formation that saw action against Empire of Japan, Japan during the Second World War. The fleet was composed of empire naval vessels. The BPF formally came into being on 22 N ...
. Throughout the war Royal Marines continued in their traditional role of providing ships detachments and manning a proportion of the guns on
Cruiser A cruiser is a type of warship. Modern cruisers are generally the largest ships in a fleet after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, and can usually perform several roles. The term "cruiser", which has been in use for several hu ...
s and Capital Ships. They also provided the crew for the UK's Minor
Landing craft Landing craft are small and medium seagoing watercraft, such as boats and barges, used to convey a landing force (infantry Infantry is a military specialization which engages in ground combat on foot. Infantry generally consists of li ...
, and the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group manned Centaur IV tanks on D Day; one of these is still on display at
Pegasus Bridge Pegasus Bridge, originally called the Bénouville, Calvados, Bénouville Bridge after the neighbouring village, is a road crossing over the Canal de Caen à la Mer, Caen Canal, between Caen and Ouistreham in Normandy. The original bridge, built ...
. Only one marine (
Corporal Corporal is a military rank in use in some form by many militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. The word is derived from the medieval Italian phrase ("head of a body"). The rank is usually the lowest ranking non- ...
Thomas Peck Hunter of 43 Commando) was awarded the
Victoria Cross The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces and may be awarded posthumously. It was previously ...
in the Second World War for action at Lake Comacchio in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
. Hunter was the most recent RM Commando to be awarded the medal. The Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment under Blondie Haslar carried out
Operation Frankton Operation Frankton was a commando file:Royal_Marines_in_Sangin_MOD_45151554.jpg, Royal Marines from 40 Commando on patrol in the Sangin area of Afghanistan are pictured A commando is a combatant, or operative of an elite light infantry o ...
and provided the basis for the post-war continuation of the SBS.


Post-colonial era

The Corps underwent a notable change after 1945 however, when the Royal Marines took on the main responsibility for the role and training of the
British Commandos The Commandos, also known as the British Commandos, were formed during the Second World War in June 1940, following a request from Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British ...
. , since their creation in 1942 Royal Marines Commandos had engaged on active operations across the globe, every year except 1968. Notably they were the first ever military unit to perform an air assault insertion by helicopter, during the
Suez Crisis The Suez Crisis, or the Second Arab–Israeli war, also called the Tripartite Aggression ( ar, العدوان الثلاثي, Al-ʿUdwān aṯ-Ṯulāṯiyy) in the Arab world and the Sinai War in Israel,Also known as the Suez War or 1956 Wa ...
in 1956. They were also part of the land element during the 1982
Falklands War The Falklands War ( es, link=no, Guerra de las Malvinas) was a ten-week undeclared war between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982 over two British Overseas Territories, British dependent territories in the South Atlantic: the Falkland I ...
. 43 Commando was active as amphibious infantry from 1961–68, and
41 Commando 41 Commando or No. 41 (Royal Marine) Commando was a unit of the Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM), also known as the Royal Marines Commandos, are the UK's special operations capable commando force, amphibious warfare, amphibiou ...
was disbanded in 1981.


