Marines, also known as a marine corps or naval infantry, are typically
an infantry force that specializes in the support of naval and army
operations at sea and on land, as well as the execution of their own
operations. In the majority of countries, the marine force is an
integral part of the navy, but it can also be under the army like the
Troupes de marine
Troupes de marine (French Marines) and
Givati Brigade (Israeli
Marines), or form an independent service branch like the United States
Corps and the
Royal Marines (although the United States Marine
Corps is under the United States Department of the Navy, and the Royal
Marines come under Her Majesty's Naval Service).
Historically, tasks undertaken by marines have included: helping
maintain discipline and order aboard the ship (reflecting the pressed
nature of the ships' company and the risk of mutiny), the boarding of
vessels during combat or capture of prize ships, and providing
manpower for raiding ashore in support of the naval objectives.
With the industrialization of warfare in the 20th century the scale of
landing operations increased; this brought with it an increased
likelihood of opposition and a need for co-ordination of various
military elements. Marine forces evolved to specialize in the skills
and capabilities required for amphibious warfare.
4 By country
4.8 China, People's Republic of
Taiwan (Republic of China)
4.14 El Salvador
4.27 Korea, South
4.28 Korea, North
4.45 Saudi Arabia
4.46 South Africa
4.48 Sri Lanka
4.55 United Arab Emirates
4.56 United Kingdom
4.57 United States
5 Historical marine forces
5.1 Ancient Greece
5.2 Ancient Rome
5.4 Byzantine Empire
5.5 Confederate States of America
5.9 Gran Colombia
5.15 The Netherlands
5.16 Ottoman Empire
5.17 Portuguese Empire
5.18 Russian Empire
5.19 Soviet Union
5.20 South Africa
5.21 United Kingdom
5.22 United States
6 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
Ancient Greek trireme
The Roman corvus
In the earliest day of naval warfare, there was little distinction
between sailors and soldiers on a warship. The oarsmen of Ancient
Greek and Roman ships had to be capable of fighting the rowers of
opposing ships hand-to-hand; though hoplites began appearing on
Greek ships specifically for the boarding of enemy ships.
Roman Republic was the first to understand the importance of
professional soldiers dedicated to melee combat onboard of ships.
During the First Punic War, Roman crews remained inferior in naval
experience to the Carthaginians and could not hope to match the
Carthaginians in naval tactics, which required great fleet
maneuverability and tactical experience. The Romans therefore employed
a novel weapon which changed sea warfare to their advantage — they
equipped their ships with the corvus, a long pivoting plank with a
beak-like spike on the underside for hooking onto enemy ships,
possibly developed earlier by the Syracusans against the Athenians
Sicilian Expedition of the Peloponnesian War. Using it as a
boarding bridge, Roman infantrymen were able to invade an enemy ship,
transforming sea combat into a version of land combat, where the Roman
legionaries had the upper hand. During the early Principate, a
ship's crew, regardless of its size, was organized as a centuria.
Crewmen could sign on as naval infantry (called Marinus),
rowers/seamen, craftsmen and various other jobs, though all personnel
serving in the imperial fleet were classed as milites ("soldiers"),
regardless of their function; only when differentiation with the army
was required, were the adjectives classiarius or classicus added. The
Roman Navy's two fleet legions, I Adiutrix and II Adiutrix, were among
the first distinct naval infantry units .
The first organized corp of marines was created in Venice by the Doge
Enrico Dandolo when he created the first regiment of ten companies
spread on several ships. That Corp participated to the conquest of
Byzantium (1203-1204), later officially called " Fanti da Mar" (sea
infantry ) in 1550.
Later also the Spanish king, Carlos I, assigned the naval infantry of
the Compañías Viejas del Mar de Nápoles (Naples Sea Old Companies)
to the Escuadras de Galeras del Mediterráneo (Mediterranean Galley
Squadrons) in 1537, progenitors of the current Spanish
(Infantería de Marina) corps, making them the oldest marine corps
still in active service in the world.
The third oldest marine corps in the world was founded as the Terço
Navy of the Crown of
Portugal in 1618, predecessor to the
modern Portuguese Marine Corps.
The word marine is from the English adjective marine, meaning of the
sea, via French marin(e), of the sea from
Latin marinus ("of the sea")
itself from mare ("sea"), from Proto-Indo-European *móri ("body of
water, lake") (cognate with Old English mere ("sea, lake, pool,
pond"), Dutch meer, German Meer, all from Proto-Germanic *mari).
The word marine was originally used for the forces of
exact one-word translations for the term do not exist in many other
languages except for the Dutch word marinier. Typically, foreign
equivalents are called naval infantry or coastal infantry. In
French-speaking countries, two phrases exist which could be translated
as marine, troupes de marine and fusiliers-marins; similar
pseudo-translations exist elsewhere, e.g., Fuzileiros Navais in
Portuguese. The word marine/marina means "navy" in many European
languages such as Dutch, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Danish and
Marines from the U.S. conducting a live fire training exercise aboard
an amphibious assault ship in 2004.
The principal role of marine troops is military operations in the
littoral zone, operating from ships they are trained to land on and
secure key points to around 50 miles inland, or as far as ship borne
logistics can provide.
Marine units primarily deploy from warships using boats, landing
craft, hovercraft, amphibious vehicles or helicopters. Specialist
units are also trained in combat diving/combat swimming and
As well as amphibious operations, marine troops are also used in a
variety of other, naval roles. Stationed at naval bases or forming
marine detachments onboard naval ships, they also conduct small scale
raiding, maritime boarding operations, security of naval vessels and
bases, riverine and coastal missions, mess duty, and field day
In addition to their primary roles, they also perform other tasks,
including special operations and land warfare, separate from naval
operations; ceremonial duties and miscellaneous other tasks as
directed by governments .