Cold War

During the
Cold War The Cold War is a term commonly used to refer to a period of Geopolitics, geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc. The term ''Cold war (term), co ...
the Royal Marines were earmarked to reinforce
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 30 Member sta ...
's northernmost command
Allied Forces North Norway Allied Forces North Norway (NON) was a NATO command tasked with the defense of Northern Norway. NON's area of responsibility covered the three northernmost counties of Norway: Nordland, Troms and Finnmark, as well as the adjacent sea territory. ...
. Therefore,
3 Commando Brigade 3 Commando Brigade (3 Cdo Bde), previously called the 3rd Special Service Brigade, is a Commandos (United Kingdom), commando formation of the British Armed Forces. It is composed of the Royal Marine Commandos, alongside All Arms Commando Course, ...
began to train annually in Northern Norway and had large stores of vehicles and supplies pre-positioned there. At the end of the Cold War in 1989 the structure of the Royal Marines was as follows: *
Commandant General Royal Marines The Commandant General Royal Marines is the professional head of the Royal Marines. The title has existed since 1943. The role is held by a General (United Kingdom), General who is assisted by a Deputy Commandant General, with the rank of Brigadi ...
,
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
**
3 Commando Brigade 3 Commando Brigade (3 Cdo Bde), previously called the 3rd Special Service Brigade, is a Commandos (United Kingdom), commando formation of the British Armed Forces. It is composed of the Royal Marine Commandos, alongside All Arms Commando Course, ...
,
Plymouth Plymouth () is a port city status in the United Kingdom, city and unitary authority in South West England. It is located on the south coast of Devon, approximately south-west of Exeter and south-west of London. It is bordered by Cornwall to ...
***
40 Commando 40 Commando RM is a battalion A battalion is a military unit, typically consisting of 300 to 1,200 soldiers commanded by a lieutenant colonel Lieutenant colonel ( , ) is a rank of commissioned officers in the army, armies, most Ma ...
,
Taunton Taunton () is the county town of Somerset, England, with a 2011 population of 69,570. Its thousand-year history includes a 10th-century monastic foundation, Taunton Castle, which later became a priory. The Normans built a castle owned by the ...
***
42 Commando 42 Commando (42 Cdo) (pronounced as Four-Two Commando) is a subordinate unit within the Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM), also known as the Royal Marines Commandos, are the UK's special operations capable commando force, amphibio ...
,
Bickleigh Bickleigh may refer to the following places in Devon, England: * Bickleigh, Mid Devon, a village near Tiverton ** Bickleigh Castle * Bickleigh, South Hams, a village near Plymouth {{geodis ...
*** 45 Commando,
Arbroath Arbroath () or Aberbrothock ( gd, Obar Bhrothaig ) is a former royal burgh and the largest town in the Subdivisions of Scotland, council area of Angus, Scotland, Angus, Scotland, with a population of 23,902. It lies on the North Sea coast some ...
*** 29 Commando Regiment,
Royal Artillery The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is one of two regiments that make up the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises t ...
, Plymouth, one battery in Arbroath, (18×
L118 light gun The L118 light gun is a 105 mm towed howitzer. It was originally designed and produced in England for the British Army in the 1970s. It has since been widely exported. The L119 and the United States Army's M119 howitzer, M119 are variants that us ...
s) *** 4 Assault Squadron, Plymouth (4× LCU Mk.9, 4× LCVP Mk.4, 2× Centurion BARV), served aboard *** 539 Assault Squadron, Plymouth (4× LCU Mk.9, 4× LCVP Mk.4, 2× Centurion BARV), served aboard *** 59 Independent Commando Squadron,
Royal Engineers The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually called the Royal Engineers (RE), and commonly known as the ''Sappers'', is a corps of the British Army. It provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces and is heade ...
, Plymouth, one troop in Arbroath *** 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton, (12× Gazelle AH.1, 6× Lynx AH.1) *** 2 Raiding Squadron, Royal Marines (Reserve), Plymouth *** 131 Independent Commando Squadron,
Royal Engineers The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually called the Royal Engineers (RE), and commonly known as the ''Sappers'', is a corps of the British Army. It provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces and is heade ...
(V), Plymouth *** 289 Commando Battery,
Royal Artillery The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is one of two regiments that make up the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises t ...
(V), Plymouth (6×
L118 light gun The L118 light gun is a 105 mm towed howitzer. It was originally designed and produced in England for the British Army in the 1970s. It has since been widely exported. The L119 and the United States Army's M119 howitzer, M119 are variants that us ...
s) **
Special Boat Service The Special Boat Service (SBS) is the special forces Special forces and special operations forces (SOF) are military units trained to conduct special operations. NATO has defined special operations as "military activities conducted by sp ...
,
Poole Poole () is a large coastal town and seaport in Dorset, on the south coast of England. The town is east of Dorchester, Dorset, Dorchester and adjoins Bournemouth to the east. Since 1 April 2019, the local authority is Bournemouth, Christchurc ...
, under operational control of
United Kingdom Special Forces The United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) is a directorate comprising the Special Air Service The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of the British Army. It was founded as a regiment in 1941 by David Stirling and in 1950, it ...
** Comacchio Group,
HMNB Clyde His Majesty's Naval Base, Clyde (HMNB Clyde; also HMS ''Neptune''), primarily sited at Faslane on the Gare Loch, is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval ...
, guarded HMNB Clyde and the UK's naval nuclear weapons stored at RNAD Coulport ** Royal Marines Police, Plymouth **
Commando Training Centre Royal Marines Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) is the principal military training centre for the Royal Marines. It is situated near the villages of Lympstone and Exton, Devon, Exton, between the city of Exeter, and the town of Exmouth in Devon, En ...
,
Lympstone Lympstone is a village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of Parish (administrative division), administrative parish used for Local government in England, local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lo ...
**
Royal Marines Band Service The Royal Marines Band Service is the musical wing of the Royal Navy and an independent element of the Royal Marines. It currently consists of five Military band, bands plus a training wing – the Royal Marines School of Music at HMNB Portsmout ...
RMSoM, Deal **
Royal Marines Reserve The Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) is the volunteer reserve force used to augment the regular Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM), also known as the Royal Marines Commandos, are the UK's special operations capable commando force, am ...
*** RMR Plymouth,
Plymouth Plymouth () is a port city status in the United Kingdom, city and unitary authority in South West England. It is located on the south coast of Devon, approximately south-west of Exeter and south-west of London. It is bordered by Cornwall to ...
*** RMR Bristol,
Bristol Bristol () is a city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. Lond ...
*** RMR London,
Wandsworth Wandsworth Town () is a district of south London, within the London Borough of Wandsworth southwest of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London. Toponymy Wandsworth takes its name ...
*** RMR Merseyside,
Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English districts by population, 10th largest English district by population and its E ...
*** RMR Scotland,
Edinburgh Edinburgh ( ; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is located in Lothian ...
*** RMR Tyne, Newcastle Note: "(V)" denotes
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western ...
reserve units.


Current status and deployment


Personnel

The Royal Marines Commandos are an elite fighting force, they are part of the Naval Service and under the full command of the
Fleet Commander The Fleet Commander is a senior Royal Navy post, responsible for the operation, resourcing and training of the ships, submarines and aircraft, and personnel, of the Naval Service (United Kingdom), Naval Service. The Vice-Admiral incumbent is requ ...
. The rank structure of the Corps is similar to that of the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western ...
. Uniquely, in the Royal Marines, officers and all other ranks undergo initial, commando and specialist training together at the Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines (CTCRM). Since 2017 there has been no restriction on women applying, though as of 2022 none have passed the training. On average, 26,000 people apply to join the Royal Marines Commandos every year, but only 400 make it. At its height in 1944 during the Second World War, more than 70,000 people served in the Royal Marines. Following the Allied victory the Royal Marines were quickly reduced to a post-war strength of 13,000. When
National Service National service is the system of voluntary government service, usually military service. Conscription is mandatory national service. The term ''national service'' comes from the United Kingdom's National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939. The le ...
was ended in 1960, the Marines were again reduced, but this time to an all Commando-trained force of 9,000 personnel. As of 1 January 2021, the Royal Marines had a strength of 5,968 Regulars, and a combined strength of 6,500 when including reserves., The Royal Marines are also the only British naval unit capable of conducting amphibious operations at
brigade A brigade is a major tactical military unit, military formation that typically comprises three to six battalions plus supporting elements. It is roughly equivalent to an enlarged or reinforced regiment. Two or more brigades may constitute ...
level.