Argentine Marine Corps
Argentine Marine Corps (Infantería de Marina de la Armada de la
República Argentina or IMARA) is a part of the Argentine Navy.
Argentine marines have the same rank insignia and titles as the rest
of the navy. It is composed of a fleet marine force (one marine
battalion, plus artillery, air defense, communications, logistics,
engineer and vehicle units), a southern marine force (two marine
battalions), a river operations battalion, a special forces unit (the
Amphibious Commandos Group) and several security battalions and
Argentine Marine Corps
Argentine Marine Corps dates from 1827 when a single infantry
battalion was raised. This was expanded in 1880 but seven years later
the corps was merged with the existing coast artillery, to form a
Naval Artillery Regiment. A series of reorganizations followed until
responsibility for coastal defense was passed to the Argentine
1898. Between 1935 and 1938 the marines reappeared in the form of five
battalions of Marine Infantry, serving both on board ship and in
coastal defense fortifications. In 1968 the Infanteria de Marina was
reorganized as a separate corps distinct from both
Navy and Army.
Battalion of the Argentine
Marines fought in the Falklands War
(Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur).
The marine and naval infantry designations are not, officially,
Australian Defence Force
Australian Defence Force units, although some Australian
Army units specialise in amphibious warfare, including
2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment – retrained in an
amphibious light infantry role from 2012.
Royal Bahamas Defence Force
Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) is the navy of The Bahamas.
Since the Bahamas does not have an army or an air force, its navy
composes the entirety of its armed forces. The RBDF Commando Squadron
is a sizable force of 500
Special Marine Commandos.
The Bolivian Naval Force includes about 2,000 naval infantry personnel
and marines. These are organised in the Almirante Grau Battalion,
located at Tiquina on Lake Titicaca, and smaller units.
Brazilian marines demonstrate lane training.
Corps of Naval Fusiliers (Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais), with about
15,000 men, is subordinate to the Brazilian Navy. The marine corps is
composed of an operational brigade and some guard and ceremonial duty
battalions. The main unit is the brigade-sized Divisão Anfíbia
The Royal Cambodian
Navy created a force of 2,000 marines in 2007.
Navy special forces seen here using the MP5N
The 4,200 strong Chilean
Corps of Naval
Infantry (Cuerpo de Infanteria
de Marina) is a branch of the Chilean Navy.
Specialized in amphibious assaults and land fighting, the corps is
build around four detachments based along Chile's long coasts at Viña
del Mar, Talcahuano, Punta Arenas and Iquique. Each detachment is made
by infantry battalions as well as tactical support companies
comprising artillery, air defence and light tanks elements. There are
also a number of independent companies and platoons, for security
protection at naval bases, other shore installations and the Ministry
The Viña del Mar and Talcahuano detachments contribute to the
Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade (Brigada Anfibia Expedicionaria). The
detachment at Iquique includes a whole artillery group, equipped with
Soltam 155mm howitzers for coastal defence and land fire support.
There is as a group of Marine
Infantry commandos (Grupo de Comandos
IM), which together with the group of naval tactical divers
(Agrupación de Buzos Tácticos) are part of the Navy's Special
Operations Command (Comando de Operaciones Especiales).
China, People's Republic of
Army Marine Corps
Taiwan (Republic of China)
Taiwanese marines during a military parade in 2007
Republic of China Marine Corps
Republic of China Marine Corps (traditional
Chinese：中華民國海軍陸戰隊) is responsible for amphibious
combat, counter-landing and reinforcement of the main island of
Taiwan, remote islands, defense of ROCN facilities, and also functions
as a rapid reaction force and a strategic reserve.
Colombian Marine Corps
Colombian Marine Corps is organized into a single
division with four brigades (one counter-terrorist and three river
brigades), each with several battalions plus numerous small security
units. It is a part of the Colombian Navy.
The modern Marine
Corps dates from the establishment of two rifle
companies in 1936. While remaining a small force the corps saw service
during the civil war between Conservatives and Liberals of 1946-58;
and provided volunteers for service in the Korean War. By the 1960s it
had been expanded to a battalion of marine infantry plus five
The Cuban Revolutionary
Navy (Marina de Guerra Revolucionaria or MGR)
maintains a small marine battalion called the Desembarco de Granma.
The 5,000-man Ecuadorian
Navy maintains a 1,700-man Naval Infantry
Corps (Cuerpo de Infanteria de Marina) headquartered in Guayaquil. It
was formed on 12 November 1962. It is organised into two security
battalions, one in the
Amazon River area and the other on the Pacific
coast. There is also a commando battalion based on the Galápagos
Egyptian marines aim a SG43 machine-gun during an amphibious during
Exercise Bright Star '85
The 111th Independent Mechanized Brigade (formerly the 130th Marine
Amphibious Brigade) of the Egyptian
Army can conduct amphibious
assault operations. There is also the 153rd Commando Group with three
Marine Commandos Battalions (515th, 616th, 818th) controlling 12
Marine Commandos Companies.
The El Salvador
Navy included two 600-man Marine
(Batallon de Infanteria de Marina or BIM), and a 300-man Naval
Commando Force. The BIMs were located at La Unión and Usulatan. The
Corps uses green pixelated and green woodland
Finnish coastal jaegers conducting an amphibious landing
Uusimaa Brigade (Swedish: Nylands Brigad) in Ekenäs is
the home of the Finnish
Marines — the Kustjägarna (in Swedish) /
Rannikkojääkärit (in Finnish) / or Coastal Jaegers (in English).