Equipment

; Light weapons: The basic personal weapons of the Royal Marines Commandos are the C8 carbine rifle and L85A2 assault rifle, sometimes fitted with the L123A3 underslung grenade launcher. Support fire is provided by the L110A1 light machine gun, the L7A2 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and the L111A1 heavy machine gun (which is often mounted on an armoured vehicle); indirect fire by the L16A2 81mm mortar. Sniper rifles used include the L115A3, produced by
Accuracy International Accuracy International is a British firearms manufacturer based in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. The company produces the Accuracy International Arctic Warfare series of precision sniper rifles. The company was established in 1978 by British ...
. More recently the
L129A1 Lewis Machine and Tool Company (LMT) is an American armaments company founded by Karl Lewis, in 1980. LMT manufactures weapon systems including the M4 carbine The M4 carbine (officially Carbine, Caliber 5.56 mm, M4) is a 5.56×45mm NATO, Ga ...
has come into service as the
designated marksman rifle A designated marksman rifle (DMR) is a modern telescopic sight, scoped high-Accuracy and precision, precision rifle used by infantrymen in the designated marksman (DM) role. It generally fills the engagement effective range, range gap between ...
. Other weapons include the Javelin Anti-Tank missile, the L131A1 pistol and the
Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife The Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife is a double-edged fighting knife resembling a dagger or poignard with a Foil (fencing), foil grip. It was developed by William E. Fairbairn, William Ewart Fairbairn and Eric A. Sykes, Eric Anthony Sykes in Sha ...
. The Royal Marines will replace all their L85 rifles with a variant of the L119, a variant of the C8SFW. ; Armour: The Royal Marines maintain no heavy armoured units, instead, they operate a fleet of lightly armoured and highly mobile vehicles intended for amphibious landings or rapid deployment. The primary
armoured fighting vehicle An armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) is an armed combat vehicle protected by armour, generally combining operational mobility with offensive and defensive capabilities. AFVs can be wheeled or tracked. Examples of AFVs are tanks, armoured ...
operated by the Armoured Support Group is the BvS 10 Viking All Terrain Armoured Vehicle. Other, lighter vehicles include the
Land Rover Wolf The Land Rover Wolf is a light military vehicle based on the Land Rover Defender introduced in 1994. The Ministry of Defence (UK), MoD designates the Wolf 90 as Truck Utility Light (TUL) HS and the Wolf 110 as Truck Utility Medium (TUM) HS. Whe ...
Armoured Patrol Vehicle, the Jackal (MWMIK) Armoured Vehicle and the Pinzgauer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle. ; Artillery: Field artillery support is provided by 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery of the British Army using the
L118 Light Gun The L118 light gun is a 105 mm towed howitzer. It was originally designed and produced in England for the British Army in the 1970s. It has since been widely exported. The L119 and the United States Army's M119 howitzer, M119 are variants that us ...
, a 105 mm towed
howitzer A howitzer () is a long-ranged weapon, falling between a cannon (also known as an Artillery, artillery gun in the United States), which fires shells at flat trajectories, and a Mortar (weapon), mortar, which fires at high angles of ascent and de ...
. The regiment is Commando-trained. ; Aviation: The
Commando Helicopter Force Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) is a unit of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the :Fighting Arms of the Royal Navy, five fighting arms of the Royal Navy and is responsible for the delivery of naval air power b ...
of the
Fleet Air Arm The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the :Fighting Arms of the Royal Navy, five fighting arms of the Royal Navy and is responsible for the delivery of naval air power both from land and at sea. The Fleet Air Arm operates the Lockheed Martin F-35 ...
provides transport helicopters in support of the Royal Marines. It currently uses both Merlin HC4/4A medium-lift transport and Wildcat AH1 light transport/reconnaissance
helicopter A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by horizontally spinning rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward and laterally. These attribut ...
s to provide direct aviation support for the Corps. In addition, the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's Air force, air and space force. It was formed towards the end of the World War I, First World War on 1 April 1918, becoming the first independent air force in the world, by regrouping the Royal ...
provides Chinook heavy-lift and Puma HC2 medium-lift transport helicopters. ; Vessels: The Royal Marines operate a varied fleet of military watercraft designed to transport troops and
materiel Materiel (; ) refers to supplies, equipment, and weapons in military supply-chain management, and typically supplies and equipment in a commerce, commercial supply chain management, supply chain context. In a military context, the term ''mater ...
from ship to shore or conduct river or estuary patrols. These include the 2000TDX
Landing Craft Air Cushion The Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) is a class of air-cushioned landing craft (hovercraft) used by the United States Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). They transport weapons systems, equipment, cargo and personnel from shi ...
, the Mk10
Landing Craft Utility A Landing Craft Utility (LCU) is a type of boat used by amphibious forces to transport equipment and troops to the shore. They are capable of transporting Tracked vehicle, tracked or wheeled vehicles and troops from amphibious assault ships to bea ...
, the Mk5 Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel and the SDV Mk8 Mod 1
Swimmer Delivery Vehicle A diver propulsion vehicle (DPV), also known as an underwater propulsion vehicle, sea scooter, underwater scooter, or swimmer delivery vehicle (SDV) by armed forces, is an item of diving equipment used by scuba diving, scuba divers to increas ...
for special forces. Other smaller amphibious craft such as the Offshore Raiding Craft,
Rigid Raider The Rigid Raider (RRC) is a series of fast raiding and assault craft made by RTK Marine, a subsidiary of Halmatic, part of BAE Systems Surface Ships. They are primarily in service with two branches of the British Armed Forces: The Royal Navy (inc ...
and Inflatable Raiding Craft are in service in much greater numbers. File:Royal Marines During Winter Training in Norway MOD 45152252.jpg, Royal Marines equipped for Arctic warfare during an exercise in Norway File:Viking Training MOD 45151364.jpg, BvS 10 Vikings of the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group on exercise File:Royal Marine Landing Craft MOD 45158374.jpg, Royal Marines Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk10 File:A Royal Marine LCVP Landing Craft MOD 45150169.jpg, A Royal Marines Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) Mk5 File:Royal Marine LCAC(LR) Hovercraft MOD 45154442.jpg, Royal Marines Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC)


Formation and structure

The overall head of the Royal Marines is
King Charles III Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is King of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realms. He was the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales and, at age 73, became the oldest person to a ...
, in his role as Commander-in-Chief of the
British Armed Forces The British Armed Forces, also known as His Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military, military forces responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its British Overseas Territories, Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies. They al ...
. The ceremonial head of the Royal Marines is the
Captain General Royal Marines Captain General Royal Marines is the ceremonial head of the Royal Marines. The current Captain General is King Charles III. This position is distinct from that of the Commandant General Royal Marines, the professional head of the corps, who is c ...
(equivalent to the Colonel-in-Chief of a
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western ...
regiment). In October 2022 King Charles was announced as the new Captain General on the occasion of the 358th anniversary of the foundation of the corps. Full Command of the Royal Marines is vested in the
Fleet Commander The Fleet Commander is a senior Royal Navy post, responsible for the operation, resourcing and training of the ships, submarines and aircraft, and personnel, of the Naval Service (United Kingdom), Naval Service. The Vice-Admiral incumbent is requ ...
(FLTCDR) with the
Commandant General Royal Marines The Commandant General Royal Marines is the professional head of the Royal Marines. The title has existed since 1943. The role is held by a General (United Kingdom), General who is assisted by a Deputy Commandant General, with the rank of Brigadi ...
, a
major-general Major general (abbreviated MG, maj. gen. and similar) is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparent confusion of ...
, embedded within the Navy Command Headquarters (NCHQ) as Commander UK Amphibious Force (COMUKAMPHIBFOR). The operational capability of the corps comprises a number of
battalion A battalion is a military unit, typically consisting of 300 to 1,200 soldiers commanded by a lieutenant colonel Lieutenant colonel ( , ) is a rank of commissioned officers in the army, armies, most Marine (armed services), marine fo ...
-plus sized units, of which five are designated as "commandos": *Commando Units ** 40 Commando, Royal Marines (known as ''Forty'' Commando) based at Norton Manor Barracks,
Taunton Taunton () is the county town of Somerset, England, with a 2011 population of 69,570. Its thousand-year history includes a 10th-century monastic foundation, Taunton Castle, which later became a priory. The Normans built a castle owned by the ...
, Somerset, England ** 42 Commando, Royal Marines (known as ''Four Two'' Commando) based at Bickleigh Barracks,
Plymouth Plymouth () is a port city status in the United Kingdom, city and unitary authority in South West England. It is located on the south coast of Devon, approximately south-west of Exeter and south-west of London. It is bordered by Cornwall to ...
, Devon, England ** 45 Commando, Royal Marines (known as ''Four Five'' Commando) based at RM Condor,
Arbroath Arbroath () or Aberbrothock ( gd, Obar Bhrothaig ) is a former royal burgh and the largest town in the Subdivisions of Scotland, council area of Angus, Scotland, Angus, Scotland, with a population of 23,902. It lies on the North Sea coast some ...
, Angus, Scotland *Maritime Security ** 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group, Royal Marines based at HM Naval Base Clyde,
Helensburgh Helensburgh (; gd, Baile Eilidh) is an affluent coastal town on the north side of the Firth of Clyde in Scotland, situated at the mouth of the Gareloch. Historically in Dunbartonshire, it became part of Argyll and Bute following local governm ...
,
Argyll and Bute Argyll and Bute ( sco, Argyll an Buit; gd, Earra-Ghàidheal agus Bòd, ) is one of 32 unitary authority council areas in Scotland and a lieutenancy area. The current lord-lieutenant for Argyll and Bute is Jane Margaret MacLeod (14 July 202 ...
(previously Comacchio Group). *Intelligence, Surveillance and Target Acquisition ** 30 Commando (Information Exploitation) Group, Royal Marines based at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth *** Brigade Patrol Troop *Raiding and Assault ** 47 Commando (Raiding Group), Royal Marines based at RM Tamar, Devonport (previously 1 Assault Group RM) *** Royal Marines Armoured Support Group (RMASG) is an element of the Royal Marines that operates the Viking
BvS 10 The BvS10 (''Bandvagn Skyddad'' 10) is a Tracked articulated vehicle, tracked articulated Amphibious vehicle, amphibious all-terrain armoured vehicle produced by BAE Systems Land Systems Hägglunds of Sweden. This vehicle, referred to as the A ...
All Terrain Vehicle. It is based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, and is part of 539 Raiding Squadron. *Logistic Support ** Commando Logistic Regiment based at RM Chivenor, Devon *Special Forces **
Special Boat Service The Special Boat Service (SBS) is the special forces Special forces and special operations forces (SOF) are military units trained to conduct special operations. NATO has defined special operations as "military activities conducted by sp ...
based at RM Poole, Dorset (although Full Command is retained by CINCFLEET, Operational Command of SBS RM is assigned to Director Special Forces). ** Royal Marines Vanguard Strike Company, forming up in 2020 as a strike reaction force With the exception of the 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group and Commando Logistic Regiment, which are each commanded by a full
colonel Colonel (abbreviated as Col., Col or COL) is a senior military officer rank used in many countries. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, a colonel was typically in charge o ...
, each of these units is commanded by a
lieutenant-colonel Lieutenant colonel ( , ) is a rank of commissioned officers in the army, armies, most Marine (armed services), marine forces and some air forces of the world, above a major and below a colonel. Several police forces in the United States use t ...
of the Royal Marines, who may have sub-specialised in a number of ways throughout their career.


3 Commando Brigade

Operational command of the five commandos and the Commando Logistics Regiment is delegated to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, of which they are a part. Based at Stonehouse Barracks, the brigade exercises control as directed by either CINCFLEET or the
Permanent Joint Headquarters The Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) is the British tri-service headquarters Headquarters (commonly referred to as HQ) denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the Unit ...
. 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group is a battalion-sized formation providing information operations capabilities, life support and security for the Brigade Headquarters. 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, responsible for the security of the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent and other security-related duties was originally outside the brigade, but was incorporated into it from April 2012. It also provides specialist boarding parties and snipers for the Royal Navy worldwide, for roles such as embargo enforcement, counter-narcotics, counter-piracy and counter-insurgency activities of the Royal Navy. It is the largest unit in the brigade, at 790 strong.