The Brigade is part of the Finnish Navy, and the only Swedish-speaking
unit within the Finnish Defence Forces.
Group of naval fusiliers of Toulon, France
Fusiliers Marins (Naval Fusiliers) and Commandos Marine (Naval
Commandos) are naval personnel. The fusiliers marins protect vessels
and installations, provide the navy with military training, augment
boarding-landing parties and support operations of the Commandos
Marine. The Commandos Marine (Naval Commandos) are a six company
Commando formation whose roots can be traced to the Second World War.
The Commandos Marine have evolved to be broadly comparable to the
Boat Service, with whom they exchange officers.
Troupes de marine
Troupes de marine with Task Force Korrigan in Afghanistan, 2009
Troupes de Marine ("Marine Troops"), are a branch of the French Army,
renamed from the Troupes Coloniales who served in France's overseas
territories to maintain or expand French interests. The modern Troupes
de Marine have units permanently based in Africa: one battalion in
Senegal, one battalion in
Côte d'Ivoire (until 2009, now forming the
core of Operation Unicorn), and one battalion in Gabon; in addition
they man bases in the French Overseas Territories. The Troupes de
Marine include infantry (Infanterie de Marine), paratroops, light
cavalry and artillery (Artillerie de Marine). They now provide the
large ground combat elements of French amphibious task forces and are
specifically trained for that purpose. The 9th Marine Brigade (9e
Brigade Légère Blindée de Marine (9 BLBMa)) is twinned with the 3
Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines, organising the exchange of
officers and sharing training and exercises.
Navy boarding team member provides security for the remainder
of his team as they board a local cargo dhow by fast rope to conduct a
search of the vessel.
The Spezialisierte Einsatzkräfte Marine (Naval
Force) was a special operations formation of the German Navy. The
battalion included the Kampfschwimmerkompanie (German commando
Minentaucher kompanie and a boarding-company. The unit
was based at Eckernförde.
The Marineschutzkräfte (Naval Protection Force), was responsible for
the protection of naval bases and facilities and also conducted small
scale landings. The battalion was based in
Eckernförde and was
organized into five units: one staff & support company, three
infantry companies, and an intelligence section.
The Greek 32nd Marine Brigade "Moravas" (32η Ταξιαρχία
Πεζοναυτών Mοράβας) and the Amphibious Raider
Squadrons (known as MAK) are amphibious infantry and maritime
operations units maintained by the Hellenic
Army and supported by the
Navy established at least one 600-man marine infantry
battalion (Batallón de Infantería de Marina or BIM) in 1982.
Navy has platoons of amphibious soldiers, similar to the
United States Marine Corps, except that they are incorporated into the
navy instead of being a separate armed service.
Navy has an elite special operations unit called "MARCOS"
(Marine Commandos). They form a special/covert operations and
counter-terrorism unit specialising in sea, air and land warfare.
Also, they provide support to Indian
Army units in specialised areas,
such as preventing infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir's Wular lake.
This unit was established in 1986, and is reputed to have a strength
of 2000 personnel.
Army maintains the 340 Independent
(Amphibious) subordinate to 12
Corps (Jodhpur, Rajasthan) of the South
Western Command.
Marines cadet performing basic entry drill for room
Indonesian Marine Corps
Indonesian Marine Corps (Indonesian: Korps Marinir) previously
known as KKO (Korps Komando Operasi), officially known as KORMAR or
simply "Marinir" ,translated as: Marine Corps, Indonesian Navy is
currently an integral part of the
Navy (TNI-AL) and sized at the
military corps level unit as the naval infantry and main amphibious
warfare force of Indonesia. The Marine
Corps is commanded by a
two-star marine general. Currently, it has two divisions, which are
led by one-star marine general.
IRGCN marine forces conducting an amphibious assault exercise during
Great Prophet IX
Great Prophet IX war games.
Iranian Revolution in 1979, the number of marines in the
Islamic Republic of Iran
Navy (IRIN) has expanded to 2,600 personnel,
in two marine brigades, each composed of three battalions. Their
mission is to provide security throughout the
Arabian Sea and free
waters, as well as securing routes for Iranian ships in the Gulf of
Navy of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard
Corps (IRGCN) maintains
several units which may perform marine-type functions, including at
least one 5,000 man brigade of three or four marine battalions. It
also has a Takavar naval commando battalion, called Sepah
Forces (S.N.S.F.). They are tasked with providing security in the
Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, as well as conducting anti-piracy
missions to assist Iranian ships.
Navy is a small force with 1,500 sailors and 800 marines
designed to protect the shoreline and inland waterways from insurgent
infiltration. The navy is also responsible for the security of
offshore oil platforms. The navy will have coastal patrol squadrons,
assault boat squadrons and a marine battalion. The force will
consist of 2,000 to 2,500 sailors by 2010.
Givati Brigade functions as the amphibious force and is one of the
infantry brigades in the Israel Defense Forces.
An Italian Marine sets security for his team to safely board a cargo
ship to conduct a search of the vessel.
San Marco Marine Brigade
San Marco Marine Brigade is the marine infantry unit of the
Navy (Marina Militare).