Independent elements

The independent elements of the Royal Marines are: * Commando Training Centre: This is the training unit for the entire corps, and consists of three separate sections: ** Commando Training Wing: This is the initial basic
commando file:Royal_Marines_in_Sangin_MOD_45151554.jpg, Royal Marines from 40 Commando on patrol in the Sangin area of Afghanistan are pictured A commando is a combatant, or operative of an elite light infantry or special operations force, specially tr ...
training section for new recruits to the Royal Marines, and the UK Forces All Arms Commando Course. ** Specialist Wing: This provides specialist training in the various trades which Marines may elect to join once qualified and experienced in a Rifle Company. ** Command Wing: This provides command training for both officers and
NCOs A non-commissioned officer (NCO) is a military officer who has not pursued a Commission (document), commission. Non-commissioned officers usually earn their position of authority by promotion through the enlisted ranks. (Non-officers, which inc ...
of the Royal Marines. * 47 Commando (Raiding Group) Royal Marines: Provides training in the use of
landing craft Landing craft are small and medium seagoing watercraft, such as boats and barges, used to convey a landing force (infantry Infantry is a military specialization which engages in ground combat on foot. Infantry generally consists of li ...
and boats, and also serves as a parent unit for the three assault squadrons permanently embarked on the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were foug ...
's amphibious ships. ** 4 Assault Squadron— *
Special Boat Service The Special Boat Service (SBS) is the special forces Special forces and special operations forces (SOF) are military units trained to conduct special operations. NATO has defined special operations as "military activities conducted by sp ...
(SBS) are naval
special forces Special forces and special operations forces (SOF) are military units trained to conduct special operations. NATO has defined special operations as "military activities conducted by specially designated, organized, selected, trained and equip ...
and under operational command of Director Special Forces, UK Special Forces Group. It is commanded by a lieutenant colonel qualified as a swimmer canoeist. SBS responsibilities include water-borne operations, maritime counter-terrorism and other special forces tasks. *
Royal Marines Band Service The Royal Marines Band Service is the musical wing of the Royal Navy and an independent element of the Royal Marines. It currently consists of five Military band, bands plus a training wing – the Royal Marines School of Music at HMNB Portsmout ...
provides regular bands for the Royal Navy and provides expertise to train RN Volunteer Bands. Musicians have an important secondary roles as medics,
field hospital A field hospital is a temporary hospital or mobile medical unit that takes care of Casualty (person), casualties on-site before they can be safely transported to more permanent facilities. This term was initially used in military medicine (such ...
orderlies, CBRN specialists and any other roles that may be required of them. Personnel may not be commando trained, usually wearing the dark blue beret instead of green; until 2017, the band service was the only branch of the Royal Marines to admit women.


Structure of a commando

40 and 45 Commando are each organised into six
companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity representing an association of people, whether natural, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Company members share a common purpose and unite to achieve specific, declared ...
, further organised into
platoon A platoon is a Military organization, military unit typically composed of two or more squads, Section (military unit), sections, or patrols. Platoon organization varies depending on the country and the Military branch, branch, but a platoon can ...
-sized
troop A troop is a military sub-subunit, originally a small formation of cavalry, subordinate to a squadron. In many armies a troop is the equivalent element to the infantry Infantry is a military specialization which engages in ground ...
s, as follows: * Command company ** Main HQ ** Tactical HQ ** Reconnaissance Troop with a sniper section ** Mortar Troop ** Anti-Tank (AT) Troop ** Medium Machine Gun Troop * 2× Close Combat Companies ** Company Headquarters ** 3× Close Combat Troops * 2× Stand Off Companies ** Company Headquarters ** Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) Troop ** AT Troop ** Close Combat Troop. * Logistic Company ** A Echelon 1 ** A Echelon 2 ** FRT (Forward Repair Team) ** RAP (Regimental Aid Post) ** B Echelon In general a rifle company Marine will be a member of a four-man
fire team A fireteam or fire team is a small military sub-subunit of infantry designed to optimize "bounding overwatch" and "fire and movement" military doctrine, tactical doctrine in combat. Depending on mission requirements, a typical fireteam consist ...
, the building block of commando operations. A Royal Marine works with their team in the field and shares accommodation if living in barracks. This structure is a recent development, formerly Commandos were structured similarly to British Army light infantry battalions.


Amphibious Task Group

Formerly known as the Amphibious Ready Group, the Amphibious Task Group (ATG) is a mobile, balanced
amphibious warfare Amphibious warfare is a type of Offensive (military), offensive military operation that today uses naval ships to project ground and air power onto a hostile or potentially hostile shore at a designated landing beach. Through history the opera ...
force, based on a Commando Group and its supporting assets, that can be kept at high readiness to deploy into an area of operations. The ATG is normally based around specialist amphibious ships, most notably , the largest ship in the British fleet until she was decommissioned and sold to Brazil in 2018. ''Ocean'' was designed and built to accommodate an embarked commando and its associated stores and equipment. The strategy of the ATG is to wait "beyond the horizon" and then deploy swiftly as directed by HM Government. The whole amphibious force is intended to be self-sustaining and capable of operating without host-nation support. The concept was successfully tested in operations in
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone,)]. officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea surrounds the northern half of the nation. Covering a total area of , Sierra ...
.