COMSUBIN GOI (Commando Raggruppamento Subacquei ed Incursori Teseo
Tesei) is the elite commando frogman force of the
Navy and one of the
Italian special forces. It is largely drawn from the ranks of the San
Regiment is the amphibious infantry unit of the
Army (Esercito Italiano). Its soldiers are called
they are the Italian
The JSDF has three units similar to marines:
JGSDF - 13th Brigade
JGSDF - Western
Regiment (Ranger), Sasebo;
Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade
Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (Senkaku Islands) -
Japanese marines tasked with offensive amphibious assault to retake
islands. This unit is currently being organized and is undergoing
extensive amphibious assault training, expecting to have 3,000
Japanese marines to be fully operational by 2018.;
Republic of Korea
Republic of Korea Marine Corps
Republic of Korea
Republic of Korea Marine
Corps is the marine corps of the Republic
of Korea. Though theoretically it is under the direction of the Chief
of Naval Operations, the Marine
Corps operates as a distinct arm of
the South Korean forces, unlike most other marine branches, which
generally operate as part of the country's navy. It was founded as a
reconnaissance force just prior to the start of the Korean War. The
ROKMC has seen action in several major conflicts.
The NKPA's Light
Infantry Training Guidance Bureau has two or more
amphibious light infantry/sniper brigades. These brigades are believed
Wonsan on the east coast and
Namp'o and Tasa-ri on the
west coast. In organization and manpower, they are reduced versions of
the regular light infantry brigades with a total strength of
approximately 5,000 men organized into ten battalions. Each battalion
has about 400 men organized into five companies each. Some amphibious
brigade personnel are trained as frogmen.
Lebanon maintains an elite but very small in number "
regiment. Trained internationally and armed with mostly American and
French made equipment, the Lebanese
Navy Commandos maintain elite but
seldom recognized status as some of the most skilled and well-trained
special forces (alongside the Lebanese Maghaweer) in the Levant and
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said in a statement on 10
October 2013, Malaysia is planning on establishing a marines corps for
amphibious operations. The Marine
Corps will be drawn from all
three services, with the majority of personnel coming from one of the
three parachute battalions of the 10 Paratrooper Brigade, which will
be re-designated as a marine battalion. The 9th Royal Malay Regiment
(para) and 8th Royal Ranger
Regiment (para) have both conducted
amphibious warfare training as a secondary mission and most recently
in June 2013 during the CARAT exercise with the US Marine
and subsequently in an amphibious landing exercise with French troops
and the landing platform dock FNS Tonnerre. Malaysian
government has yet to decide whether the marines will fall under
Army or Royal Malaysian Navy.
MNDF Marine Corps
Mexican Naval Infantry
The Mexican Naval
Infantry (Spanish: Infantería de Marina) of the
Navy consists of 25,000 marines spread in a brigade of three
battalions, plus a battalion attached to the Presidential Guard Corps,
three regional battalions with headquarters in Mexico City, Acapulco
and Veracruz, and thirty-five independent companies (mainly In Celaya)
and detachments distributed among ports, bases and zonal headquarters.
The marines are responsible for port security, protection of the
ten-kilometer coastal fringe, and patrolling major waterways. The
marines have light arms, heavy weapons and armored amphibious
Navy ceded most of its riverine responsibilities to the
Army, reducing the size of the marine force, and deploying them back
aboard ships where they play a vital role in drug interdiction and
boarding of suspect vessels in territorial waters. In 2010, the
Corps began undertaking land-based counter-narcotics
operations, in large part due to the marines' reputation of being
Mexico's most trustworthy and unimpeachable force.
Navy raised a naval infantry battalion of 800 men in 1964,
followed by a second battalion in 1967. Two more battalions may have
also been raised. They were deployed mainly to the Arakan and
Tenasserim areas, and to the Irrawaddy delta, to assist in
counter-insurgency operations, but also performed other security
Namibian Marine Corps
The Royal Netherlands
Navy naval infantry unit is the Netherlands
Corps (Korps Mariniers), founded in 1665 as an infantry
regiment to the Dutch Navy. They saw their first amphibious action in
1667 raiding the English coast during the Raid on the Medway. Their
Latin motto is Qua Patet Orbis ("As Far as the World Extends"). Today,
it is a brigade approximately 2300 marines strong, consisting of two
marine infantry battalions (plus one infantry company which is
stationed in Aruba), one amphibious combat support battalion and one
logistical battalion. The Dutch Marine
Corps is an elite light
infantry unit, operating as a rapid-reaction force, deployable
anywhere in the world within 48 hours. Dutch
Marines train in all
possible geographical and climate conditions for their role. Enlisted
marine recruit training lasts 33 weeks, and marine officers train up
to 18 months (including naval academy time). It has its own Special
Forces branch known as Maritime
Special Operations Forces (MARSOF);
including a smaller elite Counter Terrorism (CT) unit: the Unit
Interventie Mariniers (UIM) of roughly 130 operators. The UIM is the
Netherlands main counter terrorism unit and upholds a reputation as
one of the best of its kind, globally.
The Coastal Ranger Command (
Kystjegerkommandoen or KJK) of the
Navy is an amphibious infantry unit trained to operate in
littoral combat theatres, as naval infantry and coastal artillery.
There is also an SBS type naval commando unit, the
Pakistani and U.S. marines come ashore during a training exercise.
Pakistan Marines division of the Pakistan
Navy was re-established
on April 14, 1990, with about 6000 men and plans to expand the force
significantly by 2015. The marines are based at
PNS Qasim naval base.
The Paraguayan Marine
Corps (Cuerpo de Fusileros Navales) is a
battalion-sized organization consisting of four company sized
brigades. In limited cadre form the Marine
Corps dates from the late
19th century, although it only achieved significant existence when the
three-battalion sized Regimiento de Infanteria de Marina Riachuelo was
created in the final stages of the
Chaco War of 1932-35.
Peruvian Naval Infantry
Peruvian Naval Infantry (Infantería de Marina del Perú) consists
of around 3,000 naval infantrymen and includes an amphibious brigade
of three battalions and local security units with two transport ships,
four tank landing ships, and about forty Chaimite armored personnel
carriers. Since 1982, IMAP detachments have been deployed, under army
command, in counter-insurgency operations.
Philippine marines push forward during an amphibious assault training
The Philippine Marine
Corps (PMC) has a strength of about 8,700 men
divided into three brigades. The Philippine Marine
Corps is considered
the shock force of the armed forces and is the first unit to be
involved in any amphibious or seaborne clashes.
Navy maintains several naval infantry units responsible for
port and coastal security.
Army maintains the 7th Coastal Defense Brigade, which bears
traditions of the disbanded 7th Coastal Defence Division (the Blue
Berets), therefore it is sometimes referred to as the
Poland. However, as of 2010 there are no plans by the Polish
create an active marine unit. Therefore, the 7th Brigade carries out
only limited-scale exercises of amphibious assaults.
The Portuguese Corpo de Fuzileiros
The third oldest marine corps in the world was founded as the Terço
Navy of the Crown of
Portugal in 1618. The Portuguese Navy
still maintains this naval infantry corps, which is currently known as
the Corpo de Fuzileiros. The
Portuguese Marine Corps
Portuguese Marine Corps consists of about
1500 men, including two naval infantry battalions, a naval police
unit, a special operations unit and several support units (logistical,
fire support, landing craft, etc.).
The 307th Marine
Battalion (Batalionul 307 Infanterie Marină) is the
light infantry/reconnaissance unit of the Romanian Naval Forces. It is
located in Babadag, Tulcea County, and was formed in the mid-1970s for
the defence of the
Danube Delta and Romanian
Black Sea shore.
A Russian Naval Infantryman on exercise.
The Russian Naval Infantry, (Russian: Морская пехота) are
the amphibious forces of the Russian Armed Forces. The naval infantry
includes the 65th Naval
Infantry Brigade of the Russian Pacific Fleet,
the independent brigades of the Northern and Baltic Fleets and of the
Caspian Military Flotilla, and the independent regiment of the Black
Navy also has the Russian commando frogmen, an elite unit
of underwater reconnaissance.
The Royal Saudi
Navy maintains two, 1,500-man marine brigades
consisting of three battalions each. The brigades are assigned to the
Western Fleet headquartered in Jeddah and the Eastern Fleet
headquartered in Jubail. The brigades are equipped with 200 Pegaso BMR
AFVs and HMMWVs.
The South African Navy's new Rapid Reaction Squadron is a marine-type
unit. It is planned that this squadron will eventually be a battalion
sized unit. Currently it consists of four companies. Members are
sailors and use naval ranks. They are trained in infantry combat up to
company sized operations. They are also used for crowd control and
conduct peacekeeping operations. During peacekeeping operations they
are meant to augment an army infantry battalion. Their role is very
similar to the now disbanded South Africa Marine
Corps from the
Navy marines deploying from an AAV-7 amphibious armoured
Marines (Infantería de Marina) are the oldest
existing marine force in the world, as they were established on
February 27, 1537, by Charles I when he permanently assigned the
Compañías Viejas del Mar de Nápoles (Naples Sea Old Companies) to
the Escuadras de Galeras del Mediterráneo (Mediterranean Galley
Squadrons). Their red trouser stripes mark the Infanteria de Marina as
part of the Royal Household Corps, an honour only shared with the
Royal Guard, and were given by Charles III to the marines in reward
for their fierce defence of the Castillo del Morro of Havana, Cuba
against a British expedition in 1762.
Sri Lankan marines assault a beach in a demonstration
The Sri Lanka
Navy established its first Marine
Battalion in November
2016 and the first group of members were assisted in training by the
11th Marine Expeditionary Unit
11th Marine Expeditionary Unit of the United States Marine Corps. The
unit became functional after the first group of members consisting of
6 officers and 158 sailors graduated from training on the 27th of
February, 2017. This
Battalion specializes in Amphibious Warfare.
The Swedish Amphibious
Corps (Svenska amfibiekåren) is an arm of the
Swedish Navy. The
Corps consists of one battalion, tasked with
reconnaissance, amphibious assaults and combat on, over and under the
surface of the sea.
Syrian marines before the Battle of Bashura (2016), Latakia
The Fouj Al-Mughawayr Al-Bahir (Arabic: فوج المغاوير
البحر, meaning "
Marines Regiment") is a unit based in Latakia
Governorate. It has participated in operations in the Syrian civil
Royal Thai Marine
Marines are part of the Tongan
Navy (Tonga Defence
The Amphibious Marine
Infantry Brigade Command is the marine force of
the Turkish Naval Forces and consists of 4,500 men based in Foça near
İzmir: in three amphibious battalions, an MBT battalion, an artillery
battalion, a support battalion and other, company-sized units.
A Ukrainian Marine displaying an AKS-74U
Ukrainian Marines was founded in 1993 from a unit of the former
Soviet Naval Infantry.
United Arab Emirates
Marines is a battalion-sized unit; it is equipped with BTR-3s.
Royal Marines disembark from their
Rigid Raider assault craft
onto a beach during an exercise.
Main article: Royal Marines
Royal Marines (RM) were formed in 1664 and are part of HM Naval
Service. Apart from musicians, they have the longest basic infantry
training in the world (the All Arms Commando Course) which stands at
32 weeks for an enlisted recruit and 64 weeks for an officer
cadet. They include an expeditionary brigade (3 Commando Brigade
RM, which includes commando-trained units and individual personnel
from the British Army, Royal
Navy and Royal Air Force), a naval
security unit responsible for guarding Britain's naval nuclear weapons
and other security duties (43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal
Marines), a landing craft and boat-training group which is also a
parent unit for three landing craft units deployed on amphibious
warfare ships; and a naval musical branch (the
Royal Marines Band
Service). The RM has close international ties with allied marine
forces, particularly the
United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps and the
Netherlands Marine Corps/Korps Mariniers. "Marine" is also used as a
rank in the Royal Marines, being equivalent to an army private. Their
motto is "Per Mare, Per Terram", which is "By Sea, By Land" in Latin.
Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) is the volunteer reserve force used to
augment the regular
Royal Marines in times of war or national crisis.
A U.S. marine scaling the seawall at Inchon, 15 September 1950, during
the Korean War.
United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps (USMC) is currently the largest and
only marine combined-arms force in the world. Created in 1775, it was
originally intended only to guard naval vessels during the American
Revolutionary War. While the USMC is a component part of the US
Department of the
Navy in the military command structure, it is a
separate military branch from the United States Navy, with its own
representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Corps’ major
functions include: seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and...
land operations...essential to...a naval campaign,...provid[ing]
detachments and organizations for service on armed vessels of the
Navy...[and] security detachments for the protection of naval property
at naval stations and bases...and such other duties as the President
may direct...[and] develop[ing]...those phases of amphibious
operations that pertain to the tactics, technique, and equipment used
by landing forces. It also conducts maritime boarding operations
and operates its own aviation units mainly to provide air support to
the rest of its forces. In addition, it also has other missions. These
include, among others, providing personnel as security guards at U.S.
diplomatic missions throughout the world, and providing helicopter
transportation for the President of the United States aboard Marine
One. Its motto is Semper Fidelis, which means "always faithful" in
U.S. Naval Infantry: Military and Naval doctrine in the United States
is that "Naval Infantry" is the use of: "... sailors performing as
infantry, and sometimes providing land based artillery support..."
The Uruguayan Marine
Corps (Cuerpo de Fusileros Navales or FUSNA) is a
battalion-sized organization consisting of four company sized
The Venezuelan Marine
Corps (Infantería de Marina) is a sub-division
of the Venezuelan Navy. Headquartered in Meseta de Mamo, Vargas, the
estimated numerical strength of this unit is approximately 8,000 men
and women. Its mission is to "enlist and direct its units in order to
form the disembarking force and/or support of amphibious or special
operations; executing naval safeguarding and environmental policing,
as well as actively participating in the national development".
The Vietnam People's
Navy maintains a naval infantry force. It once
stood at eleven brigades each of several battalions. The first naval
infantry unit was established in 1975 and was known as the 126th
Brigade. Currently the Vietnam People's
Navy maintains two naval
infantry brigades which are the 101st Brigade and 147th Brigade.
Historical marine forces
The ancient Greek states did not possess specialized marine infantry,
instead they used hoplites and archers as an onboard contingent
Navy used regular infantry as marines. Naval personnel were
trained for raiding and also provided the troops for at least two
legions (I Adiutrix and II Adiutrix) for service on land. The various
provincial fleets were usually provided with marines from the adjacent
Several of the
Colonial navies of Australia
Colonial navies of Australia raised volunteer naval
infantry and naval militia brigades in the second half of the 19th
century. The Victorian
Naval Brigade was formed in 1859, the Sydney
Naval Brigade in 1864 (later supplemented by the Naval Artillery
Volunteers in 1897) and the Queensland
Naval Brigade in 1873.
Federation of Australia
Federation of Australia they were combined into the
Commonwealth Naval Militia. With the formation of the Royal Australian
Navy in 1911 they were renamed the Royal Australian Naval Brigade. At
its peak in 1915 it numbered 2,817 officers and men. The Naval Brigade
was disbanded in 1920 and volunteers were absorbed into the Royal
Australian Naval Reserve.
For several centuries, the
Byzantine navy used the descendants of the
Mardaites, who were settled in southern
Anatolia and Greece, as
marines and rowers for its ships. Emperor
Basil I also established a
separate marine regiment, 4,000 strong, for the central Imperial Fleet
based at Constantinople. These were professional troops, and were
counted among the elite tagmata.
In the 1260s, when emperor
Michael VIII Palaiologos
Michael VIII Palaiologos rebuilt the navy,
he recruited the Tzakones (settlers from Laconia) and the Gasmouloi
(men of mixed Greek-
Latin descent) as special marine troops. Despite
the progressive decline and virtual disappearance of the navy, they
remained active until the late Palaiologan period.
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States Marine
Corps (CSMC), a branch of the
Confederate States Navy, was established by the Confederate Congress
on 16 March 1861 and were mainly (80%) defectors from the U.S.
Marineregimentet (The Marine Regiment) was the naval infantry of the
Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy.
The Meredessantpataljon, was a short lived infantry battalion of the
Estonian Navy. The battalion was created in 1919 from the crews of the
Estonian surface warships and was based in Tallinn. The unit was
mainly used on the Southern Front during the Estonian War of
Independence. The unit was operational from March to June in 1919.
Main article: Troupes de marine
Late 19th century
French Marines (officer and private)
Troupes de marine
Troupes de marine were founded in 1622 (as compagnies ordinaires
de la mer) as land forces under the control of the Secretary of State
of the Navy, notably for operations in French Canada. The Compagnies
de la Mer were transformed in line infantry regiments by Napoleon, but
became once more marine forces in 1822 (for the artillery) and 1831
(for the infantry). These Troupes de marines were in the 19th century
the main overseas and colonial forces of the French military. In 1900
they were put under the orders of the War Ministry and took the name
of Troupes Coloniales (Colonial Forces). In 1958 the designation of
Troupes Coloniales was changed to Troupes d'Outre-Mer (Overseas
Forces) but in 1961 it reverted to the original Troupes de marine.
Throughout these changes in title these troops continued to be part of
the French Army.