Commando Helicopter Force

The Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) forms part of the
Fleet Air Arm The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the :Fighting Arms of the Royal Navy, five fighting arms of the Royal Navy and is responsible for the delivery of naval air power both from land and at sea. The Fleet Air Arm operates the Lockheed Martin F-35 ...
. It comprises three helicopter squadrons and is commanded by the
Joint Helicopter Command Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) is a tri-service organisation uniting battlefield military helicopters of the British Armed Forces for command and coordination purposes. History Background Over the years, the grouping of all battlefield suppo ...
. It consists of both
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were foug ...
(RN) and Royal Marines personnel. RN personnel need not be commando trained. The CHF is neither under the permanent control of
3 Commando Brigade 3 Commando Brigade (3 Cdo Bde), previously called the 3rd Special Service Brigade, is a Commandos (United Kingdom), commando formation of the British Armed Forces. It is composed of the Royal Marine Commandos, alongside All Arms Commando Course, ...
nor that of the Commandant General Royal Marines, but rather is allocated to support Royal Marines units as required. It uses both Merlin HC4/4A medium-lift and Wildcat AH1 light transport/reconnaissance
helicopter A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by horizontally spinning rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward and laterally. These attribut ...
s to provide aviation support for the Royal Marines.


Future Commando Force (FCF) Programme

On 11 April 2017 the
First Sea Lord The First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff (1SL/CNS) is the military head of the Royal Navy and Naval Service (United Kingdom), Naval Service of the United Kingdom. The First Sea Lord is usually the highest ranking and most senior admiral ...
, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, announced that the Royal Marines Commandos were to be restructured, and will be capable of deploying on special operations as part of the Future Commando Force (FCF) Programme. Indeed, the Ministry of Defence has also said that under the FCF programme, the Royal Marines Commandos will take on many of the traditional tasks of the SAS and SBS, alongside a new Army Ranger Regiment. As part of this programme, Navy Command is also creating the staff and intellectual horsepower for a land littoral strike division programme. An example of the FCF was depicted by young engineering graduates from the UK Naval Engineering Science and Technology forum (UKNEST). There will be two Littoral Response Groups: One based East of Suez, one based in the High North. On 27 June 2020, the Royal Marines announced they will adopt a new uniform with the MultiCam camouflage instead of the MTP camo.


Selection and training

Royal Marine Commandos are required to undergo the longest and one of the most physically demanding specialist infantry training courses in the world. Recruit training lasts for 36 weeks for Royal Marine Commandos and 64 weeks for Royal Marine Commando Officers. Potential recruits must be aged 16 to 32 (18 to 25 for Commissioned Officers). Applicants must undertake a series of interviews, medical tests, an eye/sight test, psychometric tests, a PJFT (Pre-joining fitness test), a CPC (Candidate Preparation Course), and a ROP (Recruit Orientation Phase).Recruitment Process Royal Marines
, royalnavy.mod.uk
If a potential recruit passes these phases, then they will get selected for a place in recruit training. Potential officers undertake a POC (Potential Officer Course) instead of the CPC (Candidate Preparation Course) – both of which take place at the
Commando Training Centre Royal Marines Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) is the principal military training centre for the Royal Marines. It is situated near the villages of Lympstone and Exton, Devon, Exton, between the city of Exeter, and the town of Exmouth in Devon, En ...
(CTCRM) in
Lympstone Lympstone is a village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of Parish (administrative division), administrative parish used for Local government in England, local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lo ...
, Devon. Officers must also take the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB). Upon passing the three-day course, recruits then start basic recruit training (RT) at CTCRM. A large proportion of training is carried out on
Dartmoor Dartmoor is an highland (geography), upland area in southern Devon, England. The moorland and surrounding land has been protected by National parks of England and Wales, National Park status since 1951. Dartmoor National Park covers . The gran ...
's inhospitable terrain and Woodbury Common woodland. Throughout recruit training, Royal Marines Commando recruits learn and develop a vast amount of knowledge and warfighting skills such as weapons handling, marksmanship, proficiency with a variety of different firearms and weapon systems, unarmed and armed
close quarters combat Close-quarters combat (CQC) or close-quarters battle (CQB) is a military tactics, tactical situation that involves a physical fight with firearms involved between multiple combatants at short range. It can occur between military units, police/co ...
(CQC), develop elite levels of physical fitness and mental resilience, demolition, reconnaissance, small team tactics, small boat operations, breaching, raiding, direct action, SERE training,
fieldcraft Fieldcraft is the techniques involved in living, traveling, or making military or scientific observations in the field and the methods used to do so. The term "fieldcraft" is used in a broad range of industries including military, oil and gas, wi ...
skills such as camouflage and stalking, survival skills, bushcraft, mountaineering, fast-roping (helicopter), abseiling, vertical assault, underwater escape, chemical biological radiological nuclear (CBRN) training, military communications and signals, map reading and navigation, leadership and teamwork skills, first aid, patrolling and sentry duty, amphibious landings training, personal administration, and marching and parade ground skills. The best recruit to finish training is awarded the Kings Badge. King George V directed that his Royal Cypher, surrounded by a laurel wreath, would be known as the King's Badge, and would be awarded to the best all round recruit in the King's Squad, provided that he was worthy of the honour. The badge was to be carried on the left shoulder, and worn in every rank. The King's Badge is not awarded to every squad, and is only presented if a recruit measures up to the very exacting standards required. Throughout their career, a Royal Marine Commando can specialise in a number of different roles upon completion of their respective courses after spending one to two years as a general duties (GD) rifleman at a unit. Examples of some specialisations and different courses includes the mountain leader (ML), physical training instructor (PTI), Assault Engineer (AE), Royal Marines police (RMP), sniper (S), medical assistant (MA), pilot, reconnaissance operator (RO), drill instructor (DL), driver (D), clerk (C), signaller (SI), combat intelligence (CI), armourer (A), and heavy weapons (HW). Royal Marines can also apply for swimmer canoeist/
Special Boat Service The Special Boat Service (SBS) is the special forces Special forces and special operations forces (SOF) are military units trained to conduct special operations. NATO has defined special operations as "military activities conducted by sp ...
selection (SBS) or any other branch of the UKSF. All Royal Marines will also conduct training exercises on differing military skills on a regular basis including development in mountain, arctic, jungle, amphibious and desert warfare. They can also be involved in exchange training programs with other countries' forces – particularly the
United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations through c ...
and the
Netherlands Marine Corps The Netherlands Marine Corps ( nl, Korps Mariniers) is the elite naval infantry corps of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The marines trace their origins back to the establishment of the on 10 December 1665, by the then grand pensionary of the Dutch ...
/Korps Mariniers.