The Confederation of
Marines were formed in 1822 and
were disbanded in 1829, Personnel were mostly from Venezuela.
German Empire: During the German Imperial era, three ‘sea
battalions’ or Seebataillone based at Kiel,
Tsingtao were maintained. These units served intermittently as
colonial intervention forces. The III Seebataillon at the imperial
navy's east Asian station at Tsingtao was the only all-German unit
with permanent status in a protectorate/colony. The battalion fought
at the Siege of Tsingtao.
East Germany: The East German army's Nr29.
Regiment ("Ernst Moritz
Arndt") was a Motorized Rifle
Regiment intended for amphibious
operations in the Baltic Sea; while the
Combat swimmer units were intended for support of amphibious
operations and for raiding.
At the time of the
Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Imperial Iranian
Navy had three battalions of marines.
The old Iraqi
Navy maintained several marine companies.
Iraqi Republican Guard
Iraqi Republican Guard maintained a Marine Brigade as part of its
8th As Saiqa
Special Forces Division. The brigade was equipped with
EE-11 Urutu wheeled armored personnel carriers.
Blackshirt militia maintained an independent Marine Group with
four MVSN battalions (24th, 25th, 50th and 60th).
The landing of the Japanese
Marines from the Unyo at Ganghwa Island,
Korea, in the 1875
Ganghwa Island incident
During the feudal period the Japanese used Ashigaru soldiers or
regular Yumi archers as soldiers to protect ships from pirates.
In 1873 a short-lived marine corps was added to the newly created
Imperial Japanese Navy, using Britain's
Royal Marines as a model.
Considered unsuitable in its original form this force was disbanded in
Both the Imperial Japanese
Navy and Imperial Japanese Army
subsequently established marine-type units. Both were dissolved at the
end of World War II and Japan does not currently have marines as such.
The Imperial Japanese Navy's Land Forces maintained several combat
Special Naval Landing Forces
Special Naval Landing Forces were the Empire of Japan's Marine Corps.
The IJN also maintained the Guard Forces (keibitai) and Defense Units
(bobitai), both of whom also received amphibious assault and beach
defence training. However, their performance was poor or average when
they were used as assault troops.
The Imperial Japanese Army's 3,500 man Sea-Landing Brigades (1st to
4th) were used to conduct amphibious assaults on an island, but
afterwards they stayed to garrison that island.
Corps was founded on 10 December 1665 during the Second
Anglo-Dutch War by the unofficial leader of the republic Johan de Witt
and Admiral Michiel de Ruyter as the
Regiment de Marine. Its leader
was Willem Joseph Baron van Ghent. The Dutch had successfully used
ordinary soldiers in ships at sea in the First Anglo-Dutch War. It was
the fifth European marine unit formed, being preceded by the Spanish
Marines (1537), the Portuguese
Marines (1610), the French Marines
(1622) and the English
Royal Marines (1664). Like Britain, the
Netherlands has had several periods when its
Marines were disbanded.
The Netherlands itself was under French occupation or control from
1810 until 1813. A new marine unit was raised on 20 March 1801 during
the time of the
Batavian Republic and on 14 August 1806 the Korps
Koninklijke Grenadiers van de Marine was raised under King Louis
Bonaparte. The modern Korps Mariniers dates from 1814, receiving its
current name in 1817.
The battle honors on the Korps Mariniers' colors are: Raid on the
Medway (1667), Kijkduin (1673), Sennefe (1674), Spain, Dogger Bank
(1781), West Indies, Algiers (1816), Atjeh, Bali, Rotterdam (1940),
Java Sea (1942), Java and Madoera (1947–1948), New Guinea (1962) and
The role of Ottoman naval infantry originated in Orhan's conquest of
the Karasi Beylik and the capture of its fleet. From then on
Janissaries and Azaps were sometimes deployed as marines during the
14th Century. The Deniz azaps were used during the 16th Century; while
Levend (Bahriyeli) were raised on and off over the
centuries - over 50,000 of them by the late 18th century. The last
raised units were the Ta'ifat al Ru'sa (corsair captains militia)
recruited from among the North
African Arabs and indigenous Berbers.
Ottoman marines were part of the Ottoman navy.
Portugal raised numerous companies of
Especiais) and African
Marines (Fuzileiros Especiais
Africanos), both at home and in the African colonies of Portuguese
Portuguese Angola and Portuguese Mozambique, for service in
Africa during the Portuguese Colonial Wars. The African Special
Marines were all-black units.
The Imperial Russian
Navy used several regiments of marine equipage
troops that fought as much on land as they served in ship detachments.
One battalion was formed within the Guard, and served on the Imperial
Soviet Naval Infantrymen during a demonstration in 1990
Navy had a number of small battalion-sized naval infantry
and coastal defence units that mostly served in the ports and bases
before the Second World War. During the war, and building on the
visuals of the mutinied sailors of Petrograd in 1917, the Stavka
ordered formation of naval infantry brigades from surplus ship crew or
shore duty sailors, and forty brigades served in mostly ground troops
roles until 1944 when they were used for amphibious operations in
Norway and along the
Black Sea coast.
The South Africa Marine
Corps was set up as a sub-branch of the South
Navy in 1979, with the primary purpose of protecting harbours.
Marines were disbanded in 1989, following a major restructuring of
Navy at the end of the South African Border War.
Royal Marines date from the establishment of a Maritime Regiment
of Foot in 1664. Six Marine Regiments for Sea were formed in 1702 but
by 1713 they had been disbanded or taken into the army as regiments of
foot. In 1755, a permanent
Corps of fifty companies of marines was
established for direct service under the Admiralty and this force has
an unbroken descent to the
Royal Marines of today. See History of the
Navy has since its beginning formed naval landing parties of
seamen for action ashore, this being later formalised into the Naval
Brigades. These brigades would often dismount guns from their parent
vessels for use ashore, these guns often being the only artillery
available. The most famous example of this form of land service was
provided by the guns accompanying the forces relieving Ladysmith.