Museum

The
Royal Marines Museum The Royal Marines Museum is a museum on the history of the Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM), also known as the Royal Marines Commandos, are the UK's special operations capable commando force, amphibious warfare, amphibiou ...
(established in October 1958) is an institution dedicated to the history of the Royal Marines. In 2011, it became part of the
National Museum of the Royal Navy The National Museum of the Royal Navy was created in early 2009 to act as a single non-departmental public body for the museums of the Royal Navy. With venues across the United Kingdom, the museums detail the history of the Royal Navy operating ...
, which has since been the executive public body of the museum in the
Ministry of Defence {{unsourced, date=February 2021 A ministry of defence or defense (see spelling differences), also known as a department of defence or defense, is an often-used name for the part of a government A government is the system or group o ...
. It will soon be moving from Eastney Barracks to
Portsmouth Dockyard His Majesty's Naval Base, Portsmouth (HMNB Portsmouth) is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of E ...
.


Customs and traditions

The Royal Marines have a proud history and unique traditions. With the exceptions of "Gibraltar" and the laurel wreath for the Battle of Belle Island, their colours (flags) do not carry
battle honours A battle honour is an award of a right by a government or sovereign to a military unit to emblazon the name of a battle or Military operation, operation on its flags ("colours"), uniforms or other accessories where ornamentation is possible. In ...
in the manner of the regiments of the British Army or of the US Marine Corps, but rather the "globe itself" as a symbol of the Corps. The heraldic crest of the Royal Marines commemorates the history of the Corps. The Lion and Crown denotes a Royal regiment.
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Monarchy of Ireland, Ireland from 25 October 1760 until Acts of Union 1800, the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he was ...
conferred this honour in 1802 "in consideration of the very meritorious services of the Marines in the late war." The "Great Globe itself" was chosen in 1827 by
King George IV George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten ye ...
in place of battle honours to recognise the Marines' service and successes in multiple engagements in every quarter of the world. The laurels are believed to honour the gallantry they displayed during the investment and capture of Belle Isle, off
Lorient Lorient (; ) is a town (''Communes of France, commune'') and Port, seaport in the Morbihan Departments of France, department of Brittany (administrative region), Brittany in western France. History Prehistory and classical antiquity Beginn ...
, in April–June 1761. The word ''
Gibraltar ) , anthem = "God Save the King" , song = "Gibraltar Anthem" , image_map = Gibraltar location in Europe.svg , map_alt = Location of Gibraltar in Europe , map_caption = United Kingdom shown in pale green , mapsize = , image_map2 = Gibra ...
'' refers to the
Capture of Gibraltar The Capture of Gibraltar by Anglo-Dutch forces of the Grand Alliance (League of Augsburg), Grand Alliance occurred between 1 and 4 August 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession. Since the beginning of the war the Alliance had been looking ...
by a force of Anglo-Dutch Marines in 1704 and the subsequent defence of the strategic fortress throughout a nine-month
siege A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition warfare, attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from la, sedere, lit=to sit. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity con ...
against a numerically superior Franco-Spanish force. Their determination and valour throughout the siege led to a contemporary report published in ''The Triumphs of Her Majesty's Arms'' in 1707 to announce: There are no other battle honours displayed on the colours of the four battalion-sized units of the current Corps. The Latin motto "Per Mare Per Terram" translates into English as "By Sea By Land". Believed to have been first used in 1775, this motto describes the Royal Marines ability in fighting both afloat on-board ships of the Royal Navy as well as ashore in their many land engagements. The fouled anchor, incorporated into the emblem in 1747, is the badge of the Lord High Admiral, and shows that the Corps is part of the Naval Service. The regimental quick march of the Corps is "
A Life on the Ocean Wave "A Life on the Ocean Wave" is a poem-turned-song by Epes Sargent (poet), Epes Sargent published in 1838 and set to music by Henry Russell (musician), Henry Russell. It is the iconic Regimental March of His Majesty's Royal Marines. Origin of the po ...
", while the slow march is the march of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, awarded to the Corps by Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma on the occasion of the Corps's tercentenary in 1964. Lord Mountbatten was Life Colonel Commandant of the Royal Marines until his murder by the IRA in 1979. The Royal Marines are allowed by the
Lord Mayor of the City of London Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, chief, or ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the Peerage ...
to march through the
City A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be def ...
as a regiment in full array. This dates to the charter of Charles II that allowed recruiting parties of the Admiral's Regiment of 1664 to enter the City with drums beating and colours flying.


Uniforms

Modern Royal Marines uniforms are broadly similar to British Army uniforms but include a number of distinctive uniform items. These include the green "Lovat" shade of service dress uniform; the
green beret The green beret was the official Headgear, headdress of the Commandos (United Kingdom), British Commandos of the World War II, Second World War. It is still worn by members of the Royal Marines after passing the Royal Marines, Commando Course, ...
(for those who have passed the commando course) or navy blue beret (for those who have not) with a scarlet patch behind the badge; dark blue parade dress worn with either the white Wolseley Pattern Helmet (commonly referred to as "
pith helmet The pith helmet, also known as the safari helmet, salacot, sola topee, sun helmet, topee, and topi) is a lightweight cloth-covered helmet made of sholapith. The pith helmet originates from the Spanish Empire, Spanish military adaptation of the na ...
") or white and red peaked cap; the scarlet and blue mess dress for officers and senior non-commissioned officers; and the white hot-weather uniform of the Band Service. For historical information regarding Marine uniforms, see '' Uniforms of the Royal Marines''.