Corps of Colonial
Marines were raised from former American slaves
as auxiliary units of the
Royal Marines for service in the Americas:
Two of these units were raised and subsequently disbanded. The first
was a small unit which existed from 1808 to 12 October 1810, the
second was more substantial and existed from May 1814 to 20 August
Royal Naval Division
Royal Naval Division was part of the Royal
Navy in the First World
War. In 1914, the shortage of ground forces for the Western Front led
to the creation of the Division, composed of two brigades of sailors
and a brigade formed by the Royal Marines. The Division was part of
Navy but for command purposes was integrated into the army's
command structure. The sailors were initially disappointing as
infantry, but eventually developed into one of the better divisions.
The Division participated in the defence of the Belgian city of
Antwerp in late 1914, and then served with heavy casualties at the
Battle of Gallipoli. At different times the Division included various
army units. The division ceased to exist after the end of the First
Gooch's Marines, the 61st Foot, raised in the American colonies
War of Jenkins' Ear
War of Jenkins' Ear in 1739. This was a 3,000 man American
regiment of the British
Army that served alongside British Marines.
Among its officers was Lawrence Washington, half-brother of George
Washington. It was disbanded as a regiment in 1742 and the remaining
independent companies were merged with another regiment in 1746.
American Colonial Marines
American Colonial Marines were State
Marines raised for the various
state navies that came into existence shortly before the Revolutionary
Continental Marines were the marine force of the American Colonies
during American Revolutionary War. The
Corps was formed by the
Continental Congress on November 10, 1775, and was disbanded in 1783.
The Continental Marines' first and only Commandant was Captain Samuel
Hillet Marine River
Regiment of the Union
Army during the American
Civil War, this regiment consisted of 10 rifle companies, a Cavalry
Battalion of 5 companies, and an artillery battalion of three
batteries, all of whom operated from
Mississippi River gunboats as
part of the
Mississippi River Squadron.
The Republic of Texas Marine
Corps – Although a marine corps was
suggested in the "Act and Decree Establishing a Navy," passed on
November 25, 1835, it was not until acting governor James W. Robinson
strongly urged the swift formation of such an organization in his
message to the General Council on January 14, 1836, that steps were
actually taken to commission officers of marines and recruit enlisted
personnel. Before the end of the Republic of Texas and annexation to
the United States, more than 350 men served with the Texas Marine
Corps, and at least eighteen officers were commissioned to command
them. The Texas Marine
Corps served under the direction of the Navy
Department of the Republic, and the duties of the corps were
specifically ordained in fifteen articles passed by the Texas Congress
on December 13, 1836. The corps was modeled upon the United States
Marine Corps, but no post of commandant was ever established. Marines
served under their own officers aboard ship and ashore but were
subject to the orders of the senior naval officer present. Pay and
allowances were based upon those of the United States Marine Corps,
and the uniform of the Texas Marine came from discontinued USMC
stocks, changing only the buttons and cap devices to those of Texas
Vietnamese dynasties had a long tradition of utilizing marines. This
tradition went back no later than the Annam Protectorate of Tang
dynasty when the governors built boats and trained marines to fight
off pirates and invaders. The successive Vietnamese dynasties made
full use of their marines' superiority at river and sea to launch
successful campaigns against their northward and southward neighbours
The forerunner of the Republic of Vietnam Marine
Corps (VNMC) was
established by Ngo Dinh Diem, then prime minister of what was then the
State of Vietnam
State of Vietnam on October 13, 1954. The Republic of Vietnam was
established in October 1955 after Diem used a fraudulent referendum to
topple Bao Dai. The VNMC became defunct on 1 May 1975 after the fall
The 12th Naval
Infantry Brigade (12. brigada mornaričko desantne
pešadije) of the Yugoslavian
Navy consisted of 900 to 2,000 men in
three battalions. A multi-ethnic unit, the brigade was broken up
during the dissolution of the Yugoslav federation and saw little
Air force infantry
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^ "Specialist force trained for East Timor-style operations". Herald
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^ "Commando Training - RBDF". rbdf.gov.bs.
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^ http://www.marinir.mil.id Archived 29 April 2015 at the Wayback
^ The IISS estimates the IRGC Naval Forces are 20,000 strong including
5,000 marines (one brigade).
^ The New Iraqi Security Forces, Article on MNF-I website, 20 April
2006 Archived 18 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "We're sorry, that page can't be found" (PDF).
^ Diplomat, The. "The Diplomat".
dead link] Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade"
^ North Korea Country Study, LOC
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-06. Retrieved
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Shoal". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
^ Miroff, Nick; Booth, William (4 December 2010). "Mexico's marines
team with U.S. DEA" – via washingtonpost.com.
^ English, Adrian J. C. Armed Forces of
Latin America. pp. 355
& 356. ISBN 0-7106-0321-5.
^ Handbook for Marine NCOs, Kenneth W. Estes, Robert Debs Heinl, Naval
Institute Press, 1995, ISBN 1-55750-238-2
^ "The official website of Sri Lanka Navy". news.navy.lk. Retrieved
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original (PDF) on 13 November 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2008.
^ 10 U.S. Code § 5063 (a) & (b) - United States Marine Corps:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/5063#. Retrieved December
^ Naval History and Heritage Command: Sailors as
Infantry in the US
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^ Nakanishi, Ritta. Japanese Military Uniforms 1841-1929. p. 79.
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