Ranks and insignia


Associations with other regiments and marine corps

; Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders: Early connections date from Balaclava in the
Crimean War The Crimean War, , was fought from October 1853 to February 1856 between Russian Empire, Russia and an ultimately victorious alliance of the Ottoman Empire, Second French Empire, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Uni ...
and Lucknow during the
Indian Rebellion of 1857 The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major uprising in India in 1857–58 against Company rule in India, the rule of the East India Company, British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf of the The Crown, British ...
, but the main association stems from World War II. In July 1940, after the fall of Dunkirk, the 5th Battalion,
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Argyll (; archaically Argyle, in modern Gaelic, ), sometimes called Argyllshire, is a historic county and registration county of western Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the Unit ...
served with the Royal Marine Brigade for over a year. When the battleships and were sunk in December 1941, the Royal Marines survivors joined up with the remnants of the 2nd Battalion, in the defence of Singapore. They formed what became known as 'The Plymouth Argylls', after the association football team, since both ships were Plymouth manned. Most of the Highlanders and Marines who survived the bitter fighting were taken prisoner by the Japanese. The Royal Marines inter-unit rugby football trophy is the 'Argyll Bowl', presented to the Corps by the Regiment in 1941. ; Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment: The fore-bearer regiments of the
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (or PWRR, also known as 'The Tigers') is the senior English line infantry regiment A regiment is a military unit. Its role and size varies markedly, depending on the country, military service, se ...
, 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot was initially raised as amphibious troops. They served as Marines for a period. To this day one officer from the Royal Marines serves with the PWRR and Vice Versa. Also the Royal Marine Lanyard is worn by all ranks in Service Dress and Number 2 Dress uniform and barrack dress of PWRR. ; United States Marine Corps: The Royal Marines and the
United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations through c ...
have trained together or exchanged training on multiple occasions, sometimes as mixed units to further build cooperation. In 2018, the Royal Marines won a friendly boxing tournament contested by fighters from both corps at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London broadcast by
Sky Sports Sky Sports is a group of British broadcasting of sports events, subscription sports channels operated by the satellite television, satellite pay television company Sky Group (a division of Comcast), and is the dominant subscription television ...
. ; Barbados Defence Force: Close links have existed between the Royal Marines and the
Barbados Defence Force The Barbados Defence Force (BDF) is the name given to the combined armed forces of Barbados. The BDF was established 15 August 1979, and has responsibility for the territorial defence and internal security of the island. The headquarters for the ...
since 1985 when a bond was established following a series of cross-training exercises in the Caribbean. The Alliance was approved by HM the Queen in 1992. ; Netherlands Marine Corps: The Royal Marines have close links with the Royal
Netherlands Marine Corps The Netherlands Marine Corps ( nl, Korps Mariniers) is the elite naval infantry corps of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The marines trace their origins back to the establishment of the on 10 December 1665, by the then grand pensionary of the Dutch ...
, with whom they conduct NATO exercises throughout the year. Formed during the Anglo-Dutch Wars in 1665, the Dutch Marines distinguished themselves in raids on the English coast, where it is likely they met their future counterparts.Second Anglo-Dutch War: Raid on the Medway
by Kennedy R. Hickman, About.com

Units of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps work in close co-operation with 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines. Operational units of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps are fully integrated into this brigade. This integration is known as the United Kingdom-Netherlands Landing Force and is a component of the United Kingdom-Netherlands Amphibious Force as a key strike force during the Cold War to strengthen the Nordic area. ; French 9th Marine Infantry Brigade (former 9th Light Armoured Marine Brigade): The 9th Marine Infantry Brigade (, 9e BIMa) is a Marine infantry brigade which is one of the two designated amphibious brigades in France. It is unique in being the only 'All Marine' Brigade in the
French Army History Early history The first permanent army, paid with regular wages, instead of feudal levies, was established under Charles VII of France, Charles VII in the 1420 to 1430s. The Kings of France needed reliable troops during and after the ...
; the other amphibious brigade, 6th Light Armoured Brigade (, 6e BLB), is composed of a mix of cap badges. 9e BIMa is also a light armoured brigade, formed of two Marine infantry regiments ( 2e RIMa and 3e RIMa — ) and a tank battalion.


See also

*
Royal Marines selection and training Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM), also known as the Royal Marines Commandos, are the UK's special operations capable commando force, amphibious warfare, amphibious light infantry and also one of the :Fighting Arms of the Royal Na ...
*
Royal Marines Reserve The Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) is the volunteer reserve force used to augment the regular Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM), also known as the Royal Marines Commandos, are the UK's special operations capable commando force, am ...
*
Royal Marines Museum The Royal Marines Museum is a museum on the history of the Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM), also known as the Royal Marines Commandos, are the UK's special operations capable commando force, amphibious warfare, amphibiou ...
* Royal Marines Cadets * Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps * RM Turnchapel * List of active Royal Marines military watercraft * List of serving senior officers of the Royal Marines


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * *Dutton, Jim. "The Royal Marines Today,"
RUSI Journal The ''RUSI Journal'' is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering international security and Military strategy, defence strategy. It was established in 1857 as the ''Royal United Services Institution Journal'', obtaining its current title in 1972. ...
, Vol. 145, No. 4, August 2000, 21-24. * * * * * * * * * *


External links

*
Royal Marines History
website
Royal Marines Band Service
website
Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps (RMVCC) Portsmouth
website * Downloa
Royal Marines Registers of Service
(1842–1925). The National Archives official website
Potential Royal Marines Commando forum
(for men wishing to join)
"Rum Ration": The Navy Network
– unofficial website for the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Royal Marines Museum
website
Marine Society
website

* ttp://www.naval-history.net/WW2CampaignsRNHons.htm Royal Navy Battle Honours including Royal Marine Corps Memorable Dates, 1939–1945 {{Use dmy dates, date=August 2014 1664 establishments in England 1755 establishments in Great Britain British Armed Forces Commandos (United Kingdom) M Military of the United Kingdom Military units and formations established in 1664 Military units and formations in Plymouth, Devon Military units and formations of Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom) United K